Superman & Lois boss breaks down [SPOILER]'s arrival, Tal-Rho's fate, and more
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the season 1 finale of Superman & Lois.
Superman & Lois just staged an unexpected family reunion — and it could have implications for the Arrowverse as a whole.
In the CW super-show's season 1 finale, Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) used the Tel-Loc device to enter an eradicated Jordan's (Alex Garfin) mind and help him overcome Zeta-Rho's possession. Meanwhile, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) teamed up with Steel, a.k.a John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks), to de-power Morgan Edge/Tal-Rho (Adam Rayner) before he could execute his plan. Once the dust settled, John Henry planned to leave Smallville and reunite with the Earth-Prime version of his sister, but something stopped him in the final moments of the hour: Natalie (Tayler Buck), the daughter he shared with Lois on another Earth, crash-landed on the Smallville farm, which came as a shock to both John Henry and Lois.
Natalie's arrival on Earth-Prime not only raises questions for the Kent family — like, how will Lois handle meeting her daughter from a parallel Earth? — but also for the entire Arrowverse. Does this mean it's once again possible to travel between parallel worlds?
The shared universe's last major crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths," ended with all the CW's superhero shows (except Stargirl) moving to one planet, Earth-Prime, and the rebirth of the multiverse (although the Arrowverse heroes are unaware of the latter part). Natalie showing up on Earth-Prime months after her father, who wound up there during/after "Crisis," at least suggests the multiverse could come back into play in the Arrowverse.
Needing answers, EW hopped on the phone with showrunner Todd Helbing to discuss what Natalie's reunion with John Henry could mean for the multiverse, what his plans for Rayner's Tal-Rho are, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How much of this finale did you have planned from the beginning of the season? Is there we were always heading, more or less?
TODD HELBING: At the beginning of the season, you have the big tentpoles. That stuff always changes, though. Inevitably what always happens is that the ideas you had for, let's say, episode 10 get brought up to like episode 4, at least in my experience. (There may be other people out there who can map it out and stick to it.) What happened on this show is when we watched the cut for episode 2, we realized that some stuff wasn't landing. So we did some reshoots and then we did some rewrites, and that sort of trickled down and has this snowball effect. So I think it's vastly different than what we originally thought it would be. Really, the layout of the last five episodes was completely different. We didn't break the last two episodes, I think, until April.
What did you originally think would be the final arc?
It's so broad when you originally sit down to talk about a season. At the time when we were still doing 13 episodes, you still kind of think about it like three acts. There was Edge. We knew that John Henry Irons was going to team up with Superman, and that the whole family would be involved in this fight to save Smallville and the Cushings and all of our characters, but we really didn't know the ins and outs of how it would play.
We know that Wolé Parks wasn't always going to play Steel and was initially cast as a version of Lex Luthor. In terms of Edge, did you always know he was going to be Superman's brother?
When I originally pitched the season, that was always part of it — that we were going to explore this mythology that had never really been done before in live action. But originally…We started doing the Subjekts, right? The Eradicator was brought up pretty early as a potential for Edge, but Daniel Cudmore played Subjekt-11 and so we were going to build up to Subjekt-17. There were different versions where Edge could become Subjekt-17 or other versions of it. But the Eradicator just felt [right]. Once we started diving into that mythology, it just seemed to work so much better.
For a period it felt like every superhero thing was drawing on the same '80s era of comics, but now we're starting to see things move away from that. With Superman & Lois, you drew on the '90s with the introductions of Steel, the Eradicator, and even Jordan as a half-human/half-Kryptonian like Superboy. What drew you all to the material from that era?
It always comes from, how are we going to get the most emotion out of this family show? Any way we can loop family into it, that's our primary objective. That's where Edge being his half-brother came from. But there is no specific era, I think, that we necessarily go into breaking episodes or a season thinking about. It's more about there are so many characters in [Superman's world] and we want to avoid some that were used on Supergirl (obviously Morgan Edge was). But it really just comes from: Family is the real motivator, and putting our own spin on [the mythology] for our show.
In the finale, Jordan flies while possessed by Zeta-Rho. Is that a skill he has now, or is that just a one-off?
Well, I think we aren't going to be able to forever do, "Oh, he gets a new power this week," but I think Jordan coming out of the finale is going to be a little bit more confident. Mentally, he defeated Zeta-Rho, which, as Superman says about when Zod was in him, was extremely difficult. The fact that he did that, I think he's going to slowly start to understand how to use the powers he has better and more frequently, and develop some new ones.
How viable is Jordan and Sarah's [Inde Navarrette] relationship if she doesn't know about this major part of his life?
What's always been interesting to us is to have the boys go through things that Clark went through when he lived in Smallville, but the times are just so different from when Clark grew up there. But there are these similar issues. You know, often when you're a teenager and you fall in love for the first time, you're like, "Oh my God, this is the person for me!" [Laughs] And then that doesn't necessarily happen that way. I think Clark and Lois are going to have a lot of opinions about Jordan and revealing too much to Sarah in the next season.
I was surprised Edge survived the finale. Will Adam Rayner return in season 2?
We love Adam Rayner. He's such a great guy, and an amazing actor, so we like this idea that Clark and Tal will have this sort of Thor-Loki relationship. So I think you'll see him again in one way or another.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" ended with the multiverse being reborn, but none of the Arrowverse heroes know that it's back. Does Natalie's late arrival in the finale imply that it is once again possible to travel between worlds?
All I'll say is that there are a lot of questions out there right now about the Arrowverse and how it all works and is tied together, and I think in season 2 you get a lot more of those answers.
How early on did you know you wanted to end the season with Natalie arriving on this Earth?
When we started to develop what happened to Lois on [John Henry Irons'] planet, we always knew that he was going to have this redemption story, but the specific pieces of it and how it would unfold, that stuff all came pretty quickly. So we knew that we wanted Nat around pretty soon after we figured out the John Henry story line.
How does her arrival complicate things for the Kent family, especially for Lois?
We get into that in the first episode [of season 2]. The thing that I loved so much about this version of Lois Lane is you see all of her personal struggles and what she's overcome to be who she is, and I think we're going to reveal a lot more of that in season 2. So Nat is certainly a part of that.
In the penultimate episode, Teagan [Kayla Heller] tells Jordan that she moved to Smallville from Central City after her father went to jail. Was that just a harmless nod to The Flash, or is that indicative of future plans for meeting her father?
We'll see. [Laughs] In season 2, the audience will get a lot more answers about how this stuff all works together.
Superman & Lois will return in 2022 on the CW.