Superman & Lois boss and stars on the Stranger's shocking identity, [SPOILER]'s powers
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the series premiere of Superman & Lois, which aired Tuesday night on the CW.
The series premiere of Superman & Lois, starring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch, ended with a major revelation: Wolé Parks — whose armored villain has hitherto only been referred to as the Stranger — is playing someone named Captain Luthor. In other words, he's somehow connected to Superman's arch-nemesis Lex Luthor, who is played by Jon Cryer in the Arrowverse. But as of right now, it's unclear exactly how.
In a recent interview, EW asked Todd Helbing if the good Captain's first name was even Lex? While the producer declined to answer that question, he shared that viewers should expect to see something very different from Cryer's performance and character.
"What Jon Cryer does on Supergirl is awesome and I think the way they presented this version of Lex Luthor is fantastic, and we wanted to present a villain or an adversary to Superman at the beginning that just felt different and threatening, but could also lead us in ways that you can't necessarily go with like a Jon Cryer version of it," Helbing told EW. "So, all I'll really say is you're really going to get this guy's backstory, where he's from, what he was like, where he comes from, his professional life, his personal life. You're gonna get to know why he's going after Superman. Once you understand his motivation, it's like what Wolé said at TCAs: It's like every villain is the hero of their own story. It's true. Once you start to understand who this guy is and what his motivations are, I think people are going to look at him differently."
That being said, Captain Luthor did shed some light on his origins during his brutal brawl with Superman (Hoechlin) in the pilot. "I know everything there is to know about the Last Son of Krypton. Where I come from, let's just say, the two of us have history," Luthor tells Superman in the episode. "My world was destroyed, but somehow I managed to survive. I eventually arrived here and I learned you are here, too."
It sure sounds like Luthor is talking about the events of last year's crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which destroyed every planet in the multiverse. When EW asked Helbing if Luthor's presence on Earth-Prime had anything to do with "Crisis," he said, "Yes," with a laugh, and didn't elaborate any further. (Check out EW's recap for our full theory on what's going on with Captain Luthor.)
For his part, Hoechlin — who shared scenes with Cryer in the crossover — is trying to approach the Captain Luthor character with an open mind. "What I've been able to do and what's been most helpful is just to really not acknowledge that existence of saying names and things like that, and to really just look at these characters as their own [thing]," he told EW in an interview earlier this month. "But Wolé's been fantastic. Some of these characters, even though they share the name, for me I've really been able to just do a blank slate with it."
As if fighting a Kryptonite-wielding bad guy wasn't enough, Clark also had his hands full on the family front. In the pilot, Clark got laid off from the Daily Planet and lost his mother in the span of a few minutes. So Clark, Lois (Tulloch), and their two sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin) return to Smallville for the funeral; however, the iconic couple decides to move their permanently after they discover that Jordan has inherited their father's powers, which creates new worries for the Kent family going forward.
"A lot of it has to do with [the fact that] Jordan doesn't necessarily have the same powers that his father has," said Tulloch. "Obviously, Jonathan does not have powers and he's sort of the twin that's used to be being the one that's constantly excelling at school, football, or whatever; he's the popular one, he's social. Now, he feels lesser than Jordan because Jordan is the one with these powers. Jordan has his own struggles, which are, 'What are my powers? How do I hone them? Do I just have cast-off remnants of what my dad is? Could I ever live up to being my father?' And that's the main thing."
Helbing is particularly looking forward to seeing how Clark navigates trying to train Jordan while also reckoning with how it might not be as easy as it was when his parents were teaching him how to control his powers.
"What Clark realizes coming out of the pilot is [that] he was raised in this idyllic town where, not that it was easy for his parents to raise a kid who had superpowers, because superpowers hadn't existed when Clark was a kid like they do now, but they could do it sort of off the grid, right?" said Helbing. "Now, all the lessons that Clark learned from Jonathan and Martha Kent, in the retelling of those or trying to teach Jordan these lessons that he learned in the way that he did, it's like any parent who finds themselves out of touch with their kids. How do you teach a new generation something when you were raised a certain way? How do you influence them during a time when they're influenced by an insane amount of information — their phones, the internet?"
Helbing continues, "My mom once told me when I became a parent: The hardest thing about being a parent is the way that other parents are parents. Now it's like that to the nth degree. You don't know who is influencing your kid or what is or where it's coming from. So to have a kid like Jordan have powers, I think presents challenges for them that moving back to Smallville is not necessarily going to fix. But what's really fun is to see Superman teaching these lessons that a lot have seen before in a new way."
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.