Pilot director Lee Toland Krieger reveals how past Man of Steel movies visually inspired the new Arrowverse drama.

By Chancellor Agard
February 22, 2021 at 04:23 PM EST
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Superman & Lois very much isn't an origin story for the Man of Steel, seeing as how the series is about Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) moving back to Smallville to raise their two teenage sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin). That being said, though, the CW superhero drama's premiere does open with a montage that revisits key events from the Last Son of Krypton's history — and EW is exclusively debuting a snippet from that sequence that reveals Clark and Lois' meet-cute.

In the clip above, Clark arrives at the Daily Planet for his first day of work and is almost speechless when he meets Lois, who immediately teases the mild-mannered farm boy for wearing a tie. From there, Lois takes her nervous new coworker on a walk-and-talk through the bustling newsroom as Clark, ironically, struggles to keep up with her fast-pace.

"I feel pretty proud of that opening montage where we get to kind of go through Superman's mythology, from baby Kal-El arriving in the pod to young Clark with Martha and Jonathan, and through him meeting Lois," pilot director Lee Toland Krieger (Riverdale) tells EW. "All of that stuff felt good. It felt like it was fitting. It felt like we [got to] have our fun with that mythology and then get into the show."

Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

According to Krieger, Richard Donner's Superman inspired how they approached both this moment and a few others set at the Daily Planet.

"We wanted a Daily Planet that looked more like the Donner Daily Planet," Krieger tells EW. "That kind of All the President's Men sort of giant suite with the fluorescent ceiling that goes on forever is almost impossible to find in Vancouver. We got as close as we could. We actually shot at the Vancouver Daily Sun newspaper, which had never had photography there because they're a working newspaper. Just because of COVID, nobody was there and we got to shoot in there. But looking at the blocking in the Donner movie is, dare I say, like watching some of Billy Wilder's work. His blocking, especially in the Daily Planet with Perry White and Clark and Lois and the oners [long takes] there are just really brilliantly laid out, and kind of not what you would expect in a movie like that."

Krieger also revisited Zack Snyder's Man of Steel when he stepped on to helm the CW drama's first two episodes.

"I admit, I'm a fan of Man of Steel, more than maybe most people," he says. "I think if you go back and watch that movie now, a lot of it holds up really beautifully. I think the third act of that movie maybe falls victim to what a lot of giant tentpole movies fall victim to, which is kind of the 'Okay, now the world is being destroyed and we have to save the whole planet from imminent destruction,' and that's always just a tough place to go and make it still feel intimate. But the intimate moments of that movie I think are really beautiful. We certainly looked at, in particular, the [movie's] suit. The suit, obviously, is a great looking suit, despite people thinking it was somewhat heretical to lose the underpants. I think now it sort of seems like the gold standard. Certainly the cape action, a lot of the practical cape and the [digitally-rendered version of the] cape work was something I don't I fully appreciated until we were in the weeds on it, but is really wonderful and lends itself to some of those more heroic moments."

Beyond those points of inspiration, though, Superman & Lois wants to stand on its own and views itself as being "post-mythology," to borrow showrunner Todd Helbing's word. "There's no version where Lois and Clark are married and have two teenage boys," Helbing recently told EW. "We're going to explore stories that haven't been told in a way that they haven't been told before."

Watch the clip above.

Superman & Lois premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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