Warning: spoilers ahead for the series premiere of Superman & Lois on The CW.
Superman & Lois has been a long time coming, starting with Tyler Hoechlin's debut as Clark Kent/Superman over on Supergirl and expanding with the introduction of Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, and then the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" twist turning them into the parents of a pair of teenage boys. There was always the question of Superman's nemesis on the new show when Supergirl had already debuted so many Arrowverse versions of traditionally Superman villains. Well, the Superman & Lois series premiere found a way to deliver a big bad with a familiar name in a new way thanks to a villain twist, and the showrunner and star opened up about it. Prepare to see some Luthor action!
Superman was up against a mysterious foe in the series premiere, who tested Superman's strength with nuclear reactors and took advantage of the Man of Steel's inability to see through lead for a confrontation. The baddie shared that his world was destroyed, but he managed to survive and arrive on Earth, only to discover that Superman was there too.
The foe didn't show his face in the confrontation, and the premiere technically didn't address him by his full name, but what the episode did deliver is more than enough for some speculation. His ship addressed him as "Captain Luthor," and pretty much anybody familiar with Superman lore or the Supergirl series knows that Lex Luthor is an iconic villain. This mysterious Superman & Lois character is played by Wolé Parks, while Supergirl's Lex Luthor was played by Jon Cryer, so there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
Fortunately, CinemaBlend's Nick Venable was on hand at the TCA panel for Superman & Lois, and both showrunner Todd Helbing and star Tyler Hoechlin weighed in on the last-minute Luthor surprise, with Helbing saying:
When Greg [Berlanti] and I first started talking about this, we wanted an iconic villain for Superman. We wanted an iconic role. But it was our opportunity coming out of ‘Crisis’ to tell a new story and bring the audiences this new journey with somebody that they feel like they’ve known. You know, obviously Jon Cryer’s on Supergirl, and he’s done this crazy, amazing job with Lex Luthor. But our show is different. We wanted to tell a new story, and I think there’s a lot of twists and turns, and secrets are revealed, and mysteries unfold in the way that this version is going to feel fresh and new and and completely different than anything we’ve seen before.
Notably, neither the series premiere nor the showrunner explicitly confirmed that Wolé Parks' "Captain Luthor" is another version of Lex Luthor, and versions of the same character coming from different worlds are usually (but not always) doppelgangers played by the same actors in the Arrowverse. Still, the massive "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover rewrote a lot of rules (and a lot of Arrow) of the Arrowverse, and this Luthor apparently comes from an entirely different world. Todd Helbing isn't kidding when he talks about mysteries and doing things differently!
Doing things that are "fresh and new" in a multi-show TV universe that has been expanding for the better part of a decade now is no small deal, and star Tyler Hoechlin didn't spoil any secrets about what Superman & Lois has in store for viewers now that it is officially part of The CW's lineup, saying:
I like having my job, so I’m just gonna go ahead and leave it at that and not give away anything before I get in trouble.
Tyler Hoechlin may have all the details, but it might take more than kryptonite for him to drop any spoilers before Superman & Lois makes the big reveals. That said, Captain Luthor actor Wolé Parks did speak out abaout his character. Parks didn't confirm any details either, including whether or not his character is indeed another version of Lex who is simply very different from the Jon Cryer version. Still, he shared that there are more layers to his character than just playing the bad guy to Superman's good guy. When asked by press at the TCA panel about playing this mysterious man for Superman & Lois, Parks explained:
And for me, you know, like, you’ll, you’ll see as the, as the season plays out, you know, this, the thing I appreciate as an actor is I understand where he’s coming from. And, and I, as far as I’m working, I’m a big like comic nerd. You know, I, I watched Justice League. I read the comics back in the day and all that stuff, you know, Superman died and all that. But as far as I’m aware, we’ve never kind of covered this kind of stuff on TV before. And you’ll find out, I guess, for me, the thing which I appreciate is he’s not just the bad guy for bad guy’s sake, because we need a bad guy, There’s a reason why he’s doing these things. You know, like every bad guy is the hero of his own story. And this guy has legitimate reasons, and I think people will hopefully empathize with why he’s doing what he’s doing and you know, you’ll find out soon-ish.
At the very least, the actor's comments indicate that Superman & Lois isn't going to keep viewers hanging for too long as to what this Captain Luthor means for Superman, and what his plans are! He may be the hero of his own story, but any character who shows up to attack the Man of Steel and desire for more kryptonite is pretty clearly going to be the bad guy of a Superman story.
See what happens next for the Kent family with Captain Luthor targeting Superman with new episodes of Superman & Lois, airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. The series premiere got to air as a special 90-minute episode, but subsequent episodes will go back to the standard hour-length, following new episodes of The Flash. For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.