Superman & Lois Wanted A Fresh Take On Its Hero's Most Infamous Foe

"Superman & Lois" on the CW is always playing fast and loose with the Superman mythos. The opening of the series sees Clark Kent and Lois Lane moving back to Smallville to take over the Kent family farm. In the show, they have two grown sons, Jonathan and Jordan, while the only son the comic counterpart has is Jon Kent.

In the first season, the clear villain seemed to be Captain Luthor, a soldier from an alternate reality where Superman broke bad and took over the planet. Despite sharing a name with Superman's greatest nemesis, "Captain Luthor" was later revealed to be John Henry Irons, known in the comics as the Superman-inspired hero, Steel. Likewise, the real villain was revealed to be Morgan Edge, who later revealed himself as Tal-Rho, Clark's half-brother.

Subversion and surprise is where "Superman & Lois" finds its footing.

This Doom is not a doctor

Near the end of season 2's opening episode, a gloved fist breaks through the ground in the Smallville mines. That fist was later revealed to belong to a figure in a massive radiation suit, similar to Doomsday's original appearance in the Superman comics. "Superman & Lois" showrunner Todd Helbing confirmed that the look was an homage to Doomsday.

"That is our homage to a classic Doomsday cover," Helbing told Entertainment Weekly

"There's so much lore [and] mythology in the Superman universe that we feel it's our obligation to tell a unique story ... We take inspirations from the comics as much as possible, and then we try to twist it. We did the same thing here."

He added:

"I think one of the things that we all really dig about the comic book world, but particularly with the villains, is finding ways to use assumptions about a character, and then flipping that, and finding ways to explain things that haven't been explained in the comics, like the use of something, or why a character does a certain thing."

A rather bizarre twist

The villainous twist this time around is that Doomsday wasn't actually Doomsday. While the suit was inspired by Doomsday, underneath the suit was ultimately revealed to be Bizarro, the alternate Superman from a backwards world. And so the villain is essentially another iteration of Superman, making actor Tyler Hoechlin do double duty.

Hoechlin told Entertainment Weekly

"... we always want to find ways that Superman is genuinely challenged. It's always a difficulty with a character like that who has so few vulnerabilities." "How do you make him actually vulnerable and kind of create this conflict? Sometimes you are your own worst enemy, so that was a fun idea to play with, and that's kind of how he wanted to pitch it."

For Superman's actor, Bizarro represents a loss of control. "I think one of the scariest things is what happens if Superman loses control. So if this other being is causing him to lose control, then who knows how far that goes," he said. 

"That, I think, would be the immediate question, is how do we stop it? Beyond that, obviously doppelgängers and things are things that in our world he's not unfamiliar with, but this is, I think, the first time that it's causing this kind of a reaction out of him, and I think he needs to find a way to get back in control."

Currently, "Superman & Lois" is still airing its second season, with a huge focus on the Bizarro iteration of the Kent family. As of this writing, the CW has aired episode twelve of a fifteen-episode season. The episode itself was directed by former "Arrow" star David Ramsey, who is actually preparing to headline a new show on the CW called "Justice U." The new series will see Ramsey's John Diggle training a new generation of heroes.