The first episode of the CW superhero show Superman and Lois debuted recently, offering a fresh retelling of the Man of Steel's marriage to reporter Lois Lane. The episode ended with the reveal that the main villain of the series is going to be a character called "Captain Luthor". In an interview with EW, Superman & Lois showrunner Todd Helbing explained how this new Luthor will compare to Jon Cryer's Lex Luthor who previously showed up in the CW's Arrowverse.
"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."
In every incarnation of Superman, Lex Luthor has always represented the zenith of the Man of Steel's enemies. Luthor may not be the most powerful, but his status as a normal human with an extreme hunger for ultimate power contrasts perfectly with Superman's status as an alien with a great deal of power but also a yearning to live an ordinary life with his family.
In Superman & Lois, that contrast is going to hit very close to home, since this version of Clark has a wife and twin sons, and he has retired to his family's farm on Smallville in an attempt to give his sons a chance at an ordinary life. According to Helbing, despite being bent on destroying Superman, Captain Luthor is going to turn out to be a much more sympathetic character once his backstory is revealed.
"All I'll really say is you're really going to get this guy's backstory, where he's from, what he's 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 Wole 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."
The character of Captain Luthor is not one that has any precedence in the comics. Fans are speculating that this version of Luthor could be from a different Earth, and might not even be Lex Luthor at all, but rather Alexander Luthor Sr., Lex's father with whom he has traditionally had a highly antagonistic relationship. It will be interesting to see how an older, more mature Superman handles this more militaristic version of his arch-enemy.
Superman & Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Dylan Walsh, Alex Garfin, Jordan Elsass, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Inde Navarrette and Wolé Parks. The series airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. This news originated at Entertainment Weekly.