‘Superman & Lois’ Throws the Supercouple Into a Tailspin for Season 2 Premiere

Superman & Lois - Elizabeth Tulloch + Tyler Hoechlin
Bettina Strauss/The CW

When Superman & Lois left us last season, Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) had vanquished Kryptonian half-brother Tal-Rho (Adam Rayner), son Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) had survived an attack by brother Jordan (Alex Garfin), who was saved from his evil uncle’s mind-control after Lois (Bitsie Tulloch) invaded his consciousness, and her father General Lane (Dylan Walsh) announced that he was stepping down from the Department of Defense.

Then, in the epic hour’s final seconds, alien visitor John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) was stopped from leaving Smallville by the fiery crash of a spaceship carrying his daughter Natalie (Tayler Buck)…a child he shared with their world’s version of Lois Lane.

That family reunion sets the emotional stage for the show’s tremendously satisfying Season 2 premiere, “What Lies Beneath.” Given that we know Earth Prime’s Lois miscarried a child who was going to be named Natalie, this sudden arrival of a young lady who sees Lois as a stranger with her late mother’s face, matched with a painful past and issues within the Kent farm regarding two hormonal teens (one with superpowers), it’s no wonder we find the first family of Smallville having big problems in their return.

We spoke to showrunner Todd Helbing about all of this, as well as what lies ahead as the Kents navigate their new, often uncomfortable, normal.

You bring us back with major tension in the Kent house. I am not loving Lois and Clark at odds like this!

Todd Helbing: [Laughs] Yeah. Look, Bitsie is so awesome and so cool.  And Tyler, I mean, come on, right? With all of our cast, I think last year we found out the type of stories that we can tell, with regards to Lois’s miscarriage episode. So we really wanted to dive into the history of the Lane family, introduce Lucy and give the audience an understanding about why Lois is the way she is, why Lane (Dylan Walsh) is the way he is, why Lois hadn’t talked about Lucy, why Lane never talked about their mother, and then really fold that into the couple to see how they would deal with a situation like that.

Superman & Lois - Elizabeth Tulloch

(Dean Buscher/The CW)

I don’t think we’ve ever had a version of Ella Lane who wasn’t a saintly, deceased specter over the family.

When I thought about Lois Lane’s character and how her relationship with Lane had evolved over the first season, it really felt like, you know, you know, you can go two ways when something like that happens to you:  You either go the way of Lois if you’re an alpha type, like “I can compartmentalize, I can just deal with trauma and move on.” And in a lot of ways that makes a perfect partner for Superman, right? Because she’s so strong and able to not worry about him every time he goes out to save a world. But then there’s the flip side, where you feel like you’re missing something in your life and so that is kind of what we explore with Lucy.

And Jenna Dewan is coming on as Lucy, but this is not the Lucy she played on Supergirl.

No, it’s not. We were able to do that thanks to the blanket of Crisis, which sort of rewrote characters.

So not only do you get to recreate Lucy Lane, but it also gives Jenna a chance to completely reinvent a character she’s already inhabited.

Yeah. And she was so lovely and on-board and excited about it.

And what is this Lucy like?

I don’t wanna give away too much, but I’ll say she is the complete opposite of Lois. Like, Lois is very secure in her marriage to Clark and as a mother to the boys, and in her job. Lucy is none of those. [Laughs]

And do you have plans to actually introduce the mother?

You know, I don’t know if that’ll happen this season. But yes, in the future, we wanna bring her in.

Superman & Lois -Ian Bohen

Ian Bohen as Lieutenant Mitch Anderson (Shane Harvey/The CW?

The season opener also gives us this new shade of trouble with Ian Bohen‘s Lt. Anderson and his recruits at the DOD. Who, by the way, should not be wearing Clark’s crest.

[Laughs] I know! No, they should not, that is something only Clark can give away. What was really interesting to all of us on the writing side was that Lane retired and if you’re General Lane and you’ve been doing that job for 40 years, you’re sort of the handler of Superman and also have the benefit of knowing who he really is. He is married to your daughter, you can kind of manipulate the system to your benefit. [Laughs]


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But with Anderson, he doesn’t know that secret, so he is like, “I don’t understand what is wrong with this guy? He won’t listen to me. He won’t do what I’m saying.” And on the Superman side, it’s like, “Oh my God, actually, my father-in-law was really going to bat for me a lot more than I realized,” you know? So we got excited about that because it works in a lot of ways and you know, his recruits…we’re doing a bit of a story from the books that you’ll start to see, the Superman of America. Bringing them in right now, we love these sort of deeper dives of the comics, but also, it’s just such an F U to Superman for Anderson to steal his logo.

Seeing these two spar gives such Teen Wolf flashbacks, too. Can you tell me anything about your Big Bad, because it can’t be them, right?

Uh, no, it’s not them. I’ll just say there’s multiple this season. They all start out maybe unrelated — “unconnected” might be a better way of describing it — but they start to merge. That’s really all I can say, only because if I tell you, if I give you one little tidbit, everybody out there is gonna know who it is.

When do we meet them?

So, you see the first tease at the end of the premiere. In Episode 2, you’re gonna get a little bit more, another piece. And then in Episode 3, you’re gonna find out outright what it is.

The season opener has some flat-out cinematic sequences. Did your effects budget get bumped up?

I sure wish it did. [Laughs] On The Flash and the crossovers, I learned a lot of lessons about how to squeeze a dollar. And we have an amazing visual effects team. Matt Gore, our visual effects producer, like he’s really amazing, and Louis Milito, our producer…it’s really just a team that really wants to make the show look as good as it can for the money that we have. So we find out what’s important to the story and then really amp it up. Hey, it’s Superman, you know? Superman did a lot for all of us, let’s do this for him.

I am always so impressed by the way you’re able to keep both the realism and the heightened level of superhero theatricality.

Thank you so much. From the start, it was like “If we’re gonna do the show, we have to do it right.” And in Season 1, we sort of fell in love with making the show look beautiful and that trickled down into every shot. We have some locations coming up, you know, they’re all B.C. locations, but anytime we can get a sunset or anytime we could find a place that exists in our world, that doesn’t feel like it should be here, that’s where a fight’s gonna take place. It adds this feature quality that is really just paying dividends.

Now, I know both Alex Garfin and Jordan Elsass were very active on social over the break showing their workouts. Is there something you wanna tell us? Do you have plans for these two to really get into the action?

[Laughs] Well,  Jordan’s powers will definitely develop this season. And in the same way that he’ll really want to use his superpowers, I think Jon is like, “You know, what, if I don’t have powers, I’m gonna just be kick-ass in everything else that I do.” So he’s going all-in with the football, but that takes a crazy turn coming up. We’ll see what people think.

Superman & Lois - Tayler Buck

( Dean Buscher/The CW)

Where does Natalie fall into with the teens? Are we looking at all possible love triangles?

It felt weird to all of us to have a love triangle between Jordan, Jonathan, and Natalie, since, you know, they’re kinda siblings. So it’s more that they just develop a friendship. Nat and John Henry, they’re struggling in this world and in Smallville. It’s probably the last place they thought they would be. But Nat becomes pretty good friends with Sarah (Inde Navarette).

Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui) is now getting involved in a local election. What is she doing? After last season, hasn’t she learned to stay away from politics and businessmen?

[Laughs] We teed it up at the end of last season and you’re gonna see how this all unfolds. But we made a promise to Emmanuel that if we told any sort of political story that we’d make it interesting. So it gets pretty messy, I’ll say.

Superman & Lois, Season 2 Premiere, Tuesday, January 11, 8/7c, The CW