‘Superman & Lois’ Boss on Clark’s Watery New Digs, Diggle’s Return & Season 3’s Gang of Trouble
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Superman & Lois‘ Season 2 finale, “Waiting for Superman.” So if you haven’t watched yet, maybe your Bizarro World double can fill you in.]
Worlds collided, marriages collapsed and secrets came out all over Smallville this week as we bid goodbye to Superman & Lois for the summer. But before any happy endings could happen, the delightfully rehabilitated Tal-Rho (Adam Rayner) helped a power-drained Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) harness the strength of the sun to vanquish Ally Allston (Rya Kihlstedt) and separate our world from its parasitic Bizarro twin. Meanwhile, the rest of the Kents, John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks), and his now steel-suited daughter Natalie (Tayler Buck) provided their always heroic support from the ground (and air), eventually saving the day and sending a message to the citizens of Earth that the Man of Steel was back and better than ever.
Now what? Well, we got some intel from a visiting John Diggle (David Ramsey) about the looming threat of DC Comics’ criminal organization Intergang, but according to showrunner Todd Helbing, that’s not the only trouble brewing for Season 3. Here, he teases a few things and explains exactly which Diggle that was in the diner.
Congratulations on surviving the season. You must be exhausted from just the post-production on this episode.
Todd Helbing: You know what’s so funny is that yesterday morning until I don’t know, 12:00 or 1:00am, we were going through the last visual-effects shots. So we were cutting it down to the wire. The last number I heard was that we had 306 visual effects shots in the finale. That’s like a movie. So yeah, if you run anything, print how amazing our visual effects team is. Honestly, it’s insane what these people are able to accomplish.
It looked spectacular, but also the scope was far bigger than a normal season finale. You covered a lot of emotional territory.
Yeah. It’s hard with [broadcast-length shows] to get everything in, but we really try our best to give as many emotional moments, those spectacle moments and to wrap everything up. We feel like we hit a lot in this episode and tried to tie up all the loose ends. The emotion is really the biggest part of the show. It should feel that way, as an audience member.
I appreciated how you were able to use the Cushings’ stuff — in the middle of all this chaos, as two worlds were merging, we saw how these two worlds, Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Kyle (Erik Valdez), aren’t meant to stay together.
That’s right, yeah. There’s a lot of parallels, right? It’s like Kyle kept trying, but at the end of the day, they need to be separate.
We had all the drama of Lana finding out about Clark, now Sarah (Inde Navarrette) and Chrissy (Sofia Hasmik) both know. You’re really building a super team here.
Yeah. I think the “secrets” thing is such a trope and we wanted to make it different and have some impact. Clearly the Lana-Clark stuff, there was a lot of impact there. But in the same light, once we knew that we were going to reveal that secret, it just felt like “OK, it’s such a trope in television and comic books, let’s just get it out of the way.” Plus, we really wanted to get Clark working at the Gazette. We were trying to do that in Season 2, but it just didn’t happen for multiple reasons. But there’s no way that Clark Kent can work at a three-person newspaper and still hide that secret while always going to save the world without it being very strange. [Laughs] But the bigger reason is Chrissy is Lois’ friend and she needs to be honest with her.
Now, the Diggle moment, I’m still confused. What are you setting up there? Is this the Justice U. thing or is this something that you’re looking to do in the show next season?
Well, what we really wanted to do is just basically tee up one of the villains, Bruno Manheim. And also, the stuff that we had Diggle do and say in Season 1… I couldn’t be up front with the audience until this episode about how we’re connected to the Arrowverse or not connected. And so we had to very carefully have him say things that could be presented as one way but the real reason is a different thing. So yeah, no, it was really just to set up Bruno and to sort of cement that this guy is a different Diggle than the Diggle that was in Arrow. This is our Earth’s version of Diggle, he got presented with the green box and everything he said in Season 1 is true. There’s been an Oliver Queen who died. There were other heroes, but there was nobody with superpowers except for Superman. And he’s the only superpowered person on this planet other than Jordan right now.
Then you send Lucy off to Metropolis, and we know from Supergirl that Lucy was in Metropolis.
Yeah. So the best way to think about this is that some of the characters are doppelgangers, some aren’t. Right? So General Lane clearly isn’t. Lucy is. Diggle is. You may see other people that are. But they’re all different versions of them. Just like how John Henry came from a different planet where there is a bad Kal-El, it’s the same sort of idea.
And Tal…I loved him calling it “Weird Smallville.” I would watch that show. Now that he’s established a closer connection with Clark and had his hero redemption arc, do you plan on keeping him as kind of a card up your sleeve?
Absolutely. I mean, Adam Rayner’s an amazing talent and even better guy. And yeah, just like you said, we love this dynamic and our cast is sort of getting bigger and bigger, so we don’t want to shortchange anybody’s screen time and story. But we love the guy so much and we love where it’s gotten to so we want to keep that dynamic going as much as possible.
All right, so you set up Bruno Mannheim as one of your bads next year. What can you tell us about what’s your take on Intergang?
I mean, well we’ve seen Killgrave (Brendan Fletcher) in Season 1, right? And we’ve mentioned Intergang. My hiatus starts tomorrow, so we haven’t in earnest gotten into any huge discussions but there’s always ideas that float around and sort of percolate, but generally, we want to do like we did with Eradicator, with Parasite twins, and find our way into it that’s different and new — sort of highlight other aspects and have them come out in interesting ways so it feels like a new version.
And what do you want for the Kents next year? Smallville is now “The Home of Superman.” You’ve got it on the water towers, all that stuff. Is he going to go commercial?
[Laughs] I don’t think he’s going to go commercial. But it’s interesting in life when things are celebrated like that, there’s always the fallout of that. So it’s clearly “Superman saved the day!” and that’s all great and everything, but his son now is on a different level. As his parents, how do Clark and Lois deal with that? It’s just such a different time and place [from where they started]. There’s cell phones, the Internet, there’s Reddit, Twitter. How do you keep that from becoming an issue when Jordan is like, “Wait a second, I just saved Uncle Tal. I had a big part in that”? Nat had a big part in it. There’s this other person flying around in a steel suit. That stuff’s got to come out. And how do you keep your kid safe? So that’s sort of what we want to play with.
And then did you decide, “Let’s make our jobs harder by introducing potential water sets.”
[Laughs] Yeah. I think it’ll be similar to the ice fortress, the sand fortress, where we’re going to have some practical stuff because we can’t afford to have a full green screen set. But yeah, it’ll be a challenge for sure, but in the original pitch for the show, there was going to be the water fortress. That was the opening scene and I’ve wanted to do that forever. I kept pitching it in Season 1 and 2 and now it’s finally happened.
And that was something that they did in the animated series, right?
Yeah. And it just felt like “All right, if we’re going to make a new place where everybody can be a part of things, where we get Jonathan in there, we get Lois, we’d have more family moments in that fortress, let’s put it in a cool spot.” [Laughs]
And you’re going to put Jon in some kind of Kryptonian technology, I’m assuming?
Yeah, there’s a couple different ways to go with what Clark says. So we’ll see how that all plays out.
Right. Because it could be more him working on the tech side than having him suiting up in some way?
Mm-hmm. We shall see.
OK. All right. All right, well listen. Congratulations again on an incredible season. I hope you have big plans for your hiatus.
I do. A lot of it involves sleep and the other part is just being with my wife and kids. [Laughs]
Superman & Lois, Season 3, Midseason, The CW