Since Supergirl has mined so many great Superman stories and characters for ideas in the five seasons it has been on the air, it's up to the writers and producers of The CW's planned Superman and Lois series, set to debut in the 2020-2021 TV season, to comb through the archives and come up with some stuff that hasn't already been done in the various Superman movies and TV series, or on Supergirl, that can propel the story forward. Yesterday, we took a look at ten stories from the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths era of publishing that could translate well to TV.
Today, we're going to run down a list of Superman friends, foes, and supporting characters that would be cool to see when DC's hottest super-couple comes to TV. And all of this goes without saying that Supes obviously needs to spend some time with Black Lightning and his family, since the post-Crisis timeline seems to have established them as the first generation of heroes -- and since they're also the grown, married superhero families with teen children in the Arrowverse.
So check out our list below, and let us know what you think. did we miss one? Were you hoping to see somebody get reinvented post-Crisis to be more comics accurate? Hit us up in the comments or tweet at @russburlingame.
Originally created for the 1940s radio drama The Adventures of Superman, Henderson also appeared in the '50s TV series of the same name, and later made his comics debut in 1974. He has appeared in radio, TV, comics, and animated form (on Superman: The Animated Series), and most recently appeared on Black Lightning. Played by Damon Gupton, Inspector -- later Chief -- Henderson has been the voice of the Freeland Police Department on the show. Sometimes antagonistic, sometimes an ally, but always a fundamentally decent man, Henderson has been one of the most stable and steadfast voices in an ever-changing city -- and last night, Gupton revealed that he would not be returning for the show's fourth season.
Given a post-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" DC Universe that has seen Black Lightning and Supergirl migrate to the same Earth as the rest of the shows, and a Superman TV show coming in late 2020 or early 2021, it seems like as good a time as any to wonder: could Gupton's Henderson be headed to Metropolis, where he could play a supporting role to Superman rather than Black Lightning?
If nothing else, it would keep Gupton in the conversation to eventually appear on Black Lightning again, since he and series star Cress Williams have such great chemistry. It would also provide a reason for Superman and Lois to include references to and cameos from Black Lightning -- something that could be a lot of fun given that until the Crisis happened, Jefferson Pierce and his family only knew superheroes as the stuff of comic books. During his opening monologue last night, as he made his way home to Freeland, Jefferson monologued to Gambi about the events of the Crisis, and giddily revealed, "Superman? He's real!"
Back in 2015, Emma Caulfield joined the cast of Supergirl as Cameron Chase, described as "a stern, no holds barred FBI agent" whose "weapons of choice are manipulation and manpower. With little sympathy, and plenty of suspicions, she pursues her targets with ruthless determination."
In the comics, J'Onn J'Onzz -- as The Bronze Wraith -- was a member of a '70s superhero team called The Justice Experience, in which Chase's father Acro-Bat was a member before his death. At the time, we wondered whether this might play a role, but ultimately Caulfield's character was a damp squib. We can't remember her even being called Chase on-camera, but in any event, her single episode wasn't nearly what fans had hoped for.
Chase, who was introduced in Detective Comics in the '90s and went on to star in her own critically-acclaimed series before showing up in Batwoman for a while, was a DEO agent with an aversion to super-types -- hero or not -- and that could certainly be an interesting archetype to play with on a show that mostly accepts superheroes without much question.
While Dan Turpin was a Jack Kirby creation, there are eras of him in the comics. Eventually, rather than being part of a vast conspiracy of Apokolips-adjacent super-stuff, Turpin ended up as part of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit (SCU), who did their best to tackle the problems created by supervillains.
This would be a great way of incorporating the Metropolis Police Department (and especially the SCU, since the odds of getting Maggie Sawyer back are basically zero) into the larger story.
"Bibbo" Bibbowski is often played for laughs, but there is some real heart to the character, and adding him into Superman & Lois could bring a breath of fresh air and give both Superman and Clark a sounding board.
In the comics, Bibbo is first a regular, and later the owner, of the Ace o' Clubs, a dive bar in Metropolis. His defining characteristic is probably his deep, abiding love for "Sooperman," whom he calls "his fav'rit." He believes in the Man of Steel even when nobody else does, and in a universe that sometimes plays with fear and paranoia around aliens, having somebody who stands by Superman without having to be part of the family or team could be a good way to represent a segment of the audience and the Metropolis public.
A former LexCorp employee who got screwed by Lex and briefly went evil, Hamilton's genius was recognized by Superman, who worked to get him a gig at STAR Labs after he got out of prison. He was Superman's tech guy for most of the era from 1986-1999.
He eventually made himself one of the world's foremost experts on all things Kryptonian as a result of his close proximity to and access to Superman. He could be a key part of any "Team Superman," especially if they were going to need somebody to check out Lois and Clark's kids as they do or do not star to develop powers.
In the comics, Lex had her assassinated...but he did it by remote, and never saw the body. For TV, they could explain the Contessa never having been mentioned by the fact that she was presumed dead after Lex went to jail...only now, not so much? The Crisis, after all, could do any number of things.
Of course, now that Lex is out of prison, he could just meet a girl, too. Especially as a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
It might be difficult to do better than Krypton already did over on SYFY with Brainiac, but it would be worth trying to take a real swing at the character. With Doomsday probably too expensive to do properly on the CG budget they have, Darkseid tied up with the New Gods movie, and Zod canonically dead in the Arrowverse (unless Crisis changed that), Brainiac is probably the most powerful and recognizable villain they could pit Superman and Lois up against that isn't just Lex (again).
The Eradicator is something that has taken a lot of forms throughout its years in Superman's history. Originally a weapon with an onboard AI that was designed by one of Superman's ancestors on Krypton, the Eradicator eventually found its way to Earth, where the AI built it into an energy-based body. As a villain, he would eventually be destroyed, but then come back as part of the "Reign of the Supermen" story. The Eradicator would then connect with a human host, and briefly become a hero with The Outsiders and an ally of Superman's. Eventually that would fade and he would return to his villainous ways.
But having a Kryptonian AI that has an agenda to essentially terraform Earth like Zod wanted to do could provide for an interesting antagonist to Superman and even maybe force him to work with Lex.
In the comics, John Henry Irons is Steel, a former weapons designer whose life was saved by Superman and who decided to "make it count for something." After Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday, Irons fashioned himself a suit of armor to fight low-level local crime, but his heart and brilliance both made him Justice League material in no time.
It probably is, but it's worth a try. It's a shame he couldn't get to do "Crisis," and if they were to establish that Krypton canonically took place in the Arrowverse's past then it would retroactively give the series a happier ending and clarify that they eventually "fixed" time.
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