Superman & Lois EP Todd Helbing Breaks Down Why "Dark Superman" Is Such a Pervasive Idea

Superman & Lois returns to the airwaves tonight, marking the midseason premiere for the hit freshman superhero drama on The CW. It had taken a few weeks off when Supergirl debuted the first handful of episodes of its final season -- a hiatus brought on by COVID-related production delays on Superman & Lois. According to series executive producer Todd Helbing, who serves as the showrunner on Superman & Lois, the back half of the season is going to give fans a much deeper understanding of Captain Luthor (Wole Parks), the season's big bad, with a deep dive into what makes him tick, and why it is he is so convinced that he has to destroy Superman before Superman turns on humanity.

Part of that trajectory involves checking in with the world Luthor left behind, in which series star Tyler Hoechlin will play a dark, evil, homicidal Superman some more. That threat hangs over not just Luthor, but Same Lane, and will help shape the rest of the season.

"There's a lot of information that starts to come out" in the next few episodes, Helbing told ComicBook. "You get all the complications of Jordan having powers in a small town. Captain Luthor, you get a lot more of his backstory. Why he's here, and really start to flesh out who he really is. You get all the meat and potatoes about his character. Lois and Morgan Edge start to go toe to toe a little bit more. All the stories sort of come together, and then Superman is brought into all of them."

The idea of a "dark" Superman isn't new -- it seems to have gained a ton of traction in most live-action adaptations for years now, and certainly has a number of corollaries in the comics. Helbing, though, still thinks there's value in the archetype.

"I think Tyler actually summed it up perfectly in one of the interviews that he did," Helbing said. "Our show is about, really about family, and it's about parents and kids and the decisions, as parents, that you have to make that are tough. And you're not sure if they're the right decisions all the time. And so we really, from day one, had talked about... It's one of the lines in the pilot where Jordan is playing Injustice 2, and he's like, 'Ah, Superman's boring.' I think for so long, it felt like Superman was boring, because he was good. And that's insane to all of us. That's how he should be -- that should be the most interesting part about him. I think it's why we lean into the Clark Kent so much. In our show, we wanted to see the flip side, so everybody could see just how interesting the good version is, and how important he is."

Sam Lane is going to have to see some of that decency in his son-in-law, because while the season started with Superman and General Lane on pretty good terms, the Man of Steel's newfound focus on his family has frustrated his government handler.

"Sam...A, he's a workaholic. But B, the Threat Reduction Agency, he takes that very seriously. He just wants to do what's best for the world, and when you have a job that's as important as his, sometimes you have to make a lot of sacrifices," Helbing explained. "One of them was his relationship with Lois. He, in a lot of ways, is like Superman. Gone all the time. And I think that's why she is so hell bent on having Clark being present in her boy's life, because she was the recipient of a parent like that. I think Lane is always approaching this from "this is my job" perspective, and not so much a parent perspective. Clark is approaching it from a parent perspective, and not a job perspective. And I think that's really where the clash is coming from. They get into some heated arguments, but as with all our characters, I think you can understand where Lane's coming from, and you can understand where Superman is coming from. It makes it a little bit more interesting. But, you'll see their relationship continue to evolve over the season. And his relationship with the boys, his relationship with Lois and all that gets to a pretty great spot, towards the end of the season."

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Superman & Lois airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, following episodes of The Flash on Tuesday nights.