Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers from Season 1 of Superman & Lois.
Fans of Superman (Tyler Hoechlin in Superman & Lois) already know that Lex Luthor is the red-caped hero's arch-nemesis. It's no surprise that this well-known supervillain was rumored to play a big role in the Arrowverse series Superman & Lois.
In the CW premiere, audiences were introduced to "the Stranger," which had viewers questioning the identity of the character and how he fits into Clark Kent's storyline.
In the second episode, it was revealed that the Stranger is actually Captain Luthor (Wolé Parks), and he is set on destroying Superman. In a flashback sequence, fans of the new DC comic series found out why the villainous Luthor hates the caped crusader.
Who is Captain Luthor in 'Superman & Lois'? He's not the real villain.
During the bombshell second episode, a flashback sequence revealed that an evil Superman (the one dressed in all black that fans previously met in "Elseworlds"), conquered Luthor's planet. This alternate Earth was destroyed by the Kryptonian, which gives Luthor the motivation to hate this Earth's Superman.
"We just wanted to get into slowly starting to peel back the onion of who this guy is and what happened to him, and sort of kickstart his motivation for wanting to take down Superman," showrunner Todd Helbing told Entertainment Weekly. "Coming out of that episode, you know that he needs to stop Superman because Superman on his planet destroyed everything. So it gives him a motivation, I think, that people can understand and latch onto."
From Luthor's tense conversation with General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh), it seems his Earth's Superman wasn't always evil either. So, the captain certainly has plenty of motivating factors to protect his new Earth.
“The difference between this one and the other ones is his backstory,” Wolé Parks said during a Zoom panel for the Television Critics Association. “The thing I appreciate as an actor is I understand where he’s coming from. He’s not just the bad guy for bad guy’s sake, because we need a bad guy. There’s a reason why he’s doing these things."
He added, "Every bad guy is the hero of his own story. This guy has legitimate reasons, and I think people will hopefully empathize with why he’s doing what he’s doing and you know, you’ll find out soon-ish.”
Episode 7 dug deeper into Captain Luthor's backstory — and showed that he's not Captain Luthor at all. While some fans guessed that Captain Luthor had to be Lex Luthor in disguise, it turned out that he was someone else entirely. He's actually John Henry Irons, better known to DC fans as Steel. In the comics, John isn't an enemy to Superman.
After designing his own high-tech suit of armor (kind of like the one the Stranger wears), he began to work side by side with Superman, who had once saved John's life.
When Superman died, he became a protector of Metropolis, filling the void. But he would go on to work alongside Superman once Clark Kent was resurrected.
We've learned throughout Season 1 that John has a good reason for what he's doing since in the alternate reality he previously existed in, Superman was leading an X-Kryptonite army that destroyed Metropolis. Lois (Bitsie Tulloch) was also John's wife in this reality. Superman killed her for revealing that Kryptonite was his weakness.
Will Superman turn evil in 'Superman & Lois'?
Though he's known as the "Man of Steel," Clark's mind is penetrable. If you're a fan of the DC comics, you know that Superman has turned to the dark side several times. So, is it possible that the big-hearted hero will turn evil in the CW series?
In the Arrowverse's "Elseworlds," viewers saw Superman donning the all-black attire wreaking havoc on Earth.
Though the dark Superman was from another world, Superman & Lois seems to be setting up the storyline that the hero can turn from good to evil, unless Luthor is able to stop him, which goes to show that perhaps Captain Luthor isn't the real villain of this story.
We certainly can't wait to watch how their feud unfolds in Season 1 of the drama-filled show.
Watch Superman & Lois on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on the CW.