This article contains Superman & Lois premiere spoilers. We have a spoiler free review here.
Superman & Lois episode 1 was an untraditional Superman story. Its hour-plus runtime does a lot of work introducing the twins Jonathan and Jordan Kent, setting up the rationale for why the family has to move back to Smallville, and generally explaining Superman’s place in the Arrowverse these days.
But throughout it all, Clark keeps having to leave his family to take on a mysterious figure in armor who has been attacking nuclear facilities. This individual speaks Kryptonian, and has been leaving messages for Superman at each of those sites. When they square off, he refers to Supes by his Kryptonian name “Kal-El” and claims that he too is a survivor of a destroyed world. Considering his power levels (armor assisted or not) it’s easy to assume out of the gate that this is a rogue Kryptonian or an alien being with a grudge.
But when he removes his helmet at the end of the episode, and his computer system welcomes him back to his remote mountain hideaway, his name is revealed as “Captain Luthor.” This brings a few questions to mind since the Arrowverse already has a Lex Luthor in the form of Jon Cryer (who has been doing a brilliant job with the character over on Supergirl). So let’s dig in to the implications of that Superman & Lois premiere ending…
What Earth does Superman and Lois take place on?
Even though there’s no mention of other heroes, and not even so much as a reference to other Arrowverse events, it’s a safe bet that Superman & Lois takes place on the Arrowverse’s Earth-Prime. While Superman and Supergirl were initially denizens of Earth-38 (since Supergirl started on another network, they wanted to explain why she couldn’t cross over with the other shows at will), after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-38 and several other DC TV worlds were merged with Earth-Prime. They made this pretty clear at the end of Crisis, which also explained why the infant only child Jonathan Kent was suddenly one of a pair of teenage twins.
There are a few little inconsistencies in Superman & Lois that can all be explained by Crisis on Infinite Earths. General Sam Lane is played by a different actor here than he was on Supergirl, and his relationship with his son-in-law is far more friendly than it was on that show. This is part of the Crisis effect. Similarly, when we meet Morgan Edge next week (who is only mentioned in this episode), he’ll be played by a different actor than the one who played him on Supergirl Season 4. Again…Crisis. Don’t think too hard about it. These were relatively minor characters who will get their time to shine on Superman & Lois.
But a brand new version of Lex Luthor? That isn’t the kind of thing that can be hand-waved away with continuity.
Who is Captain Luthor?
“Captain Luthor” is definitely something of a surprise. He’s played by Wolé Parks, and he’s the first Black actor to portray Lex Luthor (we’re assuming he is, in fact, Lex and not a descendant or relative) in live action.
So what do we really know about Captain Luthor?
For one thing, he’s a bit more “hands-on” than the version played by Jon Cryer on Supergirl. While Lex in power armor has long been a thing both in the comics and in the Arrowverse, having Captain Luthor come out of the gate swinging in a sleek, Master Chief-esque power suit definitely helps set him apart, and it could end up being a significant feature in future episodes.
Based on his own dialogue, he seems to be from an alternate Earth…
“Where I come from, let’s just say the two of us have history. My world was destroyed, but somehow I managed to survive. I eventually arrived here, where I learned you were here, too.”
That definitely sounds like he’s an anomaly left over from Crisis on Infinite Earths. A number of characters found themselves on Earth-Prime, some with memories of how the universe was in the pre-Crisis days. For whatever reason, Captain Luthor is one of them. And just like most Luthors we’re familiar with, he’s got a serious grudge against Kryptonians.
It’s certain that we’ll learn more about this in future episodes.
Superman & Lois will air new episodes at 9 pm on Tuesdays on The CW.