Every interpretation of Superman adds something new while trying to remain true to the essence of the legendary Man of Steel. Some succeed at that better than others and that’s a truth The CW has to face with Superman & Lois.
As new and different as the drama is in certain ways, DCComics.com asked the show’s head writer and EP Todd Helbing about the things that should stay consistent with the two characters.
Helbing says it’s important to stay true to who they are at heart. “With both Superman and Lois, you just have to keep who they are at the core the same—what they stand for, what their drives are,” he answered.
“Lois Lane has to be fearless, independent and outspoken,” Helbing added. “In our version, she needs to be a really good mother and strong partner.”
As for the other half of the dynamic, “Clark just needs to be a good guy from a small town. He’s a simple guy. He happens to be the most powerful man in the universe, and he wants to do good and change the world, but he’s a humble guy at the end of the day,” Helbing says.
“He’s as comfortable—or probably more comfortable—just being in his barn,” he continued. “I think if those core aspects are there, then we’ve done a good job.”
But being a dad now too, we have to see that play out. Unfortunately for Clark, raising his sons – especially Jordan who is manifesting abilities – won’t be as easy as it was for Ma & Pa Kent to raise him.
“What’s different is that when Clark showed up, he had his powers from day one,” Helbing explained. “He was young enough that he doesn’t remember what it was like, so even if there were challenges, he doesn’t remember them. His experience was not what Jordan’s is.”
He adds, “Not only that, but Jordan’s half human. He’s experiencing pain when these powers develop. When his powers are manifesting, it’s just such a different scenario.”
The EP further explains, “Clark can’t just apply the same lessons that his parents taught him. It’s not a one to one. On top of him now being a parent and having a different understanding of what his parents were really trying to teach him, Clark also needs to try to figure out how to speak to this kid from a different generation. I think that’s all really interesting.”
Jordan may not be so different from other characters who’ve been in his position, like Peter Parker, as he views his powers as a miracle that could solve his problems. The opposite, of course, is true.
“He has all these expectations and it’s not just going to happen for this kid,” Helbing clarifies. “I think he kind of assumes that all of his problems are going to be gone—his anxiety is going to be gone. It just sort of heightens things in a way that he’s sort of blindsided by.”
His brother Jonathan is blindsided too but, while Helbing claims Jonathan “has some legitimate issues,” he claims the kid is more collected and doubts he’d “go dark.”
“But I think at his core, Jonathan’s a good guy who’s close with his brother and will always stick up for him,” Helbing said. “I don’t know if he has it in him to go dark. I think he’s just a normal kid who lashes out sometimes.”
A wife and two kids is a curveball for a hero that’s shied away from going that route fully for many years. However, it has led to an adaptation of Superman that’s fairly well-received and likely will go down as more faithful than what Bad Robot is coming up with.