DC FanDome: The Superman and Lois Actors Discuss Parenthood

Superman and Lois preview poster. DC Press Portal

The Superman and Lois panel introduced the newest show in the CWverse. The show is a spinoff of Supergirl, and made possible by the popularity of Tyler Hoechlin’s Clark Kent/Superman and Elizabeth Tulloch’s Lois Lane.

Moderated by DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee, the panel also included executive producer/showrunner Todd Helbing. From the get-go, the panel addressed how Superman and Lois will be different from other superhero shows. Clark and Lois are married, and they have twin teenage boys. It’s their family life that will be the thrust of the show.

Like Lee, I was a bit surprised by the age of the boys. Hoechlin and Tulloch don’t look old enough to have teenaged children. Helbing explains this away by saying that Clark does not age much, so it works. I guess we’re going to have to suspend our disbelief here.

There’s a reason why the children were aged up—Helbing has two boys, and he wanted to bring that personal experience into the show, alongside exploring the reality of two working parents in stressful jobs.

Tulloch will be bringing her own parenting experience with her 17-month-old daughter into the show. She feels like her daughter is already judging her, so she’s ready for the judgements on Lois and Clark’s parenting styles on the show.

But Lois’ priority will continue to be her job, as will Clark’s, since they’re both trying to change the world—Lois with her words, as Tulloch described it, and Superman with his powers. How will that work with two hormonal teenagers with extremely differing personalities? That’s what the show will explore. This is something Tulloch already seems to be excited about—having read two scripts so far, she is pleased with the direction the boys’ story is going.

Hoechlin has no parenting experience, but he does have six nieces and nephews so he will be drawing on his experience as an uncle. He also spoke about how his father was a doctor working in the emergency room and that he had to balance his work with four children. Hoechlin acknowledged the amount of time that is taken up when working towards a career—he sees that in his own trajectory—and he will be using that knowledge to portray Clark as a dad.

It looks like Superman and Lois will be geared towards realism—as real as one can get with a super-powered alien helming the show. I was interested to learn that the show will be moving away from Metropolis and back to Smallville. A lot of people moved to smaller towns after the 2008 financial crisis and the show will reflect that sentiment, said Helbing.

Hoechlin spoke about the steady drift over the past few years towards prioritising your day job, and how hard it is, once you have other responsibilities, to scale that back and focus on family. That’s an aspect of Clark/ Superman that he is looking forward to diving into. I would love to see how Superman and Lois captures the way the daily grind gets you down.

It looks like Lana Lang will be an important part of the show—Clark’s first love back in Smallville will add an interesting dynamic to the Clark/ Lois pair. Helbing was quick to reassure audiences that there would never be an instance where Clark would have an affair with Lana—no matter their past relationship. However, Tulloch reminded Helbing that Lois should know this about her husband. Can we expect some trust issues in the super-family?

Lana will have a husband in Superman and Lois—Kyle Cushing—and they will have a daughter, Sarah, who will become involved in a love triangle with Clark and Lois’ twins.

I have to say, I’m not overly fond of this direction. If there’s a young woman in a superhero show, can she have an arc that doesn’t have to do with romance? And why do the twin boys have to fall in love with the same girl? Also, why is nobody queer yet?

Despite my reservations, I checked IMDb and it looks like Moroccan-origin actor Emmanuelle Chriqui is set to play Lana, while Inde Navarrette is listed for Sarah, so there’s some diversity there to be excited for.

General Lane (who has been recast for Superman and Lois and will be played by Dylan Walsh­) will be an interesting character on the show, to say the least. He’s a military man and not overly fond of aliens. His relationship with Lois is already fraught, as revealed on Supergirl, but it seems that Lane will be taking umbrage to the way Clark parents his children because it’s not the way he did it. Well, considering neither of General Lane’s children like him very much, I’m sure Clark will be doing an admirable job.

There was a short interlude where Jim Lee taught the panel how to draw the Superman shield. The conversation came about because Helbing’s sons are both artistic but struggle to draw the shield. So, Lee gave them a quick tutorial. Of course, Lee, being a master artist, drew a beautiful shield in seconds while the rest of the panel struggled. However, the results were quite good—not perfect—but excellent from amateurs!

Superman and Lois panel at DC FanDome screenshot
Superman and Lois panel at DC FanDome

Back to regular programming and Tulloch revealed that she hasn’t watched much of the Superman TV shows but she loved Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane. Though Kidder’s Lois didn’t know that Clark and Superman were one person, she understood Superman on such a deep level that them being a couple became believable. And that’s what Tulloch has taken from Kidder for her take on Lois. She’s also been inspired by the journalists of today who are under siege but somehow still keep doing their jobs.

As for Hoechlin, he watched the first season of Supergirl when offered the Superman role, and he loved the hopeful angle of the show. Having come from a cynical phase in his life—which he found exhausting—he was uplifted by the hope of Supergirl and was pleased to be able to join a show that brought light into people’s lives.

I love Hoechlin’s Superman and it’s great that he believes that anybody can be Superman. It isn’t the quantity of the effort to help people, but the quality, he said during the panel, which is a sentiment that resonates right now.

Tulloch and Hoechlin shared an adorable story about Elseworlds when Hoechlin did the iconic “rip the shirt open to reveal the Superman shield” shot. Tulloch was incredibly excited to see it, but Grant Gustin—who plays The Flash and is a lifelong Superman fan—audibly gasped off-camera. That’s so sweet. (Apparently, because the shirt-ripping shot has been done so many times, Hoechlin is often concerned that the way he does it is weird. We can assure him that it is not.)

Exciting little tidbit for fans: according to Helbing, the suit created for Hoechlin on Supergirl doesn’t have the legs to carry an entire show. So, Superman and Lois will feature a brand new suit for Hoechlin.

I think that’s great; I love Supergirl’s new suit and if Superman’s is anything like it, I’m sure fans will love it too. Most of the suits in the CWverse have been great, though my love for The Flash’s suits has been waning. But I’m sure Superman is going to look great.

I thought this panel was fun, though a bit light on details—which isn’t surprising, considering the lockdown situation. I am curious to see how they’re going to work more diversity into the show—with two straight white leads, that might be a challenge. I do hope there’s a workaround for it.

I’m excited that Superman and Lois is going to show a different perspective than what we’ve seen in the superhero genre. Superhero parents are hard to find in live-action, but Black Lightning has done an excellent job so there’s a blueprint for this show.

More than anything, I’m looking forward to another series that brings hope to viewers. That’s what we love about Supergirl, and a continuation of that in her cousin’s show will be great to see.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir