"Lex is not only returning, but he's finally going to fall in love with a character who is his equal, who might be named Nyxly [Peta Sergeant]," co-showrunner Jessica Queller tells EW with a laugh.
We last saw the infamous evil genius at the beginning of season 6. After the Super Friends defeated Lex and wiped Supergirl's (Melissa Benoist) secret identity from his memory, he was prosecuted for his many crimes. Unfortunately, the jury ended up acquitting him, because of course it did. Now, when Lex makes his grand reappearance, he'll give the audience a reason to root against love because a pairing between the criminal mastermind and the vengeful Fifth Dimensional imp can't mean anything good for the Super Friends.
Dean Buscher/The CW Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor on 'Supergirl'
"They're just deliciously evil and powerful and surprising," says Queller of Cryer and Sergeant's on-screen dynamic. "It's just wonderful."
Co-showrunner Robert Rovner adds, "[This] allows us to explore new ground for Lex this season, as well. It was fun to see Lex in a new light."
Lex isn't the only Luthor heading in an unexpected direction as the CW superhero drama flies toward the finish line. In the most recent episodes, Lena (Katie McGrath) discovered that her biological mother was a witch and she shares her magical abilities, which will definitely come in handy in the Super Friends' conflict with Nyxly.
The CW Peta Sergeant as Nyxly on 'Supergirl'
"We wanted to explore new territory for Lena, but also to show Lena's growth over the series, but also the season as she wrestles with balancing the scientific part of her with the magical part of her. How does she redefine herself on her own terms?" says Rovner. "As we were looking at the season and the villain that we were up against, who was of magic, it felt important that we have somebody on our team that could help with that."
The decision to make Lena a witch "came up organically" as the writers' room was breaking season 6's story, Queller recalls. "I think in the journey of Lena learning to trust herself and her intuition that it seemed like an apt metaphor," she says. "She's always over-compensated with her brilliant intellect, but the more that she is able to let go and trust her deep friendships and trust herself, there seemed like something very potent in giving her these magical, intuitive, innate powers in deepening her character."
This Tuesday's episode, titled "The Gauntlet," officially kicks off Nyxly and the Super Friends' race to acquire seven magical totems — courage, humanity, hope, dream, love, truth, and destiny — that make up the All Stone, which would give the wielder the power to control anything. However, it won't be as simple as just finding the totems because each one comes with an emotional test for the characters.
"Each gauntlet will make our characters face different things that are thematic to what the totem represents," says Rovner. "So, they really push our characters in very interesting ways — especially on top of that dealing with a magical character like Nyxly. [In the previous episode], Supergirl declares she would use whatever power she can to defeat her. [Kara] trying to find that power is something that she will be forced to reckon with as the season progresses."
First up is the courage totem, which proves to be more difficult to wrangle than expected. "The courage totem is very complicated because what some characters might consider courage is not what the gauntlet is looking for," Queller teases. "Courage comes in many surprising forms, so I think we had a lot of fun defining what courage means for each character."
Supergirl airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.