Superman & Lois showrunners say Lois' 'important' medical journey 'drives the whole season'
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Tuesday's episode of Superman & Lois, "In Cold Blood."
Superman & Lois is tackling a very different kind of villain this season.
In episode 2, viewers were shocked by the tragic twist that Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) has been diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer. And in this week's episode, Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) learned that no Kryptonian tech can cure her. Showrunners Todd Helbing and Brent Fletcher tell EW that it was always their plan to have Lois experience this as authentically as possible, despite the fantastical parameters of this show.
The CW Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch on 'Superman & Lois'
"It's the story that drives the whole season," Fletcher says. "Todd and I have seen a lot of breast cancer in our personal lives and with friends and family, and it's something that so many families are dealing with. To have such an iconic character like Lois Lane go through this journey and have it play real — not throw any magic crystal or fortress solution on it, she's got to go through the same journey that every other woman in the world has to go through with this diagnosis and the complications and the fear and the hope and all of that — we felt like there was something important to say there."
Fletcher adds that having "the actors that could support" that storyline made it even better. "In a family show, it's such a family crisis when something like that happens and you have to rally, and we wanted to show that for the kids," he says. "We thought long and hard about it and really arced out our season around that journey."
Helbing says that phrasing the season 3 synopsis around a "deadly foe that promises to change the Kent family forever" and "a villain this merciless" was all leading to this. "It's an emotional story in a comic book show, that was, from the beginning when we talked about this show, what we wanted to do," he explains. "How do we tell stories that are grounded and resonate when you have spectacle the size of Superman? It's a challenge to do that, but it's one of the most exciting and rewarding stories to tell as writers, and we're extremely proud of it. We're doing things that we haven't done on our show yet."
Now that Clark has learned that there's no magic Kryptonian fix for Lois' health, the showrunners tease that he's going to struggle moving forward.
"That was the starting point for him, trying to find ways to battle it and he can't," Fletcher says. "In the comics and at the core of his character, he's so hopeful. That hope get challenged. How does that affect somebody like that? And how does it affect the family? We spend a lot of time thinking about that and have stories that are based around that, because he's powerless against it, which is a situation he's not used to. But he needs to be there for his wife, and she needs him there, and sometimes he's not prepared for all the things that are coming. It sneaks up on you, and it's complicated even for Superman. We thought that's what made it a really interesting story."
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
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