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Arrowverse's Superman Spinoff Already Has A Story Problem

The Superman & Lois spinoff has a fresh premise but could run into a problem: Supergirl has already adapted many of the Man of Steel's iconic tales.

Arrowverse Superman Lois Supergirl

The Arrowverse's upcoming Superman & Lois spinoff is already burdened by story problems because other recent Superman adaptations, especially Supergirl, have already used up the Man of Steel's most famous tales and villains. The CW recently announced that Tyler Hoechlin's popular version of Superman would get his own Arrowverse series, with Elizabeth Tulloch's Lois Lane sharing top billing. While a new Superman TV show is definitely an exciting prospect for fans, the upcoming spinoff could find the stories it can tell might be limited.

After his existence as the cousin of Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) was teased throughout Supergirl season 1, Superman appeared in Supergirl's season 2 premiere after the series jumped from CBS to The CW. Tyler Hoechlin's Man of Steel did not disappoint; he exhibited all of Clark Kent's goofy farm boy charm and Superman's heroic majesty plus he endearingly bantered with his cousin Kara. Hoechlin reprised his role a few more times and even got to play an evil, Black Suit Superman in last year's Elseworlds crossover, which also introduced Tulloch's Lois Lane. The Super couple were written out of Supergirl and sent to Argo City in outer space where they have become parents. Hoechlin and Tulloch will appear as Superman and Lois in Crisis On Infinite Earths, joining Brandon Routh as Kingdom Come Superman and Tom Welling as Smallville's Man of Steel, among a cavalcade of other guest stars.

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The logline for Superman & Lois says the Arrowverse spinoff will spotlight "the world’s most famous Super Hero and comic books’ most famous journalist" as they "deal with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society." This is definitely a new premise for a Superman series that takes it a step further from the 1990s' romantically-themed Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The current Superman DC Comics written by Brian Michael Bendis explore Superman as a superhero and a father to Superboy AKA his superpowered son Jon, who is a chip off the old Kryptonian block. Plus Todd Helbing is Superman & Lois' showrunner, which is good news since he oversaw The Flash when Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West (Candice Patton) got married.

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The trouble is that Superman & Lois will presumably have the same 22-episode order as the other Arrowverse series (except for DC's Legends of Tomorrow). If that's the case, Superman's new show will quickly run into the problem that many of his iconic adventures have already been co-opted by Supergirl. In 5 seasons, Supergirl has fought Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer), Metallo, the Parasite, Bizarro, and General Zod, just to name a few - and in some cases, Supergirl established the villains didn't even exist before clashing with the Girl of Steel. Further, Supergirl has adapted classic Superman stories like "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" and "Red Son". This leaves Superman & Lois in a lurch; even if the plan is to adapt the newer DC Comics, the spinoff could soon find there are fewer well-known Superman comic stories to draw from to fill 22 episodes per season.

Moreso, Superman & Lois isn't just competing with the well-established Supergirl, which has been a cornerstone of the Arrowverse. Fans have long memories and access to streaming services and their DVD collections so Superman & Lois is also up against their memories of Smallville's 10 seasons, Lois & Clark, and the Christopher Reeve/Brandon Routh/Henry Cavill series of Superman movies. The Arrowverse loves to do callbacks to prior DC adaptations and has become well-known for fan service but, again, Supergirl has already referenced a massive amount of Superman lore - will Superman & Lois just repeat what's been done before?

Superman & Lois is definitely starting off from a novel premise: Lois and Clark as parents balancing their careers and Superman's world-saving. Indeed, the newer Superman comics are a fresh take and ripe for adaptation plus the Metropolis Marvel does have 81 years of stories to draw from. But every Arrowverse show has struggled to keep each 22-episode season fresh and interesting; it's natural for fans to be wary that Superman & Lois will run into story problems because so many the Man of Steel's best adventures have already been done.

Next: Crisis On Infinite Earths Risks Ruining Smallville's Ending

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