The most recent episodes of Supergirl have neatly updated the classic villain trio of Lex Luthor, Otis and Miss Teschmacher from Superman: The Movie for the modern era. Beyond offering a tribute to what is still widely considered to be one of the greatest adaptations of the Superman comics into another medium of all time, Supergirl season 4 has transformed these characters into a more efficient team of criminals.
Lex Luthor was introduced into the Arrowverse in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" - episode 15 of Supergirl season 4. Sentenced to consecutive life sentences for crimes against humanity, Lex was allowed to serve his sentence under house arrest at Luthor Manor after he was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. This prompted his sister, Lena Luthor, to agree to work with Lex on using her research into the Kryptonite derivative known as Harun-El to fashion a wonder-cure that might save the seemingly repentant Lex. It all turned out to be part of a sinister plot, however, and Lex soon revealed himself to Lena. He also revealed that Lena's lab assistant, Eve Teschmacher, had secretly been in his employ for years and that his bodyguard, Otis Graves, had replaced one of guards meant to be ensuring that Lex didn't try to leave the grounds of his mansion.
While this is far from the first time that Supergirl has paid homage to Superman: The Movie, the use of these characters and their development into more fully-developed personalities may be the best tribute yet to what came before. Far from the cliche of the brain, the brawn and the beauty that has dominated other power trios, Supergirl's Team Luthor offers a decidedly deadly take on the classic formula.
Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman/Jon Cryer)
There is a reason why Gene Hackman's performance as Lex Luthor set the gold standard for every actor to play "the greatest criminal mind of our time" that followed. Unsurprisingly, given that he acted alongside Hackman playing Lex's nephew Lenny in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Jon Cryer's take on the character seems to borrow a bit from Hackman's interpretation, sharing a certain sense of dry wit and a love of melodrama. At the same time, Cryer's Luthor is a more charismatic manipulator and draws deeply on the popular image of Lex Luthor from the comics as an egomaniac who can charm a crowd but can also quickly lose his temper when he is denied the respect he feels he deserves. Still, both versions of Lex Luthor know that they are the smartest man in the room and cannot help but remind everyone of that fact with every literary reference and snarky put-down.
Otis Graves (Ned Beatty/Robert Baker)
Never given a last name or any defining traits besides "fat idiot," Ned Beatty's Otis served Lex Luthor as both dumb muscle and comic relief. It was unclear why Lex couldn't attract a better class of henchman, who didn't routinely screw up simple tasks. Otis Graves, as played by Robert Baker, is cut from a different cloth, sharing Lex's hatred of aliens and being a far more menacing and vicious figure than the classic Otis. While he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, this Otis could probably be trusted to buy a newspaper without attracting police attention.
Miss Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine/Andrea Brooks)
It's unclear precisely what role Valerie Perrine's Miss Teschmacher played apart from being an attractive distraction whenever one of Lex Luthor's plans required one. Certainly, Hackman's Luthor showed no romantic interest in her and they seemed more likely to trade insults than kisses. Andrea Brooks' take on Ms. Teschmacher is quite different, harboring a clear crush on Lex which he was quick to exploit by turning her into his spy. Supergirl's Teschmacher is far from just a pretty face, however. Eve (as she prefers to be called) holds two graduate degrees, is smart enough to keep up with both Lex and Lena Luthor in the lab and was the first to connect Harun-El to the Supergirl clone in Kaznia. She's also ruthlessly efficient and doesn't like her family much - a marked contrast to the original Miss Teschmacher, who betrayed Lex's plans in Superman to save her mother.