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Superman & Lois exists in no small part because fans enjoyed watching Tyler Hoechlin play the Man of Steel on Supergirl, and after enough guest spots as Kara Danvers' (Melissa Benoist) handsome, heroic cousin, it was time to give the guy his own show. Throw in Elizabeth Tulloch's Lois Lane, a couple of kids, and you've got a grand new superhero adventure for The CW's expansive DC Comics-inspired programming slate.
But ever since Superman & Lois launched last year, fans have had questions about the show's place in the larger CW continuity, known to fans everywhere as The Arrowverse, named for the show that launched it a decade ago. Hoechlin first appeared in Supergirl, a show that was eventually roped into the Arrowverse through multiversal crossover events, and we got the spinoff because his Superman kept popping up in those events alongside his cousin. But Superman & Lois has played in the same sandbox directly. In fact, it's maintained a pretty safe distance from all things Arrowverse, with a couple of exceptions. So, what's the deal? Why has a show basically launched by Arrowverse connectivity stayed separate from the Arrowverse?
Turns out the answer because it's not actually a part of the Arrowverse at all.
On this week's Season 2 finale, Superman & Lois finally addressed its own place in DC TV continuity by giving a brief monologue to General Sam Lane about Superman's existence. Speaking to his two grandchildren, Clark and Lois' sons, General Lane mentioned that he's seen "glimpses of other worlds" and their superheroes and super-teams, but noted that "we only have your father on this planet," making it clear that the show's version of Superman is not the same one we saw in Supergirl. He just looks like him.
Speaking to TVLine about the reveal, showrunner Todd Helbing noted that early scripts for the series included more references to the wider Arrowverse, but that those connections were eventually phased out in favor of a standalone show, in part because several key pieces of the Arrowverse, including Arrow itself, were either winding down or already concluded by the time we got Superman & Lois.
“DC and I had a conversation during Season 1, and the decision [to keep Superman & Lois separate] was made then, but I couldn’t make it public until the end of this season,” Helbing explained. “So when I got all these questions [in previous interviews], I knew what we were doing, but I could never talk about it. It got a little frustrating on my end, but I totally understand DC’s position. So this put that to rest. I’ve said from the beginning that we want to put our own stamp on the Superman property. This wasn’t meant to alienate us from the Arrowverse, but because a lot of the other shows are sadly no longer going to be on the air, it felt like the right thing to do.”
So there you have it. The Superman we see in Superman & Lois is an entirely different version of the hero than the one we've seen crossing over with other Arrowverse characters, and any perceived connective tissue from earlier episodes can also be chalked up to doppelgangers. According to Helbing, that includes the version of Arrow's John Diggle (David Ramsey) who showed up on Superman & Lois. It's the same actor, but he's an alternate Earth version of the John Diggle we saw on Arrow.
The bad news is there's no connective tissue there, but the good news is that any doppelganger character who shows up on Superman & Lois can now chart on all-new course of heroism or villainy. It's completely up to the show.
Looking for more sci-fi adventure in the meantime? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Warehouse 13, Eureka, SYFY's Resident Alien, Sliders, Intergalactic and more on Peacock now.