Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

Did 'Titans' really just do that to Lex Luthor?! Showrunner explains S4 premiere's bloody twist

Titus Welliver might have broken some sort of record with this guest role.

By Josh Weiss
Titus Welliver in Titans Season 4 Episode 2

Is there some sort of world record for least amount of screen-time as an iconic supervillain? We only ask because Titus Welliver might have just become the new champion after his guest appearance as Lex Luthor in the Season 4 premiere of Titans (now streaming on HBO Max), which ended with the shocking death of Superman's greatest foe. Lex's hope of using the occult to stave off the inevitability of death backfires spectacularly when he suddenly pukes up a few gallons of blood and...oh yeah, an entire friggin' snake!

Chatting with TVLine, showrunner Greg Walker confirmed that Welliver was only contracted for a single episode. “If you wanted more Titus, you should be really disappointed. I’m disappointed,” he said. “But we knew we had those constraints, and we worked with them."

Why bring in such a big name like Luthor, only to kill him off less than an hour later? As Walker explained, DC is rather protective of its more well-known legacy characters and only allows them to be used in extremely measured doses. “Not [that] they would have given us more than one episode [of Lex], but we also wanted to focus on the Titans,” the showrunner explained. “And as you will see, this season really focuses on the Titans and their relationships with each other.”

Welliver, a self-admitted comic book nerd, described the opportunity to play the famed antagonist as "bittersweet," while teasing that Lex's final moments with his own creation — Joshua Orpin's Superboy — will "really propel Connor/Superboy’s story into the forefront of things, and give the fans of the show something to really bite into, to have a sense of where that character is going."

As for the Hollywood wizardry behind Mr. Luthor's gruesome demise, Welliver revealed that the bloody effect was accomplished via a mouthful of fake blood and a plastic tube hidden beneath his collar. Thankfully, there was a nearby shower on set, allowing him to clean up the gory evidence after filming had wrapped.

"Shaving cream is really the thing that you have to use to take the stain of fake blood off — I was in there for a good 25, 30 minutes!" he recalled. "And after a long day of work, that was probably one of the best showers I’ve had in my life."

The first two episodes of Titans Season 4 are now streaming on HBO Max. Subsequent episodes will drop every Thursday. If you'd like to catch up on the story thus far, Seasons 1-3 are also streaming.

Looking for some sci-fi fun and adventure? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Warehouse 13, Eureka, SYFY's Resident Alien, Sliders, Intergalactic and more on Peacock now.