All good things come to an end, and so has the third season of the CW’s Superman & Lois. After taking the viewers through an adeptly written, emotional roller-coaster of a season that primarily dealt with cancer awareness and the prospect of human mortality, the finale of the third season ended in a massive cliffhanger that saw Superman and Bizarro Doomsday going at each other’s throats on the surface of the moon. Lex Luthor made his presence felt in the last two episodes of the season, and in the fourth one, which has already been confirmed, Man of Steel’s arch-enemy will have more of a substantial role to play. With the possibility of one of the most important comics being adapted in the aftermath of the third season, let’s take a look at all the hinted plot points that can be explored next year in Superman & Lois.
The Death Of Superman
The appearance of the Kryptonian monstrosity known as Doomsday has mostly served only one purpose across most of its media adaptations, i.e., killing the Man of Steel. To create this version of Doomsday, a resurrected Bizarro was used, and here is a nifty little trick the makers decided to play with the viewers. In the second season of Superman & Lois, when Bizarro first made his appearance from Bizarro Earth, he was encased inside a containment suit, which resembled Doomsday’s first appearance in a containment suit, leading fans to initially believe they would get a Death of Superman arc in the second season, which was eventually debunked after the identity reveal. Fast forward to the third season, and the same Bizarro was used by Lex Luthor to create Doomsday. Bruno Manheim’s experiments on Bizarro’s corpse mutated him in inexplicable ways and turned him into the undead, and when Lex became aware of this, he used X-Kryptonite to mutate a resurrected Bizarro by killing him numerous times using different methods so that he could become impervious to any means of getting obliterated.
In 1992, when the seminal comics storyline Death of Superman was released, Doomsday was introduced and became infamous as the adversary who slayed the last son of Krypton. As Superman and Doomsday clashed in the climactic moment of the finale of the third season of Superman & Lois, every major visual cue hinted at a possible adaptation of the same tragic storyline in the next season, and the focus will perhaps shift to a world without its best protector.
The Reign Of The Supermen
In the comics, right after the release of the Death of Superman series, The Reign of the Supermen followed, which showcased the four new superpowered beings, heroic or otherwise, trying to fill in the shoes of the big boy scout. Among them was John Henry Irons, who was inspired by Superman’s heroism and sacrifice. John created a body armor replicating Supes’ appearance, wielded a hammer like the folklore’s John Henry, and adopted the moniker ‘Steel’ as a crime fighter.
Kon-El, a teenage clone of Superman, started operating in his stead in Metropolis, and soon, Eradicator, the Kryptonian AI failsafe stationed in the Fortress of Solitude, joined the scene as well, along with a Cyborg Superman. Nevertheless, none of the replacements could fill the void by the absence of the real Man of Steel, who eventually got revived and made a triumphant return. The writers of Superman & Lois have planned to adapt this storyline since the very first season, evident from the fact that both Steel and Eradicator (Kal El’s stepbrother Tal Rho in this universe) were introduced early, and Jordan Kent has prominently operated as Superboy in the third season. With the addition of the fourth replacement by Lex’s R&D in the fourth season, we can have the full set to explore the significance of Superman’s absence.
New Gods And Darkseid
This is a plot point that was heavily speculated to be gaining momentum in the third season but was eventually dropped to deal with the Mannheim situation more intricately instead. In the comics and also in this series, Bruno Manheim is infamous as the leader of the international crime syndicate Intergang. A rather long list of supervillains have been associated with this organization, but the biggest patron of it (literally and figuratively) has been the tyrannical ruler of the fourth world, Apokolips, the prime big bad of the DC universe- Lord Darkseid. In comics, and as shown in Superman: The Animated Series, Darkseid has always been the ultimate adversary of Superman, opposing his status as the symbol of hope by being the manifestation of the concept of evil itself. And the way the writing team of the series has characterized several villains so far, fans are already waiting with bated breath to see what interpretation of Darkseid they will come up with. Also, the tendency toward deliberate misdirection in terms of villain introduction, which the series writers love to utilize in every season, has been quite apparent already. In the first season, fans considered John Henry to be Lex Luthor, but in the end, the main villain turned out to be Tal Rho. In the second season, the Doomsday guise was used to conceal the identity of Bizarro, and even in this season, Bruno was presented as the main villain while Lex stole the limelight at the very end. Keeping up with that tradition, the introduction of the New Gods and Darkseid doesn’t seem like a far-fetched idea at all, especially when there is an already established connection remaining.
A Befitting End: All-Star Superman
CW’s Superman & Lois remains the last DC live-action series to be still airing, as in order to streamline the universe’s media output for the upcoming DCU, almost all series have been axed in the last two years, including the entirety of Arrowverse and all HBOMax DC series. According to rumors, the 10-episode fourth season might be the final season of this pioneering series. As much as we would want a series like this to continue indefinitely, sooner or later, we have to accept the harsh reality that the upcoming Superman: Legacy, which will kick-start the DCU, will need breathing space, which can only be allotted by bidding farewell to Superman & Lois. With the majority of the cast members already exiting the show next season, fans need to prepare themselves to part ways with the CW’s last DC property, and the writers will do everything at their disposal to make the send-off memorable.
We speculate that no other storyline could fare better for Supes’ farewell than Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s masterpiece All-Star Superman, which chiefly focuses on the last days of the world’s greatest superhero. The series has already established Clark as a loving husband, caring father, helpful friend, and the protector of the world, and in the last chapter, the exploration of what makes him the quintessential superhero will wrap up the series greatly. It’s definitely the most challenging Superman story to bring to life, given how it examines Clark’s humanity and optimism in a multifaceted direction, but we will hold on to hope the makers will do the story justice if they eventually decide to adapt it after all.