Superman & Lois season 3’s villain makes a surprise appearance from Lex Luthor a real possibility for the series. In the season 2 finale, a huge reveal from David Ramsey’s John Diggle hinted that Bruno Mannheim, a member of Superman’s rogues’ gallery in DC Comics, would be season 3’s main antagonist. Months after the episode aired, Walking Dead actor Chad Coleman was cast as the infamous mobster.
The direction Superman & Lois is headed with season 3 creates a good case for Lex Luthor appearing before all is said and done. As Diggle pointed out during his sit-down with Steel in the season 2 finale, Mannheim is the leader of Intergang. In the comic books, Intergang is a powerful criminal organization that uses extraterrestrial technology and often allies with alien villains, Darkseid included. Mannheim is their leader in most stories, but he’s been succeeded and ousted from his position at certain points. One of his replacements was none other than Lex Luthor. Based on his comic history, it’s not impossible that Superman’s archenemy will end up filling a similar role on Superman & Lois’ Earth.
Superman & Lois linking Lex to Intergang would fit right in with the show’s tendency to pack its stories with shocking villain twists. It’s not hard to imagine the series delivering a storyline where Superman’s fight with Bruno Mannheim culminates in Lex showing up and taking the reins of Intergang from him. It could be that battling Superman will weaken Mannheim’s influence enough for Lex to step in and take charge, perhaps positioning himself as the show’s next villain after Coleman’s character. If so, Lex could be the real threat to Superman in season 3, or possibly the central antagonist of season 4’s story.
The last time Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman met Lex Luthor, the villain was played by Jon Cryer. Theoretically, the show could always bring the actor back to reprise the role, but the show’s recent efforts to distance itself from the Arrowverse, combined with the season 2 finale’s massive retcon, signal that Superman & Lois may be more inclined to start over with the Superman-Lex Luthor rivalry. And with the show being set on its own Earth, picking a new Lex Luthor and ignoring everything that already happened with Jon Cryer’s version will be easy to do. The series now has the freedom to cast a new actor as the villain.
That being said, one thing it can’t change about Lex is the fact that Clark already knows him. It was made abundantly clear that Clark knows exactly who Lex Luthor is in Superman & Lois season 1 when he first learned that Steel was using the villain’s name. Not much is known about their shared history, but it can be assumed from the show’s previous references that Superman and Luthor were at odds when the former still operated out of Metropolis. Presumably, Superman will understand the implications of a potential Lex Luthor takeover at Intergang.
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