Wole Parks discusses Superman & Lois’ shocking character reveal

Wole Parks plays John on Superman & Lois. Pic credit: ©

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the latest episode of Superman and Lois. 

The new Man of Steel is offering some revelations.

Superman & Lois viewers were shocked when this week’s episode revealed the identity of Captain Luthor, the alternate reality enemy who has been hunting Superman since the show started.

In a confrontation, the truth came out that the character is actually John Henry Irons, better known as the famous Superman comics hero Steel.

Actor Wole Parks is now opening up in interviews about the huge twist and hints at what is to come for the character.

The Steel reveal

Man of Steel opens with flashbacks showing how, on his alternate Earth, Irons had been married to Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) and raising a daughter, Natalie.

This world’s Superman (Tyler Hoechilin) leads an army of superpowered beings alongside businessman Morgan Edge who lay waste to Metropolis.

After Superman kills Lois, Irons builds a suit of armor intended for this world’s Lex Luthor. He ends up donning it himself to face Superman but was somehow transported to the “Earth-Prime” of the show. 

Talking to Comic Book Resources, writer Jai Jamison revealed that the twist was never in the plans when the show began. However, as delays hit them during the coronavirus pandemic, the writers realized this would be a fantastic turn. 

So, from pretty much the very beginning, the first day in the room, we were thinking about Captain Luthor as having a redemption arc, or kind of explaining what happened on his Earth that made him the way he is now, laying the groundwork for him to come around. Then, maybe a month or two later — I want to say it was last April or May — that a writer’s assistant, Adam [Mallinger], pitched, “What if we made him John Henry Irons?” and then it just snowballed from there. It was that revelatory pitch, that the skies opened up.”

Jamison was also amazed at how virtually no viewer was able to figure out the twist until Irons picked up his iconic hammer.

Parks on Steel

Wole Parks
Wole Parks in Superman and Lois Pic credit: The CW

Parks told Entertainment Weekly that he had initially been expecting to play the classic evil businessman Luthor. When told he would be playing his childhood hero, he was overwhelmed. 

“No B.S., I actually got kind of emotional about it, because I remember when that comic came out. I was about 10 or 11. And I remember seeing that as a kid. And you know how it is: Back then, there wasn’t a lot of diverse representation. So for this little Black kid to see this Black guy who was a superhero in his own right, that was amazing. I felt overwhelmed and appreciative. And then immediately after we hung up the phone, I was like, ‘Oh s—, how am I going to play this character?’ Just because I’d done all this work for Lex. Then it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work. He’s not a megalomaniac.'”

Parks added that it was a shift as he had begun playing the role as a purely evil person. Now that it’s revealed Irons is truly a hero, he needed to adjust his performance. 

“My perspective on him changed. He got a lot darker, as far as his perspective. I remember Todd [said], ‘He’s on a mission. He’s on a mission.’ I’m like, ‘This is true. I need to kill Superman.’ But I understand that, because for him, the way I approached the character was, he’s lost everything. He left his daughter. He lost his wife, his friends. The idea of having to fight a bunch of Supermen is crazy, if you really think about it. So for him, the only thing he has driving him is his hatred for Superman. And in a way, if he loses that, what is his identity? That’s another journey he has to continue going on as the season progresses.”

What’s next for Irons

Luthor and Lois
Wole Parks and Elizabeth Tulloch in Superman & Lois Pic credit: The CW

The episode ended with Irons locked in prison but still wanting to kill Superman. In their fight, Irons made it clear he was convinced Superman was pretending to be a hero and would become a menace just like on his Earth. 

Irons is also driven by a need to get back to his daughter Natalie even if it’s unsure if his Earth exists anymore. 

Another complication is Lois. During a discussion on TV Insider, Jamison stated that Irons knows this isn’t “his” Lois and not out to steal her away.

On the other hand, Parks contended, “I think there is a weird balance where he does get those glimpses of remembrance because they are so similar. This is still the woman he loves.”

Obviously, the writer and actor aren’t giving away any spoilers but hint that more twists will come with Irons. 

For now, fans are simply enjoying the fantastic turn of adding Steel to the series and the idea Parks ends up playing him as a hero soon. 

Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays at 9 pm EST on the CW.

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