Superman & Lois: Who Is The Stranger? Villain Identity Twist Explained
The mysterious villain The Stranger gets his real identity officially revealed in the series premiere of Superman & Lois and it's a big twist.
Superman & Lois has revealed the identity of Wolé Parks’s villainous character, The Stranger, and it’s a major new chapter for the Arrowverse. The CW has added another DC Comics series to their ever-growing DC TV franchise. As several Justice League-related characters have made it to the Arrowverse, there’s also the Man of Steel himself as Superman is now a permanent member of the line-up. Superman & Lois is the latest television incarnation of the iconic DC duo with Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch’s characters bringing a new aspect of them to media. While there have been several Superman adaptations in the past, this series explores Lois and Clark as parents.
However, with new iterations of Lois and Superman, also comes new iterations of other aspects of their mythology. When the series was first being put together, a mystery villain character was added to the cast that raised a lot of questions. Simply named The Stranger, Parks was cast as the villain, and given his status as a series regular, he’s likely the main baddie for Superman & Lois season 1. Even though The Stranger isn’t a character in the DC Universe, a name like that always means that it’s covering up their actual DC name. As Parks’ character debuted in the series premiere, fans didn’t have to wait another week to find out his real identity.
Towards the end of the Superman & Lois pilot, The Stranger is revealed to the audience as none other than Lex Luthor, specifically Captain Lex Luthor. While the first season will, undoubtedly, explore this new Lex, it’s time to breakdown the Arrowverse’s latest DC foe and what Superman & Lois might be doing with him. What is his backstory? Why is he here and why is this Lex also hellbent on destroying Superman?
Who Superman & Lois’ Stranger Is
Initially, the pilot establishes The Stranger as a new mysterious threat that is targeting nuclear power plants. But it was all to get Clark’s attention as The Stranger leaves behind a Kryptonian message for the Man of Tomorrow. When Superman first faces him, The Stranger’s face is hidden behind a helmet while also wearing powerful armor that becomes a challenge for Clark. As the two have a massive showdown, it becomes clear quickly that he came prepared. While the Kent-Lane family gets ready to start a new chapter, the pilot reveals that The Stranger is actually a new version of Lex.
The premiere ends with Lex returning to his ship, an A.I. stresses that they will need more Kryptonite to defeat Superman. The piece he used during his battle with Superman was the last supply they had. As he removes his helmet, stating they’ll need to go get more, the A.I. refers to him as Captain Luthor. It’s unclear how long he has been planning his attack on Superman and what his next moves are. While Jon Cryer’s Lex is still present on Earth-Prime, there are now two of them, but depicted very differently.
Where Luthor Comes From & Why He Wants To Destroy Superman
It’s not uncommon for Superman stories to depict Lex as wanting to take down the Last Son of Krypton no matter what. However, this version of Lex seems to have different reasoning for it compared to some of the past live-action versions of the villain. Based on the teasing exposition during the series premiere of Superman & Lois, it appears that this version of Lex sees Superman as a destroyer of worlds. During their encounter, Lex explains to Superman that he’s the only survivor from his world. Given that this is a completely different Lex, who has a different history with Superman, he’s clearly from an alternative Earth in the Multiverse.
While it’s unclear how Superman would have done it, Lex clearly wants him taken out as he somehow destroyed their Earth. Based on the dialogue, it seems that this Lex isn’t entirely sure how he survived the destruction of his Earth and how he got to Earth-Prime. This may relate to Crisis on Infinite Earths as he may be a survivor of an Earth that wasn’t restored by The Spectre. Perhaps on his Earth, that version of Superman was actually a villain and Lex was the hero. But that will likely be explored over the course of Superman & Lois season 1 as this is only a taste.
How The New Luthor Compares To Jon Cryer’s Supergirl Version
Besides the fact that Superman & Lois’ Lex is played by an actor of color, this new Luthor is a compelling contrast to Cryer’s version that has been on Supergirl. From what has been seen from the premiere, the new Lex feels more of a warrior as opposed to the traditional basis of him in most iterations. While Cryer’s Lex did get a clean slate on Earth-Prime through Crisis on Infinite Earths, the evil still exists within him. But that Lex, who is a rich industrialist, doesn’t have the same vibe that Parks’ version does. Even though they have both a hatred towards Superman, Parks’ iteration is coming from the perspective of someone that seemingly took on a world-destroying Kal-El.
Even though he shares the same intelligence as Earth-Prime’s Lex, the new Luthor might actually be on a higher level. Given his title as captain, it implies that he was more of a physical-driven Lex as opposed to Cryer’s character. Based on his armor alone, it definitely is something far more advanced than Lex’s Lexosuit that has been seen on Supergirl. It’s very possible that the new Lex’s Earth was maybe a bit further advance in technology, perhaps coming from a future that outdated Earth-Prime’s resources. It’s unclear at this point what Earth the new Lex may have come from, but it definitely doesn’t seem like Oliver Queen restored it as The Spectre.
While he says that he somehow survived, it may actually be through Oliver’s reboot of the Multiverse that he made it to Earth-Prime. Hopefully, at some point in the season, Cryer’s Lex will get to discover that he has a doppelganger running around. It would only be a waste of story if two versions of Lex didn’t get to come face-to-face, especially as they have such different reasons for hating Superman. But until then, fans will have to keep tuning in for Superman & Lois to find out what the Arrowverse’s new Lex Luthor has in store for the Man of Steel and what his full story is.