A producer for My Adventures With Superman explained why studio restrictions caused the series to avoid three key characters.
Bigger names, like Lex Luthor, were notably absent, instead being saved for teases of the future. But why didn’t they show up any earlier?
WB Suggested the New Superman Show Not Use the Classics
In an interview with Comics Cube, My Adventures With Superman producer Josie Campbell revealed that Warner Bros.' (WB) notes restricted the show from using classic villains like Brainiac, General Zod, and Lex Luthor in the first season.
Campbell explained how WB noted that those big-named villains are antagonists that “[fans] have seen… a million times:”
“Some of it was… Warner Bros…. and I think it was it was a good note. Like our big execs on Warner Brothers were like, ‘Well, these are the big hitters that everybody’s seen and everybody’s expecting. And we’ve seen this a million times, so we want your twists on things.’ And I think it was Sam Register… and Audrey Diehl, who were doing notes with us, were like, ‘These characters take up the whole screen. They kind of suck the air out because they’re so famous, and there’s so many expectations, so hold off on them. Hold off on these characters, and build the story how you see fit.’”
From there, the producer revealed that they wanted “to start small,” utilizing “some of these lesser-known villains:”
“And so that’s sort of what we did, was… we were like, ‘Okay, we’re not gonna have Lex Luthor. We are not going to have the Brainiac stuff coming in. We’re going to start small, we’re going to start with… Clark is still learning his powers and figuring out who he is. So, we’re going to start small and start with some of these lesser-known villains. We’re going to start with some of these weirder villains. We’re gonna build up.’”
She expressed excitement about being able to “build up to General Lane” and that it was also “very important for us to grow to love Clark, Jimmy, and Lois:”
“And then we got to build up to General Lane, who is a big Superman supporting character. So everything that we’re doing, we’re doing because we want to both put its own stamp on it, but also because, for us, especially in this first season, it was very important for us to grow to love Clark, Jimmy, and Lois and get invested in their relationship and get invested in who they are before we throw giant, world-spanning characters, who everybody has opinions on into the mix.”
When the interviewer asked about the inclusion of Deathstroke, who is not classically a Superman, Campbell explained how they “[didn’t] want to see the same thing we’ve always seen:”
“So, this was us being told to stretch the limits, like, ‘We don’t want to see the same thing we’ve always seen.’ And you know, some of that also is me being a Deathstroke fan, and Brendan [Clogher] being a Deathstroke fan, and Jake [Wyatt] being a Deathstroke fan… And then it was really fun finding their voices in that scene with Livewire and Deathstroke facing up against each other. It was really fun. Doing that scene was very fun…“
She continued, bringing up their “different version of Task Force X” and how they “wanted to showcase different characters and villains:”
“Then we’re also bringing Amanda Waller, who is, again, one of our favorite characters, and she’s teamed up with the General. And here’s our different version of Task Force X, and you can see how it’s slowly morphing into maybe closer to the version that we all know because now Amanda Waller’s in charge. But yeah, with everything, we wanted to subvert expectations, we wanted to pick things that were surprising, and we wanted to showcase different characters and villains and things that like we thought would be fun to pair up.”
Don't Worry—Lex, Brainiac, and Zod Are All Coming
As producer Josie Campbell alluded to, the exclusion of these big names is part of what really made this iteration of Superman’s story so unique.
Thankfully, now that its foundation is built, the show doesn't need to worry about waiting for some of those heavy hitters; fans are ready for My Adventures With Supermans’ iterations to take the spotlight.
The finale of Season 1 already briefly showcased a unique take on General Zod and Brainiac to viewers. The duo teaming up is fairly unheard of in the comics, so fans are curious as to what the details behind the whole situation are and what exactly they’re up to.
While Season 2 will have its hands full exploring Zod, Brainiac, and likely Lex Luthor, it is hard not to wonder when other fan favorites will show up; Doomsday, Metallo, Bizzaro, and Mongul being just a few examples.
Hopefully, there’ll still be time to tell stories with those more unknown villains that Season 1 brought to the table. After all, Mister Mxyzptlk almost certainly has more tricks up his sleeve, and there’s plenty of storytelling left to do about Sam Lane.
Season 2 of the series is confirmed, but no release window is known.
My Adventures With Superman is now streaming on Max.