Although Superman & Lois was renewed for Season 4, a franchise mainstay is not expected to return in the upcoming batch of episodes.
Superman & Lois has been on the receiving end of discouraging updates in recent months due to The CW's barrage of cancellations and the fact that the Arrowverse ended in The Flash Season 9.
However, The CW surprised everyone when the network gave Superman & Lois another chance by renewing it for a 10-episode fourth season.
Who Is Not Returning in Superman & Lois Season 4?
Leslie Bourque-Walsh, the wife of actor Dylan Walsh, who plays General Sam Lane in Superman & Lois, confirmed that the series regular will no longer return in Season 4 due to the show's budget cuts:
“Congrats to the families of S&L for finally getting the update of their fate. We now know General Lane was cut due to budget. It was a fun ride. Bye.”
Dylan Walsh portrayed General Sam Lane for three seasons of Superman & Lois.
In the series, the character is the father of Lois and Lucy Lane, the father-in-law of Clark Kent, and the grandfather of Jonathan and Jordan Kent. Sam Lane is also the director of the Department of Defense (DOD) and occasionally assists Superman during his mission.
In Season 3, Sam returned to the DOD after semi-retiring in Season 2, replacing his successor Mitch Anderson.
As per Deadline, Superman & Lois' Season 4 renewal has a catch due to The CW's pursuit of profitability.
Deadline noted that Superman & Lois is "more expensive due to extensive special effects," meaning that one way to achieve profitability is to trim its cast. The report indicated that CW production would instead lean more "heavily into its core premise as a family drama," but still maintain its superhero roots.
TV Line also shared that Superman & Lois Season 4 will only have 10 episodes, as opposed to the 15 episodes that Season 1 and 2 received and the 13 episodes that Season 3 had.
How Sam Lane's Absence Impacts Superman & Lois Season 4
Dylan Walsh's Sam Lane appears to be the first domino to fall as Superman & Lois head to Season 4.
General Sam Lane served as an integral part of the first three seasons of Superman & Lois, acting as one of the support systems of the Kent family and a loyal ally to Tyler Hoechlin's titular hero.
Losing Lane would definitely hurt Superman & Lois Season 4. The character's absence could hint that the Department of Defense (DOD) will have a much lesser presence in the new season.
It's possible that Sam's absence in Season 4 could be explained during the Season 3 finale. Given that the actor's wife is well aware of the budget cuts and her husband's exit, there's a chance that the character might end up dying in the finale.
As for the other cast members who won't be returning in Season 4, there's a chance that certain characters from Smallville, like Chrissy Beppo and Kyle Cushing, could be the next ones to go.
Hopefully, a proper exit for these characters will happen.
Superman & Lois Season 3 is available to stream on The CW app.