Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Superman & Lois seasons 1 & 2.
There were a number of hints and clues that Superman & Lois was not set on Earth-Prime, the central world of the Arrowverse. The ending of Superman & Lois season 2 officially confirmed what many eagle-eyed viewers had guessed from various context clues, firmly establishing that Superman & Lois is set in its own unique universe. This revelation has resulted in a split in the fanbase, however, with many viewers annoyed that Superman & Lois is set in a different universe after all the effort made to bring all of The CW’s superhero shows into a single shared setting during the Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
Superman & Lois showrunner Todd Helbing claimed (via TVLine), that Warner Bros. and DC made the decision to set Superman & Lois apart from the rest of the Arrowverse while they were in the middle of Superman & Lois season 1. This was largely due to the complications brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic making it more trouble than it was worth to try and tie the various Arrowverse series together. Unfortunately, Helbing was not allowed to make this change plain until the Superman & Lois season 2 finale, leading to accusations of treachery and lying from incensed viewers on social media.
Helbing’s story is backed by a number of signs that Superman & Lois season 1 was originally intended to be set on Earth-Prime. Chief among these is a cut Easter egg scene in which Lois handles a photo of herself, Clark, and Kara Danvers, and John Diggle’s Superman & Lois season 1 cameo, which referenced Crisis on Infinite Earths and the finale of Arrow. Despite this, there were many more moments that indicated Superman & Lois was set on another Earth somewhere in the new Arrowverse. Here is a rundown of every hint Superman & Lois was not set on Earth-Prime.
Every Time Supergirl Or The Justice League Weren’t Called For Help
One aspect of Superman & Lois that was aggravating for many Arrowverse viewers was Clark’s seemingly stubborn refusal to ask other heroes for help, particularly his cousin, Supergirl. While this aspect is true to his character in the comics – Superman is reluctant to risk the lives of his allies facing threats he can handle alone – it made little sense that the US Department of Defense never reached out to other superheroes in Superman’s absence during the month he was missing after traveling to the Bizarro World. It seemed particularly nonsensical after Crisis on Infinite Earths established Superman as one of the founders of the Justice League of Earth-Prime, which was created to coordinate the World’s Finest heroes in the event of global disasters. The only way any of this made sense was for the Superman of Superman & Lois to be the only superhero of his Earth.
Superman and Lois’ Absence From The Flash Armageddon Event
After a year of no Arrowverse crossover events, The Flash season 8 brought back the shared Earth-Prime setting with a massive event called Armageddon. The five-part opening storyline placed Barry Allen in a literal race against time to prevent reality from being rewritten, bringing in characters from Supergirl, Batwoman, Black Lightning, Arrowand Legends of Tomorrow to aid in the fight against Despero and the Reverse-Flash. Notably, Superman & Lois was missing from the Armageddon event, and no reason was given at the time for precisely why. There was simply a presumption that it was due to scheduling conflicts. Now it seems apparent that Superman & Lois was left out of the event because it was not a part of Earth-Prime.
The Location of Metropolis Relative To Smallville
Immediately following the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, Cisco Ramon took it upon himself to map Earth-Prime and note all the major differences between the new Earth and the Earths from the old multiverse that had been used to build it. His map placed Metropolis firmly on the East Coast of the United States. However, Superman & Lois depicts Metropolis as close enough to Smallville, Kansas, that Lois Lane can drive there and back in less than a day in the second episode of Superman & Lois season 1. This discrepancy in the location of one of DC Comics’ most famous fake cities is also depicted in the Superman & Lois season 1 episode “Broken Trust,” which established that Smallville and Metropolis are close enough their football teams play against each other on a regular basis, requiring them to be in the same state.
Earth-Prime Had Faced Rogue Kryptonian Invasions Before
When Tal-Rho attempted to lead a Kryptonian invasion of Earth in Superman & Lois season 1, the US Department of Defense acted as if they had never dealt with a threat like this before. This ignored the first four seasons of Supergirl, which involved an invasion of Kryptonians led by Supergirl’s aunt Astra, an invasion of Daxamites, who have the same powers as Kryptonians, the Kryptonian Worldkiller Reign, and a brainwashed clone of Supergirl dubbed the Red Daughter. Granting that these events took place on Earth-38 before Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first episode of Supergirl after Crisis confirmed that all of the major battles which Kara Zor-El and her allies faced had taken place in the new timeline of Earth-Prime.
The DoD Called ARGUS For Help Rather Than The DEO
John Diggle’s appearance in Superman & Lois season 1 was originally meant to be a link to the Earth-Prime setting, but it wound up causing more complications than it solved. Chief among these issues was the fact that Diggle was delivering advanced technology to the Department of Defense from ARGUS as part of his Superman & Lois season 1 cameo. Had Superman & Lois has been set on Earth-Prime, it would have made far more sense for General Lane to contact the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO) from Supergirl, as they were specifically established to deal with alien threats. While they’ve taken on the task of incarcerating powerful metahumans, ARGUS is primarily an anti-terrorism organization. This point is particularly troublesome given that the DEO had a large stockpile of anti-Kryptonian weaponry, even before Lex Luthor rewrote reality to place himself in charge of the DEO on Earth-Prime.
Lyla and Diggle Still Being At ARGUS In Superman & Lois
The John Diggle cameo in Superman & Lois season 1 also introduced another continuity problem regarding the Arrow series finale. Lois Lane recognized John as being with ARGUS, and he made reference to being sent by his wife, Lyla Michaels. However, while Lyla was the director of ARGUS through most of Arrow‘s eight seasons, she received a promotion out of ARGUS in the Arrow series finale, which required Lyla and Diggle to move to Metropolis. Additionally, while Diggle did work for ARGUS occasionally, he had quit working for the organization by the time Arrow came to a close. This can be explained, however, by the revelation that Superman & Lois is not set on Earth-Prime and by the John Diggle of Superman & Lois being a different character than the John Diggle of Earth-Prime.
The Daily Planet Was Successful on Earth-Prime
The pilot episode of Superman & Lois found Clark Kent being fired from the Daily Planet due to budget cuts in the wake of decreased circulation. Coupled with the death of Martha Kent, the turn of events helped spur the decision for Clark and Lois to move their family from Metropolis to Smallville. This conflicted with the depiction of the Daily Planet in Supergirl season 6, where CatCo Worldwide Media owner Andrea Rojas complained about how poorly their news organization was doing compared to other Earth-Prime media outlets, with the Daily Planet being established as the most popular news outlet in the United States.
The Different Designs For The Fortress Of Solitude
Another major difference between the worlds of Earth-Prime and Superman & Lois is their drastically different designs for the Fortress of Solitude. The Fortress shown on Supergirl was truer to the comics, being made of crystal and featuring multiple rooms and an armory full of alien weapons. The Fortress of Solitude on Superman and Lois is more spartan by comparison, and it blends in with the Arctic ice surrounding it.
Kryptonite Is Much Rarer on Earth-Prime
Kryptonite is far more abundant in the world of Superman & Lois than it is on the Arrowverse’s Earth-Prime. Both Supergirl and Batwoman established the rarity of Kryptonite in the Arrowverse, with what was thought to be the last piece on Earth being entrusted to Kate Kane by Kara Danvers. By contrast, the stories of the first two seasons of Superman & Lois center around the abundance of X-Kryptonite and how it might be used as a recreational drug or as a means of making humans open to possession by Kryptonian personalities through the Eradicator.
More: Superman’s New Power Beats Anything The DCEU’s Man Of Steel Did
Superman & Lois season 2 is now available on The CW app and will be on HBO Max on July 29, 2022.
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