Superman & Lois hasn’t even hit the small screen yet and there’s already controversy brewing. On Friday, one of the show’s writers tweeted a series of messages saying she’d been let go from staff because of her stance against a variety of storylines including racism and sexism in a number of the scripts. This could be a bad look for a show that only recently started production is slated to hit television screens early in 2021.
Superman & Lois will be the sixth show in The CW’s Arrowverse (please don’t call it the CWverse) following the original Arrow and then The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Batwoman. The newest in the franchise is set to follow the titular characters as they become parents while also dealing with the ideas around secret identities, and you know, saving the world.
But Superman & Lois writer Nadria Tucker tweeted her displeasure over her ouster late last week. Among other things, she claims her contract for the show wasn’t renewed because she expressed concern over themes and tones in the show multiple times. These included #MeToo references that she felt were completely inappropriate, casting decisions that (she claims) included only putting people of color in the roles as villains, and finally a reference to the Bechdel Test which centers around female roles in fiction and whether they are treated as equals to men on screen.
You can see Tucker’s claims right here:
While Tucker’s allegations are troubling for the tone of Superman & Lois, they are a bit surprising only because of how the rest of the Arrowverse has operated with themes of race and sex in the past. For instance, Batwoman originally cast Ruby Rose as Kate Kane who was the first openly lesbian character in the franchise. And when Rose left the show, they recast the role with Javicia Leslie who would be the character’s first African American.
That being said, every writer’s room is different and though Superman & Lois is created by Arrowverse head Greg Berlanti and The Flash creator Todd Helbing, it stands to reason that if Tucker says these issues are endemic to the show then there are likely more than a few problems.
We do know, from the show’s casting, that the primary antagonist for Superman & Lois’s first season will be Wole Parks who plays The Stranger. This a character who stands against Superman and wants to prove to the world it doesn’t need this alien crimefighter around. Whether this casting decision is what Tucker is referring to is unclear, but based on her tweets it sure looks like that’s at least part of the problem.
As far as the treatment of the female characters in Superman & Lois, one might assume these deal with some of the teenage cast members including Lana Lang’s daughter Sarah Cushing who has some relationship with Lois and Clark’s sons.
What Tucker was able to raise red flags about or even remove from certain scripts for Superman & Lois isn’t totally clear and we’ll have to wait and see what tone the show takes in general. That will start to reveal itself when it releases on the CW on February 23, 2021. As of right now, neither Berlanti nor Heilberg had commented on the allegations or that status of Tucker’s contract. But it’s safe to say she won’t be providing any more scripts going forward.