When last we saw Lex Luthor at the close of Supergirl‘s fall finale, The Monitor informed the resurrected supervillain that “the universe will need a mind like yours” — and that Lex had a chance to “become the hero” he has “longed to be.”
What do the space god’s words mean for what’s ahead, as The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover enters Part 2 (Monday at 8/7c, in a special episode of Batwoman)? TVLine invited Jon Cryer to tease Lex’s agenda.
TVLINE | At the time that you filmed Supergirl‘s Season 4 finale, what did you make of the “bonus” scene you did with the Monitor?
I thought it was just an “insurance policy,” to quote Rudy Giuliani. [Laughs] At that point, Warner Bros’ features side had not said that they were going to allow Lex to be used at all in another season. So when we shot that, it was really just in case Warner Bros. let them use Lex some more.
The whole thing was sort of an experiment to begin with, because Warner Bros. features wasn’t sure they would let the Arrowverse have the character, and I was not known for my supervillain work [Laughs]. It was kind of, “Let’s see what happens here.” But we felt like we locked into a pretty great place, so by then I was hoping there would be more. I was also aware they were doing “Crisis,” so I personally had conversations with [WBTV president] Peter Roth and mentioned that I had loved “Crisis” as a series of books, and first of all they were crazy for undertaking it, and second of all, Lex was a pretty big part of that [storyline], so I’d be happy to help.
TVLINE | Tease the circumstances under which we see Lex again, in ‘Crisis’ Part 2.
Well, we’ve seen on Supergirl that he has come back. And even though he has just been awakened from the dead, he’s right back with an agenda, which I love. He’s already got a way that he wants this to go down. But it’s a bit of a mystery, because the Monitor will say you’re necessary for some reason, but nobody knows what that is. So I think Lex is first of all really looking forward to rubbing it in everybody’s face that he’s not really dead [Laughs] — he knows that will go over well! — and he’s always looking to how he can turn the situation to his advantage. I don’t know if you’ve seen the second episode already, but it’s just f–king chaos. [Laughs]
TVLINE | The Supers have suffered all kinds of losses in Part 1 — Argo, Kara’s mother…. Will Lex express any shred of sympathy?
Uh, Lex is in many respects a sociopath. Pretty much when he is showing that kind of stuff, it is for a purpose, so you can’t ever really trust it. Again, he is so self-centered that I don’t think that plays into it.
TVLINE | “Crisis” Part 2 features not one but three different Clark Kents. Does the significance of that weigh on Lex at all?
For him, it’s just a target-rich environment. [Laughs] He’s coming into this with a very different agenda from everybody else, so yeah, they’re all worried about loved ones and creating some sort of world that will survive, and I’m just looking out for No. 1.
TVLINE | Like, get rich off making “I Survived the Crisis” T-shirts.
Exactly! The man’s got to be a millionaire some way.
TVLINE | There is this photo from Part 2, where Batwoman has Lex pinned against a wall, twisting his arm behind his back. Give me a sense of what is going on there.
They don’t get along. [Laughs] Lex and Bruce Wayne, they had some talking points and some areas of confluence between them. But him and Batwoman? No. They don’t have that link. I’ve been joking with [Batwoman showrunner] Caroline Dries that Lex is absolutely certain that Kate Kane is into him. He’s absolutely that oblivious, he thinks it is sexual tension. But you’ll see — the chaos that I mentioned is very vexing to the heroes, and I pretty much work their last nerve.
TVLINE | You mentioned being familiar with the “Crisis” comic book storyline. How true would you say the TV adaptation is, as far as the things they will bring to life with regards to Lex?
I think it is incredibly true to the original, in terms of the thematics. Obviously the Arrowverse is wildly different from when “Crisis” [was published], so there are huge plot points that are different. But they manage to hit an astonishing number of plot points from the original, albeit with new characters.
TVLINE | Alexander Luthor Jr., for one, played into the “Crisis” comic books….
I am not allowed to say. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Give me one last tease of what to expect from the nights ahead.
Basically, Lex finds a way to make himself more powerful than he has ever been — and the havoc that ensues from that will be very entertaining.