Jordan and Jon Kent with the Cushing family at Sarah's Quinceanera in Superman & Lois

I’m Going To Miss the Diversity in ‘Superman & Lois’ Season 4

The CW’s Superman & Lois season 3 went out with a bang on June 27, with a strong, cinematic finale that introduced a shocking new villain and set the stage for another high-stakes season. Despite its strengths, it felt very bittersweet as it marked the abrupt end to several talented actors’ stints on the show.

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As Superman & Lois’ third season aired, The CW began canceling many of its original series amid Nexstar Media’s acquisition of the network. Hence, fans of the show spent many anxious weeks awaiting any news on Superman & Lois, as it was one of the last shows to receive an official status update.

Just ahead of its season 3 finale, news broke that the show was safe at The CW and received a season 4 renewal. However, the renewal came at a steep cost, as the show is still subjected to the network’s continued cost-cutting efforts. It was confirmed that the show would continue but with a drastically reduced cast and a slightly reduced episode count.

While viewers weren’t initially sure of the extent of the cuts, later reports revealed that seven series regulars were cut from Superman & Lois. There has been speculation that some of these cast members may still have guest appearances in season 4, but this has not been confirmed.

Longtime Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) ally John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) and his daughter, Natalie (Taylor Buck), were two of the most shocking cuts. Meanwhile, the entire Cushing family—Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Kyle Cushing né Cortez (Valdez), and Sarah Cortez (Inde Navarrette)—was wiped out by the cuts. Lois Lane’s (Bitsie Tulloch) father, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh), and journalist Chrissy Beppo (Sofia Hasmik) were also victims of the cast cuts.

These cuts will leave Superman & Lois looking incredibly bare, with only the Kent family and Lex Luthor (Michael Cudlitz) to return as series regulars. There’s a lot that can be said about the cast cuts, but the biggest concern I have is what these cuts mean for Superman & Lois’ diversity.

Superman & Lois cut all the diversity from its cast

Wole Parks as John Henry Irons in Superman & Lois
(The CW)

Now, let’s be honest, Superman & Lois has never been phenomenal when it comes to diversity. Its LGBTQ+ representation is practically non-existent, and some of the story arcs it has chosen for its female and Black characters have drawn criticism. However, the show did at least have some diversity in its series regulars. Irons and Natalie provided strong Black representation, as Irons was a superhero on par with Superman and a devoted single father, while Natalie, a mere high schooler, was easily the smartest character on the show.

Meanwhile, Superman & Lois has also delved into the Mexican heritage of the Cushing family. Their daughter, Sarah, chose to reclaim her father’s surname, Cortez, after Kyle began going by Cushing to avoid racism in Smallville. The show also sees them carrying on various cultural traditions, such as Sarah’s quinceañera and the lockets she and her sister received from Lana at birth.

Some of the best representation, though, has been in Superman & Lois’ depiction of diverse family structures. While the Kents are the epitome of the idealized nuclear family, the other series regulars remind viewers that family dynamics aren’t always that simple. General Lane raised his two daughters on his own after his wife left, Irons balanced grief and parenthood after losing his wife, and the Cushings are navigating divorce and co-parenting.

The exploration of these characters’ grief, triumphs, and trials has been emotional and powerful to watch. Despite their lives not turning out as they had planned, all of these characters capture the strength and bravery of single, widowed, or divorced parents, who still carry on and raise well-rounded and deeply loved children.

Superman & Lois season 4 has holes that can’t be filled

Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent in Superman & Lois
(The CW)

Superman & Lois will carry on. It will have its fourth season and will hopefully provide a satisfactory conclusion for the Kent family. After all, the Kent family’s story is also very powerful and important. It has been delightful to see a realistic depiction of a middle-aged couple working to keep their marriage alive and fresh and seeing a family brave cancer and mental health struggles together.

At the same time, though, there will be holes in the season that the Kent family alone can’t fill. It’s not just that there are characters we’ve grown to love who will be missing or story arcs that will never see conclusions, but a large chunk of emotion and inspiration the show previously created won’t be able to be replicated in season 4.

It can’t replicate the way I felt struck when I watched Sarah go against the whitewashing of her history by taking on the surname Cortez while reflecting on my own history coming from a biracial family where my Mexican heritage was never celebrated or treated as something that should be preserved. It can’t replicate the way I felt seen when the show acknowledged going through parental loss as a teenager, and it can’t replicate the myriad ways that other individuals may have felt when they saw themselves and their stories reflected, acknowledged, or celebrated in these seven characters.

The glaring hole these characters will leave in Superman & Lois season 4 shows that, contrary to what the network and executives would like viewers to believe, diversity isn’t expendable, and it should’ve been far from the first sacrifice the show was willing to make in the name of cost-cutting measures.

(featured image: The CW)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.