SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “A Brief Recall Between Cataclysmic Events”, the latest episode of Superman and Lois.
Tal-Rho has almost everything you’ve ever wanted. After all, in the last episode of Superman and Lois, he eventually managed to convince Clark Kent to join his mission to build a new Krypton on Earth. However, it was not exactly as he had imagined. Rather than find a grateful brother excited for the opportunity to be reunited with his “royal” family, Tal-Rho discovered that Kal-El was more than happy with his human life, having settled down with a wife and two children. So Tal-Rho was forced to follow Plan B: force Superman to join him by threatening Lois, Jonathan, and Jordan.
Talking to CBR, Superman and Lois Star Adam Rayner opened up about how he went from business mogul Morgan Edge to Kryptonian supervillain Tal-Rho. He broke the freedom he found in playing an original character on the show, as well as the way his Tal-Rho costume helped him give his Kryptonian alter ego a different physical look. He pointed out Tal-Rho’s “fundamental weakness” and some of the character’s “real human vulnerabilities”. He also touched on whether or not Tal-Rho could be traded, teased Morgan Edge’s final form, and more.
CBR: Some superhero roles are secretive to the point that the actors don’t find out who they’re really playing until they appear on set. At what point did you find out that Morgan Edge would also be Superman’s brother?
Adam Rayner: It was certainly already here! I mean, it was relatively early. He was in quarantine, as we all had to do at the hotel. It was the first time that I spoke to [showrunner] Todd [Helbing] And yes, that’s when he dropped the bomb. I signed up as the problem billionaire. Maybe it’s bad; maybe he just owns the Daily planet and be a headache for Lois Lane. Who knows! I was quite happy with the idea of that; that sounds pretty funny.
So yeah, I was thrilled and surprised when he said, “Yeah, he’s that, but he’s also Superman’s half-brother from Krypton.” [laughs] I was like, “OMG! Okay! Wow! Sounds great!” So obviously he was excited. As an actor, there are always things you don’t know, because you haven’t decided the direction of a character or series, and sometimes your character becomes less interesting, in fact. So it is always a pleasant surprise when the opposite happens.
Unlike Morgan Edge, Tal-Rho is not a character from the comics. How did that affect the way you and the writers set out to develop your character?
It gives you tremendous freedom in the sense that it is a new branch of mythology. You are making it up and you are licensed to do so, because obviously conversations have to take place to do new things with the material. But there is no precedent for that, so you can do more or less what you want without any sense of “Ah, well, this was done on this show or in this movie, so we have to follow this or contrast with this.” It’s kind of a blank canvas in that sense.
I understand that Morgan Edge and Tal-Rho are the same, but how do you alter your approach to the character when switching between those two identities?
Well, something happens when you wear one of these suits, I’m telling you! So your physique changes a bit when you suddenly find yourself with your muscles strapped and wearing a black neoprene superhero suit, so that takes care of that look. But obviously like Morgan Edge, even though he has a very high status, a particular type of human being, I am still a human, while the Tal-Rho, the Kryptonians, have a kind of presence and a superiority complex, almost that changes. how they move, how they speak, how they behave.
How was the wardrobe process for you? What was your reaction when you first put on the suit?
Well it’s great! I mean, there’s always a kind of “OMG, I wish I had been told this two years ago so I could dedicate my life to fitness training.” But God bless them, they help us a little under the suit. So once you put it on, you really feel the part. You are the shape you always dreamed you would have! [laughs] It is tremendously enriching and fun at the same time.
The show makes a real argument about nature versus nurture, with Such as Clark’s Dark Shadow. Do you think it would have turned out differently if, say, he had been raised by the Kents?
Personally, I think I would always have been a bit more moody than Clark Kent. I think that’s just him. But certainly, he has been greatly damaged both by his disgusting father and by the treatment he received from the people who found him. I think that’s a pretty interesting aspect, how much depends on who went first – who did these alien babies, indeed, first encounter when they landed. Clark Kent obviously had a hugely positive experience and Tal-Rho / Morgan Edge had a different experience. I think he would always have been a bolder character (excuse the pun) than Clark, under any circumstances, but obviously his experiences growing up haven’t helped.
Where would you say Zeta-Rho’s influence ends and Tal’s true ambitions begin?
Good question. I think he’s almost completely overwhelmed by his father’s mission for him. In a way, you see the fundamental weakness of his character and that he cannot break with his father’s influence on him. Desperately wants; In a way, he wants to have a meaningful existence on Earth, just like Clark Kent, but he can’t figure out how to do it. He is completely dominated by his father.
As we find out, he does his best to try to fulfill his destiny and maintain his identity on Earth, but he eventually realizes that is not possible and surrenders to his father. So ultimately, he cannot free himself from his father’s influence.
There’s a wonderful moment in next week’s episode where Tal is basically begging Clark to see his side of things, and that read to me like then vulnerable. How would you explain your mental space in this particular scene?
I think his idea of a Kryptonian destiny is inseparable from a very human emotion of having a family and having a group of people that you belong to. That is the crux of the matter. I suppose if you had a personal destiny for Tal-Rho, it would be to resurrect Krypton and have a family, be on the same team with his brother and possibly a resurrected version of his mother, and have both sides of his character. fulfilled: his side of Kryptonian destiny and his personal needs.
Unfortunately, that will never be possible, because Superman / Kal-El will never join him on that quest. In the end, he discovers that his Kryptonian destiny and his personal desire for a family are incompatible. So yeah, he has real human vulnerabilities in the sense that he wants a family.
This is followed by a fairly elaborate fight sequence. What does the filming of the scene look like at the end?
Well, the truth is, we don’t necessarily do a lot of that, due to the wonders and sophistication of digital technology. So it’s not really us when we fly around the world, crushing mountains and things like that! [laughs] But I certainly gave Tyler [Hoechlin] some near misses when I had to punch him. Yes, we do the close-ups, but not necessarily all the big sets.
How has your experience been working with Tyler Hoechlin?
Well, it’s a joy. He’s just a prince. It really is. We get along really good. We have a lot of fun, but we take work seriously. He’s a great show and cast leader. So I respect him a lot and we had a great time.
In your personal opinion, do you think Tal could be redeemed at any point in this series?
Oh yeah, obviously I’d like that, because you want to see a future for these characters that you’ve helped create. It has very human aspects; needs relationships. He was evidently a supporter of her earthly identity and existence; I didn’t want to give that up. So that shows you that he is not this completely isolated space being who has no feelings of any kind. It also has very human aspects, which could be explored in the future as long as it is not constantly trying to destroy Earth, which is obviously a problem. [laughs]
Tal-Rho has quite a different approach to Superman, his brother, than he had with that nameless Kryptonian army he was building. How do you think he envisioned a post-Earth planet, once it replaced everyone?
I think you’re right: he saw himself as the general of an army, in terms of creating these rather anonymous Kryptonian entities from the residents of Smallville. That is something different than being on the same team as your brother. You know, I think he felt like they would be unstoppable together, but they would both have that company, that brotherly love, and they would also be better able to fulfill the resurrection of Krypton through their unstoppable power as a team. So yeah, there’s the anonymous Kryptonian he creates, and then there’s his idea of his family, including Superman, and they’re separate things to him. So you are right: he is the army general and the brother at the same time.
What’s one moment or scene from the remaining episodes that you can’t wait for fans to see?
Let’s just say Morgan Edge continues – there are a number of transitions for this character, a number of major transitions, and I can’t wait for the audience to see Morgan Edge’s final shape-shift.
Superman & Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Dylan Walsh, Alex Garfin, Jordan Elsass, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Inde Navarrette, and Wolé Parks. The series airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET / PT on The CW.
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