He once lost the role to Henry Cavill but Tyler Hoechlin is now TV's new Superman. How does he compare?

Tyler Hoechlin (left) plays TV's Superman in Superman & Lois.
PHOTO: Warner TV, Warner Bros

With the recent premiere of the television series Superman & Lois, another Man of Steel has come to play in the DC sandbox.

However, this iteration of Clark Kent, played by Tyler Hoechlin, has been around for a couple of years in the Arrowverse (a shared universe centered on various interconnected television shows based on DC superheroes) and made his debut in 2016 on the series Supergirl.

And though he's aware of the legacy the Man of Steel has throughout the decades and the many great actors who have stepped into the red boots, Tyler is tackling this iconic role with a "clean slate".

Speaking to regional media last week over Zoom for the Superman & Lois press tour, 33-year-old Tyler told AsiaOne that he didn't feel that much pressure taking up the mantle of Superman and being compared to other actors like Henry Cavill and Brandon Routh who have played the character before him.

He said: "I wasn't really privy to any of the other iterations of [Superman]. I've seen a couple of episodes of Lois & Clark when I was a kid with my mum and that's about it. So I was able to approach it with a clean slate and not compare what I was doing to anybody else. I just don't have those comparisons in my mind.

"I'm able to approach it very instinctually and with what I really feel I connect with the character. Both of us (Tyler and fellow lead actress Elizabeth Tulloch) approach it with a tremendous amount of respect for what these characters have meant to people for so long and what they continue to mean."

Fun fact, Tyler auditioned for Zack Snyder's 2013 movie Man of Steel but he lost the role to British actor Henry Cavill.

That said, it seems that with Superman & Lois, Tyler is able to bring his own interpretation of one of the most famous superheroes to the table. He shared that he met with American writer-producer Greg Berlanti (and one of the creators of the Arrowverse), they started talking about the character, and he was ultimately offered the part.

PHOTO: Warner TV

"That just gave me a lot of confidence that we saw eye to eye on what was really special about this character and what he stood for," he said.

So how does Tyler's Superman stack up against Henry's Superman from the DC Extended Universe (DCEU)? Well, we managed to watch the first episode of Superman & Lois, and here's what we think.

Looks and charm

Yeah, yeah, we get it. Everyone wants to talk about the superpowers but hey, let's not forget that many people took notice of Henry's Superman because he is h-o-t. Hot.

Well, we think that Tyler sufficiently holds his own against Henry with his chiseled jawline, rugged good looks, black wavy hair, and that intense gaze that can bore into your soul. Unfortunately, he is missing the 'Superman curl', but it's negligible.

PHOTO: Warner TV

And while Henry is naturally charismatic, Tyler's softer take on Clark just grows on you over time (which definitely works on a medium like television) and you can't help but be charmed by his goofy grin and how adorable he is.

Henry may be Superman for the silver screen, but Tyler definitely earned his place as television's Superman.

Character development

Unpopular opinion: Arrowverse's Superman actually gives more depth and personality to the character. We're probably going to get lots of flak for this but hear us out.

With the episodic nature of a television series, it means that there is more time to explore Superman and his life as Clark Kent. In a film with a two-hour runtime, everything moves at warp speed and you just don't get to spend that much time with the character and how he handles his dual identities.

"But Tyler's Superman has only just gotten his own series," you protest.

That may be true but in one episode, we not only get a villain named Captain Luthor that is proving to be more than a match, we also get an intimate look at his life with Lois and his children. Yes, in Superman & Lois, Clark isn't just facing off against his own nemesis, he's also being challenged as a father — a side that hasn't really been explored with recent iterations of the superhero.

Clark and Lois' sons in Superman & Lois. PHOTO: Warner TV

Tyler told AsiaOne that being able to focus on this side of Superman is "one of the things that excited me about this project". He doesn't have kids of his own, though he has friends who do and he would ask them about it. He also gets "a little taste" of what it's like to have kids since he has six nieces and nephews.

But, he still draws heavily on his own experiences with his dad.

Superpowers

To be honest, we're not the most well-versed with the powers and abilities of Superman from his long comic book history, so we're just judging this based on their fights.

Both Supermans display the same abilities — heat vision, x-ray vision, freeze breath, flight, super strength, invulnerability, and flight.

PHOTO: Warner TV

But for DCEU's Superman, even though he was new to his powers, he still managed to fight on a mostly even footing against General Zod in Man of Steel. Then, he even took on Doomsday (one of his deadliest foes in the comics), and with the help of Wonder Woman and Batman, emerged victorious at the cost of his life.

Conversely, Arrowverse's Superman lost twice to Captain Luthor in the first episode. Granted, the villain was wearing some kind of suit that looks like something out of Halo and even used a Kryptonite weapon to stab Superman, but he's nowhere near as powerful as Doomsday.

Well, it's pretty clear who takes this round.

Lois Lane

Man, what a waste of a good actress. In the DCEU, Lois Lane is portrayed by award-winning, Oscar-nominated actress Amy Adams. We're constantly told that Lois Lane is a successful journalist. Instead, she is pretty much relegated to the role of the damsel in distress who needs to be saved by Superman. It's a shame that Amy doesn't really get to do much with Lois.

For Arrowverse though, they don't just tell you but they show you. Lois, played by Elizabeth, looks set to be a central character in the series as she has misgivings about billionaire Morgan Edge and starts investigating him.

Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane. PHOTO: Warner TV

When asked about her character development, 40-year-old Elizabeth told AsiaOne: "She has an arch-nemesis in our series who is a billionaire corporate figure, and Lois has to take him on on her own, without the platform or resources of The Daily Planet — which is no small feat.

"She is absolutely Superman's equal as far as their partnership — their relationship is built on a foundation of not only mutual respect and admiration but also love and fun. She wants to save the world with words, and he saves it with his superhuman strength and speed."

Well, this sounds incredibly promising and we certainly can't wait to see what kind of adventures TV's Lois will get up to.

Superman & Lois airs every Wednesday at 9.50pm on Warner TV.

bryanlim@asiaone.com