Earlier this month, writer Nadria Tucker (Krypton, Underground) took to Twitter to let everyone know that she was let go from the writing room for the Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch-starring series Superman & Lois. Tucker described a working environment in which she found herself "flagging #metoo jokes" as well as "defending the Bechdel test" to guarantee proper female representation in storylines and "fighting to ensure the only Black faces on screen aren't villains." Now in an exclusive interview with The Vulcan Reporter, Tucker not only confirmed some of the instances revealed in the tweets (full text below) but also more insight into the show's creative environment.
One of the biggest takeaways from the interview was the not-too-subtle critique of series showrunner Todd Helbing when Tucker explained what a writer's room that she was heading would be like. "I of course have a million ideas, and maybe you'll see some of them in Season 1. But if I were in charge, the first thing I would do is take some classes in managing people, because being a showrunner is more than just slapping some fight scenes on a page. There are real people involved, and they should be treated with respect."
Tucker believes that both the networks and individual series need to look at leadership training as a way of teaching people how to respect others. "It comes down to how you treat the people you hire and how the people you hire [showrunners, directors] treat the people they hire. That's where the networks and studios stumble again and again." Adding to an already tense writer's room? A raging pandemic that hit the team in some very heart-breaking ways. "COVID made an already intense situation, a writer's room, even more difficult. Writers lost relatives. It's been an emotional thing."
So looking back- knowing how it would all play out- is there anything Tucker would've done differently? "If I knew I'd be let go in the end, I would have fought even harder, pitched louder, and given fewer fucks. But I worked on something iconic. All of this is a piece of Superman's story now, and that's not nothing." As for the future, Tucker wouldn't mind spending a little time on the Marvel side of things- especially if it means getting her hands on a gender-swapped Blade: "I want Blade. [Laughter] I cannot wait to see the reboot. I love that property."
Here's a look at what Tucker had to say about the news that she was not being brought back to The CW series' writing team: "Some personal news: Wednesday I got word that my contract on Superman and Lois won't be extended, my services no longer needed, my outline and draft subpar (obviously I disagree with that last bit lol). This, after months of me flagging #metoo jokes in dialogue of me defending the Bechdel test, of me FIGHTING to ensure the only Black faces on screen aren't villains, of me pitching stories for female characters (there's one in the title of the series!) that went ignored," Tucker wrote in the thread. "If I sound bitter, it's because this one stings. I've been assured by colleagues that I was great in the room, so I know I'm not nuts. I debated whether to post this but my own mental wellbeing demands that I do. The only way shit changes is to expose it."
The CW's Superman & Lois stars Hoechlin as Clark Kent aka Superman, Tulloch as Lois Lane, Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent, Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent, Dylan Walsh as Samuel Lane, Emmanuelle Chriqui as Lana Lang, Erik Valdez as Kyle Cushing, Wolé Parks as the Stranger, Inde Navarrette as Sarah Cushing, Sofia Hasmik as Chrissy Beppo, and Stacey Farber as Leslie Larr. Based on the characters from DC created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman & Lois is written and executive produced by Todd Helbing (The Flash) and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Geoff Johns. The series is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Lee Toland Krieger is directing the pilot from a story by Berlanti and Helbing, with the teleplay by Helbing.