Exclusive: Wolè Parks Interview

On March 14, 2023, Superman and Lois will be making its triumphant return with an all new season packed with captivating adventures and enthralling stories!

We here at SupermanandLoisTV had the amazing opportunity to speak with one of the show’s stars, Wolé Parks! Parks is best known for portraying John Henry Irons on the series, and has appeared in many other projects such as Superstore, Yellowstone, and The Vampire Diaries. This season is bound to be a spectacle, and Mr. Parks was able to offer us some insight into what’s to come for the third season. He also discussed what it’s like to portray a character that’s as fascinating as John Henry Irons and what we can expect in terms of his respective storyline this season. Let’s hear what Wolé Parks has to say about playing Steel, the third season of Superman and Lois, and so many more exciting things!

What was your first foray into the comic book world? What kind of research did you initially do when you were cast as John Henry Irons?

I used to read comics as a kid, which was a very long time ago, and that's how I knew about John Henry Irons because I read The Death of Superman. I don't remember if that was my first one because I used to read a lot of X-Men comics as a kid; I used to like trading cards, the Marvel trading cards, and all that stuff. So, we'll go with either the X-Men or Superman, one of the two. But yeah, I did know about John Henry Irons because I read The Death of Superman, and it was really, really nice.

What can you tell us about John’s journey at the start of the third season? How does it progress throughout the season without giving too much away?

At the end of season two, we have Diggle come in and tell him that Bruno Manneheim is the guy who killed John Henry on this Earth, so that was a big cliffhanger for my character, this John Henry Irons, because now we're like "Wow, we're confronted with this guy who obviously has beef with him, so we got to take care of that". So I'm going to tell you that he's going to go on a huge journey as far as that's concerned, and they're going to have a few confrontations. We’re going to see a lot of John Henry confronting that guy, and that's going to lead to a lot of exciting stuff with my John Henry, and you know, Taylor, who plays my daughter [Natalie Irons]. They've been on an interesting journey, too. They finally come to accept this new Earth as their home, but it's like, okay, what does that mean? He's going to be there, and she's going to be a normal teenager. They might not always see eye-to-eye, but it'll be fun for them on their journey.

Can you elaborate a bit on how you and Taylor Buck helped build the bond between John Henry and Natalie? Did you two collaborate this season to show new sides to their father-daughter relationship?

By now, I think he's accepted that she's his teammate, you know. I think the whole last season with him getting freaked out that she had the suit was because he had already lost everything. He lost Lois, his version of Lois; he lost that world, and he thought he lost his daughter, so he's really protective of her. That led to her taking charge and saying "I'm my own person; I can handle myself", so there's that acceptance in that regard. But of course, at the same time, we're still on this new Earth and figuring out how that works with John being a single dad and Natalie making friends; she didn't have any beforehand. That was a lot of her story last season when she felt alone and isolated, so now she's integrated with the family, so what does that look like? It's going to be interesting. There'll be a lot of stuff, but like I said, we'll see what happens because Natalie isn't always going to do what John Henry asks her to do.

How do you relate to John Henry Irons as a character? Do you have any input on what he would say or do in the script?

My general feeling on acting and overall is that there's me, there's the character, and we have to fuse those somewhere. Hopefully, I'm going more towards the character when the character is coming to me, because I want to play myself. I think at this level, yes, definitely. There's an idea of what John Henry might do or say, but I think the writers know already at this point. What's really great about the writing team and the showrunners is that they allow some flexibility, and it all seems to work out.

Season 3 will introduce Michael Cudlitz as Lex Luthor, what was it like working with him and are there any other Superman villains that you'd like to face off against one day?

I have not filmed with Michael yet, but I've heard he's amazing. I've met him, but we haven't worked together. But, he's a powerhouse! As far as villains are concerned, just because I'd be curious to see how they would do it, I would love to see Toyman, just because I think he's so unique and I'd like to see what he'd look like on our show. The thing with Toyman is that he's such an interesting villain, he's kind of like a mini Joker. I'm just curious to see how they'd pull that off and bring him in. We do get a little dark and gritty, so it'd be kind of fun to see somebody throw like a rubber ball at someone and it explodes; that'd be super fun to see.

What's something that you'd like to see elaborated on in regards to John Henry as a character in future seasons? Are there any characters you'd like to have more of an interaction with on the show?

I know people have asked me that before, and I'm always going to say Sofia, who plays Chrissy Beppo, because Sofia and I are so close and we hang out all the time; we just never get to work together. I would say the good thing about this season is that because more people know about Superman, like his identity, it gets mixed around a little bit more, so there's more interaction with people and other cast members. As far as what I'd love to see, if we got to see some of John Henry's original earth, the place where my John Henry is from, I would love to see more of that, and really get into finding out about what happened to that Superman. I would love to maybe delve into that at some point.

Tell us a bit about the friendship the main cast has? How different is the environment from other projects you've done in the past?

It's interesting; we bonded because we were kind of forced to. We shot the show in Vancouver, and most of us are from the US. What happened was that during that time back in September 2020, we all had to quarantine. So you go across the border and quarantine for two weeks, and we always have to do that. They want us to stay in a bubble because you want to avoid the potential of getting COVID, because it'd shut the show down, things like that. So we all ended up hanging out together so much during the first season, and that helped solidify our bond. I'm not going to act like it was easy. I've never had to quarantine before, and quarantine was like six weeks total, and we'd have to go back and forth to the US. The positive is that we all came out of that stronger together, and we all get along and hang out. I've worked on shows where that doesn't happen; that, honestly, doesn't always happen. You have a working relationship with people, which is good, but at the same time, when you're done with work, you want to be left alone. Here, though, we're all together, and we get to bounce around, hang out, and have fun. It's nice, and it shows through the work we do together.

Speaking of prior projects, what's one movie or television show that you've done in the past that you'd like our readers to check out?

Some of the stuff I like to do is dark, because I did Yellowstone, which is one that's becoming a huge show; I did the second season, and that was a lot of fun to do. In terms of the more fun and positive stuff, I did Superstore, which was a lot of fun. I did two episodes a couple years ago. All of this other stuff has been fun to do, like Devious Maids and The Vampire Diaries. That's fun, and I feel like a lot of people know those ones. I've been lucky enough to have a career that's wide-ranging, but I'd say Yellowstone since that was a cool ride to be on.

Final question from our team: what is it about superheroes, especially in our society nowadays, that resonates with you? What can we learn from the values characters like Superman and Steel try to adhere to on the show?

I think one of the reasons why people have connected with our show is because it's as grounded as you can make it. While we deal with superheroes, multiple dimensions, and Bizarro World (which is a bit fantastical), we also ground it with family. I think that's what people connect to. One of the reasons I like Steel as a character and I connect with him is that he's so selfless. He doesn't have any powers, but he's willing to go in there and fight because he cares about people. He cares about everyone, and he's willing to do that. That's a value a lot of people should have more of with all the negativity right now in the world. So it's nice to see some people who just want to support other people and lift others up.

Fan Questions:

El Trono del Rey (@TronoYaelongo) asks, “Will John be getting an ‘S’ on his chest anytime soon?”

I will say that the writers of the show know what the comic book accurate costume looks like. So that's what I'm going to say: they know what it looks like; that’s all you’re going to get.

Thomas (@ThomasComicTalk) wants to know, “Did you know you were playing John Henry when you got cast or was it a big surprise? Any chance of seeing upgrades to the suit?”

I did not know I was going to play him when I first got the part. I went in, and it was like dummy sides. They didn't have the real name, but I thought I was going to be Lex Luthor (with the whole Captain Luthor thing). That's what I figured, and it wasn't until after I was cast that Todd Helbing, our showrunner, told me "No, you're actually going to be John Henry Irons". It was huge for me, and after I got off the phone, I started getting emotional. I read the comics as a kid, and I had to hang up immediately when we talked about it; I was just like "I got to go", and I started to get overwhelmed in a good way. It was something I never thought of, and it was like coming full circle. To read a comic when I was ten or eleven years old and to now be in my late thirties and play this character is amazing.

Diego (@diegoterremot0) asks, “If you could interact with any other DC hero, who would it be?

This is very random, but I would say Booster Gold solely because we talked about the possibility of Toyman bringing in some humor and Booster Gold is such a goofy character. It'd be fun to have somebody bring that kind of energy onto our show. I don't know what it would look like, but it'd be fun to throw the characters off and shake up that dynamic.

Thank you so much for your time, Mr. Parks! We at SupermanandLoisTV greatly enjoyed talking with you about the show, and what’s coming up!

Are you excited for the third season of Superman and Lois? What could we possibly expect from this new season? Let us know in the comments and forum below!

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