This article is about the original Lionel Luthor. For his parallel universe doppelganger, see Lionel Luthor (Earth-2).
|Family|| Lachlan Luthor and Eliza Luthor (parents, deceased)|
Lillian Luthor (wife, deceased)
Lex Luthor (son)
Julian Luthor (son, deceased)
Lucas Luthor (son)
Tess Mercer (daughter, deceased)
Grant Gabriel ("son", deceased)
|Occupation||Founder/Former CEO, Former Special Adviser (LuthorCorp)|
|Played By||John Glover|
- "The real test of a hero is knowing when the greater good will be served by an evil act. To save the Earth, the cost of one life is the price that must be paid." - Lionel to Clark Kent, Vessel
Lionel Luthor (1944—2008) was the founder of LuthorCorp, the father of Lex Luthor and Tess Mercer, the emissary of Jor-El, and was a member of Veritas. Prior to his death, Lionel served as the original Chairman and CEO then as Special Advisor of LuthorCorp. He used to have connections with the criminal underworld through his childhood best friend Morgan Edge. Lionel was also the father of Julian Luthor and Lucas Luthor and the widower of Lillian Luthor.
Prior to his death, Lionel Luthor had an estimated net worth of $42.5 billion before Lex stole LuthorCorp from him. Lionel was also the Kryptonian vessel for Jor-El (the artificial intelligence version of Clark Kent's biological father) who would inhabit Lionel if his son needed him. Lionel graduated summa cum laude with a chemistry degree from Princeton University, and had two PhDs in biochemical engineering and macroeconomic modeling from Yale University.
As a teenager, Lionel and his childhood friend Morgan Edge plotted to kill Lionel's parents and collect the insurance money. After this act, Lionel started LuthorCorp. Later in his life, Lionel married Lillian, who would be the mother to Lex Luthor and Julian Luthor. After Julian's death, Lionel fathered Lex harshly. Lionel also helped found the secret society of Veritas, along with the Queens, Teagues, and Virgil Swann. The job of this group was to find the Traveler and help him fulfill his destiny as the savior to mankind. During the 1989 meteor shower in Smallville, Lionel was there on business (both for LuthorCorp and Veritas). Lex was caught in the shower and the Kents helped him get to a hospital. Lionel also helped the Kent family in their adoption of a young Clark Kent.
When Lex was older, Lionel sent him to LuthorCorp's fertilizer plant in Smallville. After Lex had "passed his test", Lionel wanted him to come back to Metropolis. After Lex refused, Lionel grew angry and shut down the Smallville plant, forcing many out of jobs. Lionel also became obsessed in finding out the secrets to the Kawatche Caves. He also developed a romantic interest in Martha Kent. Over time, Lionel's presence in Clark Kent's life grew substantially.
After Chloe Sullivan researched Lionel's background, Lionel was eventually tried and convicted for killing his parents and put in prison. After Genevieve Teague got Lionel out of prison, he tried to take back LuthorCorp (which Lex now possessed). After failing, he became a Special Advisor to LuthorCorp. Lionel eventually found out that Clark Kent was the Traveler (real name Kal-El), but didn't know about his powers until Clark used them to save Martha and Lionel. After this act and being possessed by Jor-El, Lionel grew closer to Clark and more distant from Lex, viewing Clark more as a son than Lex.
Lionel was given a huge Kryptonian library to aid Clark with on his journey to becoming a hero by Jor-El. After blackmailing Lana Lang into marrying Lex, he used her to find out what information Lex had on Clark and to help Clark battle the Phantom Zoners. After an explosive battle between Clark and Bizarro, Lionel suffered many injuries and was taken to an unknown location by Marilyn. It was later revealed that she was working for Lana to get revenge on Lionel for making her marry Lex. Lionel was murdered by Lex after he realized that Lionel knew who the Traveler was.
He was buried in Metropolis.
In the early-2000s, Lionel boasts a long dark brown hair which seemingly grows to its greatest length until mid-2004. His hair is messy and untidy, with no attempts made to style it, contrasting with his elegant style of dress.
In mid-2004, Lionel's head is shaved completely bald when he is put in prison. From there his hair eventually grows back to its usual length before the character began sporting a much shorter hair style early-2005 to mid-2008, most likely to represent the character breaking away from his evil past. His long hair and beard, which serve as a sharp contrast to the baldheaded Lex, could also be interpreted as a sting to his son, who suffered bullying after his accident.
Lionel is however consistently shown wearing a beard with both hairstyles.
As a part of his usual getup, Lionel wears elegant tailored suits and long, flowing overcoats and blazers with ties that have dark colors like purple, blue, and blood red.
- "One day you'll thank me, Lex. Smallville isn't in your future; it's just a brief chapter in your biography." - Lionel Luthor, to Lex Luthor, Tempest
Lionel was extremely rich, powerful, manipulative and intelligent; he was prone to forming numerous Machiavellian schemes. For most of his appearances, he was obsessed with obtaining power and control over everything he encountered. With all these character traits, Lionel's actions may be described as sociopathic, but his attitude is that of a narcissist. If a person dared to back out of their "agreement" with Lionel, they were met with swift retaliation (costing them their job, blacklisting their family members and, in extreme cases, having them killed. Lionel's attitude can even be seen in his trademark long hair: He is so powerful he can appear however he likes without being called on it.
Lionel seemed intent on controlling Lex as much as possible, to mold him into his own conquering, amoral image. Lionel saw himself as a modern Philip of Macedonia, and named his firstborn son Lex after Philip's son, Alexander the Great. His second legitimate son was named Julian; perhaps an homage to Julius Caesar.
However, towards the end of the fourth season, Lionel's personality transformed completely, resulting in a more caring (but still manipulative) man, such as when he was upset about his driver's murder and covered him up with his coat. Lionel still shows these feelings all the way up to the sixth season when he admits his feeling towards Martha Kent. Lionel's ruthless tendencies would sometimes resurface, when someone would threaten his son Lex, or Clark. Although he was no longer self serving, he still treated those around him as if they were his enemy, the only exceptions being Clark, Martha, and anyone who knew of his Kryptonian heritage.
In Season Five, Lionel became the Kryptonian vessel of Jor-El, but when the Fortress of Solitude "died", he lost his connection to it. However, Martian Manhunter revealed to Clark Kent that Lionel was still an emissary of Jor-El.
Towards the end of his life he tried all that he could to protect Clark. His protection however once more dissolved into control, when Patricia Swann sent him letters through Veritas threatening to expose his past crimes if he did not produce the traveler and, as a result, held Clark captive in a kryptonite cage. All too familiar with Lionel's desire to control, Clark took it the wrong way and began to treat Lionel as an enemy. Lionel realizing that no one trusted him, tried to convince Clark and his friends that he was in serious danger. Though no one believed him, he tried his hardest to help them and did not expose Clark's identity as the traveler to Lex before he was murdered. Towards the end of his life, Lionel revealed he truly had changed to a caring, loyal man.
Prior to his redemption, Lionel was a corrupting influence on his children:
- Lex eventually became the son Lionel had originally wanted, and even killed Lionel.
- In an alternate universe, Lionel raised Clark to be a ruthless murderer.
Oracle of Jor-ElEdit
Jor-El appeared to have "used" Lionel and was connected with him in a much different manner than he was when he was "using" Jonathan Kent[Citation needed], as Jonathan was more of a mouth piece or receptacle in which Jor-El's powers would run through him, and would often hear Kryptonian frequencies and beacons whereas Lionel actually articulated Kryptonian a few times and his connection with Jor-El was so strong that the crystals in the Fortress of Solitude led Zor-El directly to him [Citation needed].
At first, he went into coma, and would sometimes get up and walk around strangely and would start drawing Kryptonian glyphs on floors and walls. He eventually recovered from that state and was programmed by Jor-El with vast stores of knowledge on the House of El dynasty, and in extension, Krypton's heritage, and on Kryptonian sciences, customs, culture and teachings.
While Lionel was physical connected with Jor-El, he would exhibit white eyes while Jor-El was directly communicating with people through him, and would often still be seen carving Kryptonian symbols on floors and walls, and would later discover their meaning. After becoming Jor-El's oracle, he obtained many powerful and ancient Kryptonian artifacts, like a Kryptonian flashlight, the Mirror box, Green kryptonite, Black kryptonite, Kara's bracelet, and some expensive necklaces and jewelery, and stored them all in a library vault located inside LuthorCorp Plaza planted outside Metropolis.
He eventually becomes a direct Kryptonian vessel that Jor-El can inhabit when needed, and is used that way. After this Lionel gained all Kryptonian powers and abilities, and also exhibits their weaknesses. After his son Lex gets possessed by General Zod, Lionel gets disconnected from Jor-El but retains some connection with the entity, as Zor-El was able to locate him through crystals in the Fortress of Solitude. Lionel, in the occupation as Jor-El's emissary, worked alongside John Jones.
Lionel Luthor grew up as the son of Scottish immigrants Lachlan Luthor and Eliza Luthor in Suicide Slums. As a teenager, Lionel conspired with Morgan Edge to kill his parents to collect the insurance money to fund LuthorCorp, and their criminal dealings continued well into their adult years after their lives have taken divergent turns
Sometime before the 1980s, Lionel married a woman named Lillian. After their marriage, Lionel and Lillian had their first child Alexander "Lex" Luthor in 1980 with a woman named Pamela Jenkins as a nanny to the household.
Sometime a year later in 1981, Lionel fathered his second child Lutessa Lena Luthor with Pamela (It's unknown if Pamela raised her with Lionel without Lillian's knowledge or not). When the girl was nine, Lionel had her placed in Granny Goodness's orphanage.
After Lillian gave birth to their second son Julian Luthor, Lillian smothered Julian to death when he was an infant; Lex took the blame, and Lionel has resented his surviving son ever since. Also Lionel engaged in an affair with Rachel Dunleavy, a nurse hired to care for Lillian as her health declined. The relationship resulted in an illegitimate son whom Lionel had placed with an adopted family.
Lex has often been a victim of Lionel's wrath; Lionel frequently puts him in harm's way under the motive of "making Lex stronger." Lex has survived many attempts on his life and his business. However, all that Lex wanted from Lionel were things that Lionel found foreign: kindness, respect and love.
Before the 1989 meteor shower and Julian's birth, Lionel was working on a project called "Veritas," which was discovered in his briefcase by Lillian. Veritas was an "astronomy club" involving the Teagues (Genevieve, Edward and Jason), the Queens (Robert, Laura and Oliver), and the Swanns (Virgil and Patricia) having to do with what they referred to as "The Traveler." Lionel believed the Traveler to be Kal-El.
Lionel bought a Scottish mansion and had it shipped to America to be reassembled. Lionel, along with the rest of the Veritas group hid the Orb in the fireplace of the mansion, to keep it safe.
When on a business meeting in Smallville in 1989, Lionel and Lex were caught in the meteor shower. Lionel found Lex in the cornfield, completely bald, and was helped by the Kents to get him to the hospital. Because of that, Lionel had made it possible for the Kents to adopt Clark, and Jonathan Kent had to make the painful decision to convince Pete Ross' family to sell their property to Lionel to build his LuthorCorp Plant.
When Kal-El's ship landed on Earth, he sent a search team to get the Traveler, only to grab a young boy. Believing him to be the Traveler, Lionel took Davis in. Studying him and gathering information, Lionel allowed the boy to stay in the Luthor Mansion. After five days when he realized he grabbed the wrong boy, Lionel had the boy thrown out in the streets of Metropolis.
- "If you're going to take me on, son, you're going to have to bring your game up to a whole different level." - Lionel Luthor, to Lex, Tempest
Years later, Lionel sent Lex to run the LuthorCorp factory in Smallville so he could keep him out of trouble. While Lex ran the Smallville factory of LuthorCorp, Lionel stayed in Metropolis. Lionel later came to Smallville to give Lex a hard time about his decision to increase his workforce. They couldn't come to an agreement, leading Lionel to suggest that they fence for it; Lex lost the bet.
When Earl Jenkins attempted to get Lionel's attention by holding hostages inside the LuthorCorp plant, Lionel come to Smallville and was confronted by Lex about a secret project named Level Three that Lionel´s hold on the plant but Lionel refers to Level 3 as a redundant storage area.
Lionel orchestrated a plan to set up Lex to make him lose the Smallville factory of LuthorCorp and used Lex's new girlfriend Victoria Hardwick to accomplish this, but without success. Nixon later gave photos to Lex of Lionel in an intimate position with Victoria.
Months later, Lionel returned to Smallville for a surprise visit, to compliment Lex's work at the Smallville plant, and offered Lex a new position in Metropolis as Special Advisor to the Chairman but Lex ultimately turned him down.
Finally, Lionel announced that the Smallville plant will be closed due to management problems beyond their control; he did this to force Lex out of Smallville. While Lex and Lionel were arguing during the tornadoes that hit the town, the storm blew out a window. Lionel was injured, and he called out to Lex for help.
- "You haven't changed, Rachel. You're still irrational." - Lionel Luthor, Lineage
Lionel was rescued by Lex and taken to the Smallville Medical Center, where he underwent surgery that saved his life, but left him blind. Lionel then went into therapy, and moved into the Luthor Mansion with Lex as he refused to be gawked at by others.
Sometime later, he redecorated the mansion and conducted business there, much to Lex's annoyance. Lionel also met Clark Kent who, under the influence of red kryptonite, proceeded to mock Lionel. Later on, Lex had everything put back the way it was before Lionel moved in and laid down the law with his father, causing Lionel to wonder aloud if Lex discovered the value of directness from his friend Clark as he fingered flattened bullets that were blocked by Clark earlier.
Lionel hired Martha Kent to be his assistant. However, he found himself attracted to Martha. Also, his sight had returned and tried to fake being blind for a couple of weeks until Lucas Luthor exposed the truth.
When Lionel's ex-lover Rachel Dunleavy came back into his life, she kidnapped Lex to force Lionel to acknowledge Clark as their illegitimate son. Rachel angrily stormed in on Lionel, accusing him of switching the DNA samples and forcing her to give up her child. Unbeknownst to Rachel and Lionel, Clark and Pete broke into the lab and switched the DNA samples. She threatened to expose him; Lionel flirted with her and offered to get her psychiatric help.
When Lionel learned that Clark had a mysterious connection to the Kawatche Caves, he did all he could to figure out who Clark really was and, more importantly, where he came from.
Later on, while in Metropolis, Lionel gave Martha a beautiful watch and told her that she had been promoted and had her own office there in Metropolis. Martha turned the promotion down, but they were held hostage before she could leave. Shortly after Martha quit her job, Lionel was shot by Sheriff Ethan Miller, but recovered and returned to Metropolis.
Lex located Rachel's missing child, Lucas, and introduced him to Lionel. Lionel revealed that he knew all along where Lucas was. It´s revealed that Lionel was not blind anymore and was confronted by Lex.
A few months later, Lionel offered Chloe Sullivan a column at the Daily Planet in exchange for her helping him get information on Clark. At first, Chloe turned him down, but then she reconsidered his offer.
At an attempt at peace with Lex, Lionel offered him a honeymoon trip, but got control of the Kawatche Caves. At the same time, Lionel made a duplicate of Clark's spaceship key manufactured from the pattern on Dr. Frederick Walden's palm and refined kryptonite, and planned to insert it into the hole in the cave. Unfortunately, the kryptonite key was stolen by Clark with assistance from Pete Ross.
- "I believe we're put on this Earth for a reason, Clark. Our task in life is to find out what that reason is. Sometimes we can't do that alone." - Lionel Luthor, Legacy
After Lex crashed en route to his honeymoon, Lionel held a funeral service for his son after the rescue teams came up empty. Martha, Jonathan, Lex's widow Helen Bryce, Lana Lang, and Clark all attended. Lionel publicly denounced Helen, although he couldn't completely have her disposed, due to the special vial of blood he bought from her and the fact that she was the only one who knew where it came from. When Lex returned, Lionel had to prove he had nothing to do with the plane crash.
When Lex stumbled upon the mysterious deaths of his grandparents and learned that Lionel had his parents killed for the insurance money, Lionel schemed to have Lex—and everyone else—believe that Lex is crazy in order to cover up the murders.
To have Lex committed, he had untraceable drugs placed in Lex's drink that made him hysterical, and "cleaned" up his messes that he made in the Luthor Mansion. Lionel then ordered for Lex to receive electroshock therapy at Belle Reve; afterward, Lex remembered little of the last seven weeks.
Lionel wanting to learn more and more about Clark, demanding more on the reports of Clark from Chloe Sullivan. When Chloe arrived in Lionel's office and had no information on Clark, Lionel canceled her column at the Daily Planet and had her father fired. He also sent a mysterious young man named Adam Knight to Smallville to get close to Lana so she could tell him everything there is about Clark.
Later on, Lionel and Lex argued about the project Lex wanted to be in charge of, which resulted in Lionel hiding the lab. He got Dr. Lia Teng to move the lab, but in the end, she and her lab technicians were killed by an unstable inmate that Lionel was experimenting on (Adam Knight). Lionel was not responsible for their deaths, but knew that the FBI suspected him. So he pinned the murders on Lex, framing his own son. Knowing that the destruction of the lab would end his chances of surviving his liver disease, Lionel contemplated suicide, knowing he only had a matter of months.
Lionel then met with Dr. Virgil Swann to ask about the hieroglyphics on the walls of the Kawatche Caves. Dr. Swann didn't give Lionel the information that he needed, but offered another arrangement. Lionel attempted to force his way into the cave wall, but was stopped by Jonathan Kent; they fought, and Lionel watched as the key flew into the wall. Later, he had his people torture Pete Ross, resulting in Pete's departure from Smallville.
With the help of Chloe, Lionel was arrested, but not before setting in motion a few of things. He gave Clark the key to Lex's secret room, ending the friendship between Lex and Clark; had Chloe and her father's safe house compromised, resulting in it exploding; and had Lex's brandy poisoned. Lionel was incarcerated in a transparent prison cell having his lion's mane of hair being completely shaved off.
- "I wanted to see you, Lex, to say goodbye face to face. I have done many things in my life that I've come to regret. But there is one thing I'll never forgive myself. I never... said 'I love you.'" - Lionel Luthor, Transference
Lionel got a hold of the Crystal of Water, which he planned to use to switch bodies with Lex, but the attempt failed when Clark interfered, resulting in Lionel switching bodies with Clark instead. While Lionel used his newfound powers to attempt to regain his lost fortune and alienate Clark's friends, Clark arranged to have it all switched back to normal.
Lionel discovered that he was cured from his liver cancer and told Clark about the energy coursing through him that healed his liver. Ever since he returned to his body, with no memory of being in Clark's body and his liver completely healed, Lionel dedicated himself to helping others, to make up for his past deeds. But, he didn't intend to leave prison, for that was his punishment and he accepted it.
When Lex was framed for killing a woman after a one-night stand, Lionel helped Clark search for the proof needed to help Lex, meanwhile falsely implying that Lex had a perverse fetish. Lionel was released from prison and his conviction overturned thanks to his mysterious benefactor, who happened to be Genevieve Teague.
Lionel came to visit Lex and told him he wanted to reconcile, as well as make the world a better place for everyone. Lex didn't listen to Lionel, but decided to let his father use the guest house at the mansion. Lionel later told Lana Lang about how Margaret Isobel Thoreaux was using her to get the Stones of Power, and gave Lana a map of China, saying Jason Teague was there with Lex attempting to find the Crystal of Air. He also let her and Clark use the LuthorCorp plane to get to China.
Lionel's completely peaceful nature was shattered when he faced Alexander, Lex's evil counterpart. After that encounter, Lionel revealed his deceitful nature once again, blackmailing Lex into giving him the Crystal of Air (which Lana had) or else he would reveal Lana's killing of Genevieve Teague.
While Lex later tried to bargain with his father over the stones, the Crystal of Water that was in Lionel's pocket gave off a massive force of energy, putting Lionel in a coma. Lionel was placed in an upstairs bedroom. Before departing, Lex told Lionel that he was now the son Lionel raised him to be.
- "That's enough to make a man believe in miracles. Isn't it, son?" - Lionel Luthor, Mercy
Due to being exposed to the energy from the Crystal of Water, Lionel was transformed into a Kryptonian vessel for the essence of Jor-El, Clark Kent's Kryptonian birth father, and installed with all the knowledge of the planet Krypton.
After the second meteor shower that hit Smallville, Lionel scratched Kryptonian symbols on the floor of the office in the Luthor Mansion, as Lana watched him. In a trance, he told Lana that the Disciples of Zod, Aethyr and Nam-Ek, had come and must be stopped, and cryptically told her that "their home is their poison," giving Lana the information she used to stop the two Kryptonians. Lionel was later put in Belle Reve, due to his unresponsive state, his blank eyes and his creation of numerous Kryptonian symbols of General Zod.
After Clark was shot and killed by Gabriel Duncan, Jor-El possessed a catatonic Lionel, giving him Kryptonian powers in order for the body to carry out Jor-El's commands; Lionel broke out of his cell and retrieved Clark's body, taking it to the Fortress of Solitude, where Jor-El resurrected Clark and restored his powers. Jor-El through Lionel, told Clark he loved him, hoping one day Clark will learn to call him father, setting up the stage for Lionel and Clark's father/son bond, and also warned Clark that giving him back his powers came with a price that one of his loved ones will die and that it would be paid in due time.
Later, Lionel turned up at the Luthor Mansion, completely healthy and conscious; he denied having memory of what happened during the meteor shower. Lionel continued his normal persona, and gave Chloe clever hints about stopping Lex from winning the senatorial race against Jonathan Kent, and about Professor Milton Fine.
As a Kryptonian oracle, Lionel received messages in the form of Kryptonian symbols which he would have pass along to Clark. With each message, he wrote the symbols on sheets of paper, and placed them all in a vault in his office at LuthorCorp. Whenever he received a message, Lionel was overcome with a headache, dropping to his knees and frantically starting to jot the message down on paper.
After Jonathan Kent won the state senate race, Lionel asked for a partnership, but he was refused. He threatened to release incriminating pictures of Clark using his powers, causing Jonathan's temper to rise, resulting in the fatal heart attack to the senator-elect.
Lionel temporarily returned to his status as CEO of LuthorCorp, but was blackmailed by Lex to get out because of possible evidence linking him to Jonathan's heart attack.
With Jonathan gone, Lionel tried to be a friend to Martha as she took the position of State Senator. He also got her out of being blackmailed with footage of Clark using his powers. Later, while viewing the footage, Lionel said to himself, "Your secret is safe with me... Kal-El."
Lionel continued his work at LuthorCorp, but only at an area where he would not take total control of it.
A masked tormentor, Lincoln Cole, took Lionel hostage and orchestrated a series of elaborate games that he had to win in order to stay alive. Cole later brought in Martha to torment Lionel even more. When it came down to one of them killing the other with a gun, Lionel pleaded for Martha to kill him, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. When Lionel tried it on himself, it turned out that the gun wasn't loaded. They were then dropped down in a falling elevator until they were caught by Clark.
As Clark realized that Lionel knew his secret, he confronted Lionel and learned how he knew. Apparently, Lionel knew a great deal about Clark from the day he held one of the crystals that created the Fortress of Solitude. He then told Clark that he only wanted what was best for him and his mother, but Clark did not believe him and told him to stay away. After Clark left, Lionel began channeling Jor-El and started scribbling down Kryptonian symbols.
As Lionel failed to persuade Lex from working with Milton Fine, he again channeled Jor-El and scribbled another Kryptonian message on paper. When the spirit of Jonathan Kent (who was actually Brainiac in disguise) tried to persuade Clark to kill him, Lionel reminded Clark that his father would never make him be a killer. Once Clark realized what he was doing, he fought Brainiac, and Lionel once more began channeling Jor-El who, with one touch, vaporized the Brainiac duplicate. As soon as the Brainiac was gone, Lionel returned to normal with no memory of what happened. He later showed Clark his vault of Kryptonian symbols which neither he nor Clark could decipher. They then joined forces to stop Fine and Lex, and had Chloe scan the symbols into her computer.
Lionel later went to see Martha to explain what happened with Jonathan on the night of his death. In the interim, Chloe's computer compiled the scribbles into three Kryptonian symbols, which, when translated, read as, "Zod is coming."
Lionel gave Martha and Lois the LuthorCorp jet to use to get to a conference in Washington, D.C. He later confronted Clark with another message from Jor-El about Zod instructing Clark to destroy the "vessel" to prevent Zod from being unleashed into the world. Lionel told Clark that every hero's greatest test would be for the benefit of mankind, even if it meant conducting an evil act, but when Clark told him that Lex was Zod's vessel, Lionel went to find Lex. Once he did, he witnessed Lex possessing Kryptonian powers, which Lex demonstrated on Lionel by tossing him onto the hood of his car. Lionel told Clark about the encounter, and when Metropolis had broken out into riots during a powerful power failure caused by Brainiac, he gave Chloe a ride, but they were attacked by angry mobs.
- "I know, I know. The methods I have to use seem cruel, heartless but the truth is I am using them to protect you." - Lionel Luthor, to Clark Kent, Phantom
Lionel managed to save Chloe and witnessed General Zod, now inhabiting Lex's body, take flight with Lana in tow. He told Chloe that his connection with Jor-El was gone, and that he was no longer influenced by him. When Chloe opted to go back to the Daily Planet, Lionel gave her his gun to use in case of danger, and went to Martha to help and find the Kryptonian dagger, which Lana took to use on Zod.
Even though his connection with Jor-El was gone, Lionel still remembered a few Kryptonian symbols. He kept his information about the Kryptonian symbols to himself, and informed Clark and Martha about everything happening with Lex. Lionel met Oliver Queen, and welcomed him to Metropolis. Later, Lionel's help was enlisted by Lex to test Lana's loyalty. Lionel accidentally admitted his feelings for Martha, and he attended Thanksgiving dinner at the Kents.
Over the course of the season, Lionel became more and more of a father figure to Clark than even his own son Lex; he often found himself being more encouraging and supportive of Clark than he ever was to Lex. This was not lost on Lex, who questioned Lionel on it; Lionel replied that Clark was "the kind of son a father can be proud of," furthering his preference of Clark over Lex. He even went as far as to call Clark "son," a name he formerly used only with Lex. For his part, Clark, somewhat begrudgingly, came to reciprocate the father/son bond Lionel had for him. He often came to Lionel when he needed advice, and found that only Lionel could point him in the right direction.
Later, Lex spoke to Lionel about Level 33.1. Lionel was concerned that the press would find out that Lex was experimenting on metahumans and managed to discover there was a person with superhuman speed. He was confronted by Lex and thought that Clark was in Mexico, but it turned out to be Bart Allen, who was the superhuman speedster. Lionel later covered for Clark when he was suspected in being in the Project 33.1 facility blown up by the "Justice League."
When Clark was attacked in his barn by an Zoner and put in an illusion world, he found that his adoptive mother was married to Lionel, and Lionel was the one who wanted to help Clark with his mental state and put Clark in the mental hospital.
On the day of Lex and Lana's wedding, Lionel found Lex at LuthorCorp alone, and asked him what he'd be willing to do to make sure the wedding happened; Lex answered that he'd do anything. Lionel then left as Lex received a phone call; he listened at the door when Lex told the caller that he would meet him later. When Lionel went to see Lana, he read her letter and realized that she didn't intend to marry Lex, correctly guessing that she knew Clark's secret. Lionel revealed to Lana that he knew Clark's secret too, but that he also knew Clark's weakness; he then told her that if she didn't marry Lex, he would kill Clark. Lionel met Lex after the ceremony because he knew that Lex killed Dr. Langston. Lex offered him control of LuthorCorp or even Level 33.1, but Lionel just said Lex would know when it was time for him to collect.
When Lionel was severely injured in an explosion caused by Jodi Keenan, Lana forced him to tell her the reason he forced her to marry Lex; he told her that it was to protect Clark. Lana later forced Lionel to tell her how he was protecting Clark; it was not yet been revealed if he told her the truth or not.
Lionel had learned that Lois Lane had stolen a cigarette carrier from the crime scene where had Lana been shot, and crept into her apartment to retrieve it. When she came in, Lionel took it and saw that there was a flash drive inside it; he used it to see that Lex was working with Senator Ed Burke on Project Ares.
Lionel was watching a video about a phantom attacking a reporter in Patagonia, and translated more Kryptonian symbols into the word "mirror." Clark then came in and accused Lionel of having Lana marry Lex.
Lex demanded that Lionel get out of his life, but Lionel did not oblige. Later, Lionel was confronted by Clark, who had discovered the truth about Lex and Lana's wedding; Clark was about to kill him until Martian Manhunter stopped him, telling him that Lionel was an emissary of Jor-El. He then explained the reason why he had Lana marry Lex: so Lana could get close to Lex to get information from him.
Lionel went to talk to Lana before she left Smallville and saw her getting in the car; it exploded with her in it. Later on, he told Clark about what happened, and begged him not to do what he would later regret, but Clark was too grief-stricken to listen. Lionel went to Reeves Dam to stop Clark from hurting Lex, taking a piece of kryptonite with him, but ended up using the kryptonite against Bizarro; this only made the phantom stronger. Bizarro then threw Lionel against the dam wall; Lionel was left unconscious as the dam cracked and began flooding.
- "In my lifetime, I have known many famous and powerful men: presidents, sultans, kings, and I believed that I was superior to them all. But I've come to know the truth, Kal-El. My greatest accomplishment is that I have dedicated myself to protecting your life and serving you. For that I am grateful." - Lionel Luthor, to Clark, Descent
Lionel washed ashore after the dam broke, and was then dragged away by a mysterious figure. No one knew of this, so he was presumed dead by Lex and the media.
Sometime later, Lionel finally awoke to find himself chained to a bed by a woman named Marilyn. He managed to get loose, but was knocked out by Lana. After Lex tried to free Lionel, Marilyn had a gun pointed at his son, and Lionel snuck up behind her and beat her to death. Lionel went to see Lana at the Kent Farm, and knew she was behind his disappearance. He warned her not to continue with her sense of retribution or something bad would happen.
Lionel was later attacked by Zor-El, who threatened to kill him if he didn't tell Clark to trust him. Lionel refused, claiming that Clark was following his own destiny. Clark showed up and saved Lionel, who was later hospitalized with minor injuries.
Grant Gabriel went to Lionel, and told him he was the clone of his deceased son Julian Luthor. Lionel was proud and happy to see the man his "son" had come to be; unfortunately, he was disgusted that Lex had done this. When Lionel took Grant to a steak restaurant in Metropolis, Lex had an assassin find Grant and kill him in front of Lionel.
Still angry and mourning over Grant's death, Lionel asked for Lana's help in bringing down Lex for what he had done, threatening to tell Clark about her role in the death of Casey Brock if she didn't help him. Lana told Clark the news himself, and later came to Lionel's office and told him she had no information. She also said she was not going to spy for him any longer.
Lionel let Clark and Chloe know what happened to Lex, and watched over Lex and Clark as Project Intercept allowed Clark to go inside Lex's mind. After Lex died, Chloe healed him, and Clark awoke to find Chloe dead in Lionel's arms. Lionel was confused when Clark told him to bring Chloe to her apartment without taking her to a doctor. Later, he told Lex that he loved him.
While in his office, Lionel received a letter from Veritas and started fearing the worst. He went to meet Patricia Swann, the daughter of Virgil Swann, and was suspected of murdering Oliver Queen's parents as well as Dr. Swann. As it turned out, it was Lionel who staged Clark's capture by Pierce. Lionel threw the suspicion off of himself to Lex when Lana and Chloe came to him for answers. Wanting the evidence to link him to the murders of the Veritas members, Lionel agreed to set Clark free, but Pierce betrayed him and intended to kill Clark. After Kara saved Clark, Pierce prepared to shoot them with kryptonite tasers but Lionel hit him with a pipe, killing him. As Lionel attempted to explain to Clark about Veritas and keeping him in a kryptonite cage, he realized that his friendship with Clark had been greatly damaged.
Lionel was later ambushed by Lois and Jimmy Olsen as they questioned him about the murder of Patricia Swann; he admitted nothing. He had left evidence to Lana proving that it was Lex who was responsible for Patricia's murder. While it was probably Lionel who arranged for the Queens to be killed, all evidence pointed to Lex as the murderer of Patricia Swann. Lionel claimed to be a changed man after he was chosen to be Jor-El's vessel, hoping that by protecting Clark now, he might atone for some of his past sins.
Lex eventually came to believe that the LuthorCorp plant in Smallville was only a cover-up to see "The Traveler," and confronted his father about this in his office. Lionel tried to warn Lex not to press him about Veritas, telling his son that Lex was actually the Traveler. Unfortunately, Lex did not believe any of this, and shattered the office window by shooting it. Lex tore the locket off of his father's neck and pushed him out the open window, letting him to fall to his death. Lex found the locket to be empty, however, as Lionel had left Chloe the Veritas key earlier that day. Lionel also left a Kryptonian message for Clark, who realized that Lionel, like Jor-El and Jonathan Kent, had played an important role in making him the man that he is. Lionel had indeed changed for the better.
Following Lionel's death, Clark angrily confronted Lex about Lionel, and the two had an intense argument. Clark accused Lex of murdering Lionel, while Lex made it a point to repeatedly mention how much Lionel preferred Clark over himself and stated that both Lionel and Jonathan felt that Clark was "the kind of son a father could be proud of." Clark then pointed out that both Jonathan and Lionel would have given the same affection to Lex if he had tried to be a good son. When Lex suggested that Clark was responsible for Jonathan's death, Clark said he had proof that Lex killed Lionel, which visibly shook Lex.
Later, when Lex decreed that everyone but him was banned from Lionel's funeral, Clark, in a lone act of defiance, attended Lionel's funeral. Clark finally cemented the father/son bond he had with Lionel when he sprinkled dirt over Lionel's grave, the same thing he did at Jonathan's funeral.
Tess discovered that Lionel had found Davis Bloome on the day of the first meteor shower and had initially believed him to be the Traveler. Tess was able to see Lionel's mistake from an objective point of view. She suggested that Lionel, along with Lex, was so busy fighting it out to become a worthy opponent to Naman that he was too blind to see the truth, that two boys had fallen to Earth that day that were destined to be each others opponent: Doomsday and Clark Kent.
It was discovered that Lionel left his Kryptonian library to Martha, who learned of the Book of Rao from Lionel's library, which later led Clark to defeat Major Zod and sent the Kandorian army to New Krypton.
After the revelation of being a Luthor, Tess (Lutessa) becomes Lionel's heir and inherits his fortune and treasures as a result which included a kryptonian mirror box which Clark accidentally used to travel into a parallel world where he finds his counterpart is the son of an alternate-reality Lionel Luthor (that was the de-facto supreme ruler of the parallel world) due to being under Lionel's evil vicious tyrannical upbringing and ruled that world with fear and terror. Eventually, Clark finds and uses the mirror box again in order to return back to his universe but unknowingly the Lionel from that world also escaped with him.
The alternate-Lionel finds Lionel's journals to learn everything he can about his doppelganger's history.
Lionel was mentioned several times. When Lionel was mentioned to have plummeted to his death by Lex, Tess reffered to it in a negative way while the-alternate Lionel believed that it was the best thing that Lex ever did. Clark mentioned how Lionel's pre-redemption influence "destroyed" Lex in comparison to the alternate-Lionel's attempting to influence to Conner Kent. Later, Tess used her birth certificate with Lionel's fingerprints on it to prove that the alternate-Lionel was a "fake".
After Tess poisoned Lex with a neurotoxin, Lex had completely forgotten his experiences with Lionel: being raised by him, being declared "insane" and put in a asylum, feeling betrayed due to Lionel's closeness to Clark, and even Lex murdering his father.
Season Ten (Earth-2)Edit
In the ComicsEdit
Unlike the series, Lionel Luthor does not have as major a role in the comic books.
Just prior Lionel's death, Lex declared that "No one will even remember your name.", which is a nod to the DC expanded universe where very little mention of Lex's father is made.
In the comics, the character of Lex's unnamed father was originally mentioned as an abusive alcoholic father that (along with Lex's unnamed mother) died in a mysterious automobile accident. In the 1986 The Man of Steel reboot it was revealed that Lex had killed his parents in order to collect insurance money to create LexCorp (similiar to Lionel's killing of his father and mother in order to collect insurance money to start LuthorCorp).
In the story The Curse of Lena Thorul he is named "Jules" and is revealed to have disowned his criminal son Lex and changed the family name to "Thorul". He also told Lena, his younger daughter, that Lex had been killed in a mountain-climbing accident. Later Jules Thorul and his wife Arlene are killed in a car accident.
In the 2004 miniseries Superman: Birthright, Lex's father is not a billionaire himself, but immediately puts Lex to work making millions for him as soon as he discovers his son's astronomical IQ. He dies in a fire caused by Lex's experiments with Kryptonite—the same accident that causes Lex's hair to permanently fall out.
In the most recent Superman: Secret Origin storyline shows Lionel's original history as an abusive alcoholic is re-instated. Furthermore, Lionel has a daughter Lena. He terrorized both Lex and Lena and then died of a heart-attack, leaving Lena in the care of an aunt and Lex to leave Smallville. It was later revealed that Lex had caused his father's heart attack in order to cash in on a sizable life insurance policy, which he would use as the basis for what would become his fortune of LexCorp.
In the Green Lantern superhero crossover Blackest Night, Lionel is revived as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.
Lionel Luthor also appeared in the DC Comics major Flash superhero crossover Flashpoint event. In that reality Lionel Luthor took his young son, Lex, and they tour General Sam Lane's facility. Lionel wanted to see some aliens of Project Superman and try and beat Queen Enterprises to the punch. The men working at Project Superman brought out Subject Two (Krypto) and then Subject Zero released some energy from afar, enough to drive Krypto over the edge into a murderous frenzy. After that Lionel threw his son quite literally to the dog, killing Lex.
The physical appearance of Lionel Luthor in this series bears a remarkable resemblance to Lex Luthor's clone body from the comics, implying that the appearence of "Lex Luthor II" is the insiripation of Lionel Luthor's appearence in Smallville. In Superman (vol. 2) Lex created a new body for himself when he found out he suffered from a severe cancer brought on by long-term radiation exposure from a kryptonite ring that he wore on his finger. He then faked his death and removed his brain from his cancer-ridden body and transplanted into his new cloned body and passed himself off as "Lex Luthor II", his illegitimate 21-year-old son and heir with a beard and full head of red hair (this storyline was also used in the last season of the show where Lionel of Earth-2 used Alexander Luthor, passing him off as Lex's long lost son, to gain full control of LuthorCorp).
- Princeton University (pre-Season 1)
- Yale University (pre-Season 1)
- Trustee of the Luthors family fortune
- Founder of LuthorCorp
- Chairman of the Board of LuthorCorp (1-4)
- CEO of LuthorCorp (1-4)
- Special Advisor of LuthorCorp (5-7)
- Season One: Pilot, Hothead, Jitters, Shimmer, Leech (voice only), Stray, Reaper, Crush, Tempest
- Season Two: Vortex, Duplicity, Red, Nocturne, Lineage, Skinwalker, Insurgence, Suspect, Prodigal, Witness, Accelerate, Calling, Exodus
- Season Three: Exile, Phoenix, Extinction, Slumber, Relic, Shattered, Asylum, Whisper, Obsession, Crisis, Legacy, Truth, Memoria, Talisman, Forsaken, Covenant
- Season Four: Crusade, Gone, Transference, Bound, Scare, Unsafe, Krypto, Sacred, Lucy, Onyx, Blank (flashback only), Ageless, Forever, Commencement
- Season Five: Arrival, Mortal, Hidden, Splinter, Solitude, Lexmas, Fanatic, Reckoning, Vengeance, Tomb, Cyborg, Void, Mercy, Oracle, Vessel
- Season Six: Zod, Sneeze, Arrow, Reunion, Rage, Static, Justice, Promise, Nemesis, Noir, Prototype, Phantom
- Season Seven: Bizarro, Action, Lara, Wrath, Blue, Persona, Siren, Fracture, Hero, Traveler, Veritas, Descent
- Season Ten: Lazarus (Mentioned only), Abandoned (flashback only), Finale, Part 2 (flashback only)
- Season Eleven: Guardian (flashback only), Detective (flashback only), Olympus (flashback only), Hollow (flashback only)
- Smallville Comic: Exile and The Kingdom, Vows, Chimera, Part 1, Chimera, Part 2, Captive (flashback only), Lies
- Lionel speaks the first line of dialogue in the series in the pilot episode, and is also the first character seen on screen (reading an article from the Daily Planet explaining the recent plane crash of Oliver Queen's parents).
- Lionel is left-handed as is Lex.
- A trademark feature concerning Lionel's appearance is his ungroomed lion's mane of hair. "Lionel" means "lion cub" complimenting and completing his lion-like façade. Lionel's hair was completely shaved off in the final scenes of Season Three's Covenant. By the end of Season Five and the start of Season Six, Lionel's full mane had completely regrown. Towards the end of Season Six and throughout Season Seven, Lionel kept his hair at clean and manageable shortness, which is widely common and contemporary with men's hairstyles. One can conclude that with Lionel's hair being fully grown and unkept, it was a symbol of his earlier personality (a scheming Machiavellian or a man with an impure soul) while his later "changed" personality as an emissary for Jor-El (cleaner hair courtesy of a clear conscience; or cleanliness is next to godliness).
- Due to other parallels between the Superman mythos and Christian theology, it is interesting to point out similarities between Lionel's redemption and that of Paul the Apostle. Lionel originally sought to control the Traveler, before he was chosen to be Jor-El's emissary. Saul originally sought to destroy the Gospel, before being chosen to be God's missionary. Additionally, both Paul and Lionel were blind for a short period of their lives.
- Lionel is a wine connoisseur and has a genuine passion for piano, orchestra and opera music. He also is well versed in the Holy Bible. He himself often articulates lessons learned from American literature the Classics (especially concerning Alexander the Great and Roman Emperors), The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche, "Machiavellian" tactics as espoused in The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, and the heroic deeds of the venerated Saint George.
- Lionel almost always addressed Chloe as "Miss Sullivan". The only times thar he referred to her as "Chloe Sullivan" was in the Season Four premiere Crusade and in Transference, when he was in Clark's body.
- It is possible that Lionel was raised Catholic or Episcopalian explaining his common references to Christianity. In Season Two's Prodigal, Lionel told Lex concerning his long lost son Lucas: "Careful Lex, there are parables of many kinds to be found in the Good Book." People who adhere to or have an affinity for Christian teachings are known to refer to the Holy Bible as "the Good Book."
- Because of Lionel's Protestant upbringing, it is entirely possible that Lex was brought up with the same sense of religious rearing. In Season One's Stray, Lex told Clark "...the morning of his baptism, my mother went into his nursery, found him in his crib, he had stopped breathing." Christenings and "infant baptisms" are a common practice in Roman Catholicism and in a few Protestant denominations. Although Lionel and Lex are not frequent church-goers, their level of education concerning the Bible and marriage ceremonies in which they have attended throughout the series, tends to portray them as followers of the Episcopalian denomination. But, this is not definitively certain.
- Lionel was a victim of patricide; his eldest son Lex pushed him out of his own skyscraper. Lionel plunged to his death from his forty-storey office window on the night of Thursday April 17, 2008.
- Lionel appears to have an attraction to redheads as his wife Lillian was a redhead. The women he had affairs with Rachel Dunleavy, Pamela Jenkins, and presumably Genevieve Teague were all redheads. Lionel also displayed an attraction to Martha Kent who also was a redhead.
- Many of the major events in Lionel's arc seem to be accompanied by operatic themes, such as the scene in which his head is shaved during the Season 3 finale.
- Lionel was the fourth main character who died and the fifth main villian to die.
- Lionel is the only character whose name both starts and ends with the same letter "L."
- Lionel's favourite drink is Armagnac 1963 (Red).
- After Jonathan's death, Lionel refers to Clark as "son" often in a manner similar to the way that Jonathan did.  Also, in earlier episodes, Lionel acts similarly towards Lex.
- Surprisingly, John Glover's characters (Lionel Luthor Earth-1 and 2) are both killed by Superman's 2 worst villains in the comics: Lionel Luthor Earth-1 was killed by Lex Luthor for sacrificing him for the Traveler and Earth-2 was killed by Darkseid for saving Lex Luthor to kill the Traveler. Both Lionels are the same person, but totally different lives.
- After years of suspicion, investigation and research, Lionel definitively learned about Clark's superpowers in Season Five in Mercy. However, he learned that Clark was an alien named Kal-El in Hidden when he emerged from his coma as Jor-El's oracle.
- Lionel was the main antagonist of Season Two and Three, a supporting antagonist during Seasons One and Four and an anti-hero in seasons Five through Seven. His Earth-2 counterpart is a supporting antagonist in Season Ten.
- Both Lionels were murdered or mortally wounded by one of his children (or alternate reality counterparts). Lionel from Earth-1 was murdered by Lex, and Lionel from Earth-2 was mortally wounded by Tess. When shot by Tess, Lionel stumbled to Lex's chamber where Darkseid came to him. Knowing he was dying, Lionel made a deal with Darkseid to save Lex in exchange for Lionel's soul. Darkseid gave the killing blow, grabbing his heart out for Lex.
- There appears to be a major plot hole in Lionel's relationship with Chloe Sullivan. During one phase of their relationship, he attempts to have her killed more than once; (1) having placed a bomb in her safe house, and (2) sending a metahuman assassin after her. However, Lionel and Chloe are never depicted discussing this, and it is apparently forgotten. The two appear being on cordial terms roughly a year after the aforementioned events, in especially when Lionel gives her valuable information regarding Brainiac. Another year later, Chloe is happy to spend Thanksgiving dinner at the Kent's, even happily sitting next to Lionel. Despite all of this, viewers of the show can safely assume that Clark (off-screen) explained to Chloe that Lionel was a newfound ally amongst their circle of friends. The fans can deduce that Clark told Chloe in detail that Lionel was an emissary and oracle for Jor-El, thus, genuinely changing Lionel for the better concerning his knowledge of Clark and his Kryptonian heritage. Chloe did learn from Lionel himself in Season Five's Oracle that he was an oracle for Jor-El, explaining how he made voluminous scribblings of the Kryptonian language, messages for Clark about impending doom. In Season Six's premiere episode Zod, when Lionel's own son was a vessel for General Zod, Lionel revealed to Chloe that his emissary connection to Jor-El was gone. Lionel would further continue his father-son relationship with Clark being an available ally for him whenever he was needed. In Season Seven's Blue, Jor-El's brother Zor-El locates "Jor-El's vessel" in the person of Lionel, further proving that Lionel reobtained and maintained his connection with Jor-El.
- The accusation made by Patricia Swann and (after Lionel's death) Edward Teague that Lionel killed Virgil Swann does not bear up well to Season 4's continuity, the Season where Swann actually died. Swann's death occurred at the start of the episode Sacred which was 10 episodes after Lionel had been converted to a peaceful nature in Transference but 2 episodes before he gave up that peaceful nature in Onyx.
- Oliver despised an already-deceased Lionel to the point of vengeful rage and his own personal sadness when he learned from Tess (in Season Eight's Toxic) that Lionel was responsible for the death of his parents. Oliver learned from Clark that Lionel had become a redeemed man, and insisted that he forgive and forget past wrongs made against himself and his family. When Oliver couldn't let go the knowledge about his parents' deaths, he successfully plotted and executed justice against Lionel's son Lex (Season Eight's Requiem).
- A last-minute change was made to the episode Covenant was about Lionel’s physical appearance on the show. John Glover came up with the idea of cutting Lionel’s hair for the season finale. Glover was busy preparing for a play that he was going to be acting in, and he needed his hair cut for the part. Glover made the suggestion while the crew was filming Memoria, as well as the idea of setting the scene in prison. Gough admits to needing some kind of device to cut back to while all of the other cliffhangers are occurring—Clark being taken away, the Kryptonian symbol burned into field on the Kent farm, and Lex being poisoned—and he felt that Glover’s suggestion would help them pull off the effect they wanted
- Lionel Luthor is the 3rd DC Comics character John Glover has portrayed. He previously was the voice of The Riddler from 1992-1998 in 4 episodes of Batman and 1 episode of Superman. His other DC character was in 1997 as Dr. Jason Woodrue in Batman & Robin.
- Lionel has never met Whitney and Zod; although he unknowingly confronted Zod while the latter was possessed by Lex.
- Male Relationships
- Female Relationships
- Love Triangle
- Lex Luthor
- Episodes featuring Lionel Luthor
- Lionel Luthor's homicides
- Lionel Luthor's near-death experiences
- Lionel Luthor (Earth-2)
- ↑ This is the amount Lionel attempts to transfer from a foreign account in Transference
- ↑ http://www2.warnerbros.com/web/smallville/luthorcorp/home.jsp
- ↑ According to Morgan Edge, Lionel's father abused him when growing up and his mother was described as "Gin soaked".
- ↑ Phoenix and Shattered
- ↑ Lionel was shown striking Lex to the ground in Fracture and berating him for crying in the Pilot
- ↑ Veritas, Eternal
- ↑ http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/LexLuthor.html
|Lionel Luthor in Smallville|
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