SMALLVILLE’s momentous journey from man-to-Superman has enthralled viewers for the past decade. For any show, 10 years is remarkable by any measure, and for SMALLVILLE it is a simultaneous passing of the torch and the solidifying of a legacy. Not wanting to leave the fans hanging or wanting for anything, executive producers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson have made it their mission to jam-pack as much of the significant elements of both Superman-mythology and SMALLVILLE into this final season. Then as the show came down to the wire, they tried to squish even more into the two-hour finale. At a special sneak peek screening, members of the press were treated to a glimpse of what that finale will offer. Suffice it to say, fans will be really happy. In fact, there just might be shouts of joy and jubilation as each new surprise is unveiled.
In order to do justice to both the show, which spanned ten amazing years, Brian and Kelly took it upon themselves to re-watch not only the pilot episode, but also watched several other pivotal episodes to make sure that they hit all the right notes. They wanted to ensure a heart-warming and promise-filled send off for a show that touched so many lives and provided countless hours of entertainment for the fans. They also understood that it was not their job to conclude the Superman story, but rather to merge the worlds of SMALLVILLE and the overall Superman mythology. Thus, their job was to build the bridge in the finale, not close the book. The finale will be more of a hand-off between the two worlds – after all, the story of Clark Kent and Superman is just beginning. So in the finale look for some long-lost familiar faces to pop-up and some long awaited iconic moments to finally be fulfilled. That will be Brian and Kelly’s legacy and gift to the fans. Blood, sweat and tears – all because they loved the show and the fans to make it as damn near perfect as possible.
Talking about the finale and how he will feel after it is done, Brian candidly admitted, “This was a huge endeavor and it had a lot of challenges, so if feels as if there’s a big weight that’s been lifted. To be honest, I think we won’t know until it really airs and it’s done forever.” Reflectively Kelly said, that for her, “It’s strange.” Brian also explained, “It’s very strange, but most importantly, I think we’re really proud. Everybody put 110% into the finale – all the actors. People did things they probably wouldn’t have done before — Visual Effects has thrown in some extra stuff. Everybody’s gone above and beyond the call of duty.” Kelly added, “Peter Roth has been the biggest fan of the show from the beginning. It’s usually not the network’s job to pitch in on that stuff, but everyone gave us a lot of support because no one wanted to leave things off the screen.” If anything is missing, it won’t be for the lack of trying. They had a green-light to make the finale exactly as they wanted and they went for it.
When asked are their favorite moments from the finale, Kelly mentioned there is a significant scene in the church as Lois is about to walk down the aisle and Brian alluded to a mysterious “door” scene. He explained, “There’s a very good scene with a door that is probably one of everyone’s favorite scenes in the show. There is one shot that is the [quintessential] Smallville shot. You’ll see it and you’ll be like, ‘This is what we needed in the finale!’ You’ll know it the second you see it.” With a tease like that, we are surely all counting the minutes to find out what THAT is!
Another fun thing to look forward to in the finale is the long-awaited return of Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. Despite years trying to persuade Michael to do one last appearance for the fans, it ultimately came right down to the wire to make it happen. But after carving out exactly one day to cement Lex into the SMALLVILLE legacy, the stars aligned and Michael was there in the end. As Brian explained, “We really wanted to keep this Clark’s finale — but Lex plays a very interesting role and there are a couple big twists with Lex.” Kelly had a much more illuminating take on the necessity of Lex to wrap the show, as she explained, “Because Michael hasn’t been on the show for the last couple years . . . we needed to tie up the last couple years and the season. We had Darkseid looming out there. But when we were thinking about Michael coming back, and the Smallville Lex and what his purpose was, it was always not quite what you expected – it was much more human and emotional than any of us thought starting out on the series would have expected. So we really went back to the pilot and we thought, ‘There’s that guy who showed up and was totally personable, super sympathetic, and just wanted to thank a guy for saving his life.’ When we looked at having him back in the finale, it was the same thing: they’re going to go on to be huge enemies. So it was about ‘what’s pivotal at this moment for our Lex Luthor and our Clark Kent?’ We had to wrap up a relationship that has been so complicated and so mixed with emotions for 10 years.”
So while they always hoped Lex would be back, as for venturing back into the Lana Lang storyline, Brian and Kelly knew from the beginning of the final season that Lana Lang’s story was done. Brian explained it as, “We were told at the beginning of the season that Kristin would never be back. I think her role would have been much better in the 200th episode because it was about reunions and high school, and all that. Once that passed and we realized we weren’t going to get her for that because she just wasn’t available, we didn’t follow the Lana-thread.” So while Lana’s story did not make it into the final season, they always kept the door open for the return of Lex, which as Brian said, “We always kept the Lex-thread partially alive.”
However much the die-hard romantics may dispute it, the SMALLVILLE story has always been about Clark’s journey which entangles a multitude of key people; and it will one day ultimately come to rest with Superman’s nemesis and arch-enemy, Lex Luthor. To end the story with just a wedding would not be doing justice to the story of the hero – though it’s a beautiful send off for Clark Kent if it comes true. What fans really want to see is Clark shedding the small farm boy persona and slipping into his super suit and become the Man of Steel. No more hiding in the semblance of a normal life – time to take to the skies!
Kelly and Brian were also quick to point out that, in the end, they just could not fit everything into the finale that they wanted. The time constraints were too pressing and they had to make some hard choices. Kelly shared, “The finale is two hours, and we had to cut quite a bit out actually. It is jam-packed . . . A lot of prep went in it and it was a really challenging episode. It was challenging when the first script came out — and then people just kept adding and bringing more to the table. Our crew and our cast were just tireless about making it the greatest it could be. I would say pretty much every moment in this had a lot of hours behind it, not just that one.”
Funny enough, Brian explained, “It’s fair to say that we thought, at one point, that we might not have enough footage for the finale. So we wrote a couple extra scenes with some of the Darkseid mythology, and with Granny and Godfrey, which ended up not making it into the final cut because the original script did fit. So those might end up showing up on the DVD or somewhere. They fleshed out the story a little; but because they weren’t our main characters, they were the first to go.” So be sure to look for all those extras, as well as a lot more on the DVD box set. In fact, Kelly described the DVD set as, “The DVD set is insane. I think it’s the biggest one Warner Brothers has ever put out for a whole series!” Brian also added, “It’s really cool looking. They’ve gone back and interviewed people that were on those first seasons with us, like Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar]. Some of the stuff is still in negotiations right now. But they did two featurettes that are going to go on this season. There’ll be lots of extra features.”
So while Lana will be M.I.A. and Granny’s screen time got cut-down, another familiar face returning for the finale is Jonathan Kent. Despite being the dearly departed, Jonathan has been known to reappear both to remind Clark of his destiny and in the alt-verse from which Lionel Luther’s doppelganger managed to escape. To explain Jonathan’s appearance in the finale, Kelly said, “It will be really clear what role Jonathan plays and why he shows up the way he does in this episode.” Though personally for her, “Every time I see certain moments with Jonathan, I definitely get a tear in my eye — even after all these weeks of watching the footage!” Brian also explained, “We very purposely platformed [Jonathan’s] role in the finale to match up what we did in the premiere this year, with that final scene that Clark has with him in ‘Lazarus.’ The whole point was to bookend the final season with Jonathan. He’s introduced in that same type of way.” After all, what could the finale be without the return of the one man who had the greatest, positive influence on the man that Clark Kent would be as he struggled to be both Kryptonian and human at the same time?
Thus, being able to bring back Lex, Lionel, Martha and Jonathan into the finale was extraordinary good fortune. But there were a few more storylines and long-lost faces that they simply could not weave in. One of which was John Jones and the chance to showcase more of the Justice League of America. Kelly admitted, “I think we probably would have liked to see the [JLA] a little bit more this season. John Jones was somebody we really wanted to bring back. What it just came down to was that the finale had a lot of people in it. At a certain point you tip the scale and you’re not servicing the people that are on screen. There were a lot of beloved characters that we wanted to see again that we didn’t get quite to bring back.” But she added, “[B]ut in general, we were pretty happy with everything we were able to do. Brian also remarked, “It’s always hard when another hero shows up because every minute that other hero’s on screen, it takes time away from Clark just by its nature. The VRA was supposed to be a vehicle to get as many people back as we could, but with the 200th episode and the finale, our resources were maxed out.”
Before fans of Chloe and Oliver worry that the charmed duo won’t be featured, rest reassured. Both of Clark’s stalwart supporters and comrades-in-arms are back in fine fighting form for the big showdown with Darkseid. As Kelly mysteriously hinted, “Chloe fans should definitely stay tuned through the whole show. There’s a jewel.” Brian also cautiously shared, “I don’t want to give anything away. Allison was doing a play so we got her for only half of the show. I think there are a lot of different ways people want Chloe’s story to end, and I think we served her character in a way that is right for who she was and who she’s becoming. She has one big moment with Clark where we get to see her shine. . . . There’s a certain thing that we give her that nobody got.”
Then as for Oliver, Brian noted, “Because Oliver came in so late in the series, we wanted to serve him, but this show is about Clark. [Thus] it started as one thing and we wanted to end it there. He has a big heroic moment. He has a big arc and he has some complications clearly.” Kelly further elaborated, “One thing that I really enjoy about watching Justin [Hartley] and getting to wrap up the Oliver Queen story is that you really see what an impact these heroes coming together has made on him and having Clark as a friend. It’s very clear in this episode. It defines that relationship and what it means to both of them. There’s a really great moment that you just see their friendship and that bond — and that’s what’s going to get them through a lot of hard times in the future.” Brian also added, “We purposely had the last couple episodes be a little Oliver-heavy because we knew we wouldn’t be able to have as much time for him in the finale. So the one that Justin directed called ‘Dominion’ and ‘Prophecy’ had a lot of Oliver in them. Hopefully, people feel satisfied with a little conclusion in the finale.”
Similarly they felt the story involving Kara had been addressed, which Brian explained as, “We saw this last run, not as individual episodes, but as a lead-up. So we wanted to not try to pack everything in the finale. That was our cap-off of villains so that we could have the villains in the finale be Darkseid and Lex and Lionel. That was to show that villains will go on — heroes will go on — Kara will go on to her destiny — and wrap up all that to protect Clark and everything that was in the finale.”
Instead, the finale will focus on bookending the series and concluding the last major battle with evil before Clark fully embraces his destiny and the Superman persona. Just as Clark needs to face the Luthers and his parents in his last final moment as Clark, he must also confront his relationship with Jor-El. As Kelly shared, “Sometimes your mentors and the people that you look to for help can also be holding you back or it can be your imagination that they’re holding you back. I think it’s about that final step of trying to figure out, as an adult, whether you are friends with your parents or if your parents are still your parents. Clark is really trying to figure out all those last relationships as he finally takes this step into complete manhood — or shall we say, Superman-hood. I think it’s still a complication in his life that he has to make peace with in the finale.” Brian also explained, “Finding problems and character flaws for Superman has always been a challenge of this show because he’s perfect. What we purposely chose to be his stumbling block this year is the fact that he’s actually trying too hard to be a hero and trying too hard to force his destiny. So some of the problems that he’s facing at the top of the finale are about him trying too hard to decide who he is and to be a hero, and to not let it happen at the pace it should.” Kelly further explained, “One of the things that’s difficult, and it really started a bit in the 200th episode, is when you’ve seen your future, how does that start adjusting what you do on a daily basis? You have a mind-set of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this,’ or ‘I’ve got to do that to be this person.’ I think all of us would have that if we just jumped 10 years into our future and spent a day there. I can’t even imagine what sort of impact we’d come back with. It’d be a real challenge just to stay in a present mind-set. That’s not easy.” So Clark’s journey for this final season was to confront his destiny and not be deterred or boxed in by it. To find a way to live his life amongst all the responsibilities he is assuming and make peace with it.
Then, if there is one thing that Brian and Kelly want fans to take away from the show, it is a belief in heroes. As Kelly revealed, “I think that has become incredibly important to us that we were able to work on a show that had such a positive message. The fact that we have such hardcore fans that have followed the show, I think that’s why they watch. It’s not because we’re going to have the biggest visual effects they’ll ever see on a screen and it’s not because of really anything other than I think they want to believe in the heroes.” Brian added, “I think Superman was born out of a very tumultuous time in our history and I think we’re facing a lot of other challenges right now and we will in the future. To me, it’s inspiration for sure.” In our darkest hour, we turn not to the darkness, but to the light and seek out heroes that will save us from our fears and give us hope for a better future. SMALLVILLE is to remind us of that. It is okay to believe in heroes – to seek out heroes and even achieve to be heroes. That kind of inspiration resonates in our hearts and souls.
Finally, not only do Clark and Superman have a legacy to live up to, but so does SMALLVILLE. When asked what kind of legacy they want the show to have, Kelly said, “What I hope is that what SMALLVILLE did was make one of the most recognizable heroes in the world accessible and made him human to people — so that they could relate to him and be inspired by him. That would be my hope.” For Brian, he explained it as, “With Batman, we see his angst on a daily basis. He literally wears it on his sleeve. Superman is this larger-than-life, poppy red and blue, almost perfect inspiration. So, for me, it’s that we got to see the immense struggle it took to get to that point because he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve every day. We filled in the space from when he arrived on Earth to the point that he decided to be that inspiration for people.” To show the world that Superman is still just a man – albeit a super special one and one with a heart of gold, but a man that we can relate to and embrace. To make him our hero, not because he is supposed to be a hero, but because we watched him become one. To be more than the sum of his abilities and truly become extraordinary – and he did.
In the end, for Brian and Kelly, SMALLVILLE was not only a dream-come-true, it was a gift. They had the privilege of carving out a piece of iconic hero history and making it their own and sharing that fantastic vision with the world. SMALLVILLE will be remembered for its warmth, its humor and its tenacious desire to show the miraculous journey of a man who embraced his destiny and became something more – Superman. For the years of joy, from Brian and Kelly and the rest of the cast and crew, SMALLVILLE is their legacy – a gift to treasure and share. And we are grateful. Thank you!
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).