I was never much of a Smallville fan. Well, sort of. I was always a fan of season openers and season closers, but everything in between was always just very formulaic freak of the week melodrama. Because of that, I bailed out on the CW prequel reboot of Superman’s mythos about halfway through its 10-year run from 2001 to 2011.
This means that I wasn’t around for the show’s ending where Tom Welling’s Clark Kent finally grew into his fate and became Superman. And thus I missed the whole brouhaha around the fact that fans never actually got to see Welling in the classic Superman cape and boots costume, with the closest being him ripping open his shirt to reveal the famous S shield.
Many fans were not happy with this, feeling they got cheated out of the big payoff that had been a decade in the making. And it turns out that it was all the fault of Superman himself, as Welling finally revealed (via CBM) what happened in that controversial ending.
Our finale was supposed to be, in the first act, Clark puts on the suit and flies around, saves Lois on a plane, and does this other stuff. It was a call that I had with Peter Roth, who is the head of WB Television, who’s a good friend of mine and we have a great relationship. I said, ‘That’s not our show.’ He’s like, ‘No, it’s going to be great,” and I go, ‘Yeah, but just think about what we’ve been doing. If we just jump into that, we haven’t earned it.’
We jumped onto this idea that at the end of the show, the idea is that Clark becomes Superman and he’s out there, and we know he’s out there, but we can’t go with him, but that we know and we feel good that he’s out there doing good. I hope the audience didn’t feel like we didn’t show them something that they needed to see. I felt like we gave them the jumping off point for their imagination as to what could happen.
Of course, while fans never saw Welling as Superman, they did a got a shot of the Man of Steel. Unfortunately, it was just a blurry long range CGI shot, as Welling refused to budge on the show’s initial grounded “no flights/tights” rule, despite the fact that since the early days of the show, several characters around him had taken on more fantastical characteristics.
It was something that we discussed before we ever shot the pilot. We literally had a sit down where we talked about the show and I asked about the suit and the tights and the flying, and they said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ Part of the reason being is that show is about a teenager trying to figure out who he is. They felt that once Clark put on the cape and the suit, life became too easy, in a sense. They wanted to focus on who this character was before that.
Were you a Smallville fan who felt shortchanged by the show’s lack of Superman reveal in the end? If you were, what do you make of Welling’s reasoning here? Sound off in the comments below!
Last Updated: August 11, 2017