Blame Tom Welling for why Smallville never had a proper Superman scene

4 min read

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!

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Last Updated: August 11, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Hammersteyn

    Always felt the Smallville was PG low budget, low CGI poop. Probably why I’ve never bother with Arrow or Flash. I saw a few episodes of both and comparing it to the style of Netflix’s version of superhero series I’d have to say Netflix does it way better.

    • MonsterCheddar


    • Untill they did Iron Fist. That was crap.

      • this

      • Hammersteyn

        Can’t all be winners

    • Dresden

      I agree wholeheartedly with that.

      Those series feel so generic and bland after the initial few episodes.

    • Your face is poor CGI!

    • Admiral Chief


      • Hammersteyn

        I just can’t get into it. The cast is cringey. It’s as if the 90210 cast pulled some strings to get their kids into Hollywood.

      • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

        I love Flash. It’s actually the best of the lot. The cast is spot on, and it has this cool mix of humour and drama. This last season was particularly good. Arrow seems to be recovering from its season 3 and 4 slump, but I’ve always maintained… FELICITY MUST DIE!!

        • Admiral Chief

          Yeah, I felt like that when she was “cheating” on Oliver with whomever, but seems like things are looking up finally for Mr Queen

    • Magoo
    • Magoo

      And let’s not forget Dare Devil…

  • I was stuck in China, so watched 4 years of the crap. Man, I should never have gone to China…

    • Hammersteyn

      Stuck in China? Did you not have cash for a plane ticket home and you had to work in a sweatshop?

      • I… I… I can’t talk about it…

        • Hammersteyn

          Always wondered why my Addiddas I bought a few years back didn’t last me a month.

          • Sorry man, I just don’t have the right sized fingers…

          • Hammersteyn


    • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

      So the rumours are true… they kept you because you were a dirty damn spy! I KNEW IT! NEVER TRUST A GINGER!!!

  • Admiral Chief

    ANYTHING is better than SUPERGIRL AND SUPERMEHN in the CW series.

    Most useless Supes EVER, and Supergirl character and series is also lame to the factor 9k

    • Holy shit bro. Are you trying to start a war with Trevor? 0_O

      • Admiral Chief

        SG is one of the WORST series I’ve watched in ages. Yet my daughter loves it, so I am dooooooooomed to watch it

        • If that’s the excuse you need, stick to it 😉 Trevor IS a girl, he uses that.

          • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

            So that’s why I felt this weird attraction to Trevor… She’s an HONEST AND TRUE LADY???

    • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

      Yeah, Supergirl started off lame… got interesting towards the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2, and now it’s back to being shit again. It’s a real shame because Melissa Benoist is Supergirl. She’s actually pretty good in the role. They just need a new script and get away from the “Girl Power”/”We’re Woke” bullshit.

      • Admiral Chief

        Agreed. She is quite the actress, but the show’s writing is too much SJW propaganda and not enough story

        • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

          Yeah, the excessive “sjw/ I are woke” shit is nauseating. Supergirl should transcend that crap. They could learn so much from the wonder woman movie.

  • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

    I enjoyed Smallville. Remember way back in 2001, it was THE weekly superhero show, and the first 4 seasons of Smallville were pretty good. You had some interesting cameos, and it was interesting how they developed the relationship between Clark and Luthor. Sadly, it went through the same problems Buffy and Angel did, in that, the last seasons were utter crap (and Kirstin Kreuk became annoying with each episode, a bit like Emily Rickards in Arrow). It went on far too long, and it should have taken a knee in the 5th season.

    There are some interesting parallels with Arrow though, and much like with Arrow… once you go beyond 5 seasons the creative rot starts to set in.

  • Kapitan Balalaika

    After two seasons of The Flash, the first 6 episodes of Arrow season 1 and episode 1 of Supergirl I decided never to touch superhero shows outside of Netflix.

  • For the Emperor!

    My issue with Smallville came when Lana REFUSED TO DIE!

    • Sock-puppet

      My issue was when it stopped being about a teenager with powers and it became a story about a journalist with powers that was somehow still not fully discovered.

      Like when he became evil in one season he literally flew off. Once he got turned into a good guy again and was told “dude, you were flying” he literally just went oh ohkay then.

      They hit a ceiling and should’ve stopped.

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