Currently airing its 12th season – and with no end in sight – Supernatural is The CW’s dramatic elder statesman, having even came into existence prior to the WB/UPN merger that created the network it now resides on. Having aired in nearly every possible timeslot on every possible weeknight over the course of its long run, Supernatural continues to draw one of the most consistent audiences in all of TV, proving that hopping around the schedule doesn’t necessarily lead to a drop in viewership.
Before Supernatural claimed the record of The CW’s longest running series, the previous holder was the Superman prequel series Smallville, which also debuted on The WB and ran for 10 seasons from 2001-2011. A precursor to the current boom of DC Comics based TV series on The CW – and perhaps most directly to FOX’s Batman prequel series Gotham – Smallville had its ups and downs creatively, but remains fondly remembered by fans; with some still wishing actor Tom Welling had been chosen to portray Superman on Supergirl.
So, with the above info in mind, one wonders what might have happened if these two very different CW properties had ever overlapped. Well, it turns out that the Supernatural crew really wanted to make such a crossover happen, only to be repeatedly stymied by how to make things work creatively. This news comes courtesy of Jackson Stewart, director of the upcoming indy horror film Beyond the Gates. During a recent chat with EW, Stewart – who served as a production assistant on SPN – revealed the following about the unused crossover idea:
“There was a lot of really cool ideas that some of the writers had. They had an episode where they really wanted to do a Superman curse that was about every actor who plays Superman ends up getting killed. So they find out that Tom Welling from Smallville is next and have to save him. I thought that was one of the funniest ideas that I’d heard.”
The Superman curse Stewart references primaily refers to actors George Reeves – who played Superman on TV in the 1950s – and Christopher Reeve – who of course played Superman on the big-screen in the ’70s and ’80s. Reeves died of a gunshot wound at age 45 under disputed circumstances, and Reeve died of a heart attack at 52, after famously becoming paralyzed in 1995 due to a horse riding accident. Knowing Supernatural, one can imagine what kind of demonic explanation might have been invented to explain in-universe what really happened to Reeves and Reeve, and what would apparently soon happen to Welling.
Considering how drastically different Supernatural and Smallville are, the above type of meta crossover involving Welling is really the only way they could have conceivably gone, as it would obviously be highly impractical to try and straight up blend the two fictional worlds. After all, if Superman existed in the world of SPN, where the hell was he every time the apocalypse needed to be averted? Alas, at this late stage, the Welling idea will probably never happen, leaving fans to forever wonder what might have been.
Supernatural season 12 airs Thursdays at 9pm on The CW.