Tom Welling’s Clark Kent is only three short days from embracing his destiny as Superman in the Smallville series finale – scheduled to air as a two hour event this Friday. With ten seasons of DC superhero mythos under his belt, what’s next for the Abercrombie & Fitch model turned high-profile actor/director/producer?
Answer: If a new report is to be believed – more superhero action; but this time at rival comic book house Marvel Studios.
According to What’s Playing, Marvel Studios is eyeing Welling for a potential role in one of their upcoming comic book to film adaptation properties – now that the actor is free from saving Metropolis and has started looking at future projects. There’s no doubt that the news will both excite and confuse Smallville and superhero lovers alike – especially if you’re a die-hard fan of one or the other comic book universe.
However, it’s especially interesting to hear that Marvel is interested in Welling who, aside from his time as Clark Kent, isn’t exactly experienced in headlining feature-films – with only three movie appearances to his name: Rupert Wainwright’s 2005 remake of John Carpenter’s The Fog as well as two rounds as Charlie Baker in the Steve Martin franchise, Cheaper by the Dozen. Granted Welling has a sizable following from his work at the CW but Marvel has proven they’re capable of landing high-profile, house-hold name-type, movie stars for their superhero roles.
Unlike superhero feature films (which require real-world feel and epic action), Smallville thrives on its oftentimes campy interpretation of the DC superhero world (see last Friday’s episode “Prophecy” which once again featured the return of Chris Gautheir as the Toyman). As a result, it’s not immediately apparent how Welling’s sometimes hammy superhero act and “boyish” good looks would translate to the blockbuster filmscape – especially without a different type of role (maybe one that actually showcases his acting talent) to serve as a buffer between iconic superhero appearances. The discrepancy between what works in comic book films, as opposed to TV series, was likely a contributing factor in Bryan Singer’s choice to leave Welling in TV land – after the actor tested for Superman: Returns.
That said, it’s not that Welling couldn’t do it, since he’s definitely playing to the CW audience on Smallville; however, looking at the current slate of Marvel properties the studio has en route (in some form) – Deathlok, Ant Man, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Heroes for Hire, and Runaways – it’s hard to know exactly where Welling would fit in. In the current cinescape, studios market a film with either a high-profile actor or a well-known property, so it’s unlikely that Marvel would offer Welling a headlining role in a lesser-known superhero vehicle – since it’d be especially hard to market the project.
As a result, should Marvel actually coax Welling into a rival superhero role – it’d be easier to believe he’d be a member of a team (as in Runaways) – as opposed to a one man show (like Deathlok or Iron Fist). Though, who would have thought relative unknown (pre-Star Trek) Chris Hemsworth would make such a successful leading-man in a riskier superhero film like Thor?
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick — and let us know which Marvel property you’d like to see sign Welling.
Tom Welling/Clark Kent embraces his destiny (and maybe flies) this Friday in the Smallville series finale.
Source: What’s Playing