With the numerous superhero tv shows that currently air today, it’s hard to imagine a time when comic book based shows weren't readily available. However, back in 2001, Smallville stood as one of the few live-action shows depicting a major comic book character at the time.
Following the life of a young Clark Kent in his hometown of Smallville, viewers got a glimpse into the (relatively) normal life of a young superhero. Throughout the series, comic book fans were treated with the appearances of many favorite characters and even the formation of a Justice League.
With its unique perspective and original content, Smallville became a cult favorite show for new fans as well as dedicated comic book readers. Though the series ended back in 2011, its impact on the future of other superhero TV shows can still be felt today - particularly with Gotham as well as the CW's Arrowverse.
Over time, however, the past history of Smallville has come to light, revealing dark secrets that dedicated fans were unaware of. From problems behind the scenes to the tragic futures of some of its stars, the truth about the series still continued long after its final episode.
Here are 16 Dark Secrets Behind Smallville You Had No Idea About.
16 The Show Was Originally Planned Around A Young Bruce Wayne
Fans of the current DC Comics series Gotham may be shocked to learn that the show could have been in almost two decades sooner.
Plans were actually in place to develop a show based on the life of a young Bruce Wayne. This show should would have followed a similar concept to Smallville; Bruce would not be shown in costume during the show. However, the show’s development ran into a significant conflict with the film division of Warner Bros., which had plans to reboot the origin story of Batman starting with Batman Begins.
Instead, the idea of focusing on a young Clark Kent was proposed, leading to the eventual development of Smallville. Luckily, the plans for the young Bruce Wayne story finally came to fruition and was developed into the Gotham series we have today.
15 Backlash to the casting of Pete and Lana
When developing an established comic books series for television, often certain aspects of the story tend to get changed. Understandably, some fans are not so forgiving about some changes to their favorite characters. When the cast was announced for the upcoming Smallville series, some fans were shocked at the casting for characters Lana Lang and Pete Ross. In the comics, Lana was depicted as a redhead and Pete was a blonde. However, Eurasian actress Kristin Kreuk and African-American actor Sam Jones III were cast instead, respectively. Despite fans’ outrage, producers stuck to the decision to create a more diverse cast and moved ahead with productions. As the show progressed and gained in popularity, the fans, in turn, came to accept and appreciate the character changes for the show.
14 Tom Welling Refused To Wear The Superman Suit
Early in the planning for the show, showrunners decided that they did not want Smallville to be a depiction of the Superman fans are used to. Instead, they wanted to focus on his humble beginnings as a young man growing up in a small town. As such, they incorporated a “no tights, no flights" rule for the overall story of the show.
However, as the show progressed and Kent became more confident in his powers, fans still hoped to see Welling in the iconic suit. Unfortunately, at Welling's request, that idea was nixed entirely. According to SyFy.com, when approached with the idea of wearing the suit in the series finale, Welling revealed, “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.’” Too bad.
13 Only Two Main Cast Members Have Been in Every Season
As with many long-running TV series, viewers often had to say goodbye to their favorite characters on Smallville. Whether due to firings, new projects, or stale storylines, many actors will step away from a series despite their popularity.
Over the course of its airing, Smallville lost several major characters including Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, and Pete Ross. In fact, by the show’s series finale in 2011, only Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan were the only main cast members to appear in all ten seasons.
Both stars managed to appear in every season without any absences during the course of the show. In fact, Tom Welling remained the only cast member to have appeared in all 217 episodes of the series. No days off for the Man of Steel.
12 Sam Jones III's Drug Conviction and Prison Sentence
After overcoming the backlash faced with his character’s ethnic background change, actor Sam Jones III went on to make Pete Ross a lovable character. Though fans and writers wanted to include more lines and scenes for the role, Jones would eventually be written out of the show during season three. He made a brief appearance in season seven but the character was not brought back to Smallville again.
Following his time on the show, Jones faced several scandals and legal problems. After a dealing with a sex tape that was released earlier in the year, Jones was brought up on charges of conspiracy to possess illegal drugs with the intent to distribute in 2010. He eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison, though he only served ten months.
11 Showrunners jumped ship
Another familiar problem with long-running shows stems around changing personnel behind the scenes. Many TV shows have had their original showrunners and producers leave for various reasons, including differences of opinions or changes to the project.
After seven seasons, original showrunners Gough and Millar left the series in 2008. Though they never specified their reasons for leaving, some reports indicated there was a difference in opinions between themselves and the executives over the future of the show. Following their departure, their replacements included Todd Slavkin, Kelly Souders, Darren Swimmer, and Brian Peterson.
However, the revolving door for the position began again when Swimmer and Slavkin left the show before the ninth season to work on the rebooted Melrose Place series. However, even after all of the personnel changes, the showrunner drama continued in a different direction...
10 Former Showrunners Then Sued
After departing the show in 2008, showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar continued successful careers with other popular tv shows and movies, including Into the Badlands. However, their time at Smallville was not over as new legal issues came to the surface. As reported by Variety, the former showrunners sued Warner Bros “in a vertical integration suit that claimed that the studio was low-balling the fees it was charging to license the show to sibling networks WB and CW.”
The suit, filed in 2010 against the producers of the show, would have been a major blow to both the company and the show itself. However, in 2013, both parties reached a settlement that did not result in the $100 million the showrunners were initially asking for in the lawsuit.
9 Canceled Supernatural Crossover
Many TV series have made fans’ dreams come true by having series within the same network crossover - CBS crime procedurals in particular are fond of this. Though it has also become a CW staple lately, crossovers on the WB and CW networks were being considered years ago. In fact, there were talks of a Supernatural/Smallville crossover.
In an article we published last year, former Supernatural production assistant Jackson Stewart shared, “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.”
Considering Supernatural actor Jenson Ackles was the second choice for Clark Kent behind Welling, this crossover between these two shows seemed to be fated from the start. Oh well…
8 Margot Kidder Quit Over The Death of Christopher Reeve
Among the many cameos that took place on Smallville, two stars stood out as the most significant: Superman actor Christopher Reeve and actress Margot Kidder. Playing Clark Kent and Lois Lane in the movies, both stars graced Smallville with guest roles throughout the series.
Sadly, Reeve only made two appearances on the show before passing away in 2004. As heartbreaking as his death was for so many Superman fans around the world, producers of Smallville thought it was the best option to include it in the show. Reeve’s character, Virgil Swann, would be killed off the show as well.
However, Kidder took offense to this action, citing the show was profiting from Reeve’s death and left the show. Though slated to play a primary villain for the season, Kidder decided against being involved with a show that she felt capitalized on her friend’s death.
7 The Green Arrow Replaced Batman in the Series
Though the initial plan to create a young Bruce Wayne were derailed, producers still hoped to incorporate the character later on in the series. Serving as one of the few DC Comics-based shows on the air, the hope was to introduce more fan-favorite characters into the Smallville world. However, Warner Bros. still had bigger plans for the Batman brand overall.
Instead of showcasing Bruce Wayne on the show, producers chose to add Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) to Smallville. Played by Justin Hartley, his inclusion in season 6 also led to the formation of the Justice League on the show.
Although fans would have loved to have seen Batman make an appearance, producers were still able to bring together some of the most iconic characters from the DC Comics world.
6 Tom Welling Was Not A Fan of the Superman Comics
For many long-time DC Comics fans, the idea of playing Superman onscreen would be a dream come true. Having existed in pop culture since the 1930s, this iconic superhero helped establish the mold for future American superhero archetypes. With such a lofty honor touted for such a role, an actor that tried out for the part would undoubtedly be a fan, right? Not so much.
After securing the role of Clark Kent, actor Tom Welling later revealed that he was not a fan of the Superman comic books. However, Welling saw an advantage to not knowing everything about Superman - it made him more like Clark, who was still discovering himself. Although he was new to the Superman mythos, Welling used his disadvantage to portray Clark learning as he went.
5 Two Iconic Superman Stars Never Appeared On The Show
With such a long history of depictions on TV and film, the list of stars involved in these projects is quite long. Despite the numerous portrayals, each project found a way to pay homage to its predecessors. On Smallville, for example, many past stars from other Superman projects were given roles on the show.
Several actors from the previous Superman movies, Supergirl, and other DC Comics series were included in guest or recurring parts. Even Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman stars Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher were included during the course of the series.
Unfortunately, two Superman II stars could not secure roles on the show. Despite reaching out and specifically requesting parts, actor Jack O’Halloran (who played Non) and actress Sarah Douglas (who played Ursa) never made an appearance on Smallville.
4 The Forgotten Superboy Character
Many fans of Superman picture his life as his time spent in Metropolis, working at the Daily Bugle. However, the timeline of Smallville stretched back to his time growing up as a young boy in the town of the same name.
These details including his hometown have been at the center of the Superboy comic series since the 1940s. As such, many of the characters from the series were also incorporated into the TV series as well. In fact, the only major character who was not included was Smallville Police Chief Douglas Parker.
First appearing in Adventure Comics issue #225 in 1956, Parker has had a role in Superboy’s life throughout the comics. On the show, this role was replaced with Lowell County Sheriffs Ethan Miller and, later, Nancy Adams.
3 Fans Tried to Get Welling cast in Superman Returns
After ten seasons and 200+ episodes, Smallville finally came to an end in 2011. However, fans could not simply let go of Tom Welling playing Clark Kent/Superman after so many years. So, when the opportunity came for Welling to possibly continue the role in others project, fans jumped at the chance to help get him cast.
Their fan campaign for Welling to reprise his role as Superman began when Superman Returns was announced. This first campaign took place while Smallville was still on-air; it seemed like an excellent opportunity for Welling to crossover into the Warner Bros. films. However, the online petition was unsuccessful, and the role was given to Brandon Routh (who, incidentally, lost the part of Kent in Smallville to Welling).
Unable to give up hope of continuing Welling’s reign as the iconic hero, fans advocating his casting in the 2015 Supergirl series, but Tyler Hoechlin got the part instead.
2 The Superman Curse Affected Tom Welling and Allison Mack
Although the men that have played Superman in the past have become legendary in pop culture, their careers have not reflected the same effect. Popularly known as the “Superman Curse”, the urban legend is that actors who have taken on the role have not reached the same success in subsequent roles. The curse even extends to other performers who had significant roles in Superman projects.
In the case of Smallville, the curse seemed to have affected the careers of both Tom Welling and Allison Mack. Since portraying the superhero, his career has been fairly quiet with a few appearances in movies and tv. Hopefully, his latest project, Lucifer, will be a jumpstart to his career again. For Mack, her career has been limited to only guest roles and brief recurring roles.
1 Allison Mack's Involvement with a Cult
Last month, the New York Times published a scandalous report on an Albany, NY based self-help group called NXIVM. Rolling Stone reported there were interviews with “various women claiming they’d been branded, starved, held as "slaves" and blackmailed into providing naked pictures to prevent them from leaving or speaking out.” However, the strangest part of the story was its connections to the cast of Smallville.
Allegedly, actress Allison Mack has been serving as co-leader of this cult. According to The Sun, Mack “to recruit 'slaves' into a secretive cult where they are forcibly branded with her initials and ordered to follow her commands 24 hours a day.” She has even been said to have recruited 25 women into the cult since her time with them. No word has been received from Mack or her agency to dispute these allegations.
Do you have any other dark Smallville secrets to share? Leave them in the comments!