Smallville fans followed the escapades of Alfred Gough and Miles Millar’s television adaptation of Clark Kent (Tom Welling) for 10 seasons on the WB and CW Networks, as the young Man of Steel came of age with his friends Lana Lang (Kristen Kreuk), Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack), and a host of others.
Enthusiasts of the story know exactly how many times Red Kryptonite appeared on the show, including the large chunk visible from space in “The Pilot” (2001). They can also tell you that Clark Luthor (Welling) appeared in only two episodes of the series, while Geoff Johns wrote three installments of the show. Or they’ll correct you and insist he wrote four episodes if you count “Absolute Justice” (2010) twice. But for the die-hard fanatics there are those delicious little tidbits that only the connoisseur is aware of.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Smallville.
15. Clark and Lex’s Excellent Adventure
If you want to see someone embarrass the Man of Steel, you need look no further than the hilarious antics of Lex Luthor actor Michael Rosenbaum. He is famously known for his wicked sense of humor. On their first day of shooting the “Pilot” (2001), Rosenbaum and Tom Welling performed the now famous rescue scene in which Clark Kent saved Lex from a watery grave following the car accident. And Rosenbaum made the scene hilariously uncomfortable for the two friends.
“He [Welling] has to give me mouth to mouth,” Rosenbaum explained. “It’s the first day of shooting and there’s no way. He’s looking at me, and he’s serious and I’m serious. Imagine me lying on the ground and he’s about to give me mouth to mouth.”
“And I’m like ‘Do it, do it. Come on, Clark.’” Rosenbaum continued as a he feverishly wagged his tongue. “I did the Buffalo [Bill] from Silence of the Lambs – ‘fava beans.’” It’s a miracle anyone got their work done working with the facetious Mr. Rosenbaum always ready to crack up his co-stars.
14. Erica Durance Frightened by Comic Book Fans
Erica Durance’s arrival in season four of Smallville as Lois Lane added the final side of the Clark/Lana/Lois love triangle to the show. Fans expected that poor Lana Lang would eventually marry childhood friend Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) in the comic books, and that the Man of Steel would woo Lois in the future.
And while the addition of Durance to the series added a key component of the Superman mythology, the actress herself admitted to being frightened by not the role but by comic book fans. On The Bonnie Hunt Show (2008-2010), Durance came clean.
“There have been the occasional ones [fans] that have frightened me that – you know – come up when I’ve been at conventions. And they come up and they’re dressed up as Superman,” Durance said. “And they’re like ‘Hey, Lois.’ And they’re so cute. And they don’t fit the costumes. And they’re so excited about being Superman.”
13. Casting Couch
Tom Welling turned out to be the quintessential Clark Kent for a new generation of Superman fans to enjoy on Smallville, but the showrunners nearly made another young actor the future Man of Steel. Jensen Ackles, who later appeared on the show as Lana Lang’s boyfriend Jason Teague, in season four, was the second choice for young CK.
And believe it or not, Tom was not the first cast member signed to star in the series. Kristen Kreuk was cast before anyone else, while Michael Rosenbaum was selected to portray Lex Luthor just one week prior to production.
Finally, Annette O’Toole wasn’t always slated to play Martha Kent. In the unaired pilot for Smallville, actress Cynthia Ettinger appeared as Clark Kent’s mother. Only after being screened by studio executives was the decision made to shoot Ettinger’s scenes again, but with O’Toole.
“They told me I was too young,” Ettinger said in an interview with the Superman Homepage. “I had a lot of conflicting directions on the show and although I loved the story line, the people and the character… they just did not know how to use me or what to do with the character.”
12. Chloe Would Have Dated Clark, Bloome and Olsen
Who will it be: Superman, Doomsday or Jimmy Olsen?
Chloe Sullivan was Clark Kent’s best friend, and loyal sidekick, in the Smallville series. Tom Welling has the distinction of being the only cast member to appear in every episode of the show, while Allison Mack joins Welling as the only two actors to be included in all ten seasons.
Chloe was one of the show’s most lovable characters, and her popularity made Mack a fan-favorite at comic book conventions. During an appearance at Washington, D.C.’s Awesome Con, a fan asked Mack who she would date, given the choice between Clark Kent, Davis Bloome (Sam Witwer) and Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore).
“Embarrassing,” Mack laughed. “I’d take them all home for different reasons. Sam Witwer – he’s great. I truly don’t know how to answer that. They were all delicious for different reasons. Can I take all of them?”
11. No Tights, No Flights?
By the time the series finale of Smallville had been reached, Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders had supplanted Alfred Gough and Miles Millar as day-to-day executive producers. And while Gough and Millar’s original concept for the show was “No Tights, No Flights,” Peterson and Souder may have taken that notion too far.
Clark finally donned the identity of Superman during “The Finale” (2011), but there was never a hero shot of Kal-El in the full suit. Rather, audiences had to settle for CGI shots of Welling’s Superman and one rooftop shot of Superman’s suit partially revealed under Clark’s dress shirt.
“What we wanted to do all along was show hints at where he [Superman] was going because that is a whole different story that is yet to be told,” Peterson said. “It felt like it gave just enough without starting to tell a whole different story that is left for all the other media.” Wait, what?
It was the series finale and Clark Kent became Superman. Why not show him in the full suit? Yes, it was Brandon Routh’s costume from Superman Returns (2006), so it probably didn’t fit. So, tailor one specifically for Welling. This was the series’ epic fail.
10. Clark and Lana Do The “Crossword Puzzle”
Season five of Smallville found Clark Kent finally taking the next step with his girlfriend, Lana Lang. It was one of many moments on the show that actor John Schneider wasn’t particularly fond of.
“Yes, there were many things I disagreed with and I got in trouble” Schneider said. “It may very well be why I died – could be. There was a scene that Jonathan is downstairs getting a cookie or milk or something it’s late at night. Martha is there, too.”
“And it was written where I turn around and I see Clark and Lana coming down the stairs,” Schneider continued. And Clark is wearing his t-shirt, I think. And Lana is wearing Clark’s plaid shirt and nothing else. You know, it’s obvious they’ve been doing the crossword puzzle up there.”
“And Jonathan turns to Clark and says, ‘At least tell me you were safe.’ Are you out of your mind? Jonathan Kent can’t turn to Clark Kent and say at least tell me you were safe. Jonathan is going to kill this guy… I’m going to take this kid out to the shed and beat the snot out of him.”
9. The Batman Easter Egg
Fans of the show know that one of the most disheartening things about Smallville was the absence of two of DC’s biggest characters: Batman and Wonder Woman. Many Justice League characters were featured in the series, most notably Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), but it was still disappointing to not see young Clark Kent interacting with Bruce Wayne or Diana Prince.
However, Chloe Sullivan does mention both “a billionaire with high-tech toys” and “a wondrous woman,” in the season ten episode “Fortune” (2011), which Clark is destined to meet. But only the fanatic spotted the subtle Batman Easter egg in the season one episode “Hourglass” (2001).
As the world is destroyed by Lex Luthor in Cassandra Carver’s (Jackie Burroughs) horrific visions of the future, the Dark Knight’s cowl and cape can be seen draped over the carnage directly behind Mr. Luthor. It’s either the real deal or the ultimate Rorschach test of all time.
8. Tom Welling Couldn’t Tan?
Imagine a sunburned Superman. Yes, the Man of Steel is powered by the radiation of Earth’s yellow sun. But can Clark Kent acquire a golden tan from those wicked wavelengths of energy? It’s an interesting notion, but what was more intriguing was the rumor that Smallville showrunners forbade Tom Welling from tanning while shooting the show.
“I haven’t heard about that,” Welling explained. “My question would be ‘Are they waiting for a phone call from Krypton to find that out?’” Carson Daily, who conducted the interview, went on and asked Welling if there was any truth to the rumor.
“Not that I’m aware of,” Welling said. “But I think maybe there’s some secret meeting down in Los Angeles about that. I haven’t heard that yet. I know there’s some things that they ask you: ‘Please don’t do anything but walk from your trailer to set, don’t ride bikes, don’t run, don’t do anything’ – I ignore that, of course.”
7. “A Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow”
While filming the season one episode “Hothead” (2001), the 9/11 tragedy transpired. With airports on high alert, planes were effectively grounded, Annette O’Toole’s husband Michael McKean, who played Perry White on Smallville, drove to Vancouver to pick her up.
During that car drive together, the couple composed the songs destined to appear in A Mighty Wind (2003). Among the selection was the famous A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow, which was nominated for an Academy Award at the 2004 Oscars.
“It’s more of an affectionate pastiche,” McKean explained. “We looked at it as an experiment to write something that could have been 150 years old that could have been written by Stephen Foster or one of his contemporaries.”
6. Adventure Comics #271
The Man of Steel had been absent from the Silver Screen for 19 years, before Superman Returns finally hit cinemas in 2006. Fans had been longing for more Clark Kent adventures, but during his absence on the big screen Smallville was carrying on his legacy via television.
Creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar had created a unique and compelling look at Clark’s formative years, which was partly inspired by Adventure Comics #271 (1960) featuring the title “How Luthor Met Superboy.” The story started off with the two boys being friends. But after Clark accidentally caused Luthor’s hair to fall out during a rescue attempt, Lex vowed to destroy the Boy of Steel.
“When we set out to do Superboy, we didn’t want to have the suit,” Gough said of their “No Tights, No Flights” concept to Smallville.
“At that point in time, superheroes were sort of still not cool,” Millar explained. “So, how do we do Superman in a fresh way?”
“So, we came up with the idea of puberty and superpowers,” Gough said.
5. Love Hurts – “Man of Steel; Woman of Kleenex”
Being young and in love certainly can have its headaches, but for Clark Kent those everyday problems couples wrestle with are exponentially more complicated for Kal-El. During season five of the show, Clark lost both his superpowers and his virginity.
However, once Kent regained his special gifts, he lamented his withering sex life with Lana Lang. Distraught, Clark looked to his friend Chloe Sullivan for advice, as he related his concerns to her in the episode “Fanatic” (2006).
Their conversation, which revolved around whether or not Clark could safely engage in coitus with Miss Lang, correlated to an essay written by sci-fi author Larry Niven in 1969: Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. The comedic romp postulated the problems Superman would have pursuing sexual relations with the women he loved.
“Consider the driving urge between a man and a woman, the monomaniacal urge to achieve greater and greater penetration,” Niven wrote. “Remember also that we are dealing with Kryptonian muscles. Superman would literally crush LL’s body in his arms, while simultaneously ripping her open from crotch to sternum, gutting her like a trout. Lastly, he’d blow off the top of her head.”
4. Jeannot Szwarc
There are so many connections of Superman movie alumni to the Smallville television series, including Christopher Reeve, Annette O’Toole, Margot Kidder, and Amy Adams. Fans know all this and they are also aware that O’Toole portrayed Lana Lang in Superman III (1983) who shares no relation to Peter O’Toole who portrayed Zaltar in Supergirl (1984). However, there’s another Supergirl tie to Smallville: Jeannot Szwarc.
Not only did Szwarc direct Supergirl, but he also helmed 14 episodes of Smallville beginning with the season three episode “Perry” (2003). Szwarc discussed working with Kristen Kreuk on the show that redefined Superman’s youth for a new generation of fans.
Kreuk’s Lana Lang was possessed by the witch Margaret Isabel Thoreau in the spooky season four entry “Spell” (2004), which Szwarc also directed. “I think it was good the way Kristen went in and out, and covering it up and not covering it up,” Szwarc explained in the DVD commentary. “And it’s fun.”
3. Kristen Kreuk: Marine Biologist
George Costanza (Jason Alexander) of Seinfeld couldn’t be prouder of actress Kristen Kreuk, unless she also revealed aspirations of becoming an architect. In the comedy series, George once pretended that he was a marine biologist. For Kreuk, she wanted to be one before taking on the role of Lana Lang on Smallville.
“I had many dreams, but I was definitely in drama since I was a little kid” Kreuk said. “That’s something I always loved, but I kind of wanted to go into the sciences. I loved biology and I wanted to be a marine biologist. But I ended up pursuing this.”
“It happened very quickly,” Kreuk continued. “I got Smallville within a year of, it was just a year after I started working professionally. The cast and the crew are amazing. We have such a beautiful team of people and I love to be around them…Smallville is a good show.”
2. Chloe Sullivan’s Harley Quinn
Oh, those crafty writers for Smallville had a wonderful way of creating allusions to other DC characters. The time Clark Kent stepped on the Oreo cookie, after battling Aldar (Dave Bautista) in the season six episode “Static” (2006), was a fantastic nod to the Martian Manhunter. But did you catch the wink to Harley Quinn?
During the season five episode “Thirst” (2005), Clark and best friend Chloe Sullivan arrived at a costume party dressed as Zorro and a school girl respectively. Both were subtle tributes to Batman mythology, as The Mark of Zorro was the film the Wayne family watched prior to Bruce’s parents being murdered in Crime Alley. And Chloe’s costume closely resembled Harley Quinn’s look.
Chloe was draped in a white button-down shirt with a red plaid skirt. And even though the pink and blue streaks of color were missing, actress Allison Mack’s blonde locks were done up in pig-tails just like Miss Quinzel.
1. Tom Welling Could Have Been Superman
Comic book fans know the story of how Bryan Singer jumped ship on X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) to direct 2006’s Superman Returns. But before that happened Brett Ratner was slated to helm a Superman movie written by J.J. Abrams.
The project plunged into development hell, and, at one point, executives wanted Jude Law to play the Last Son of Krypton. With Law deciding he didn’t “want to spend the rest of my life being that guy who played Superman.”
“I go in the bathroom, put it on and look in the mirror, and suddenly, I am Superman,” Law said. “And it is an amazing costume. I got it out of my system. I took it off, put it in the bag, and was like, ‘I’m not going to do it.’”
The rumor that Tom Welling was being considered for the role also turned out to be real. “I actually went to Brett’s house in Los Angeles,” Welling said. “We sat down and we talked about it a little bit both know that scheduling would always be an issue. Basically, if that movie were to happen the show [Smallville] would pretty much have to go away.”
What other obscure moments did we miss from Smallville and which were your favorites? Sound off in the comments!
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