Smallville almost had a spinoff that followed the adventures of Justin Hartley's Oliver Queen and Erica Durance's Lois Lane in Metropolis. Hartley joined Smallville in season 6 as the Emerald Archer. Hartley and Oliver Queen quickly became a fan favorites and the popularity of the character would eventually lead to the creation of Arrow, albeit in an indirect way.
There have been rumors of several reported spinoffs that almost happened since the show ended. Yet it's the newest idea about Lois and Oliver that is perhaps the most surprising and strange of the many adjacent Smallville projects that never materialized.
The news of the Smallville spinoff comes directly from Hartley, who appeared on Inside of You, the podcast of his former co-star Michael Rosenbaum. During the interview, Hartley discussed the plans that were circulating to give his character, Oliver Queen, his own starring series. Hartley explained:
While I was on the show, while I was on Smallville, there were several different spinoff ideas that they had. They wanted to do a spinoff called Metropolis or something like that, I heard whispers of that. It was Lois and Oliver in Metropolis and whatever that was. They were trying to extend the life of the show.
The exact specifics of Metropolis aren't discussed as Rosebaum and Hartley quickly move on to discussing Smallville residual checks and Hartley's daughter. It's unclear when the spinoff was being developed and how it would've worked within the confines of the Smallville universe. Considering Oliver and Lois were going to be the main characters, though, it's likely that the spinoff was being tossed around sometime between Smallville season 6 and 7. During that period of the show Lois and Oliver were in an on-again and off-again relationship. Any time after Smallville season 7, the idea of spinoff focusing on Oliver and Lois would have been even more outlandish than it is already. The two characters moved on from their romance in season 8 with Oliver marrying Lois' cousin, Chloe Sullivan, and Lois, of course, ending up with Clark Kent. Moving Lois and Oliver to their own spinoff after season 8 would've presumably broken up both relationships or at least made them very strained.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Hartley's revelation is that the information of a Metropolis-based spinoff has been circulating in the DCTV community for years. Warner Bros. recently announced that they would launch a series called Metropolis on DC's streaming platform. This Metropolis will focus on Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. The series will happen largely absent of Superman and it will see star reporter Lois Lane team up with scientist Lex Luthor to investigate the strange goings on of the big city.
Metropolis, overall, does feel like something from the Smallville era of DCTV. With the Arrowverse and various unrelated projects, the world of superheroes on TV has become much more ambitious and full of suited heroes, not their civilian counterparts like Lois and Lex. It wouldn't be too surprising to learn that the show Hartley is talking about shares more with the upcoming Metropolis than just the name. Smallville's Lois Lane and Oliver Queen working together to solve crimes is strange but would make a lot of sense in the confines of the Smallville universe and as a spinoff.
It's for the best that the spinoff never happened. Hartley's Oliver and Durance's Lois were popular, but best used as supporting characters on Smallville. To take both away from the Superman mythology, especially Lois Lane, could've ended up being a huge mistake even if The CW did want "to extend the life of the show."
Source: Justin Hartley/Inside of You