Tom Welling, who portrayed Clark Kent in Smallville, has revealed why he won't appear on Supergirl. The first two seasons of Supergirl, which initially aired on CBS before migrating to The CW, didn't shy away from acknowledging its predecessors. The pilot episode offered a glimpse of Kara Zor-El's adoptive parents, played by Dean Cain of Lois & Clark and Helen Slater of the 1984 film Supergirl, and the two became recurring characters on the show. Season 2 then introduced Teri Hatcher, Cain's costar on the '90s TV series, as Mon-El's mother Rhea.
When suspense began to build for an appearance of Kara's cousin Kal-El, a.k.a. Superman, many fans naturally hoped that Tom Welling of Smallville fame might reprise his superhero role on Supergirl. The actor stressed back in 2016 that he hadn't been asked, however, and the job of playing Superman eventually went to Tyler Hoechlin.
With season 3 of Supergirl coming up this fall, Welling has now revealed to EW that there was actually some official talk about him taking on the role in the Arrowverse.
"I know [executive producer] Greg [Berlanti] quite well and there had been some discussion, but they’re different worlds. There was an idea that maybe Supergirl, appearing on that, but it’s such a different show. I’m older now, I don’t look the same. Appearing on that show as Clark Kent or even Superman, for me, I would not want to watch me do that at all. They just have such a different tone."
Much like FOX's Gotham is showing the evolution of Bruce Wayne into Batman, Smallville's chief aim was to show Clark's life before he became a superhero. Welling even confessed that he was instrumental in keeping his character out of the full Supes suit in the series finale, so it's not surprising that he can't see himself donning the red cape six years later on a different show.
Having Welling play the same character would also pose problems by having to connect ten years of Smallville with the new Supergirl, likely creating a slew of continuity errors. The Arrowverse's alternate universes and timelines offer one possible solution to work the actor in, but it sounds like Welling is not in any hurry to return to the Superman story. Fans may be happy to hear he's keeping it in the DC family, however, by signing on to play a possible love interest for Detective Decker (Lauren German) on the upcoming season of FOX's Lucifer.
Supergirl returns for season 3 Monday October 9 at 8pm on The CW.