Superman may be a stranger to our world, but he’s certainly no stranger to Hollywood, having headlined a myriad of theatrical and televised productions over the decades. Many of those productions have achieved enormous success, but for the purposes of this list, we’ll be focusing on one of the latest projects: Smallville.
Beginning in 2001 and ending in 2011, Smallville chronicled Clark Kent’s journey from being an ordinary high school student and spur-of-the-moment hero to Daily Planet journalist and full-time superhero. The series wasn’t about Superman as much as it was about the man under the suit — which is why series creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar adopted a “no flights” rule for the hero.
It’s been five years since the series concluded, yet Superman hasn’t disappeared. The Man of Steel is now headlining a shared universe on the big screen and guest starring in a shared universe on the small screen. So we thought it was time to see what happened to the heroes of The WB’s (later, The CW’s) Superman origin story.
Arranged by the number of episodes each actor/actress has appeared in, here’s Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Smallville.
15. Terence Stamp (Jor-El)
Long before Terence Stamp graced the small screen as Kal-El’s biological father, Jor-El, in Smallville, he famously played one of Superman’s perennial enemies, General Zod, in Richard Donner and Richard Lester’s Superman and Superman II, respectively. Since then, Stamp has starred in numerous films and TV series, including Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, Yes Man, and Wanted, amongst countless others — though he will always be best known as the archvillain General Zod.
As with many actors on Smallville, Stamp appeared sporadically throughout the series between seasons two and ten, voicing the character of Jor-El whenever Clark needed the most help. Since the series ended in 2011, Stamp has taken his career rather slowly, starring in one or two productions a year. His most recent film was Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in which he starred as Abraham Portman. Next year, he’ll be appearing in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s Crooked House and George Mendeluk’s Bitter Harvest.
14. Laura Vandervoort (Kara Zor-El)
Nowadays, most people associate Supergirl with Melissa Benoist, but the fact is, there was another small screen Supergirl who came before her: Laura Vandervoort. Vandervoort made her debut as Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, in the seventh season of Smallville and held a main role throughout the season, which then became a recurring role for the rest of the series.
Part of the reason she scarcely returned after the show’s seventh season was because she landed a leading role on ABC’s V in 2009, a remake of the Sci-Fi miniseries of the same name from the early ’80s. Unfortunately, the network canceled the series in 2011. Vandervoort then moved on to guest star on shows such as Family Guy, White Collar, and Haven, before landing another leading role in Syfy’s Bitten.
The series concluded earlier this year after three seasons on the air, and Vandervoort’s first gig following the series’ conclusion was guest starring as Indigo, AKA Brainiac 8, in the first season of The CW’s Supergirl. She joined a long line of former superhero actors and actresses to guest star on a CW superhero show.
13. Eric Johnson (Whitney Fordman)
Other than Superman villains, Clark Kent had many rivals on Smallville — and it all began with high school jock and Lana Lang’s boyfriend, Whitney Fordman, played by Eric Johnson. He appeared as a main cast member in the series’ first season, though his character was eventually written off later that year.
For the next three years, Johnson would appear as a special guest star in a handful of episodes of Smallville and would spend the rest of his time starring in several movies. However, he never left TV acting, and eventually returned to star in the leading role in Syfy’s failed Flash Gordon series in 2007.
After the network had canceled the series, Johnson moved on to star on Rookie Blue, as well as Orphan Black and Saving Hope, though his biggest role since Flash Gordon is starring as Dr. Everett Gallinger on The Knick. In addition to being a series regular on the Cinemax drama, Johnson will appear in Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
12. Aaron Ashmore (Jimmy Olsen)
Aaron Ashmore — whose identical twin brother, Shawn Ashmore, famously played Iceman in the X-Men movies — took upon the role of photographer Jimmy Olsen in Smallville. He first appeared in the series’ sixth season and had a recurring role until he was ultimately killed off in the season eight finale.
Interestingly enough at the character’s funeral, it’s revealed that Jimmy Olsen’s full name is Henry James Olsen, not James Bartholomew Olsen. His camera was then passed down to his younger brother, who many believe to be the real Jimmy Olsen. The role has since been taken up by Mehcad Brooks in The CW’s Supergirl, though Mehcad’s version goes by the name James instead of the traditional Jimmy.
Since leaving the series in 2009, Ashmore has appeared in several shows, such as Fringe, Lost Girl, and In Plain Sight, though his most prominent role was playing ATF Agent Steve Jinks in Syfy’s Warehouse 13. Although he left Warehouse 13 a few years ago, Ashmore remained with the network, and can now be seen in a leading role on Killjoys.
11. Cassidy Freeman (Tess Mercer)
A late addition to the series, Cassidy Freeman’s Tess Mercer appears as the new CEO of LuthorCorp following Lex Luthor’s disappearance in the season seven finale. Although her character’s arc begins with her attempting to find Lex, she eventually became close friends with Clark and even went as far as to protect his secret identity. Interestingly, it’s revealed in the final season that she is actually Lex’s half-sister, Lutessa Lena Luthor, a character now played by Katie McGrath on Supergirl.
Following the series’ conclusion, Freeman guest starred in a handful of TV shows, until she eventually nabbed the main role as Cady Longmire on A&E’s crime drama Longmire in 2012, a role she continues to play to this day. In addition to that, she continues to guest star on other shows, such as Once Upon A Time, NCIS, and Stitchers, and also appeared in the horror film Fender Bender earlier this year on ChillerTV.
10. Sam Jones III (Pete Ross)
Before Clark had the help of the Watchtower and the future Justice League members, he had Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross, his two closest friends. Ross, played by Sam Jones III, was a prominent character during the first three seasons, though he was eventually written off in order to protect Clark’s identity. Although he left after the third season, Jones returned for a single episode in the series’ seventh season, when he gained elastic abilities after being exposed to Kryptonite.
Following his departure from Smallville, Jones starred in a handful of TV shows, including The Practice, 7th Heaven, and Bones, though he would be most recognizable as Craig Shilo from the first season of Blue Mountain State. His last role on television was playing Mason on The Defenders (not to be confused with Marvel’s The Defenders) in 2010. And after a six-year hiatus, Jones reprised his Blue Mountain State role for the movie Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland earlier this year.
9. Justin Hartley (Oliver Queen)
Fans will fondly remember Justin Hartley as Smallville‘s billionaire Oliver Queen, but before he became the Star City-based superhero, Hartley was once tapped to bring Aquaman to life on the small screen. Although the would-be Aquaman pilot never aired, Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar were impressed with Hartley’s performance enough to cast him as the Green Arrow on their Superman series.
Hartley can be credited with popularizing the Green Arrow with modern television audiences, for one year after Smallville concluded, The CW launched a shared universe originating with Arrow. Instead of Hartley starring in the leading role, though, the network opted to cast someone else — Stephen Amell, who many people now associate with the emerald-hooded vigilante.
Shortly after Smallville ended, Hartley proceeded to guest star in several TV shows, such as Chuck, Castle, and Heart of Dixie, before landing a recurring role on Emily Owens, M.D., Revenge, and Mistresses. However, he made a full-fledged return to television when he became a series regular on the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless. He can now be seen in a leading role on NBC’s new hit series, This Is Us.
8. John Schneider (Jonathan Kent)
One of the most recognizable actors on this list is undoubtedly John Schneider, whose prolific career extends to both acting and singing. Younger audiences may know Schneider as being Clark’s adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, who was killed in the series’ 100th episode from a heart attack (on the night of his election as to the United States Senate, no less). However, older audiences may know Schneider best as Bo Duke from CBS’ iconic TV series The Dukes of Hazzard from the ’70s and ’80s.
Even though he was killed off, Schneider appeared a handful of times throughout the rest of Smallville‘s run, including at Clark’s wedding in the series finale. Since leaving Smallville, Schneider has appeared on a multitude of shows and movies — including 90210, Desperate Housewives, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and more — though he now has a main role playing James Cryer on the OWN soap opera, The Haves and the Have Nots.
7. Annette O’Toole (Martha Kent)
Like Terence Stamp, Annette O’Toole had a role in the original Superman movie series, famously starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. In Richard Lester’s Superman III, O’Toole appears as Clark’s former teenage love interest from his hometown, Lana Lang. Interestingly, almost two decades after O’Toole played Clark Kent’s former love-interest, she returned to the world of Superman by playing Kal-El’s adoptive mother, Martha Kent, on Smallville.
O’Toole is one of the few people to have appeared throughout Smallville‘s entire run, though her character took some time off in the later seasons only to return in the final season. Her absence was justified by her character becoming a United States Senator, a job that required her to relocate to Washington, D.C.
Although she largely remained out of the spotlight following Smallville’s conclusion, O’Toole landed a recurring role on the second season of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, as well as guest starring roles on Grey’s Anatomy, The Finder, and 11.22.63. Her next project is starring as Doug’s Mom in David Wain’s biography, A Futile & Stupid Gesture, in 2017.
6. Erica Durance (Lois Lane)
Virtually every superhero out there has that one primary love interest — Spider-Man has Mary Jane Watson, Barry Allen has Iris West, and Superman has Lois Lane, award-winning journalist for The Daily Planet. Erica Durance made her debut as Lane in the series’ fourth season, in which she had a prominent recurring role. She was made a series regular for the remaining duration of the show beginning with the fifth season.
Unlike most of the other actors on this list, Durance remained devoted to television acting after Smallville concluded. She has since joined her former Stargate: SG-1 and Smallville co-star, Michael Shanks (who played the superhero Hawkman) in the Canadian TV series, Saving Hope, where she stars as Dr. Alex Reid. In fact, she is credited with being a producer on the show and even made her directorial debut earlier this year by helming one of the series’ episodes.
5. John Glover (Lionel Luthor)
Like John Schneider, John Glover has also had a prolific career in Hollywood, spanning decades of work in both television and film, though one of his most notable roles is, of course, playing Lionel Luthor on Smallville. While not necessarily an original character, Lex Luthor’s father is hardly ever mentioned in the comics. In one comic, though, his name was revealed to be Jules. However, the success of Smallville has prompted DC Comics to adopt the name Lionel as the official name of Lex’s father.
Since completing his arc on Smallville, Glover has taken it rather easy, appearing in only one or two projects a year, and usually in a brief fashion. Interestingly, last year, Glover made the jump from DC Comics to Marvel when he guest starred in the second season of Agent Carter. His most prominent role since playing Lex’s father has been voicing Dyson in TRON: Uprising. Furthermore, he appeared in the movie We Go On earlier this year, alongside his former Smallville co-star, Cassidy Freeman.
4. Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor)
Just as every superhero has a primary love interest, every superhero has an archnemesis; Superman’s happens to be the billionaire supervillain Lex Luthor. Although the character has traditionally been viewed as Superman’s greatest enemy, in the show, the two characters started out as close friends after Clark saved Lex from drowning in a car accident.
Michael Rosenbaum famously played Lex Luthor on Smallville, and is frequently credited with bringing one of the best adaptations of the character to life. Rosenbaum left the show after seven seasons on the air, but returned for the series finale in 2011. After that, he went on to star in Fox’s Breaking In and now has a leading role in TV Land’s new sitcom, Impastor.
Despite his career as Lex Luthor having ended with Smallville, Rosenbaum has continued his long-standing relationship with DC Entertainment (which began years before Smallville) by providing his voice to projects such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Infinite Crisis, and Batman: Arkham Knight. Fans of the animated Justice League series from the early 2000s will probably recognize Rosenbaum’s voice as well — he played Wally West, aka The Flash.
3. Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang)
As previously mentioned, Lana Lang is notable for being the love interest of Clark Kent when the superhero was a teenager in his hometown of Smallville. While Annette O’Toole portrayed the character on film, Kristin Kreuk brought the character to life in a whole new way on the small screen. Kreuk made her debut in Smallville‘s series premiere, and played a vital role throughout the show’s run. She ultimately left after seven seasons along with a handful of other cast members (including O’Toole and Rosenbaum).
Shortly after leaving Smallville, Kreuk starred in the movie Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li as the titular video game character. After that, she dove back into television acting by starring in the miniseries Ben-Hur and taking on a small role on Chuck, before she landed the leading role of Detective Catherine Chandler on The CW’s Beauty and the Beast. The series was on the air for five seasons, wrapping up its respectable run earlier this year.
2. Allison Mack (Chloe Sullivan)
Other than leading man Tom Welling, Allison Mack’s Chloe Sullivan had the longest-running story arc on the show, having been the only other character to appear consistently throughout the entire series. Unlike virtually every other character mentioned on this list, Mack’s Chloe was an original character created for Smallville, though she has since been incorporated into the DC Universe, as DC Comics is known for doing with their original TV-created characters (e.g. John Diggle being added into Green Arrow comics).
Allison Mack starred in a myriad of TV shows and TV movies prior to being cast on Smallville. However, since the series’ conclusion in 2011, she has appeared in only a handful of other projects. In addition to starring in two movies, Mack voiced the character Clea on an episode of The Batman and had a recurring role on FX’s Wilfred, as well as a guest starring role on The Following and American Odyssey. As of the time of this writing, Mack currently has no known projects in the pipeline.
1. Tom Welling (Clark Kent)
It would make sense that the series’ main star, Tom Welling, appeared in the highest number of episodes. Welling is famously known for playing Clark Kent on Smallville, thus becoming one of only a handful of actors ever to portray the Man of Steel.
Before becoming an actor, Welling was a construction worker-turned-model. Smallville was his first big break into the industry, and the series has accounted for the bulk of his acting career thus far. So when the series ended in 2011, Welling largely remained out of the spotlight, seldom appearing on film or television. His first post-Smallville job was playing Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman in the JFK drama Parkland, and he later appeared in Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day and Ross Katz’s The Choice.
No matter what he stars in, Welling will always be remembered as Clark Kent. Case in point, earlier this year, fans of Smallville were hoping to see Welling reprise his role as Superman in the second season of The CW’s Supergirl — though that job ultimately went to Tyler Hoechlin.
Would you be on board with a Smallville family reunion? Who was your favorite character on the series? Let us know in the comments.
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