The final season of "Smallville" kicks off tonight (Friday, September 24) on The CW, and there's no shortage of questions fans are hoping to see answered in Clark Kent and Lois Lane's final set of adventures in the long-running series.
Over the last nine seasons, we've seen a variety of familiar heroes and villains pass through Clark's life, the introduction of Superman's red-and-blue suit, the beginnings of the Justice League, and a journey that's taken Clark from his Smallville farm to the Daily Planet office in Metropolis. Now poised to become the longest-running U.S. science-fiction television series in history, "Smallville" appears to be pulling out all the stops in its final season, with new cast announced on an almost daily basis, and an over-arching plot that pits Superman against one of his most dangerous cosmic foes: Darkseid. Oh, and what would the final season be without Lex Luthor?
I spoke with "Smallville" producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders ahead of tonight's premiere to get some details about the final season, find out happened behind the scenes, and relay a few questions from fans in the Twitterverse.
MTV NEWS: It seems like so many television series these days are being canceled abruptly without time to tie up loose ends or provide any closure for fans, but you've been given a full season to bid adieu to the series. Are you comfortable with the amount of prep time you've had for the final season?
BRIAN PETERSON: I think what’s great about this season is, because we’ve known about it from every angle from publicity to everybody in the financial world at Warner Bros, we’ve all had a game plan — which is great, because we’re able to really work toward that final episode. We’re protected for it, so we feel really good about the position we’re in right now, and it’s obviously, like you said, so exciting to be to able to have a whole season to lead up to the last episode.
MTV: Well, it seems like you're using that season to introduce a ridiculous amount of new characters in addition to the returning characters. I have to ask: has there ever been a character that you just haven’t been able to fit into the "Smallville" universe?
PETERSON: Good question. I would say the one that we maybe would have wanted to toy with a little more is Mr. Mxyzptlk. We used him in a really early episode — I believe it was Season 4. It was really fun and we created a very "Smallville" version of that character, but now that we moved into a much tighter DC mythology, we can’t really re-visit that character again. It’s been hard to work him back into the show.
MTV: You mentioned creating "Smallville" versions of characters, so has there ever been a character that was considered, but you just weren’t able to introduce it in a "Smallville" way (outside of Batman or characters like that, of course)?
KELLY SOUDERS: You know, it's funny because I think we’ve always — except for Batman or Wonder Woman, like you said, some of the big super heroes — we’ve always been able to look at them and figure out a "Smallville" take on them. That's what’s really been fun about the show. It’s like you get to use all the things that people love, and at the same time, you get to recreate on some level those characters for television.
PETERSON: Outside of Mongul and Gog and some of the bigger, the huge kind of inter-galactic villains, we really have to say that, with DC's blessing, we’ve been able to hit a lot of them.
MTV: When a series is being wrapped up, there are usually a few ways they go about it. Sometimes it's a very final final episode, sometimes it leaves some opportunities for spin-offs, and sometimes there's a desire to leave some questions unanswered. How are you envisioning the conclusion of the series? Do you feel that this is the final chapter of this story that's been unfolding the last nine years?
SOUDERS: Well, I think what’s great about this arena is that there’s always going to be spin-offs. There’s always going to be some version of Green Arrow somewhere, between comics and television and film, so I think that what we've really done this year is push this as the final chapter of "Smallville." Hopefully, fans who’ve been with the show for a whole decade will feel like their storyline has been wrapped up nicely, but obviously the story doesn’t end here.
MTV: When I asked people on Twitter to send me some questions for you two, quite of them asked about iconic scenes from the Superman movies and comics, and whether they'd appear in the final season. When you were planning the season, did you feel a need to include iconic moments like Clark and Lois flying off together, Superman interacting with the Daily Planet's globe, or scenes like that?
PETERSON: I wouldn’t say we felt the need to, but we felt a strong desire to — because we always come up with so many ideas each season and we have a lot of the images that you could probably picture or the people that you're talking to could picture. We’ve actually put a lot of them in this season, and we’re trying to not blow everything out too soon, and still try and keep something for the end of the season. But I would say definitely in the first several episodes there are some pretty big winks, some pretty big images, that people will recognize.
MTV: Another question people wanted me to ask about is what went into the decision to use Brandon Routh's "Superman Returns" costume for "Smallville" instead of Christopher Reeve's suit, or an entirely new suit altogether.
SOUDERS: Well, the process was really a group effort. We worked with DC, and we have Alicia Louis, who does a lot of stuff for us at the studio, and who was really instrumental. It took quite a bit to get that costume. There’s a lot of sign-offs, it really was Warner Bros. and DC and us working to make it happen.
MTV: Finally, one last question that came from Twitter: What about the connection between "Smallville" and the comics side of Superman's universe? Do you have an eye toward putting things in line in any way, shape, or form with the Superman comics as you're approaching the end? I know that Chloe Sullivan is appearing in "Action Comics" soon...
PETERSON: I think how we approached it is more that every piece of the mythology inspires the other pieces, because it's impossible to line up the comics and the movies. And a lot of things in themselves don’t totally line up, so our goal is to really use the comics and movies as touchstones to kind of inspire where we dovetail into both of those.
SOUDERS: And we also worked with DC closely as far as what things will line up and what things are the "Smallville" version of the mythology.
PETERSON: I just saw the announcement on how Chloe is being woven into the comics universe, and what’s funny is that it’s now happening to us, where the mythology that we’ve introduced is being reinvented back into the comics, and they’re changing the mythology a little from what Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar] originally created, so it’s all kind of... Well, for us, it's very surreal.
"Smallville" Season 10 begins Friday, September 24, at 8 PM EST on The CW. Many thanks to everyone who sent questions! Keep an eye on Splash Page throughout the season for more coverage of the final episodes of "Smallville."