This Friday's Smallville episode, “Homecoming,” is the 200th in the series. The show has been around for a decade and Clark (Tom Welling) doesn't look like he's aged a day, does he? I find that mildly disturbing. Clark has doubted himself. His dad has disowned him, his girlfriend isn't exactly dating him anymore and he's battling the darkness within while Darkseid is threatening the world. In a sort of Christmas Carol story, a blast from the future-past comes to show him what was, what is and what will be. Yup! We get to see the Clark Kent we know from the comics, glasses and all.
Newsarama got a chance to screen the episode and take part in a roundtable Q&A with executive producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders, who gave us some insight into the episode, which they wrote and where the final season is taking us.
Newsarama Note: Due to the nature of the roundtable, some questions were asked by Newsarama, some by other reporters.
Beware: There are teases and some mild SPOILERS in this interview. If you prefer to go in fresh, come back and read this after the show on Friday.
Newsarama: There was a lot of it that was obviously very Christmas Carol based, so I’m wondering was that a deliberate thing and how early in writing did you know that?
Brian Peterson: I’d say about midway through because we had, what was great was we had all these ideas. One was what if Clark goes back and revisits his past because it’s reunion, you know, it’s the high school reunion. But we thought you know, you really want it to have this hopeful push off. So we’re like well, what if we scrap that, what if we go to the future. Then we’re like well, no, we can’t do that because it’s—and it all just ended up being well, what if we do past, present, future. It seemed to make sense at that point in the middle of the break.
Kelly Souders: And then when we were looking at it, we were trying to figure out what kind of structure, what kind of device we could use to bridge all the different time frames, and that’s how Brainiac Five came about. We looked at the different DC characters, and who would make sense to take Clark on that journey, and when we thought of Brainiac Five there was a big sigh of relief. Because everything suddenly gelled.
Peterson: Because he kind of perfectly embodies where we’ve been and where Clark’s going, just in one character right there.
Nrama: Might we see Future Clark again? As far as, is that where he—we might see that in the series finale? That Clark that we saw in the future?
Peterson: There’s a very good possibility that he might reappear at some point.
Souders: We might.
Nrama: Future Clark and Future Lois (Erica Durance) were so much fun, I loved seeing them. They must have been fun for you guys to do. Was there any impulse to say oh wow, I’d love to do another season where we could go, have that be the show.
Souders: Well I can’t say it’s the first time Season Eleven creeped up this year, you know, as we’ve been pushing that it’s the final season of Smallville. I think it’s the final season of Smallville. We don’t know plans, but we never bet against ourselves in the show.
Nrama: Was there ever a thought with this episode to have a thread with some big bad that he had to battle as well as going through this journey? Is that something you just decided early on you didn’t want to have?
Peterson: That’s funny, we did. It was completely broken with a different villain coming in and bringing him through the journey, and when he got out of it then he had that villain to battle. But it felt, actually, once we looked at it and we kind of looked at the outline, it looked unnecessary, because the battle is really within for him, and it almost felt like it cheapened the moments that we were trying to build by capping it with something that we’d rather spend—honestly, we’d rather spend the time and the money with the characters and being able to go back to school, rather than some fight that really needs a lot of resources and energy.
Nrama: With the suit being encased in the Fortress of Solitude, obviously it’s something he needs to earn. Is he going to earn it sooner rather than later?
Peterson: I don’t know that we’re at liberty to discuss that.
Souders: it’s, he still has quite a bit to go through. And we’ll see that the world around him also puts up some major stumbling blocks for him, so as much as he’s progressing, things around his life and around, the environment around him, is going to shift after this episode to a place where he’s got some major battles still to overcome here. So he’s earning his stripes, though, all along. How’s that?
Nrama: What was it like for you all, just watching the show, to revisit Smallville High. Were there certain story beats that it was very important for you to include in the episode?
Peterson: I think the first one without question was the Lana (Kristin Kreuk) meet. Because it’s probably the minute that we all fell in love with Clark Kent. Because we saw his struggle that would launch the whole series...and you know, Chloe (Allison Mack) introducing the Wall of Weird was huge. There are—we can’t tell you how many things got whittled off the list, sadly. And then, because it’s the two hundredth, we wanted to look back really at the pilot and the one hundredth, because those were such big benchmarks. And that’s why we just focused on those and chose those.
Nrama: With Oliver (Justin Hartley) stepping out to the light essentially and taking his place in the superhero universe, are we going to see other heroes stepping out and, you know, starting to join Clark in the bigger picture?
Souders: Well the first thing we’re going to do is see some ramifications of Oliver stepping out, and for Clark it’s very impactful in his life because he’s actually, the thing that he’s struggled with from the beginning about whether or not to be open with who he really is, he’s now watching his best friend sort of go through with exactly what he’d do...It’s almost worse to watch your friend take the hit because you’re still hidden than to take it yourself for Clark, because he’s such a hero. So I think that’s going to be a bit part of this journey for Clark, is watching what happens to Oliver. You know, after he’s come out.
Nrama: How and exactly when will Darkseid make his presence fully known?
Peterson: He’s sneaky.
Souders: And it really starts in three [Newsarama Note: Referring to episode 3, Supergirl, which hadn't aired before this interview], which I know you haven’t seen, but that’s really where you start to see the beginnings of it, and it just sort of starts creeping up in new places all throughout the season.
Nrama: Will we see the Legion play a role in the rest of the season, in future episodes? I know Booster Gold will be coming in, he has a little Legion future connection. Will there be more sort of future characters coming to the past.
Peterson: We don’t have, at this point we don’t have any plans for the Legion. Because Booster is the one character we really want to focus on that’s coming from the future.
Nrama: Can you tell us about his interaction with Clark when that happens?
Peterson: Um, that’s pending lunch with Geoff Johns. Because Geoff has his own ideas and we all kind of need to come together with our ideas. We’ve really just come up with the concept together, so I think that’ll probably be in the next week or two, we’ll flesh that out.
Nrama: Is there any fear of, this late in the series, introducing more DC canon characters?
Souders: No. I think that, you know, over the last couple of years, obviously we’ve been introducing more and more of the characters from the DC world and acknowledging that world on a greater level. And it’s, you know, for us anyway it’s a lot of fun, and our crew just does an incredible job of looking at the characters from the comic books and then trying to figure out, okay, what’s the Smallville version and what can you actually do, because, you know, we’re all just human. And I think it’s actually been a fun challenge. We always enjoy it.
Peterson: And we really promised that we wouldn’t just bring—this wouldn’t be a whole season of reflection, it would be pushing forward. So that’s why in addition to Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) and Supergirl (Laura Vandervoot) that we’re bringing from the past, we’re bringing, you know, we brought in Deadshot (Bradley Stryker) last week, and you know, Booster Gold, and there’re probably a couple other people we want to bring in and introduce, so at least it, there’s still a push off and it feels fresh.
Nrama: In that same vein though, are we going to see more Justice Leaguers and Justice Society members coming back? You know, Bart Allen (Kyle Gallner), Black Canary(Alaina Huffman)?
Souders: We’re actually in quite a few contract conversations right now, but you’ll definitely see a big League presence. Sort of in the middle of the run. You won’t have to wait ‘til the end, we promise.
Nrama: Can you talk a little bit about how the casting with Teri Hatcher (Ella Lane) came together?
Peterson: Uh, well. We have our dream list and that’s right up at the top. And honestly, what’s funny is we talked in the room about this video, which actually it’s very sad just to let you know, it came from the personal story, this actually happened. Someone in the room, this actually happened. Her best friend just found out she has a very significance illness and is dying momentarily, and so she sat down and made all these videos for her child. And so what we did with Ella was we just pulled that into the show, because it was so heart-wrenching to hear that in the room. And then we thought well who do you get to play Lois’s mom and everybody just looked at each other and it’s like beat, beat, Teri Hatcher. And she’s been fantastic.
Souders: Yeah, she was wonderful, and that’s, you know, it was coordinating--Lisa Lewis, who does a lot of work for us at the studio, really helped orchestrate it and between Teri’s incredibly busy schedule and us needing to get footage in in order to get the show put together and cut together, you know, it was challenging trying to get everyone together in the same place at the same time. But it came together beautifully and all we can say is we got to watch the footage yesterday. And all I can say is I watched three takes and then I had to stop for a while, because I was like, it was so heart-wrenching and just so, she did such a—she had an incredible performance. It was beautiful, so. I think people will be excited.
Nrama: They were all talking about the Justice League and having individual characters coming back. Is there any chance we’ll get a full team episode by the series end?
Souders: You’ll see more than one assembled at a time, and soon.
Peterson: Very soon.
Souders: Very, very soon.
Nrama: What about people from the original cast, like Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) and Kristin Kreuk?
Souders: We would love for them to be back.
Peterson: We would love for them to be back. The door is wide open, so. If any of you have any pull, you let us know.
Souders: We loved writing for both of them. They were just such great characters, so we would love that chance again.
Nrama: Do you have any sort of, if the door got open enough for Michael or Kristin to walk through, do you have sort of stories in your head that you can plug them into?
Souders: Oh yeah. Probably write that script in about two days.
Peterson: Oh god.
Souders: Yes we do. We have. You know obviously all of these characters sit in our heads year round. So we know we have story ideas and places that we’d like to take them. They’re always sitting right there waiting for something to happen.
Nrama: To follow up on that question, is there a contingency plan on how to end the characters if this is the final season and you can’t get the actors back?
Peterson: Yes, absolutely.
Souders: Uh huh.
Nrama: Even though season ten is completely mapped as the final season, if you were to, when would you probably start negotiating for an eleventh?
Peterson: I’m not aware of any plans for that, to be honest. Because as much as we all don’t want it to end, you know, just having seen Tom and Erica in the last couple of days, you always want to keep working with them. You know, they’re fantastic people as well as just actors. But you need the show to go out when the time is right, you know, and it feels like the time is probably right for that, as much as well all will be very sad. That said, you never know. So we could be as surprised as anyone else.
Nrama: How about taking it to the big screen?
Souders: That would be a blast. It would, I know it has, I mean obviously we’ve been asked that question for a couple of years and everyone thinks it’d be just great to take this whole team and take it to the big screen and we would love to do that, but we don’t... there’s no plans in the works at the moment.
Nrama: Have there been any discussions this year about doing a spinoff to keep the franchise going?
Souders: I mean, everybody, it’s the same thing, everybody asks us. We don’t know of any plans, honestly. We don’t know of anything that’s being discussed.
Nrama: Speaking of the movie, the choice to use that specific suit, was there any discussion about making another suit that would be more your, more Smallville specific, as opposed to using a pre-established design?
Peterson: We did. Um.
Souders: But we kind of like to dovetail. Because I mean we do, we work really closely with DC and obviously with Warner Brothers as far as the Superman arena goes. So it very quickly came up, well, would we like to link up with the feature, and we just thought it would be really fun.
Smallville airs Friday nights at 8/7c on the CW. Click here for a full gallery of images to the episode.What are you excited for coming up?