During our ongoing investigative reporting into the final season of Smallville, we knew it was integral to speak with the brains behind the operation: Executive Producers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson. Over the course of the last decade, Smallville has shifted from its one-off episode style to an ongoing mystery into the world of Krypton‘s favorite son. This season the mysteries will be resolved.
While the Greeks had Zeus and Athena, in modern times we have our own mythology in the form of superheroes. Like epic poems passed down myths, Smallville illuminates Superman’s origins with dramatic flare. After fighting Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and Zod, you’d think Clark Kent would get a nice vacay. Instead, his hero’s journey will only really begin after the final episode is over.
Yesterday we spoke with Souders and Peterson about episode 200, Kristen Kruek and more. This time we’re talking with the producers about Clark’s legendary journey thus far and what they have in store for our Man of Steel. Note: This interview may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
The Flickcast: Smallville’s plot structure has evolved from being a “Freak of the Week” structure to having an ongoing mythology. Can you describe why the choice was made?
Kelly Souders: Well, I think anytime you’re on the air for that long, you have to reinvent it. If not for just that we’d all get bored if we kept doing the same thing, but so that the fans have something new to grow with too. I mean ten years, you change a lot. We change a lot, each fan is going to change.
I think it’s evolving has a lot to do with it surviving. I think we tried to make the show as organic to real life as possible. If we don’t all change, find out new things about ourselves, or try to make changes within ourselves- the same thing would happen (to us) and we’d kind of stall out.
TF: Clark Kent has overcome many obstacles on his journey to becoming Superman. Can you discuss Clark’s hero journey and the thematic elements of this season?
Brian Peterson: Well, last year we really had Clark go to some dark places. He was a little rougher, he burned down some buildings; He made some choices that were kind of on the edge and I think fans felt that. But that was on purpose because we really wanted Clark to explore: if I’m a god, where are my boundaries?
So, what’s great this year is not only are we exploring physical and actual ghosts of the past, but there’s some metaphorical ghosts that we’re exploring as far as his inner turmoil. We’re phrasing it though, not that it’s just the past but that it’s all these things that are propelling him into the future. So it’s not that we’re just looking back, we’re really using all this to help him move on.
In episode 2 he puts on a brand new suit that’s going to be amazing. And then we have some more iconic moments that touch on things in the comics, in the movies, in the characters that kind of help him along the way. Like Booster Gold, I think you know Geoff Johns is writing Booster Gold, and the Blue Beetle.
BP: We’ve always tried that between Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain, like the TV show, the movies, everything, we try to dovetail in at least a little. So we all weave in, even though we have our own world, we weave in the mythology.
TF: Are there elements or plot pieces you’ve been steadily heading towards in the series run that will be resolved in the final episode?
KS: I think we’ve all known images and pieces of the finale for years and year and years. Starting back with Al (Gough) and Miles (Millar). They had ideas that they always talked about being in the final episode. We love those ideas. We want to also honor, obviously, the creators of the show. So there will be some images that really come from Al and Miles, some from us, some from just years of our wish list.
It’s in a strange sense kind of easy because you know that final moment he’s Superman. This is the journey of Superman, so we started it and we know where he ends. There’s pieces that fall into place and when we looked at this season, we sat down to talk about why he isn’t Superman today.
We started really looking at his character and we’re like, he’s a better leader, he’s certainly developed his skill set, shall we say, as Superman- but he’s not Superman. If you watch that episode right now, he’s not that guy that we all think about. So it was about moving him to that final point and figuring out what are the stumbling blocks and what are the obstacles. So that’s really what you’re going to be seeing this season.
One of the things that we talked about what his past. So this season, you’ll see some ghosts from his past coming back so that he can have his final lessons from them. So that he can eventually move on and out of the dark mode and into the light.
TF: Can you talk about what the last shot of the series will be? Will it be Superman flying over Metropolis? How will that decision be made?
BP: There are many, many factors, actually, there’s are a lot of different factors that go into that decision. I literally think it will come down to, even though we all have a vision, it will happen mid-season some way, it will come down to that last two weeks of the show when we know what the new movie is doing, when we know this and that.
I hate that I can’t answer it any better. There’s every intention to get it though. The mandates really change sometimes, depending on what’s happening with the movie development or TV development.
So, could it be that the oft-bended rule of “No Tights, No Flights”, will once and for all be shattered in blazing glory in the final moments? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime stay tuned as we talk to more cast members and uncover the final season of Smallville.