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'Smallville' Showrunners Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders Weigh In on the Series Finale

by Laura Prudom, posted May 13th 2011 9:00AM
Tom WellingIt's the end of an era. A decade-long journey reaches its conclusion tonight, and as one door closes on Clark Kent, farm boy, high schooler, "The Blur," another opens to reveal a much larger destiny: The birth of Superman.

To say that expectations are high would be an understatement, and executive producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders seem well aware that they have a lot of fans to please with the 'Smallville' series finale.

While it's impossible to satisfy everyone, it's clear that no one involved in the creative process of producing 'Smallville' takes this ending lightly, and as emotional as tonight's episode may be, I believe it will also be a fitting climax for one of TV's most enduring genre shows.

AOL TV caught up with Souders and Peterson this week to discuss the challenges of writing such an eagerly anticipated finale, and what fans can expect from tonight's episode. Because I know that some fans are trying to avoid spoilers and others are desperate for clues, I've split the interview into two parts: spoiler-free at the top, and spoilers at the bottom -- so feel free to join us after the jump to preview the finale!


What are your plans for Friday night? Are you doing anything special to mark the occasion?
Kelly Souders: Probably a pretty mellow evening. I think we're just going to watch it together. I think we are kind of partied out -- kind of a mellow night because we know it's going to be kind of an emotional one too.

How did you decide on the final scene of the series? Did you always know what you wanted to end on?
Brian Peterson:
We pretty much knew a handful of shots that we wanted in this finale; it was just a matter of which one to end on. Pretty quickly into breaking [the story], we decided we wanted to end the way we did.

At the end of the day, do you feel like you made the finale you wanted to make?
Yeah, I'd say so. I think, considering you're putting on such a massive production with a TV schedule -- which is not exactly like you have months to shoot it -- we're really happy with how it turned out. In fact, everybody on the crew and cast, and all of the effects houses we work with, all of our editors, everybody gave 150 percent, and I'd say it surpassed our expectations.

Annette O'Toole and Tom WellingNow for the million dollar question: After all these years, what does 'Smallville' mean to you personally?
[pauses] That's a really good question. I think what we've been saying, which is very true, is [that it embodies] the ability to believe in the best in people. We've been writing for years about this amazing character that always believes in people, a character we can believe in, and so I think that, to me, is personally what 'Smallville' means.
KS: I think the same thing. I think that we didn't really come to the show thinking that was going to happen, you know, we were just so excited to be here. I think, over the course of the 10 years, we realized how lucky we are to have spent a decade writing about the world's greatest hero.

'Smallville' has always been great about including references to the Superman legacy as Easter eggs for the fans: Did you specifically draw from any of the movies, shows or comics that came before 'Smallville' for the finale?
BP: Throughout the series, we really tried to pay homage to a lot of the visuals, and a lot of the ideas, and all of the materials whether it's a movie or a comic book, but we do definitely have a few things that go back to those in the finale.

When you knew that Michael Rosenbaum would be returning as Lex, but that his availability would be limited due to his commitment to his other show [the sadly cancelled 'Breaking In'], how did you go about deciding which scenes to include and which to cut? You must've had so much you wanted to tie up and address after all his time away.
KS: Honestly, he had been so integral to the show, and the scenes fell into place very quickly and very organically. It really only took a couple of hours, maybe, to figure out how it would work with what we already had planned.

There's a lot of expectation about Clark finally fulfilling his destiny and what that might look like. Can you talk about the process of writing this particular episode and the Tom Welling and Erica Durancebeats that you were determined to hit? Did it require a lot of rewrites or was it perfectly formed in your minds already?
BP: Actually no, of all the scripts, other than some of the typical budget issues, this one really stayed pretty much intact from the beginning. I think we knew for so long how we wanted some of those final moments to play out, and who we wanted them to play out with, and it very much fell into place quickly.

Since you were on set for portions of the finale, I wondered if you could talk a little about Tom Welling's performance in the final episode, and the energy or charisma that he brought?
Well, all we can say is he is fantastic! I mean, for somebody who has been working pretty much every day for 10 years, long hours, and needing to have the energy of a leader on set, I would imagine he would be collapsing at that point, but instead, he kind of brought it with him to the show. He is phenomenal.

What sort of legacy do you think -- or hope -- 'Smallville' will leave behind?
Obviously, we hope people will remember it and watch it over and over again, and maybe people grow up and share it with their kids or friends. Hopefully, it is certainly a timeless show; there's a reason why Superman has been around for many, many decades, and I certainly hope 'Smallville' is as well.

Read on for the spoiler portion of the interview, or look away now.


Can you reveal anything new about Chloe's involvement in the finale and what her role is?
Well, she plays a very important part in the show because we give her one of the biggest moments, I think, in the show, and she has a very quintessential "Chloe moment" of being the ultimate sidekick and saving Clark.

Justin Hartley and Allison MackCan you elaborate on the "special thing" that she got that no one else got, as you described it to reporters earlier. Is that related to what you just said?
KS: It's just a big moment, you know, sort of a big Superman moment, and it was just something that we kind of wanted. She has been so integral in the show, but her future, obviously, no one quite knows in the same way that people know what eventually happens to Clark Kent, and Lois Lane, and Green Arrow [from the comics canon], so we wanted to be sure that her place in our mythology was solidified.

We know that Martha and Jonathan will be back, and when I last spoke to you, Kelly, you mentioned how important it was for you guys to pay off that part of Clark's history, but can you tell us anything else about their involvement, or whether we'll see them together?
BP: You see them together briefly in a couple moments of the show, yeah. I don't want to give it away!

What's ahead for the Daily Planet staff: Will there be a mention of the original, deceased Jimmy, and will the way be paved for a new one?
Again, we don't want to give much away, but I think you will see the essence of the Daily Planet that everybody knows and loves. There is a long history of Superman. There are just some fun moments that were important for us to try and crowbar in.

The 'Smallville' two-hour series finale airs tonight, Fri., May 13 at 8PM ET on The CW.

How do you feel about the show finally coming to an end?

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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So, is Welling's career now over? Will he be able to do anything else in Hollywood or has he been type cast for life.
I knew that the best scenes would be shown in the last five minutes but after all that hype they could have at least ended with Supie standing on top of the Dailey Planet Globe with his arms across his chest glazing out over a cheering Metropolis. Do I smell a big screen movie in the making? Sure, why not.

May 14 2011 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 14 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I’ll have to say that finale was epic, but I’m kind of disappointed that the series came to an end. This show over all did have some touching and defining moments in the development of Superman and the series finale did look awesome in high quality HD from DISH Network. I am a customer and employee of DISH and right now you can get HD free for life with DISH. You can find more info on how to get HD free for life online at DISH Network’s official website.

May 14 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

too much angst and hand wringing (who am I? What am I? now I know who I am and what my purpos... zzzz). Here's hoping the new movie will be more action... and enough of the Richard Donner Superman as the go to reference for Supes. I remember watching that movie as a kid and wondering what all this Krystal Krypton business was. A fortress of solitude anyone could stroll into? No giant key the size of a skyscraper? The "S" as the symbol of the El family? Just give me the stuff I saw on Sat. morning Superfriends and the comics and enough of the savior/messiah stuff....

May 14 2011 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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May 14 2011 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really wish someone in the crowd at the end had actually called him "Superman." I think that small omission was was really critical to showing he had maturned into Superman. Anybody else agree?

May 14 2011 at 3:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked the finale. I do wish there was more action, but it was really great anyway. Of course, I am really bias, because I am a huge fan of the show. I have been watching Smallville since day 1. I thought it was an awesome show with a really great cast. Tom Welling helped to opitimize Superman so well. When I think of Superman, I now think of Christopher Reeve and Tom Welling. I new after season 8 that the show might be ending soon, because nothing can last forever. But, you always hate to see something so good come to an end. Thank you to the Smallville cast and crew for creating something so awesome. The show will definitely be missed.

May 14 2011 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd have to agree with Lord Randall. And there was too much dramatic will they/won't they get married with Lois and Clark for the first hour AND they went through both sets of vows TWICE! Waste of time. Then they cram everything from the battle to flying to the suit to saving the world in the last 20 minutes! Come on! :-( I wouldn't give it a 2 though. Maybe a 5. I'll always be biased in it's favor!

May 13 2011 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

After seeing the finale I was very depressed. I was hoping for a superhero battle, but it never happened. The stongest adversary of Superman was killed in seconds. The show just dragged on. No action (too many commercials that used up exactly 31.6 min) . The killing of Tess was totally unnecessary, but killing Lionel was justified. Like I said before NO Martian Manhunter, NO Flash, No Aquaman, NO Cyborg, NO Black Canary, NO Saturn Girl not one super hero except for Green Arrow and he hardly did anything. It was great to see Michael Rosenbaum again, but I was hoping to see Kristen Kruek (wasn't in it not even for a cameo.) With all the commercial monies, they kept special effects small. I thought the first lady was to make a cameo, she wasn't.
They did a lot of "Memories" , but no action. If they'd have did Smallville as an action show for the last show it would have been nice. Out of 10 I'd give it a 2.

May 13 2011 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Never cared that much for the series. Went way off the beaten path that DC has told for decades. Still, I watched the final season anyway. Just wanted to see him in the suit. Best part of the finale tonight was them using the music from the movie to close the series. Bravo for that if nothing else.

May 13 2011 at 10:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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