CCI, Day 3: "Smallville" panel at CCI, Season 4 Details

Thousands of people attended the "Smallville" panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year to celebrate their beloved superhero drama series. Having just concluded its third season with a major cliffhanger, "Smallville" has never been more popular. Fans eagerly await the next season to find out just what happened to Clark, Lana, Lex, and the rest of the gang. Producers Al Gough and Miles Millar were in attendance, as well as creative consultant and comic heavyweight Jeph Loeb. Rounding out the panel were cast members Allison Mack ("Chloe Sullivan"), John Glover ("Lionel Luther") and the newest member of the "Smallville" team, Erica Durance ("Lois Lane"). CBR News was there to bring you all the information from this exciting panel.

Perhaps the biggest shift in "Smallville's" formula is the introduction of Lois Lane, Clark Kent's future wife. Erica Durance portrays a Lois that is a year older than Clark, somewhat neurotic, and very much not interested in journalism. She appears in Smallville looking for her cousin Chloe who seems to be dead. Durance is currently scheduled to appear in 13 episodes next season. What does this mean for Clark's relationship with Lana? Gough and Millar promise that Clark and Lana will not be together for at least a season. Lana has a new love interest that she meets in Paris, but who is actually an American, something that will develop the character in a new direction: "We're going to see a whole new Lana." With his love interest away and involved, Clark must deal with his slowly descending best friend, Lex Luthor. "The relationship between Clark and Lex is absolutely crucial in how Clark becomes Superman," explained the producing duo, adding a note about the fine line between good and evil, "That's how great villains see themselves, as heroes."

Despite lots of anticipation among fans, Millar admitted that DC's Dark Knight will not be appearing in season four of "Smallville" due to upcoming Batman film. "With Batman Begins coming out next summer, [the appearance of Bruce Wayne] was put on the back burner." He did, however, suggest that a well known piece of Superman comic mythology will come to the show next season, as well as a bigger part for Martha Kent. "Annette O'Toole is great. She and Mr. [John] Glover will have more scenes together. She's the most underused resource in the show." For all you Tom Welling fans out there, season four promises to explore Clark as a developing teenager. Gough said, "We'll see if Clark can have sex."

Not much is known about the season four premier episode, except that Cark Kent is going to fly for the first time in the show's history. Despite some speculation that there is more there than meets the eye, this is certainly a departure from the "Smallville" mantra "no flights, no tights". The character of Pete Ross is no longer a regular cast member, but may have some guest appearances next season. Gough and Millar also promise the return of some old villains, as well as some characters that they are awaiting permission from DC Comics to use. Expect to see the unpredictable effects of red kryptonite come up again, the return of Christopher Reeve, and the possible introduction of the Fortress of Solitude.

With the fate of each of the characters uncertain, the audience at the panel was full of questions for both cast and crew. Allison Mack complimented her experience on "Smallville" and received a warm reception from the fans. A different kind of warm reception came from the female contingent of the audience when John Glover came on the stage. He was both humble and hilarious as one audience member offered to be his romantic interest. "This part I have with Lionel is the best I've ever had!" Glover jokingly assured the audience that Lionel is our friend and that "Lionel is not an evil man, he is driven." Fans of "Smallville" remember the striking visual of Lionel with a shaved head during season three's finale episode. When asked if he approved of this aesthetic alteration, John Glover told the audience that it was his idea.

Al Gough talked a little about future plans for "Smallville." "We had a five year plan [for the series] that became a four year plan, so we have one year left on it. But, it will go on as long as you guys [the viewers] want it to go." Both producers see a future for the series beyond Clark in his high school days, but say that they will end the series before Clark becomes Superman. One member of the audience asked if Tom Welling was being offered the role of Superman in the upcoming film, to which the answer was no. After the audience expressed their disapproval, Gough reminded the audience, "Look, it's not my f-ing movie, okay?!"

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