Saturday evening at Comic Con International in San Diego saw the convening of the “Smallville” panel before a packed room of fans. In attendance were Executive Producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar along with actors Erica Durance (Lois Lane), Justin Hartley (Green Arrow), Phil Morris (Martian Manhunter) and Laura Vandervoort (Kara).
The panel opened with a specially edited clips compilation that raced through the series so far, from the crash landing of young Kal-El though to the final shots of the last season, which showed a flying Clark Kent whose face turned white and cracked, evoking the classic image of the Bizarro Superman. Immediately following, Alfred Gough opened the Q and A portion of the panel with a casting announcement that was met with cheers by fans of the show.
“Dean Cain is going to appearing in ‘Smallville,'” said Gough. “He’s going to be in the fourth episode and he’s going to be playing the bad guy. ” Cain is best known to fans as having been one of the few actors to have played Superman in the popular media, specifically in “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” which aired in the mid-’90s.
Discussion quickly turned to the newest addition to the regular cast, that of Vandervoort as Kara, the future Supergirl. “It seemed for us to be the next evolution in Clark’s journey,” said Gough. “As you know, his father’s dead and his mom’s in D.C. most of the time. He doesn’t have any family, so basically this is the first time he’s had any flesh and blood family. Also, it gives him some insights as to what happened on Krypton. There are also some family secrets in the House of El. And it also puts Clark more in the mentoring position with Kara, who is 19.
Added Gough, “She left the planet at the same time that baby Kal-El did. She crashed in the meteor shower in the Smallville River and the flood that you saw at the end of season six brings her up. She’s been in suspended animation, so now, suddenly, the baby cousin is the older cousin which puts a lot of friction between them.”
“She’s in the show, we’ve been shooting for a couple of weeks and Laura’s doing a fantastic job, Gough continued. “She’s going to be a hand grenade this season, in a really good way.”
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” said Vandervoort of the experience. “I’ve moved out to Vancouver, I met Tom and Erica, who’ve been incredible. Allison, too. I’m waiting to meet Kristin, who I’m sure everyone loves. It’s been a lot of fun. They’ve been teaching me to fly, doing a lot of harness work. A lot of action, which I love. I actually had a flying scene last night.”
Hartley also commented on his experiences working on the show. “It’s great working with a bunch of guys, we’re all grown men, who get to put on costumes, outside of our house, and have fun with that,” said Harley, getting a laugh from the crowd.
“My wife is the front. She’s so embarrassed right now,” Hartley joked. “I’ve honestly got to say that, when you watch a clip like that, you kind of get into it and you feel like you’re watching a movie, it’s because every person that’s involved with the show, whether they’re a series regular or a guest star or standing in the background or lighting a set or writing or whatever, is completely dedicated and I think that’s how you get stuff that good and get people excited about what you’re doing.”
Morris added his thoughts on working on “Smallville” as well. “I don’t know if all of you were here all day, but you probably saw me down on the floor for about four hours, walking around,” said Morris. “I come from the world of fandom in regards to this whole DC/Marvel comics universe and it is a complete delight. I’ve done a lot of work in my career, and this is still an incredible thrill to go to Vancouver and shoot for ‘Smallville’ and to embody J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who I think is one of the greatest characters in all of comicdom. It’s funny because he’s an alien but he’s got such a great human character and core, so we draw on a lot of that,”
“Everybody brings it, man,” Morris added, talking about the show’s cast and crew. “It’s like working with a great ball team. Everyone knows their role, they know it consummately well, they swing for the fences and most oftentimes hit it out of the park. We see the results, we’re in the line-up watching it, just like you guys are and the characters come and you’re like yeah, boom, That me. It’s just a killer joy and I can’t wait for all the Justice Leaguers to show up in one frame and work out all the problems of the world.
“It’s an honor to be so well accepted by you guys because you are the final say,” Morris said in conclusion.
From there, Gough talked about some of the things fans can expect in the new season. “Kara is the focus [of the first few episodes] and Martian Manhunter is very integral in the first several episodes,” Gough said. “Oliver Queen will be back midseason and will probably be bring some Justice Leaguers, old and new, back with him.”
Durance also took the opportunity to talk about the what’s coming up for her character, Lois Lane. “She gets more involved at the Daily Planet and there’s this editor that comes along and it gets very interesting and ‘interested,'” Durance said, alluding to some chemistry between the characters. “She toys with that idea for a while. It’s because he embodies what she want to become. She wants to become this journalist and be proud of what she does and have a career and have something that says ‘this is me. This is what I embody.’ I think that throughout the season she’ll be doing a lot more investigating.”
Asked about her experience working with Tom Welling, who plays Clark Kent, Durance joked, “Sheer drudgery.”
Expounding on the idea that the characters of Clark and Lois are destined to be together one day, Durance said, “I think that its much more fun that way, for me as an actress to play all those different levels, to play those moments, to decide whether you’re seeing this person anew or are they not all you expected to be or to play those banter moments and learn to coexist. It’s so much more fun to play that kind of ‘you irritate me, but I’m so much more interested in you, but I don’t know why.’ It’s fun to play that side of things and see what that journey is like before getting all mooney-eyed and such. I like fighting more. Somebody has to fight with Clark.”
Addressing some notable cast absences, Gough said, “Michael Rosenbaum couldn’t be here because he had major back surgery and is actually recovering. His doctor wouldn’t let him. He really wanted to be here today and he’s really disappointed.
“Mister Welling is shooting in Vancouver today because, you know, when you’re Clark Kent and Bizarro it takes twice as long.
“And Lana got blown up, so….”
Millar then addressed a question that’s been on fans’ minds since the beginning of the show. “Since our first Comic-Con, we’ve said we wanted Bruce Wayne in our show,” Millar explained. “That’s always been our wish, that’s always been our desire and unfortunately, it’s just never going to happen. That is not our desire, we’ve always wanted him in the show, he’d be a fantastic way to introduce the character, but it’s not to be. Also, Wonder Woman, we’ve always wanted on the show.”
“Never say never on Wonder Woman,” Gough chimed in.
“We tried.” Millar said.
Gough added, “We’ll keep trying.”
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