Secrets from the ‘Smallville’ Set: Celebrating 200 Episodes


It's been a long road, watching our mild-mannered Superboy stumbling towards his destiny as the Man of Steel that we all know and love, but after 10 years and 200 episodes, the pop cultural phenomenon known as 'Smallville' is finally reaching its zenith.

Cast-wb-jackrowand-300 Although the final season obviously has its share of bittersweetness for those who have been involved with the project for a almost a decade, the cast and crew couldn't be more excited to share their final chapter with the fans who have brought them this far — and tonight's episode, 'Homecoming,' is only the first in a series of satisfying payoffs that will eventually close the show in a spectacularly super fashion next May.

Clois-cw-200 Last month, TV Squad and other outlets were invited up to Vancouver to tour the iconic 'Smallville' sets and interview the cast and crew at the show's milestone 200th episode party. See what they had to say about the climax of this beloved series, and get a preview of what you can expect in tonight's record-breaking episode.

Mg7431l In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that 'Smallville' and I have had a somewhat rocky relationship over the years. An ardent fan of the first few seasons, I began to drift away from the super-powered show in season 5, before losing touch with it entirely in season 6. But they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all it took to reignite my passion for the stalwart drama was to set foot inside the iconic Kent Barn, a location so integral to show that it's hard to imagine 'Smallville' without it.

Mg7454l The barn itself is not a "set" in the typical sense of the word — it wasn't constructed from scratch by designers and carpenters on a soundstage, instead, a real barn was transported in its entirety to the lot where 'Smallville' films in Vancouver, and it shows. It smells of dirt and hay and musty old books, and has provided the backdrop to innumerable iconic moments in the show's history, from confrontations between Clark and Lex, to heartfelt discussions between an alien boy and his adoptive father.

Mg7469l Wandering through the ominous halls of the Luthor Mansion, sitting at Lois Lane's desk at the Daily Planet, admiring the icy grandeur of the Fortress of Solitude; these are the moments that remind even a lapsed fan what an indelible mark the series has left on the public consciousness — it's hard not to be awed by the amount of time, energy and passion that has been put into every set, costume and prop.

Mg7508l Peter Roth and Tom Welling"A great television series is like — what's the phrase? — it takes a village," said Peter Roth, the President of Warner Bros. Television, when we talked on the red carpet at the 200th episode party.

Mg7535l "This series is the result of so many people's hard work over so many years; starting from the pilot, from the inception of the idea, to the assemblage of this remarkable cast, the outstanding and very smart contemporization of the original Clark Kent story, and the Vancouver crew, who replicate the production values that we need every week to make sure that the audience suspends their disbelief and really is transported. It's been transformative." Roth championed the concept of 'Smallville' from the beginning, when other networks and studios might've balked at the prospect of tackling a character as iconic as Superman and reimagining him for a teenage audience.

Mg7559l Tom Welling, the man behind Clark Kent's mild-mannered exterior, was equally effusive about the team effort that has allowed 'Smallville' to flourish over the past 10 years. "I'm feeling grateful," he told us at the party. "All these people you see here, they're the reason we're still here. It's the cast, it's the crew, it's the fans."

Souderspeterson-wb-200 While the entire cast had nothing but enthusiasm and praise for their colleagues, they were far less forthcoming on the subject of spoilers for the second half of the season; partly because they were determined to let the fans experience the episodes fresh, and partly because they simply didn't know — filming was only up to episode eight during our visit, which left 14 episodes still ripe for speculation.

Wellingroth-wbjack-rowand On the subject of Clark's journey throughout the remainder of the season, Welling could only be coaxed to tease, "Clark will probably get closer to… becoming who we know he will be in the end." With an answer as enigmatic as that, we should be calling him The Riddler, not Superman.

Similarly, the star wouldn't reveal much in regards to the iconic Lois and Clark romance that any Superman story worth its salt is inevitably leading towards. "I honestly don't know what the future actually holds for Clark, but I think that Lois is a big part of it," he said.

Erica Durance and Tom Welling When asked about the challenges of portraying one half of such a beloved pop-culture couple, Lois Lane's off-screen alter-ego Erica Durance admitted, "As respectful as I am of the fans and their expectations, it's just one of those things where you try to keep it fresh and not worry about all the pressure, and just try to have fun."

And who wouldn't have fun being wooed by the world's most recognizable superhero? Durance also confirmed that — at least in the first eight episodes — there will be a healthy balance of both Lois' journalistic pursuits and her romantic entanglements with Clark. "There's been a lot of relationship stuff, and a lot of her going undercover and dressing up and getting into trouble and Clark having to save her," she laughed.

Lois and Clark aren't the only on-screen couple to have attracted the fervor of the fans — the seemingly starcrossed tragedy of the Chloe (Allison Mack) and Oliver (Justin Hartley) relationship has certainly prompted rampant speculation online, especially considering that Mack will only be appearing in five episodes this season to wrap up her character's arc.

"There was a deep love that was forming [between Chloe and Oliver]," the actress admitted on the red carpet. "But now that they've been separated, I'm not really sure what's going to happen!"

Regardless, Mack is confident that the decade-long onscreen friendship between Clark and Chloe will be paid off in her final five episodes. "The writers have always done our relationship justice, and I think they'll continue to do us justice," she asserted.

We didn't have long with the stars at the party — there were cupcakes and cocktails to be had, after all — but we did manage to steal some time with Welling, Durance, Mack and Hartley to discuss what we can expect from their characters this season; check out the video below:

Other tidbits gleaned from our red carpet conversations:
We caught up with executive producers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson to answer some of your burning questions.

— Many fans wanted to know if we would ever see a 'Smallville' version of the iconic flight that Clark and Lois first take in the original 'Superman' movie; Souders admitted that they do love their iconic moments, but Peterson reasoned that they "want to put Brian Peterson and Kelly Soudersthem in when they're not quite expected." He promised that they would try to make the flight happen, although he pointed out that they'd already featured a nod to it in 'Crimson'.

— For fans curious about a return to the Kawatche caves, Peterson replied that they "would love to, but you would not believe how expensive those caves are!" He told us that there are "a couple of winks if you look closely," so that even if they don't have the budget to return to the caves in season 10, they'll at least have made it back "in spirit."

— In terms of when Lois and Clark might finally have The Talk about her knowing his secret, Peterson teased that there would be "little presents all along the way of the first several episodes," that will progress the storyline in a way that "still has the payoffs that everybody wants."

— As far as returning characters go, Souders and Peterson could only confirm those previously announced, such as John Glover and John Schneider. "We would love to bring everybody back," Souders said. "It's a lot about scheduling and things like that, but we would love to have as many people back as we can." Break out those petitions to convince Michael Rosenbaum to return, 'Smallville' fans.

— We also spoke briefly to Lindsay Hartley, Justin Hartley's gorgeous wife, who will be appearing in the season's eighth episode, titled 'Abandoned'. "I come in as part of Granny Goodness' team — my character is actually the leader of the bunch," she teased. "She has a claw on her hand, and that's what she uses to kill people; they totally modeled it after Freddy Kruger." Hartley also hinted that she'd get to tangle with Tess (Cassidy Freeman's character) and also go toe to toe with Clark, though she unfortunately won't be sharing any scenes with her hunky husband.

— Speaking of Tess, Freeman revealed that this season, her character will be trying to "win Clark and Oliver's respect and letting them know that they can trust her," as well as taking the youngest Lex clone, Alexander, under her wing. "I think that Tess looks at every opportunity as a chance to redeem herself, but she really has taken a liking to this kid. He's someoneThe cast and producers of Smallville who may love her, outside of all that she's done — because he doesn't know what she's done, so that's very important to her," she explained.

— Welling revealed that Clark would be wrestling with his pride and ego throughout the first half of the season, similar to what we saw in the season premiere. "It's something that everyone deals with; it's interesting to see Clark go through the same human dilemmas and situations that we all go through," he opined.

— As for details on the 200th episode, Peter Roth was the only one who could be tempted into revealing anything, and even then, details were sparse. "I can only say that it hearkens back to the beginning; it flashes us back to literally how these characters first came to be," he told us. "It's so satisfying and it's so emotional, and it really deals with the best of what 'Smallville' is — which is the characters of the piece, the people and the story behind Clark Kent, and now his new relationship with Lois, which I find to be both romantic and very fulfilling." The episode will also feature the return of James Marsters as Brainiac 5, and will see Clark coming face-to-face with his future self …

To check out pictures of AOL's visit to the 'Smallville' set, check out the gallery below (all photos courtesy of Warner Bros. and Michael Courtney).


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