TV Urban Legend: Tom Welling has rejected doing the original series finale for Smallville.
Smallville debuted with a bang in 2001 as a daring recreation of the Superman origins, featuring the adventures of a young Clark Kent at a time when he slowly morphed from a young man with powers into the iconic Superman.
The fascinating aspect of the show was its ten-season run. Thus, it was kind of stretching the “transitioning into becoming Superman” angle. When the series ended, its lead star, Tom Welling was 34-years-old.
The show had a rule of “No Tights, No Flight.” Because the show was based on Clark Kent becoming Superman, the idea was that the show would finish after he became Superman. Therefore, he won’t wear tights and won’t fly. They also believed that the entire premise of “you can believe a man could fly” was particularly for a Superman scenario.
Don’t misunderstand us, but, the show manipulated the rules to the extent possible without breaking them.
Clark had a half-baked costume which was pretty much a jacket with an S and not a proper costume. He went around at as much speed as possible without being airborne, which led to him getting called “The Blur.”
However, he didn’t fly and didn’t put on the real costume. That’s what the rule was.
This caused a problem with the series finale of Smallville in 2011.
As told by Tom Welling to EW’s Natalie Abrams last year:
Our series finale was supposed to be, in the first act, Clark puts on the suit and flies around, saves Lois on a plane, and does this other stuff. It was a call that I had with Peter Roth, who is the head of Warner Bros. Television, who’s a good friend of mine and we have a great relationship. I said, ‘That’s not our show, Peter.’ He’s like, ‘No, it’s going to be great,” and I go, ‘Yeah, but just think about what we’ve been doing. If we just jump into that, we haven’t earned it.’
Thus, Welling refused to do the episode in that form.
Therefore, they rewrote that episode. While Clark still remains Superman in this episode, however, he is not seen as the Superman until the very last frame of the episode and series, which showed Clark in the process of morphing into Superman. Thus, once again he was never clearly shown to be either as Superman or in the air or any such thing. As per the original idea, the show ended exactly at the point where he became Superman.
Quite a smart thing to do that one.
It was quite good for Tom Welling to stay loyal to the original idea and even better on behalf of Warner Bros Television to let him do that.