Superhero movies aren’t going away. With the success of “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight,” the superheroes are lining up and will continue to fly our way very, very swiftly. One superhero franchise that has also enjoyed great success is “Smallville.” It is the live-action television show about the story/re-telling of young Clark Kent, and his journey to become Superman. With “Smallville” going on for almost a decade now, the fans of the show have lots to celebrate because they are getting closer and closer to the payoff. What pay-off am I talking about? I will explain. The show has been picked up for yet another season, but it is most likely its last. This means that all those fans that have anxiously waited for Clark to take the final steps into becoming the superhero they know and love, Superman, is just around the corner.
From the beginning of the show, the writers and creators set a series of rules, not to mention all the restrictions we don’t even know about that were burdened on them. These included the preposterous yet infamous “no tights, no flights” rule. These were cool concepts and kept the show interesting, but soon, fans started growing impatient. The show that, at one time, scored eight million viewers started to decline. What happened? Well, perhaps these folks never left, and perhaps as technology has progressed, people simply don’t watch TV the way Nielsen ratings wants them to. With the DVRs and TIVOs, people can watch at their leisure, when it is convenient to them. Also, it is possible when the WB became the CW, their outreach to viewers is not as ample as it used to be with the WB.
Whatever happened, the ratings haven’t been the same. Nevertheless, the DVD sales have always been extraordinary and growing every season. The ratings worldwide are even better than in the U.S.A. For example, South America has an average of 11 million viewers per episode. Yes, new and current episodes. The producers know there is money to be made here. This is why after Tom Welling’s contract ended after season eight, they offered him a fortune to come back for two more season. This also made him jump to the top 10 list of highest-paid TV actors and in 2009, with an average of $175,000 an episode!
Now, with the new “Superman” reboot movie heading our way in 2012 or 2013, the fans are already going at it on forums, blogs and Twitter about their choice for the character roles. One name that is always popping up is Tom Welling. Could he play the part and do it justice? Could he be involved in the other rumored project that is circulating around like the “Justice League” movie? How about a “Smallville” movie? To all these options the fans are very verbal, and following are some of the usual arguments I hear.
One popular argument is that he is afraid to be typecast. Yet before “Superman Returns” happened, he met with Brett Ratner for the role of Superman when Ratner was hired to direct the movie at that time. Tom turned down the role to star in the movie because the movie would mean the end of the show or doing both at the time was impossible. (Don’t believe me? See an interview where he goes into detail about this here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x522s6_tom-welling-on-last-call-with-carso_shortfilms). Does that sound like someone who is afraid of being typecast? Not to me. With the new reboot starting to start filming around the same time “Smallville” ends, it will be interesting to see if Welling is offered the role once again. Also, now that Nolan has been asked to oversee the upcoming “Superman” reboot project, it seems likely this will be a darker-themed Superman movie. If you have seen any of the “Smallville” episodes in the last few seasons, you know this is the feel the show shoots for. Even the costume of “The Blur” (the name people are calling the dark hero who will one day be known as Superman) is black, and has been successfully pulled of by Tom Welling.
Is it possible to lure those millions of viewers back if they know that they will finally get the long awaited pay-off? Would it simply be more profitable to go with a “Smallville” movie — film that gives the millions of fans worldwide the opportunity to finally get their beloved Superman from the long running show? A straight-to-DVD movie would definitely prove to be a pot of gold in my opinion. Up to now, “Smallville” DVD sales have always been great on Amazon and iTunes, but this is just for the show DVDs. A movie would bring in greater number in my opinion, with all the comic-book fans, and Superman and “Smallville” fans world-wide.
A “Smallville” movie made for theaters also would be successful in my opinion. It has all the necessary key-points to succeed — the show has always been considered an alternate time-line (Star Trek-ish) or “elseworld” version of the Superman story: beautiful people and a great set-up based on greatly repressed characters and plots. I mention repressed because one of the shows tactics is to take all the characters far enough where we are all interested, but never to where they are supposed to end up … yet. So for all the millions of people out there, waiting patiently for a decade, an outcome like this would make the wait worth it. The cast is established and has a die-hard following. The characters are admired for many reasons; looks, acting abilities and cool factor. The show’s line-up is comprised of some of the most attractive people out there. Tom Welling is good looking enough and cool to bring the comic-con to a halt last year and to inspire all kinds of unique and interesting fan-fiction. Yes, he is still pretty unknown to the movie community, but then again wasn’t Brandon Routh too? Also, Erica Durance is seemingly in the FHM top 50 hottest women every year. And her Lois Lane is loved and preferred by many. So, with a cast like this, it would be smart to take advantage of this.
Another issue is the show started out as a retelling of the myth, but as time went by, and the story derailed from the mythos, it was claimed that “Smallville” was an alternative universe or time-line story, so it wouldn’t interfere with the movie/comics Superman. But now, the writers have been hard at work at lining up the show with the movies and comics, and actually, they have done a great job. They have almost erased all the plots that tarnished the known and respected story of the beloved Superman. With just a few more details to touch up on, the show will soon catch up and line itself up with the mythos and original story lines.
This will lend itself to three possibilities:
1. To end the show on an enormous high note
2. To continue on with “Smallville” movies, straight to video or theater, just like “Stargate,” “24” and “X-Files”
3. To open the door for Tom Welling and others cast members to move on to the planned WB/DC “Superman” reboot
If they go the “Smallville” movie route, the show has so my directions it can go — it has the Brainiac story line, Bizarro, and they even explained how Doomsday ended up underground, when he re-surfaces in the future and fights Superman to the death. I mean a “Smallville: Superman vs Doomsday” movie would be amazing in my opinion. It could have Lois and Clark engaged, and even have Lois know Clark’s secret. In my opinion, Erica Durance would be amazing at crying over Clark who’d she think was dead, and then comes back by the movie’s end. I think that could work! Yes, there are so many possibilities.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the possibilities that are out there. What route will they take? I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that the fans will go nuts, and the non-fans will have already been preparing themselves for a change … a new “Superman” is coming. At times, these fans do a better job at promoting the show and movies better than the show-makers themselves, so it would be interesting to see what a properly-promoted “Smallville” movie could achieve.
This could be big.
. . .
Follow Josue Sanchez on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Josue_can.