Even six years after it ended, it’s still a massive point of contention for Smallville fans that Clark Kent never wore the classic red and blue Superman outfit in the long-running CW superhero drama. The feature-length finale did see Clark rip open his shirt to reveal the iconic ‘S’ shield in its final moments, but for many it was not enough after ten years of build-up.
While speaking with EW, star Tom Welling defended the choice to keep his character out of the tights. He also revealed that he was a major reason why it never happened:
“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.’”
“We jumped onto this idea that at the end of the show, the idea is that Clark becomes Superman and he’s out there, and we know he’s out there, but we can’t go with him, but that we know and we feel good that he’s out there doing good. That was what we strove for, and I think we hit it. I liked the ending of the series, because it’s like, ‘Yes, he did it!’ I hope the audience didn’t feel like we didn’t show them something that they needed to see. I felt like we gave them the jumping off point for their imagination as to what could happen.”
As Welling also reminds us in the interview, it was a long held plan of the show’s creators, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, that Smallville would never feature the suit – “no flights, no tights” was the mantra behind the scenes. By the sounds of things, Welling used his sway as star, exec producer and frequent director on the series to ensure their vision was seen through until the end.
Unfortunately, the decision definitely rubbed Smallville fans up the wrong way, but at least we now have a suitably suited and booted Supes on our TV screens thanks to Tyler Hoechlin on Supergirl – a role that Tom Welling himself nearly filled.