Smallville’s Comic-Con panel featured Tom Welling’s first Comic-Con appearance. Joining him were Allison Mack, Justin Hartley, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, and writers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson. Fittingly enough, Jeph Loeb hosted the panel. If you aren’t familiar with Callum Blue, he is the actor set to play Zod. Tom Welling got a huge standing ovation when he walked out on the stage. There were 6,000 people there to watch the panel. Before the panel, the season nine trailer was shown and it featured quite a bit of happenings including us seeing Zod. One thing that got everything buzzing was a shot at the end of it featuring Clark standing on top of a building with a S on his chest. That got the crowd really fired up.
Here are some of the highlights of the Q&A.
Question: What is it like being a producer on the show?
Tom: "I enjoy the production side very much. For the last few years, my interest in what happens before we get to set has increased and this year I get to take a larger part in that."
Kelly: "We’re excited too. You’ve been a great addition to the producing team. Even though we’re only a few episodes underway."
Question to Erica: What is going on with you and Clark?
Erica: "Well, I think you guys are going to be pretty excited this year. All of the things that you’ve been waiting for, you will see a little bit of that. Lois is dealing with being smitten with Superman and also kind of finding Clark irritating which has always been a lot of fun. Giving him a hard time cause somebody has to. I think it will be a great season and be really spicy."
Question: Chloe has a new role. What is like being Watchtower?
Allison: "I love being in control (laughs). It’s awesome and, please, I get to tell these guys what to do all the time."
Question: Talk about Smallville moving to Friday nights.
Kelly: "One thing that we have to say is thank you to the fans because a year ago, I don’t know if anyone knew what the outcome was going to be and if we were going to have a season nine. It’s literally because of everyone in this room and all the fans out there that we’re back this year and we’re gunning for season ten.
Brian: "Just to let you know, we do read what you write on the blogs even if it’s really, really mean. (laughing from the audience). What Kelly says is absolutely right. Regardless of whether you agree with certain decisions that we’ve made on the show, you guys are there, thick and thin. Nine seasons. Ten hopefully. The move to Fridays night I look forward to really. X-Files. Battlestar. The best Sci-Fi shows are on Fridays and we’re going to be no different. "
Question: Will we be seeing more of Erica this year of Smallville?
Kelly: "You will be seeing more of Erica this season which we are very happy to announce. She will be in 18 episodes this season."
Question: What inspired you to finally step in and audition and star in Smallville after the talk that you weren't interested initially?
Tom: "At the time when they were bringing people in for auditions, they weren’t letting them see a script. Once they liked what you did in the audition, they let you read the script. Sometimes in Hollywood, when they don’t have a script to show people, it probably means that they don’t have one which isn’t a good thing. So it took a little convincing through the people that were managing me at the time and myself. At first, I thought it was going to be Superman in the cape and tights on television. Once I read the script, I realized that it was completely different than what I thought. It was a great script and great idea and something that I thought hadn’t been done before and had a lot of room to grow. It looks like that was a pretty good assessment looking back nine years."
Question which went to the group: Do you remember what it was like with your audition?
Allison: "They originally wanted somebody who was of different ethnicity than me so when I walked into the room, I was the only white girl. I was like I don’t think I’m right for this part (laughs) something tells me, but they decided to change gears and shift things around so when I went back the second time and was like ‘ok you guys know what I do, really do you need to see me do this again?’ I went in with a little bit of attitude but apparently they liked that for Chloe and it’s carried me for nine years."
Cassidy: "I didn’t see a whole episode. It looked great. I had an idea of who she was going to be though and they shared that with me."
Justin: "I did this pilot with the guys who created the show and were gracious and thought of me. They took pity on me and brought me in. (laughs)"
Erica: "I was just up in Vancouver at the time having a temper tantrum about the industry and being childish. It came out that Lois Lane was going to be a part of the show. I'm from Canada and I was up in Vancouver and I just thought, oh, they'll just go with LA. So, I'm sitting outside the studio waiting to go and I just thought I've got to do it. I went in and I was kind of like Allison with saying 'I'm just so over it' and trying to pretend that I was super cool but I wasn't. Then, I got a call and went down for it and the rest is history. It's been a lot of fun and a quick and fast ride."
Callum: "I had just moved back to London. I didn't actually know that it was Zod that I was auditioning for. It was a character called Mason. I found out when I got to LA to test and it was Zod and I kind of fell apart and forgot all my lines in the test. Not very Zod like I'm sure."
Question: Is Lex really dead?
Brian: "We know from the mythos that Lex is absolutely not dead."
Question: When is he going to really fly without a red kryptonite ring?
Brian: "Tune in on September 25th because we do actually talk about that and address that in the season premiere."
Question: What challenges do you have as far as stalling storylines or moving ahead when it comes time to the end of the show and not knowing if you'll be back for another season?
Kelly: "A lot of that lies in the writers room. Luckily, we have an amazing writing staff. Honestly, everyone's brains are functioning on two levels when we're approaching that last run of the season because the same thing happened last year. We actually had two different episodes for the final episode cause we weren't quite sure at a certain point. The energy is amazing in there and it is all figured out. We just thought about how we would end it if it was this year or if not, there is always more story. That's the beauty of it."
Brian: "The challenge isn't in stalling cause we try to never stall. The challenge is when you're not stalling and you're moving really fast. Where do you go next? What is great about the character of Clark Kent is that the moment that me and Kelly first read the pilot, we were like 'this is brilliant' because it takes a character that we all know and punches him into a place of discovery where you get to really see the struggle that is inside Clark Kent as he's deciding to be Superman. Every year we're wondering if there are more struggles or more issues that come up. We have two more seasons of stories to tell at this point. We're not really worried about stalling."
Question: Seeing more of Green Arrow this season?
Justin: "Yeah, a lot more. We're going to go back a little bit. Last year I got the chance to play him broken down more and then we jumped right out of it. It was over and he had figured out all of his problems and come to some kind of resolution. Then, we find out this year that that isn't quite what happened. He's really, really struggling."
Brian: "In the first eight episodes, we're really going to see him hit rock bottom and then we'll see what happens."
Question: If Lex isn't gone, is there any chance of Jimmy coming back?
Kelly: "Aaron Ashmore was one of the greatest actors to work with. We loved him. But, the show has always had a history of trying to line up with the mythology so that is what we always try to do and he wasn't the right age as with the mythology. But, it's Smallville and strange days happen. You never know but we love him and we were so happy to be able to work with him."
I think it was Jeph that added: "As we all know from comics, dead is dead."
Question: What personal attributes do you use to build a character?
Cassidy: " It's funny that you say that cause people meet me and say you're so bubbly and not evil and angry and killing people. (laughs). And I say well, thank you but you don't really know me. (laughs). The part of her that I actually pull from myself the most is her strength and her inability to really not do what her heart asks her to do even it might mean that it might hurt other people. Not always the most beautiful part of one's self but a passionate part of one's self and I like that about her character and I like it about myself."
Question: Since Jimmy is no longer here, do you still get a love interest this season? Still any chance of you and Clark?
Allison: "I'm thinking that the Clark/Chloe thing might be dead in the water. He's pretty occupied with other women in his life. With Chloe, you're going to be seeing a lot of healing with the loss of Jimmy and dealing with some of the things that happened for her last year. Really stepping into a more powerful position so I'm not sure that she's really going to have much time for a love interest in the first little while but you never know, she's always open to romance."
Question: Any truth to the Metropolis movie rumors?
Brian: "Metropolis is a rumor at this point"
Some other happenings included the first question being the return of Batman. If you remember last year, he made a memorable appearance during the 2008 panel. His question was “when am I going to be on the show?” which got laughs and then he asked and got to have Tom Welling’s name plaque including it autographed. He got the handshake as well and gave the thumbs up. This was very reminiscent of last year with him posing and all. Very funny. This started the "ask for your favorite cast member plaque card" deal. Erica and Allison gave theirs out as well during the Q&A including autographing them. Geoff Johns was brought up on stage who wrote the Legion episode last season. It was announced that he will write an episode this season called Justice Society of America which got a big reaction from the crowd. Lots of requests for Callum to speak in his Zod voice including many wanting him to say "kneel before Zod". One question asked was if there were any plans to release the score of the show on a soundtrack? Brian said that they hadn't really thought of it but would bring it up while giving a ton of credit to the crew that works on that part of the show. Here was a great comedy moment. One woman asked Tom the question of what is the most exciting or interesting thing that has happened on set to you and could you make it kind of long so you'll keep looking at me? That was one of the best questions that I have ever heard. It got a lot of laughs. Tom looked right at her and would say about four words and pause. This was great!! He did say the visual effects of the show were great to watch along with the directing side of it. As far as guest character appearances, announcements were made that Metallo would be on for the first two episodes and maybe more. Also, expect Toyman and Roulette to return. The writers also said that they might be exploring a Green Arrow sidekick idea as they speak. Tom will be directing two episodes. Allison had this to say about Tom as a director: "Tom is a wonderful director. He's one of my favorite directors to work with on the show because he has such a depth of understanding of the show and the characters. He has such a loving way of explaining what he wants and he's so excited. So, I'm thrilled that he is doing two more episodes this year." Allison will be directing again this season too. Kelly closed out the panel saying said that this is the hardest working cast that you have ever seen. They work around the clock and are incredibly passionate and the same with the crew.
Quite a bit of news out of the Smallville panel. Interesting to hear the news of what is to come in season nine and I'm excited about it. The trailer looked really cool. I liked hearing the thoughts of the show moving to Friday nights. It sounds like they are excited about it and I hope that it does do great things for them. I know all of us fans have been nervous about the move by The CW. The Metropolis movie idea was waved off quickly so we'll just have to wait on that to see if anything else happens with it. Really fun panel!!