Smallville just might return as an animated series if two of the show’s lead stars get their way. In the Superman prequel series, Michael Rosenbaum played a younger version of the iconic villain Lex Luthor with Tom Welling also starring as a teenage Clark Kent. The series concluded its run in 2011 after ten seasons and more than 200 episodes, coming to an end just as Clark first suits up as the Man of Steel.
So, whatever became of Superman and Lex Luthor in the Smallville universe? Ten years removed from the finale, it seems unlikely that the show will continue with a reboot or sequel series. That doesn’t mean that Rosenbaum and Welling are through playing these characters, as the actors are keen on reprising their respective roles as Lex and Clark in an animated series adaptation. Addressing the possibility in an Instagram Live Q&A with fans, here’s what Rosenbaum had to say about the possible return of Smallville.
“Well, Tom Welling and I had the idea of Smallville returning as an animated series, so we’ll see if that ever happens, but we’ll try to get that going.”
An animated followup makes sense. It’s much easier to get all of the original cast back on board if the actors are reprising their roles in voice only, something that can even be recorded remotely. A live-action continuation would also be a harder sell to a network or streamer than an animated series, considering the high costs involved in adapting something like Superman. In short, a cartoon spinoff is much more likely to happen than anything else, should we get any kind of Smallville sequel at all.
This isn’t the first time Rosenbaum has mentioned his desire to make a Smallville animated series with Welling. In 2018, the pair appeared at AwesomeCon in Washington, D.C., where they were asked about a potential revival. Per CBR, Welling responded that “animated could be fun.” For his part, Rosenbaum revealed that he’s actually given that idea a lot of thought, at one point pitching the series to Smallville co-creator Alfred Gough.
“I swear to God, I brought that up to Al, the creator of Smallville, I said, ‘We should do an animated Smallville,'” Rosenbaum said. “Can you imagine? That’d be huge! S mallville: The Animated Series, with all the real voices, and all the guest stars […] bring ’em in, it’d just be cool.”
The story of Smallville did get a brief continuation as the digital comic book Smallville Season Eleven, which debuted in 2012. Set after the events of the TV series, the comic features Clark now fighting crime as Superman. In 2019, Welling and Erica Durance (Lois Lane) would reprise their Smallville roles in the Arrowverse crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths. Rosenbaum was offered the chance to come back as Lex Luthor as well, but turned it down as he wasn’t allowed to first see the script.
Time will tell if Smallville: The Animated Series ever comes to fruition, but HBO Max seems like a perfect home for such a series if it ever gets the green light. The clip of Rosenbaum addressing the possibility comes to us from @BatKilmer on Twitter.
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