Whether you're addicted to Smallville or your interest in the Kryptonian farmboy waned a long time ago, you'll want to watch as the series says goodbye—because executive producers Kelly Souders and Brian Wayne Peterson told us that its 10th and final year will get to pay off on that long-promised money shot. Yes, that one—Clark Kent putting on the Superman suit for the first time.
"We have all known images and pieces of the finale for years and years and years, starting back with [co-creators] Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar]," Souders said at a small roundtable after their San Diego Comic-Con panel Sunday. "They had ideas that they always talked about being in the final episode, and we love those ideas. We want to also honor the creators of the show, so there will be some images that literally come from Al and Miles, some from us and some from just years of our own wish lists. In a strange sense it's easy, because you know in that final moment he's going to be Superman. We know where he ends, so the pieces just fall into place."
Now just what that final shot will exactly look like—and, more importantly, which suit Tom Welling will adorn himself with—depends on what DC Comics has to say as Souder and Peterson pen the final episode script in spring 2011.
"There are a lot of different factors in that decision," Peterson said. "I think it will literally come down to the last two weeks of the show and if we know what the new movie is doing. There is every intention to get there, but the mandates really change depending on movie or TV developments."
However, Souders said that each episode of the 10th season will really create a purposeful journey to the transformative moment of Clark Kent's life.
"When we sat down to talk about this season, we asked, 'Why isn't he Superman today?'" Souders said. "We really looked at his character, and he's been a leader and certainly developed his skill set as Superman, but he's not Superman. If you watch the episodes right now, he's not that guy yet, so it was about moving him to that final point, and figuring what are the stumbling blocks and the obstacles, which is what we are going to be seeing. And one of the things we talked about was his past, so we'll see some ghosts from his past so he can have his final lessons from them and move on out of the dark mode into the light."
One of the more compelling of those ghosts will be in the form of James Marsters, who has played Clark's archenemy Brainiac on and off over five years. Souders confirmed he will be back in the 200th episode as Brainiac 5.
"It will sort of be an old villain and a new villain all in one," she teased. "There were things that we really wanted to encapsulate in the 200th, and we literally sat around for days trying to bring it together, and suddenly Brainiac 5 popped in and it all fell into place."
Peterson added, "It's the touchstone for the bigger theme this year, which is where we explore the past, the present and a little bit of the future. We get to touch on some memories and nostalgia, but as soon as we do that we explode into something nobody has ever seen on the show. There are some epic moments, but it's also really fun and romantic. I don't think people will be disappointed ... at least, I hope not!"