SMALLVILLE Stars Tom Welling & Michael Rosenbaum Reflect On The Legacy Of The Series (Exclusive)

For the show's 20th anniversary celebration, we were able to catch up with Smallville stars Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum to talk about the legacy of the series as well as the epic finale.

Happy Smallville week!

To celebrate the show's 20th anniversary and tomorrow's release of The Complete Series Blu-ray box set, we were recently granted an exclusive opportunity to sit down with stars Tom Welling (Clark Kent/Superman) and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) to talk about the legacy of the longest-running DC series ever.

With Welling and Rosenbaum now active on both social media and on the convention circuit, interacting with more fans than ever before (including yours truly), the duo has gained a newfound appreciation for the show they worked on so many years ago and for what it meant to the many people that grew up watching Clark and Lex's journey throughout ten seasons.

In the first excerpt of our interview, they tell us: 

TOM: "For me, I’ve grown more of an appreciation for being on it. Talking to people who’ve seen it, and watched it with their families, their fathers. I had no idea that was what people were feeling, so my appreciation for Smallville has increased since we stopped."

MICHAEL: "I feel the same way, I think you go to conventions or wherever, you see the people that it made a difference with and it really resonates. Now, that you can watch the show on Hulu, it’s pretty much universal, seeing new younger audiences, it’s awesome. It’s an amazing thing to have a show stand the test of time and we have. It started in 2001 and now we’re talking about it in 2021, that’s a good thing."

TOM: "That’s very true, and by the way, it’s quite rare that a show lasts that long and it has a resonance that allows us to come back and revisit it and then allows us to now be in business together to create another show based upon…"

MICHAEL: "Yes, life and the history that we have, we’re working on stuff together and we’re working on a Smallville animated series with the creators and hopefully, we’re getting that going soon and we’re working on a show that I wrote that Tom and I will hopefully star in. It’s funny cause on the show, we were friends, I mean not Lex and Clark, but we were friends as Michael and Tom, but we never hung out because the last thing Tom wanted to do after working all damn day was hang out with anybody and now that it’s over, we have time to sort of…"

TOM: "Do this."

MICHAEL: "Yeah, do this! *Tom laughs* Here we are at my house, in the Hills, and we’re enjoying it, so thanks for having us."

While Rosenbaum opted to bow out after seven seasons, Welling stayed on for another three, which is practically unheard of today as actors don't typically stick around on one project for an entire decade. Thankfully, Welling went the distance and brought Clark's journey to its natural conclusion.

Considering he was the show's central figure and was also an executive producer, it's no secret that he had some say in how and when the show ended, and while he did play a role, he also very graciously explained that the end of the series wasn't something that stemmed from him wanting to leave the show or from the network pushing them out - it was a decision that was entirely story-driven. 

When asked when he knew it was time to move on from the series and possibly setting some sort of precedent for the stars of Supernatural and the other DC TV series, he clarifies: 

TOM: "Listen, I respect your question, but that’s not what happened."

MICHAEL: "What happened? Because I don’t know!"

TOM: "We ran out of stories. It wasn’t me raising my hand and saying I’m done, it really wasn’t, it was a collective experience with even Peter Roth, who was head of Warner Bros. at the time, who I spoke to, and I wrote the ending of the show with him and part of it was like, “Dude, Clark has to go on, he has to move on.” We ran out of story."

MICHAEL: "And Tom wasn’t a boy anymore, he was getting older!"

TOM: "And I was like 47 years old by the end of the show."

MICHAEL: *laughing* "Not that old."

TOM: "But, I respect your question, but the show had literally just run its course and it wasn’t me wanting to leave, it wasn’t anything else, it was a collective thing, and very rarely does a television show know it's coming to an end and we had that gift. They were like, “Okay guys, this is the last season, let’s go out with a bang.” And that’s what we did."

MICHAEL: "And for me, Rohan, a lot of folks thought that I quit the show and that wasn’t the case at all. My contract was through six years, I did seven, I did an extra year and I just felt like I wanted to explore other worlds and I felt like I had done all I could with seven years and 160 episodes of Lex and I came back for the series finale, which was really rewarding. Not only for me, but for fans, and the crew, it was awesome."

SMALLVILLE: THE COMPLETE SERIES Blu-ray box set arrives in stores tomorrow!

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