Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders on The SMALLVILLE Series Finale

smallville season 10

It’s finally here, tonight SMALLVILLE will come to an end after 10 years. But before we get to that, as promised, I have the interview that executive producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders gave to the press about the series finale. They gave a lot of great answers and I can’t wait to see it all come to life and find out about all the hints they gave us.

You can also find some more spoilers and speculations on the series finale here, also please keep in mind that the interview might have some spoilers.

So I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to tune in to the 2-hour Smallville series finale tonight, May 13, at 8pm on The CW.

It’s one thing to be talking about the final episode for so long, but how do you guys feel now that it’s here?

Brian Peterson: Peterson It’s like a wash of stuff. This was a huge endeavor and it had a lot of challenges. So there’s a big weight that’s been lifted, but to be honest, I think we won’t know until it really airs and it’s done forever. It’s literally like you walk down the hall and all the rooms are empty.

Kelly Souders: It’s strange.

Brian Peterson: It’s very strange, but most importantly I think we’re really proud. Everyone put a hundred and ten percent into the finale, all the actors. People did things that they probably wouldn’t have done before. Visual FX has thrown in some extra stuff. Everyone has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Aside from the plot points that you had to hit what were your favorite smaller moments in the finale?

Kelly Souders: There’s actually a couple of moments in the church. There’s one, I’ll just say it, and I’m not saying what it is, but when Lois is about to walk down the aisle, I have a couple of great moments just on the aisle.

Brian Peterson: And there’s a very good scene with a door.

Kelly Souders: Yes, there is.

Brian Peterson: That’s probably one of everybody’s favorite scenes in the show. There’s one shot that’s like the ‘Smallville’ shot. Like, you’ll see it and be like, ‘This is what we needed in the finale.’ You’ll know it the second that you see it.

What can you say about Lex’s return?

Brian Peterson: Right. We only had Michael [Rosenbaum] for one day. So there was only so much that we could do with him in the story and we really wanted to keep this Clark’s finale. But Lex plays a very interesting role and there are a couple of big twists with Lex that we did not show you.

Kelly Souders: And I think the other thing that’s interesting is that obviously because Rosenbaum hasn’t been on the show for the last couple of years we needed to tie up the last few years, and obviously this season. So we had Darkseid looming out there, but for us, when we were thinking about Rosenbaum coming back and our Lex, the ‘Smallville’ Lex, what his purpose was that it was always not quite what you expected and much more sort of human and emotional than I think any of us starting out on the ‘Smallville’ experience would’ve expected. So we really went back to the pilot and we thought, ‘There’s that guy who showed up and was totally personable and super sympathetic and just wanted to thank a guy for saving his life.’ When we looked at having him back in the finale it was the same thing, which is they’re going to go on to be huge enemies so what’s pivotal at this moment that’s our Lex Luthor and our Clark Kent and how do we wrap up a relationship that has been so complicated and so mixed with emotions for ten years.

How down to the wire was it, finding out that he was coming back and had you prepared the non-Lex version?

Kelly Souders: It was over the wire. It was past the wire.

Brian Peterson: It was over the wire. We had published and prepped an entire finale without him in it. Not that we didn’t want him, but we just thought that was never going to happen. Honestly, there are a couple of things that we had planned on planting in the season that we didn’t because we didn’t know that we were going to have him. So we wrote the scenes, I won’t say hurriedly because we spent all weekend writing these two big scenes for him, but it did throw a couple of the other storylines into a little bit of a…not a tailspin, but it changed them a little.

Kelly Souders: But we were very happy to do it.

Brian Peterson: We were thrilled, don’t get me wrong.

Did you have versions if Kristin Kreuk came back and will we ever know what those were?

Brian Peterson: Well, we were told at the beginning of the season that Kristin would never be back. So I think her role would’ve been much better in the two hundredth because it was about reunions and it was about high school and all of that. So once that passed and we realized that we weren’t going to get her for that because she just wasn’t available we kind of didn’t follow a Kristin thread. But we always kind of kept a Lex/Michael Rosenbaum thread partially alive.

Will we ever learn what the alternate Lex story might’ve been if Michael couldn’t have come back, maybe on the DVD or something?

Kelly Souders: I think in some ways it was pretty similar. It’s just that he would’ve been a little bit of the puppeteer behind the scenes for those last few episodes. But we would’ve known that he was more involved in Tess Mercer’s life and obviously Lionel Luthor coming back.

Brian Peterson: It would’ve just been more of a reveal at the end of the show rather than seeing a good scene with he and Clark and stuff.

Kelly Souders: We wanted to save that. If it was ever going to happen we wanted to save that for the finale.

With the moment that we know is coming, did you take any extra time on set to shoot that and was there anything special about that day?

Kelly Souders: Which moment?

A certain costume, a letter –

Kelly Souders: Well, I think the thing is that, literally you’re going to watch and it’s like two hours and we had to cut stuff. We had to cut quite a bit out actually. It’s jammed packed. You don’t sit there and go, ‘Okay, nothing is happening. There’s no relationship going on.’ You don’t feel like you’re just waiting for the last two minutes of the two hours, hopefully. So I think there’s a lot of prep that went in. Like Brian said, it was a really challenging episode. It was challenging when the first script came out and people just kept adding and bringing more to the table. Our crew, our cast, they’re just tireless about wanting to make something the greatest that it can be. So I would say that pretty much every moment in this had a lot of hours behind it. I can’t say that it was just one.

Brian Peterson: More than one, and we, actually this is fair to say, thought at one point that we were going to be short because we thought that we might not have enough footage for the finale. So, we wrote a couple of extra scenes with some of the Darkseid mythology with Granny and with Godfrey. That ended up not making it into the final because actually the original script did fit. So those might end up showing up on the DVD or something somewhere and they kind of fleshed out the story a little, but because they weren’t our main characters they were the first to go.

Since this is more like a feature at two hours did you allocate more of a budget for it?

Brian Peterson: I’m always scared to say feature because that’s probably twenty times our budget and that’s probably conservative. So I don’t want to be compared to a feature after having just seen ‘Thor’.

[Laughs]

Kelly Souders: Peter Roth has been the biggest fan of the show from the beginning. And Peter Roth and the studio and the network even, it’s usually not the network’s job to pitch in on that stuff, but even the network came in and gave us a lot of support because no one wanted to leave things off the screen.

Brian Peterson: It definitely has a feature scope and a feature feel. I mean, you saw the plane and Apocalypse heading to earth. So there’s a lot of that. There’s probably fewer of those shots that you’d get in the movie.

In some of the promotions we’ve seen Jonathan Kent. Are we going to get some explanation as to what that Jonathan Kent is?

Kelly Souders: I think it’ll become really clear what role Jonathan plays and why he shows up the way that he does in this episode and every time I see certain moments with Jonathan I definitely get a tear in my eye after all these weeks of watching the footage.

Brian Peterson: We very purposely platformed his role in the final with what we did in the premiere, in ‘Lazarus’ this year, that final scene that Clark has with him in ‘Lazarus’. So the whole point was to bookend the final scene with Jonathan. So he’s introduced in that same type of way.

In regard to Michael Rosenbaum coming back, were there other things you thought you were going to do this season, but couldn’t because of time or other issues?

Brian Peterson: A couple.

Kelly Souders: I think we probably would’ve liked to have seen the JLA a little bit more this season and bring back, like, John Jones is someone that we really wanted to bring back. I think what it just came down to was that the finale had a lot of people in it and at a certain point you tip the scale and you’re not servicing the people that are onscreen. But there were a lot of beloved characters that we wanted to see again that we didn’t get to bring back. But in general we were pretty happy with everything that we were able to do.

Brian Peterson: It’s always hard when another hero shows up because every minute that other hero is onscreen it takes time away from Clark. It just does by its nature. The VRA was supposed to be a vehicle to get as many people back as we could. But with the two hundredth and Booster in the finale our resources were maxed out.

What is the one thing you want people to take away from ‘Smallville’?

Kelly Souders: Honestly, I think it’s our theme that emerges here which is believe in heroes. I think that has become incredibly important to us, that we were able to work on a show that has such a positive message. I think the fact that we have such hardcore fans that have followed the show, I think that’s why they watch. It’s not because we’re going to have the biggest visual FX that they’ll ever see on a screen and it’s not because of anything other than I think they want to believe in the heroes.

Brian Peterson: I think that Superman was born out of a very tumultuous time in our history. I think we’re facing a lot of other challenges right now and we will in the future and to me it’s inspiration, yeah, for sure.

What special extras are you planning for the final DVD set?

Kelly Souders: This DVD set is insane. I think it’s the biggest one that Warner Brothers has ever put out.

Are you talking about the whole series?

Kelly Souders: Yeah, the whole series.

Brian Peterson: We’ve seen it. It’s really cool looking. They’ve gone back and interviewed the people who were on those first seasons with us like Al Miles, and I believe some of the stuff is still in negotiations right now. They definitely did two featurettes that are going to go on this season.

Clark is really growing up. He’s sold the farm and pulled away from Jor-El. Is this too soon for him do you think?

Kelly Souders: Well, I think looking at his last step for us was about the fact that sometimes your mentors and the people that you look to for help can sometimes also be holding you back. Or it can be your imagination that they’re holding you back. I think that final step of trying to figure out as an adult if you’re friends with your parents or if your parents still your parents. He’s trying to figure out all those last relationships as he finally his last step into complete manhood, shall we say. Superman-manhood. So I think it’s still a complication in his life that he has to make peace with in the finale.

Brian Peterson: I think finding problems and character flaws for Superman has always been the challenge of this show because he’s perfect, but I think we purposely chose this year as his stumbling block is that he’s actually trying too hard to be a hero and trying too hard to force his destiny. So some of the problems, a lot of those scenes are from the top of the finale, about that, him trying too hard to decide who he is and be a hero and not kind of let it happen at the pace that it should.

Kelly Souders: One of the things that’s difficult, and it really started a bit in the two hundredth episode, is that when you’ve seen your future how does that start adjusting what you do on a daily basis because you have the mindset of, ‘Oh, I have to do this and I have to do that in order to be this person.’ I think all of us would have that if we just jumped ten years into our future and spent a day there. I can’t even imagine what sort of impact we’d come back with. It’d be a real challenge to just stay present and in a present mindset.

What can you say about the Chloe storyline?

Brian Peterson: I don’t want to give anything away. Allison [Mack] was doing a play and so we got her for half of the show. I think there are a lot of different ways that people want Chloe to end, and so I think we service her character in a way that’s right for who she was and who she’s becoming. She has one kind of big moment with Clark where we get to see her shine.

Kelly Souders: And how she reacts with the overall mythology. I will say that Chloe fans should definitely stay tuned through the whole show. There’s a jewel.

Brian Peterson: There’s a certain thing that we give her that nobody got.

And Oliver?

Brian Peterson: It’s hard because since Oliver came in so late in the series we wanted to service him, but also the show is about Clark and Martha and Chloe. It started as one thing and we kind of wanted to end it that way. So he has a big heroic moment. He has a big arc. He has some complications, clearly as you saw.

Kelly Souders: I think one thing that’s great that I enjoy about watching Justin [Hartley] and getting to wrap up the Oliver Queen story is that you get to see what an impact that these heroes coming together has made on him, having Clark as a friend. It’s very clear in this episode. It defines that relationship and what it means to both of them. There’s a really great moment that you just sort of see their friendship and that bond and that’s what’s going to get them through a lot of hard times in the future.

Brian Peterson: We purposely had the last couple of episodes be a little Oliver heavy because we knew that we wouldn’t be able to have as much time for him in the finale. So in the last couple of episodes, if you’ve noticed, the one that he directed, ‘Dominion’ and ‘Prophecy’, had a lot of Oliver in it. So hopefully feel satisfied with a little conclusion in the finale.

Are there any glimpses at all of the future?

Kelly Souders: I don’t know.

Brian Peterson: That will be answered in the first five minutes of the show.

Is there anything that you guys are surprised hasn’t leaked yet about this finale?

Kelly Souders: I’m surprised how anything hasn’t leaked to be honest.

Brian Peterson: Given how much has leaked on this show I can’t imagine how ‘Amazing Race’ does it. Like, how do they do that? They must have ironclad contracts. I wasn’t surprised that there was one shot that leaked in The Fortress because it’s a great shot.

Kelly Souders: But we didn’t like that it leaked, but like we said, there are a lot of moments, all the way throughout, that we wanted to be sure people were watching it for the first time and they weren’t seeing so much. Once you see something and you see one shot, or a frame of it, then you start speculating and then everybody starts having an opinion about it and then you get to the moment and it may not be anything like what was represented in that shot. So that’s part of why we’ve tried to be really careful. It’s the last two hours and we just wanted people to enjoy it.

Brian Peterson: Rather than being on top of it before it even airs. The real honest answer is that half of them are visual FX and they’re not done yet, and so luckily they can’t leak.

Have there been talks about a spin-off from this show just to keep it going since you’ve been on it for so long?

Kelly Souders: We haven’t talked actually about it. To be honest, we’ve had our heads pretty buried in the show, especially this last year. There wasn’t much time to even think about it, but obviously it’s a bunch of beloved characters. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been around all these decades.

Brian Peterson: I’m actually glad at this point that nothing has been spun off because I think when that starts to happen a lot of the focus goes to that rather than the actual source show. I’m glad that, honestly, we didn’t have that right now and that if something did happen, which we’ve had no conversations about, it would be its own thing.

Kelly Souders: A fresh thing.

You had a fun little Legion of Doom cameo last weekend. Is there another mention of that in the finale?

Brian Peterson: Again, we kind of saw this last run not as individual episodes, but as a lead up and we wanted to not try to pack everything in the finale. So that was kind of our cap off of villains so that we could have the villains in the finale be Darkseid and Lex and Lionel. So that was kind of our show to show that villains will go on, heroes will go on. Kara will go on to her destiny and kind of wrap up all of that to protect Clark and everything that was in the finale. That’s why we tried to pack them all into one shot.

How long did you guys know that you had Apocalypse the planet coming in, that Fourth World stuff coming in?

Kelly Souders: A long time. Darkseid and Apocalypse, in the writers room that’s what we were all talking about at the start of the season. They kind of go hand in hand. I think it was something that slowly evolved.

Brian Peterson: It was a part of our pitch. Every season we have to pitch the arc to the studio and network. I think it was part of our initial pitch.

Did you feel any additional pressure balancing what you though fans wanted versus what you might want versus what the source material has happening?

Brian Peterson: The good thing is that I think we’re as big of fans as anybody else. We are fans.

Kelly Souders: Yes. The answer is yes.

Brian Peterson: There is a huge pressure.

Kelly Souders: There is a lot of pressure. To wrap up ten years, just to do a finale every season, literally it takes everything out of everybody who’s working on it and people just collapse. I mean, the next day everybody is on planes trying to get to a beach as far away as they possibly can. So, to try and do that for ten years and really wrap ten years, yeah, there was a lot of pressure.

Brian Peterson: We know we’ll never hit everything. It’s impossible, but I think the finale hits eighty to ninety percent of what everybody is going to want, more than almost any other episode we’ve ever done, I think.

Kelly Souders: I should say that the pressure is just here. There’s nobody calling us going, ‘You better do this. You better do this.’

Brian Peterson: It’s just on ourselves.

Kelly Souders: We just don’t want it to suck at the end of this run.

Is there anything in the finale that you wish you could’ve gotten to?

Brian Peterson: The biggest part, just like Kelly was saying, was that we really wanted a little bit more John Jones and a little bit more JLA in these last few episodes. But it’s not their story. It’s Clarks. So it’s really those outside characters, and it would’ve been great to pull in a couple of people from the past, but that’s really it. I think all the other moments with Clark and with Chloe, and for the most part with Lois and Lex and Lionel, I think that’s all there. I don’t think there was anything skimped on there.

What do you want the legacy of ‘Smallville’ to be?

Kelly Souders: What I hope is that ‘Smallville’ made one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world accessible and made him sort of human to people so that they could relate to him, and like we said, be inspired by him. That’s my hope.

Brian Peterson: Some of this I said, again, yesterday, but I feel like Batman, we see his angst on a daily basis. He wears it literally on his sleeve and is black everything. Superman is this larger than life, poppy, red and blue, literally almost this perfect inspiration. I think for me it’s that we got to see the immense struggle that it took to get to that point because he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve everyday and to fill in the space from when he arrived on earth to the point where he decided to be that inspiration for people.

Can you talk about the emotional impact of the final moments of the episode, how it affected you guys when you saw it?

Kelly Souders: I’ve said before that still at this point, just like seeing this trailer again and it’s not like we haven’t seen this footage a hundred times, I still get really choked up just because it feels like there’s such a history and obviously we have such a history with it, too. I think you were saying this, that it feels like high school, like you’re ending a whole period of your life that you know will never ever get to go back to that had highs and lows, but was so spectacular in every way. It just can’t be duplicated in that same way. So it’s pretty emotional.

Brian Peterson: I would just say that we also didn’t want to just do an ending. We wanted to do a beginning a little bit, and so I think what we were aiming for was giving people the emotion of knowing what’s to come because the end of this show lines up with every movie, a lot of comic books, a lot of everything. Unlike a lot of shows we know where this story goes, and so it’s kind of a hand off to those other pieces of cannon and those other pieces of mythology rather than just an ending.

Did you celebrate after you wrapped the last scene?

Brian Peterson: I got on a plane from set and had a scotch. What’s hard is that everybody trickled out. A lot of the actors had gone. It wasn’t this big moment on set where it was the final scene because of the way that the schedule was. So you had a big moment with this person and then they left, and then Annette O’Toole and you clap and then she leaves. Then Chloe and poor Tom [Welling] is like, ‘Everybody is gone for my last moment,’ but he was a trooper. He had to work I think the second to last day and he was there.

Kelly Souders: Cassidy [Freeman] was there the last day.

Brian Peterson: He sent a nice email to everybody and said thanks to everybody. He’s a mench.

Since you started the show was there something you never thought you could do on the show that you finally ended up getting to do?

Kelly Souders: Lois and Clark together, that was the big one and probably the biggest out of all of them.

Brian Peterson: The S shield. I didn’t think we’d ever have access to the S shield.

Kelly Souders: And I think some of the characters from the D.C. world like Metallo. Darkseid. Zod. All of those were something in the early seasons we didn’t really approach and so we weren’t sure if that was ever going to come to fruition, but D.C. has been very excited to have us use the characters and they’ve been great for us to get to play with.

Are there any plans to keep making media related to ‘Smallville’ after the show ends, more novels or comic books or other type media?

Kelly Souders: I think they’re planning on doing a ‘Smallville’ comic book.

Brian Peterson: Beyond that I don’t know. I know their hands are very full with a lot of features right now over at D.C.

At this point in the series, after he’s wearing glasses now and Lex calls him Kal-El, do we have to wonder if he’s reconciled?

Brian Peterson: The reconciled question.

Kelly Souders: I’ll just say that some things get reconciled and then some things we worked with D.C. on and they said, ‘This is “Smallville” and there are a few thing that don’t quite get reconciled because it’s its own mythology.’

Brian Peterson: I think that’s the whole point of reconciliation, that from every movie, from every comic book there have been different earths and there have been many crisis. So it’s hard to pinpoint one thing that you’re supposed to line up to. So I think we’re just one more of those different variations, but I think that we, along with a lot of the movies, we’ve all been very reverent to the source material even though we’ve taken slight liberties. We haven’t gone way off the path. I think what Kelly said after that.

When was the last time you watched the pilot, thinking that this was a bookend for that?

Brian Peterson: Well, we’ve seen it. We saw a lot of episodes recently. Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to say anything from the pilot and I wouldn’t be able to say where that happened and when that happened. We’ve seen it so many times. We always go back to the pilot because we’ve never wanted to lose track of where we started. So we go back to the pilot at least once or twice a season.

The CW promotions have been using the John Williams score. Will we hear that on Friday?

Brian Peterson: That will be answered in the last five minutes.

What are you going to do on Friday?

Brian Peterson: We’re having a few really close friends over to my house, maybe taking the writers out for a drink.

Kelly Souders: It’s strange because the bulk of the people who work on the show in production are all in Vancouver and then our office down here is like thirty people. It’s kind of a small office. We wish that we could all be together, but that only happens about once every two years.

Can you see going to Comi-Con and doing a last hurrah with the fans?

Kelly Souders: That would be fun.

Brian Peterson: That would be awesome.

Kelly Souders: If we get an invitation we’ll show up. How about that?

Brian Peterson: Maybe to promote the series box set.

What’s your favorite memory from all the episodes?

Brian Peterson: I think the hundredth episode, just personally and for the show and for Clark, the moment that Jonathan died and his scene with Martha afterwards, you’d be hard pressed…and the end of the finale. I don’t know.

Kelly Souders: I’m right there with you.