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SYFY WIRE Smallville

'Smallville' creators on what they'd change about the show now

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar reflect on their long-running Superman saga.

By Matthew Jackson
SMALLVILLE, (back row): Tom Welling, (middle row): John Glover, Annette O'toole, Allison Mack, John Schneider, (front row): Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Sam Jones III.

Writers and producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are riding high right now thanks to the success of Wednesday, their Netflix original series which allowed them to collaborate with Tim Burton and explore a new side of Wednesday Addams. The success comes a little more than 20 years after Gough and Millar explored the teen years of another iconic character with Smallville, and with two decades of hindsight, the creators acknowledge there are some things they'd change today about their young Superman saga.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about Wednedsay's success and how it relates to their work on Smallville -- which ran for 10 seasons on The WB and The CW in the 2000s -- Gough and Millar admitted there are certainly some elements of the series that might shift, were they to make it with the benefit of their 2022 hindsight. Issue number one, at least according to Gough's daughter, is the dynamic between Clark (Tom Welling) and Lana (Kristin Kreuk), which shaped the romantic destinies of both characters for the first seven seasons of the show.

"The Clark-Lana thing played out way too long," Gough said. "Something else had to happen there. I think that was one that got a little repetitive. My younger daughter is now, finally after Wednesday, she’s going back to watch Smallville, and she’s in season two. She goes, 'What’s the deal with these two?' I’m like, 'It was a different time.' So, I think there are things there, if we went back, we probably would be a little more adventurous with some of those relationships and bring them to certain heads and let them play out."

Millar added, "We were definitely cautious and just very conscious of the fact we wanted to get to five seasons, and we ended up at 10 seasons, but we’re just like, 'OK, if we split them apart, what are we gonna do?' Again, as the father of girls, I think the female characters we would do differently today. I think Lana, her agency was not there. She could have been a much stronger character, and she always felt put in positions of weakness. It’s a different era, a different time. So, that’s something I think we could have done and would definitely look at to do better."

But even with that added hindsight, and the insights they've gained over the last two decades of work, Gough and Millar are also very aware that a reboot of the series, or a follow-up story, is not something they're interested in exploring. 

"I think we told that story, and they’re always refreshing Superman," Gough said. "I just read last night that James Gunn’s writing a new younger Superman movie, and I’m like, 'OK.' I feel like we were very, very fortunate to do the show when we did it because we got to make the show we wanted to make, and frankly, there was no committee sitting over us telling us what we could or couldn’t do. I mean, we had Warner’s features, who wouldn’t give us certain characters that we wanted, but we got to make the show we wanted to make which we wouldn’t be allowed to make that show today. There were so many deviations from the canon. One generation’s heresy is the next generation’s gospel."

So, no Smallville 20 years later story is on the way, but maybe the DC multiverse will be kind and let Tom Welling put on that Superman suit one more time. For the moment, the entire series is still available too stream, so you can relive your Millennial Superman glory days as many times as you want.

Looking for more superhero action? Check out Heroes, X-Men: First Class, and Green Lantern now streaming on Peacock.