Skip to main content

Smallville had all the makings of a hit when it premiered in 2001. For 10 years, the series gained more and more fans until it finally went off the air in 2011. While most fans enjoyed the show’s two-part series finale, a few viewers were pretty disappointed in how it all ended. The disappointment was deeply rooted in never seeing Tom Welling, who portrayed Clark Kent, don Superman’s costume. The decision wasn’t easy to make, but Welling explained exactly why he and the production team made the call. 

Smallville never featured Tom Welling in a Superman costume

Welling spent 10 years playing Clark Kent, but he never actually played Superman. According to IMDb, Welling appeared in Smallville’s 217 episodes, but he never managed to put on a pair of tights, and he never took flight. Fans had assumed that moment would take place in the series finale, but that wasn’t meant to be.

Smallville, which aired from 2001 until 2011, followed the story of teenaged Clark Kent, as he came to terms with his origin story and the superpowers he had because of it. The earlier seasons took place in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, but later branched out to place Clark into adult situations and scenarios.

Tom Welling refused to don Superman’s tights for the series finale of Smallville

When Smallville went off the air in 2011 after 10 seasons, a lot of fans were disappointed. They were angered by the fact that they never got to see Welling, as Clark Kent, don Superman’s tights and turn into a superhero. After all, it seems like a natural way to end the series. According to Welling, the idea was thrown around, but he ultimately shot it down.

Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling during The WB Network All-Star Celebration
Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling | Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Welling has been open about the fact that he ultimately refused to put on Superman’s suit for the series finale. In several interviews, he’s stated he really wanted the show to stay true to itself, even during its finale. He insists that having his character wear the Superman costume would have fulfilled fans’ desires but would have sacrificed the show’s very purpose. 

There was a “no tights, no flight” rule instated before the team ever filmed the pilot of Smallville

Welling was not the only team member who was concerned about ultimately betraying the purpose of the show. He claims that the entire team had a vision for how the show would play out even before filming began. According to Welling, the idea for the series never included Clark dressed as Superman.


You’ll Never Believe Why Superman’s Nemesis Mineral, Kryptonite, Was Created

According to SyFy Wire, the team behind Smallville instated a “no tights, no flight” rule before they even filmed the show’s pilot. The series was never supposed to be about Superman. Instead, the show was really supposed to be about Clark Kent figuring things out as a teenager. Welling explained that he and the production team all agreed the moment Clark put on the suit, his life was figured out. That’s not the story the show wanted to tell.