Erica Durance (listen to an audio recording HERE):
In the new season, what’s the evolution of Lois and what role do you think she played in pushing Clark?
Erica Durance: Well, I think it’s great in this season she knows and you see her struggle accepting her destiny. That’s the thing about the show, it’s about people accepting their destinies and what they’re for and embracing it and moving forward. Once she embraces that she’s there to make things easier for him and that’s her role in the mythology. That’s what Lois Lane wants. She was the love of his life so that is why I hope that they continue to do and they do that throughout the season.
Lois might use that as leverage as well?
Erica Durance: I’m sure she will. Why not? No, but that’s what I like about her. Instead of moping about, ‘Oh, you didn’t tell me,’ it’s like she finds out and goes, ‘Okay, you know what, you didn’t want to tell me. I’m cool with that. I’ll support that. I won’t get all girlie about it and I’ll help him with this sickness.’ That’s so much greater than my feelings. That’s what I really like about her and then at some point she’ll let him have it and bring him down to earth.
The show’s mythology is different from the films. Have they said that they’re going to keep it in the ‘Smallville’ universe or do they want to jump into the mythology that everyone knows about?
Erica Durance: I think that they want everybody to get the pay off they’ve been looking for ten years. So what I’ve heard from them is that they’re just going full bore in season ten and going as far as they can with it and just hoping to make it people smile and get excited about spending ten years watching something.
Is it your fan-girl dream like in all these ‘Superman’ movies to go flying somewhere?
Erica Durance: I think that would be pretty sweet. That’d be all right. That’d be okay.
What are your feelings about this being the final season?
Erica Durance: Because we’re still in the middle of it it’s not something that’s not at the forefront, but I think it’s bittersweet. Like anything, it needs a beginning, a middle and it needs a really good end and I think that’s the real focus now, to sink our teeth into it and make it as good as we can for our fans.
By the end of season, what would you wish would happen to your character?
Erica Durance: That she gets to fly.
Justin Hartley (listen to an audio recording HERE):
You’re in the final stages now. Overall, what sort of stage do you think Oliver is going into and do you think he and Clark getting closer will push him more towards his father?
Justin Hartley: The first part of the question, I think that Oliver is going from this kind of inner peace that he’s finally found to realizing that whole thing, the way that he thought about himself is in fact not who he is. So he’s still going to carry that burden. It’s interesting because he carries the burden of the bad guy inside of him. So he’s got that dark heart thing and the weight of the world on his shoulders and all of that. As far as the other thing, Clark’s destiny, I think what you’re going to see this year is Clark kind of finding that on his own. Maybe he’ll help Oliver a little bit, sort of like he did last year. People are like this in real life, too. You go in and out of good and bad. So you’re doing pretty good and then something happens and it’s like he’s constantly in remission, trying to figure out how to deal with all the things that he’s done in his past.
What’s your wish as far as where you want him to be at the end of the series?
Justin Hartley: I’d like to see him have more of that inner peace that I was talking about. I think the superhero stuff is great but I think that Oliver is a good person, a good human being. He’s got a huge heart and that’s part of his problem. I’d like to see him get the good end of the stick a few times. That would be kind of nice.
There have been rumblings about your character being the perfect spin-off at the end of the season. Is that something that’s been discussed?
Justin Hartley: I don’t know. It might be in between a pipe dream and something that’s actually being discussed. People are always kind of talking about it. As far as going forward I certainly haven’t heard anything.
Would you do it?
Justin Hartley: Yeah. I’d be up to having a conversation about it. In what capacity I don’t know, but yeah, definitely. I enjoy the character and it’s fun. Stuff like that is kind of up my alley and I would entertain the idea. I will hear it.
If you say yes here then you’re committed, right?
Justin Hartley: That’s right. Then you’re going to whip out the contract and he’s got it on tape.
Do you find the character is still interesting to play, that there are new sides to him?
Justin Hartley: I do. That’s another good question because sometimes you get saturated and you go, ‘We’ve done this a hundred times.’ I’ve had the luxury of coming onto the show initially and did like six episodes or seven episodes, whatever I did, a short stint on the show. They just threw all this stuff in there. ‘This is what the Green Arrow does, who Oliver is going to be.’ Then he left the show for a year and then I came back and did one episode the next year. The first year that I came back pseudo-full time I did thirteen episodes and although that sounds like a lot it’s not. It’s not a long time to get into the character and tell his story. So really last year was really the very first year in my opinion that I was able to be in Vancouver shooting long enough to tell Oliver’s story without just kind of touching on different parts of it. For me, honestly, this is really the way that I look at it, like this is the second part of my full season. So we’re in my second full season in a row and that’s it. So I’ve been lucky that way. I see what you’re saying. I can only imagine. I mean Tom [Welling] has been doing it for, what, ten years.
It must be hard.
Justin Hartley: It must be and on the other side of it, too, the writers. It’s got to be hard for them to keep it fresh because I wrote an episode last year. These guys let me write an episode. So you go into the writer’s room and you’re sitting there and there are so many good ideas that get thrown around and they get shot down, not because they’re not good ideas but because they’ve done it before. ‘That’s a great idea. We did that four years ago. That’s a great idea. We did it eight years ago. She’s already done that. She bled there. That’s where we shot last time.’ It’s unbelievable. It’s like this huge brain sitting in a room trying to figure out what’s left but they come up with it. They keep coming up with it. I have faith in them. They could probably do another ten years if they had to.
Will you write again this season?
Justin Hartley: I’m not going to be writing this season. I’m going to be directing so that’ll be fun.
Do you have a ‘Green Arrow’ story that you would be dying to tell, something for Geoff Johns?
Justin Hartley: I don’t have one, no, but I’m sure he would. I don’t compete with those guys. It was nice for them to let me write one but I can’t compete with them.
Cassidy Freeman (listen to an audio recording HERE):
What’s the next stage for Tess Mercer?
Cassidy Freeman: Well, I died a lot last season. I think she’s a bit humbled by that. I think she realizes that maybe she can’t do all of this alone. So she’s going to turn to Clark and Oliver for a little bit of help at the beginning of the season and then midseason she’s going to find out a secret about her past. I’m not completely sure what that is yet. I have an idea and I definitely can’t talk about it but it’s definitely going to be a big twist for her and she’s going to have to keep it a secret just to keep other people safe. I think it’ll change her trajectory at the end of the year.
There are so many secrets that come with Tess. How do you approach that as an actor?
Cassidy Freeman: I know. Right, absolutely. It’s not easy. Sometimes I have to call down south and be like, ‘Okay, am I lying or am I’m telling the truth. Is this genuine or is it not?’ As an actor it is difficult because you’re trying to make everything you do super genuine and you have to. I heard someone on a panel yesterday say that you can’t judge your character. Once an actor starts judging their character they’re done for because you have to be this person and you can’t judge yourself that way. So whenever she’s doing horrible things I still have to go somewhere inside of me and say, ‘What would make me do that? What would make me do something similar?’ So it’s difficult but it also keeps me on my toes. I think this year I’ll have a little bit more of a streamline than I did the last two seasons.
Will you have a scar on your face this season?
Cassidy Freeman: No, no. This is The CW, my friend. It’s called the beauty square [making a square around her face]. You cannot mess around with it.
Is Tess healed then?
Cassidy Freeman: I am healed. In the teaser they showed you actually see a thing on my face and it’ll be explained. I won’t just show up healed. There will be a transition.
I was reading something that mentioned Two Face –
Cassidy Freeman: I actually kind of wanted that because then I was like I wouldn’t have to worry if I had a pimple. I’ll look like me coming into the first episode.
How much of your arc for the season do you know?
Cassidy Freeman: I know very general outlines. I have a broad stroke and I think a lot will change depending on who they can get as guest stars, the timing of things, who they can schedule but it’s very general. I learn more and more every week and they keep coming up with really good ideas and so things keep getting added to the list.
How do you hope the series will end for Tess?
Cassidy Freeman: I think as a storyteller I want her to become good. I want her to be on the team. I want her to be like, ‘All this bad stuff, screw it. I’m going to be a good guy and I’m going to walk on that line.’ You know that shot of all of them walking, like Aquaman and Black Canary. [She mimics the walking while sitting down.] I watched that and I was like, ‘I want to be on the team.’ I think it’s so badass. But also as an actor I kind of want her to go really deep into the evil just because I think there needs to be a balance of that. If Clark is really going to go good someone has to go bad. Whether that’s me or someone else, I would take that responsibility respectfully.
You walk better than they do.
Cassidy Freeman: Thank you. Even sitting down I did it better. There’s like a band and they’re like so cool.
I don’t know if you know but in the beginning sequence we’re on these circular things, when we’re turning and the first time I saw it I was like, ‘That’s hilarious.’ The way that they do that is that you’re on a green screen and then there’s this disk, this wooden disk and there’s a guy named Russ who pushes a button and you turn. As you turn you look and then you’re body keeps turning and then you go like that. We all had to do that and we got one of our executive producers to go up there and do a fake one. It was really funny. It was one of our executive producers, wind blowing in his face. James Marshall. It was good.
Anything that you can tease because obviously you’re not that deep into the season –
Cassidy Freeman: We’re not, unfortunately. We started a little late this year. I mean, I think everyone kind of knows where it’s going. I think that’s the idea. We all want him to become Superman and that’s the direction that it’s heading. I think the interesting part is going to be the characters we meet along the way and the twists. I think they can craft some really beautiful work this year because they have a beginning, a middle and an end and they know where we’re going. So they can really put a lot of work and effort into each episode and making it that much more beautiful and that much more story and character driven which is exciting without any fear of, like, ‘Are we going another season?’
How does it feel to be at Comic-Con in the last year of the series that’s run ten years?
Cassidy Freeman: It feels incredible. I’m super thankful and was getting really emotional on the panel. I was like, ‘Ten years.’ I’ve been here for two, but like, ‘Ten years!’ I can’t imagine how they feel. But I’m very thankful.
John Schneider (listen to an audio recording HERE):
I guess that since you’re here you’ll be playing a big part in the new season. Is that accurate?
John Schneider: Yes, that’s accurate. I’m in the new season but honestly I’m not sure if I’m alive or dead or a vision or a memory. I’m going to be in there a lot but I really don’t know [how]. The way that it was written I don’t know if it’s accumulative memories of Clark and things that Jonathan would say to him or if I’m really there but that’s not usual ‘Smallville’.
How do you deal with that?
John Schneider: It’s not unusual. One of the things that led to my heart attack is that Lionel Luthor comes in and hands me something in the barn. I don’t remember exactly what he said but something like, ‘How is your family going to be able to survive this,’ and he hands me a piece of paper. I said to the director, it was Greg Beeman at the time and he said, ‘It’s the worst possible news that you could get and it’s life changing.’ I said, ‘What’s on it?’ He said, ‘I have no idea.’ ‘Really, we’re never going to know?’ He said, ‘We’re never going to know.’ We did this whole scene and as soon as John Glover hands me the piece of paper they cut to a reverse of him handing it to me and as soon as I grabbed it and you should be able to see it over my shoulder I crumpled it up and I said, ‘How dare you?’ So it’s not unusual to have the cast be kind of in the dark. I don’t mean that in a bad way. The suspense actually works on the set as well which I think works for the show.
What’s it like coming back after all this time?
John Schneider: It was a wonderful experience coming back. Much of the crew is the same and so it was old home week. But when you get past a certain age four years goes by pretty quick and when I was going up there I thought, ‘It’s been four years. What’s this going to be like?’ As soon as I set foot, like I said on the panel, on the Kent Farm I felt like I hadn’t gone anywhere. It was like no time had passed. So it was really wonderful and a great experience.
Are you in the opening titles?
John Schneider: I don’t think I’m in the opening titles. I wanted to be a surprise but obviously it’s not a surprise anymore. I didn’t want to be in the opening credits. I just wanted to be credited in the end. But I guess the cat is out of the bag.
The whole thing culminating in Clark becoming Superman, is Jonathan returning to give him that final guidance?
John Schneider: Yes. I think that Jonathan Kent is back because he’s the only force, the only person in Clark Kent’s life that can tell him it’s okay to be Superman, that ‘This is in fact the destiny that we talked about when you were a child. We’ve always talked about you were here for a reason, you have this very specific set of skills and you are part of what’s right in this world and one of these days you’ll know how to use that out among the people. It’s your destiny, son.’ I think that’s why they brought me back here because he’s been out doing super things but really kind of unfocused, doing good when he has the opportunity to do it but without focus and without direction. He’s a really good guy but he has not come into contact with his destiny yet and I think that’s what Jonathan is for.
Brian Peterson (listen to an audio recording HERE):
Can you talk about some of the superheroes that’ll be on this season and how Dark Side will affect the story you’re telling?
Brian Peterson: We really wanted to do something different with the villain because I think that Zod and Doomsday were successful and really great additions to the show but we didn’t want to repeat that pattern. So we’re introducing Darkseid in a really different way, kind of gradually unfolding that character through some of his harbingers or minions from the ‘New Gods’ mythology a little bit. So that’ll be really fun. We have characters like Glen Godfrey and Desaad. I don’t want to give too much away but you can probably guess who that was.
Will Ed Asner play him?
Brian Peterson: Weird things have been suggested. I know he’s the voice of her which is great. As far as villains that a big part of the season and then we have another group ragtag villain heroes that are going to come in for episode two with the Suicide Squad. They’re not going to be a huge runner but will at least play a little into the season.
Will you be able to call them Suicide Squad?
Brian Peterson: So far. They’re not a huge part of the season but they’re in there. We have Deadshot, Rick Flag and we’re bringing back Plastique.
We know this is the final stage for Clark to become Superman. In your mind what’s the final stage for Clark to put on that uniform?
Brian Peterson: I think we have our thoughts but I think last year we put him through the ringer as far as making some decisions that were maybe on the edge. We kind of roughed up Tess a little bit. He burned down some buildings. He made some decisions that fans really reacted a lot, too. It wasn’t really Superman. So we wanted him to see what the boundaries are when you’re a god and how far you should and can go. So this year hopefully we take a little more of a positive spin and watch him as he’s taking those lessons from last year and applying them. As far as action moments I really don’t want to give anything away because that’s a really important run for the show but we’ll get there.
But more about him stepping into the light?
Brian Peterson: Yeah, stepping into the light and he puts on a brand new suit in episode two. So that’ll be a little brighter, lighter. He’s not standing on gothic towers that are black anymore. He’s on the Daily Planet and we start to see him transitioning into the light.
For Team Apocalypse, are you putting a new genesis in there at all?
Brian Peterson: There are some things that we’re still working out what we can actually do and can’t do. So where we can’t really go there we want to have at least a little wink to it.
Even though Darkseid is a gradual reveal, should it be one of the most epic fights that he’s had?
Brian Peterson: That is the idea but I think we’ve all seen where we’ve had the best ambitions and the money hasn’t quite supported what we wanted. I won’t go there but everyone has worked hard to make things work and we always push beyond the boundary of what most TV shows do for FX and stunts. Obviously, nine times out of ten we hit the mark but sometimes we just don’t literally have the time to research it. Every effort this year will be made to making the final battle as epic as is budgetarily and humanly possible.
Since it’s the final season are they letting you go all out?
Brian Peterson: The studio has been incredibly supportive. We’re literally trying to shoot a movie and we don’t have $50 million. The little engine that could up in Vancouver, every script that they get is like, ‘Really?’ We’re like, ‘You can do it. You’ve done it,’ and they do it.
Any moments from the past that you feel like you have to have back to tell the story?
Brian Peterson: Well, we’re trying to hit more than we’re probably going to be able to do. There are a lot of actors that we love and have gone out to. They’re on other shows. They’re busy and sometimes it’s not working out. We’d love to see Lionel Luthor again. Obviously it would be incredible to see Lana again. Kristin is very busy and so right now that hasn’t worked out. Brainiac. Needless to say Lex Luthor.
Are you going to bend over backwards to make sure that happens?
Brian Peterson: I’m already in splits to make that happen. I’ve bent over backwards three times. Kelly and I have done everything in our power with the support of the studio to invite Michael [Rosenbaum] back to the show. It just hasn’t worked out. We love Michael. He’s a fantastic guy. So the door is open. That’s all we can do, hope and pray that something works out.
What do you want to happen, something specific before the series ends?
Brian Peterson: It’s hard because everything that I want to happen since I’m the boss is happening. No. Everything we want to happen are really big moments that I don’t want to giveaway because we do have a couple in the 200th episode and a couple in the premiere. We’ve always wanted to see the epic Daily Planet globe and so we put that into the premiere. That’ll be really fun, Clark catching the Daily Planet globe. That was in the trailer that we showed. That’s one.
Brian Peterson: It’s the final season and we know where he ends and I think I can say…that’s what I can say. We know what he ends up doing and it’s the final season.
He will actually don the uniform?
Brian Peterson: You’d have to put me to a torch to get me to answer that.
Has there been talks of an Oliver spin-off?
Brian Peterson: The thing is that I feel really each of our characters are so fleshed out at this point, the actors like Cassidy, Justin and Erica are so amazing that they could handle their own series. But right now nothing is in the works. It just hasn’t coalesced right now because right now we’re focused on ending the ‘Smallville’ and ‘Superman’ mythology and we didn’t want to branch out. The goal right now is this show.
How does it feel to be ending this series?
Brian Peterson: It’s heartbreaking. It’s our family. The people in Vancouver, Tom, they’re all our family and so it’s going to be really, really emotional but I think we want to go out at the top. It’s going to be a tough one.
It’s an important part of the legacy.
Brian Peterson: Yeah. We’ve filled in some of the missing years that a lot of people never saw. It’s very cool.
Kelly Souders (listen to an audio recording HERE):
This has to be bittersweet for you.
Kelly Souders: It is.
You’ve been with the show since the second season.
Kelly Souders: Yeah. If you keep going down this past I’m going to start crying. I’ve been a little misty today. It’s very strange but it’s really an amazing experience.
You’re going to get pay off Al [Gough] and Miles’ [Millar] vision at the end of this. Are you going to bring a lot of people back, can you achieve that now?
Kelly Souders: Obviously Schneider is back as you know. [James] Marsters is coming back. It’s really kind of a season of Clark visiting the ghosts of his past to sort of get over some latent issues, shall we say, and move on to be the Superman that everybody wants him to be.
What about Lana?
Kelly Souders: We’d love to have Kristin [Kreuk] back. Literally, the door is wide open for anyone who wants to come back.
Michael Rosenbaum, too? Is that guaranteed?
Kelly Souders: No, but we’d love it. Nothing would make us happier than to close out the show with him.
Do you think knowing this is your final season has given you the ability to tell the story in full?
Kelly Souders: I think for us there’s a lot of things, we try every season to do new twists and turns and delve deeper into who Clark is as a person. I think because we know this season is ending it in twenty two episodes we’re already exhausted. We’re shooting episode two and we’ve been pulling crazy hours because we just want to do all of it. We want to do everything. We’re kind of shooting ourselves in the foot. I don’t know if we’re going to be alive by the end of the season because we’re killing ourselves so hard and so is the crew and the cast. Everyone feels like it’s our last chance to do every iconic moment that we want, every reunion that we want to see.
We know that Tom is set to become Superman at the end of the year. What’s the final stage on his character’s evolution to get to that point in this last season?
Kelly Souders: The final moment hinges on one of these ghosts from his past and understanding some things about himself that he’s been holding onto for several years. Last year he really sort of delved into his darkest hour which I think was really interesting and something that he needed to do in order to go through life, this rigorous test in order to make it to the Superman moment but what was interesting about it is that by the end of the season he really wasn’t Superman. He wasn’t that bright, shiny inspiration. He was kind of a loner who wasn’t trusting of the people around him who hid on rooftops and in shadows. That’s a very different guy than Superman is. It made us look at the whole twenty two episodes in a way of getting him to that moment.
As we see him get closer and closer to Superman will the clothes change?
Kelly Souders: We will have a little bit of a wardrobe change.
According to the panel there’s a scene where he’s flying or leaping with the Daily Planet globe?
Kelly Souders: He’s doing his biggest leap ever. It’s pretty close to flying.
The last scene of him taking off as Superman is what Al and Miles talked about. Will you keep that or deviate from it?
Kelly Souders: There are a lot of Al and Miles’ images that they had. Then there are images that Brian [Peterson] and I have had and the writing staff, and honestly, the cast and the crew, everybody. We’re all fans, too. So we all have our wish list and we’re all battling it out to get their own wish in there. It’ll be an amalgamation literally of a lot of people who work on the show, that last episode.
What’s the wish that you’re going to fight to get in there?
Kelly Souders: Honestly, some of the stuff that you’re going to see at the very beginning of the season are some of the things that Brian and I wanted to do. For us, because we’re fans from the beginning as well, there are moments from the whole series that are really endearing to us and we want to pay homage to that. So literally from the premiere to the whole season you’re going to be seeing moments that pay homage, giving a little glimpse of things that people love from the whole series. We feel like our fans have been there the whole time and they want to remember the whole show the way that we do. So you’ll see that and a lot of new stuff and we’ll push off.
John Schneider doesn’t know if he’s a ghost or not. Do you guys know and will you explain it?
Kelly Souders: Well, some of it is because it’s still a bit evolving because we shot him in the first episode and what’s interesting is you can plan things out and then you see things shot and then what the actors bring to it and what the crew does and the directors and the cinematographers bring to it, it literally takes on a life of it’s own. So his story is sort of evolving over a period of time. But he won’t be the ghost kind of guy that’s sitting there that you’re used to when people return. It’s not quite like that.
Will we find out what was on the letter in Jonathan’s hands when he died?
Kelly Souders: Oh, yeah, that. It’s on the wish list. It’s in the bucket.
Is this really a narrative that’s driving everything towards the end of the season?
Kelly Souders: Well, there’s certainly by the end of it…it’s all these great questions that makes us verbalize things that are just running around in our heads. Since Brian and I are kind of Siamese twins we don’t ever have to talk about what’s in our heads. It’s very strange to be in a room with us. But coming out of it he has a problem, a challenge and so he’s going to be on that avenue throughout the whole season but because it’s our last season there’s going to be death shots and people from the DC villains, Darkseid and some of these harbingers; it’s not just going to be one villain that shows up for the whole season and that’s his battle. We’ve done that in the last few years and we’ve had a great run at it and we want to just give everyone a taste of all of it.
Darkseid must be pretty heavy.
Kelly Souders: Darkseid is a bad guy or entity, whatever you want to call him. He shows up in some different ways throughout the season.