Tom Welling on Smallville Series Finale: 'People Are Really Going to Like What We Did'

The year-long build-up to the series finale of The CW’s Smallville has been well-chronicled, with mild-mannered reporters such as yours truly doing their best to divine just how super the final two hours airing this Friday at 8/7c are going to be. Even series executive producer Kelly Souders had to remark to TVLine earlier this week, “I’m kind of surprised everything hasn’t leaked!”

Not that Smallville‘s powers-that-be didn’t go to heroic lengths to keep the particulars of the finale under wraps as production got underway in March, in Vancouver. As series lead Tom Welling told me (as part of an interview conducted for the May issue of CBS Watch! Magazine), “We had scripts that were heat-marked, you couldn’t photocopy them, we had to sign them in and sign them out…. It was this really secretive affair.”

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Though earlier this season there was the assumption that the finale itself would kinda sorta have to be titled “Superman,” Souders and fellow show runner Brian Peterson kryptonite’d that idea when I spoke to them in January, saying that dropping the S-bomb “is a much bigger discussion” that simply typing eight letters on a keyboard. “It’s not only not that easy,” Welling reiterated to me, “but also it’s kind of not what [the finale] is about.”

What is Friday’s two-hour swan song, simply titled “Finale,” about? We know there’s a wedding. We know there is unfinished business regarding Darkseid and the “darkness” with which Oliver and others have been infected throughout Season 10. TVLine readers know there’s a surprise cameo. And we know that Lex Luthor will be back for a pivotal tête-à-tête with frenemy Clark Kent. But as for precisely how those elements and others meld together into a series ender, you’ll have to tune in and see. From all accounts, however, it sounds sure to satisfy.

“Kelly and Brian did a really great job of wrapping up a 10-year program, which is kind of an impossible task,” Justin Hartley, who plays Ollie/Green Arrow, told me. He then promises, “People are going to fall out of their chairs when they see what happens in the end.”

Perhaps elaborating on that comment, Hartley said, “There’s the question that everyone asks: Is Clark going to fly? Well, either he doesn’t… or he does. That question gets answered.”

Says Welling, “I really think people are really going to like what we did. I mean, when I think about it I get excited. The last image… for me, it gave me goosebumps.”

For much more from Welling, Hartley, Souders and Peterson, Allison Mack, Erica Durance and other series vets — including interesting casting anecdotes, frank talk about the show’s tricky transitions, and tributes to their super fans — check out the oral history of Smallville that I compiled for the May issue of CBS Watch! Magazine, which is sold at Barnes & Noble and Hudson News.