Through a press release, Supergirl’s Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg officially announced that Superman would make his first real appearance in the show’s second season:
“Greg, Ali and I are beyond thrilled to welcome Clark Kent and his slightly-more-famous alter ego to the world of ‘Supergirl. “Superman will be appearing in the first two episodes of the new season and we cannot wait to see who next dons the red cape!”
Throughout Supergirl’s first season, the Man Of Steel has often been mentioned. We saw Kara sending him texts, a shadow, a CGI appearance and even its boots; you can thus imagine that the show finally addressing the elephant in the room has been welcomed with relief by fans eager to see DC’s most iconic superhero finally sharing the screen with her cousin.
And in the flow of positive reactions, the name of Tom Welling quickly took the spotlight. If you’re familiar with the CW’s former show Smallville, you may know that Welling interpreted a Clark Kent yet to become Superman for ten years. I loved the show and for me and many others, Tom Welling perfectly portrayed Kal-El and almost became the embodiment of the Man Of Steel. So, of course, a tantalizing amount of people are now wondering if we could get to see him wear the famous suit for the first time (!).
This theory has often been brought up by fans and yes, it’s true that it is tempting to believe it. Smallville was a CW show, just like the Arrowverse and thus, its elements could easily be used on any other DC show of the network. But even so, can we expect to see Tom Welling as Superman?
To make things clear, I would be the first person happy to see Tom Welling finally portraying a fully-developed Superman on screen. Sadly, the situation is not as easy as it seems and the odds are clearly against this long-awaited return.
Tom Welling never accepted to actually be Superman. He believed that Smallville should only be about Clark Kent and nothing else. Even in the final episode of the series, his suit was entirely CGI. However, appearing as Superman on the CW show, he would only be committed to make sporadic appearances, nothing like Smallville’s decade-long run. When asked about a possible return, the actor neither denied or confirmed any opening, but left the door opened:
“There’s people who would like it… there’s people who don’t like it, but I will tell you that no one has ever actually asked me to do it. So, I don’t know. It would be kind of odd. I don’t know who he is at that point. He would obviously be Superman…”
The Berlanti-verse has a long history of paying tribute to actors who portrayed past versions of its characters. Dean Cain and Helen Slater are playing Kara’s foster parents; Mark Hamill reprised his role as The Trickster and John Wesley Shipps got to play another iconic speedster in addition to being Barry’s father on The Flash. I have no worries that we’ll see Tom Welling in some capacity, but maybe not as Superman.
It is without question that casting Welling as Superman would draw any Smallville fans who would have turned their back on Supergirl. Welling’s Clark Kent is a very much established character with years of backstory and using it would benefit not only Supergirl but more wildly, the entire Arrowverse. But I feel like the DC TV Universe needs to find its own Superman, an actor who will not be attached to any previously established world and who will truly become a symbol for the DC shows.
And who knows, maybe that in ten years from now, we’ll talk about this Superman as a hero that mattered, as much as Smallville did in its days.