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Tom Welling walks (not flies) into final season of ‘Smallville’

September 23, 2010 |  7:25 pm

Smal-show Tom Welling's first memory on the set of "Smallville" nine years ago was a chance meeting with a young production assistant named Chris Petry. The actor waved at Petry, who returned the greeting. Almost a decade later, Petry is all grown up and now serves as one of the show's producers and occasionally directs. As for Welling, well, he is still almost Superman.

"The two of us were just sitting around the other day and going ‘Eh, not too bad. Not too bad for nine years. [We've] done all right," said Welling, who is also an executive producer on the show and on the new CW program "Hellcats."

The original vision for "Smallville," which begins its 10th and final season Friday, was not to dazzle viewers so much with a red-and-blue-suited alien leaping tall buildings as it was to explore the early life of Clark Kent, explained the 33-year-old actor. That character study has been as successful as anyone on the show could have imagined a decade ago and now a generation of kids and young adults know Welling as the defining image of a cape-less Superman.

The show's creators, Al Gough and Miles Millar, embraced the opportunity to write a rich, new narrative for the iconic character's journey to manhood.

"I know that sometimes we've done some things fans didn't like -- though other fans really appreciate -- but we've just gone our own path knowing that eventually he would become Superman," said Welling, whose character still hasn't leapt a building in a single bound.

But come on -- 10 years of teasing fans with Clark's maiden flight?

"Some people might be a little upset that it's taken this long, but I think that we have to embrace the fact that if we'd done it in the first season, the show would be over," Welling said. "The whole point was to try to elongate this journey or this transition that Clark has to becoming Superman."

There's more reaction to the show's final season, and Tom Welling's place in Superman lore on Hero Complex.

-- Jevon Phillips

Photo: Jonathan Kent (John Schneider) counsels his son, Clark Kent (Tom Welling), in an upcoming episode of "Smallville." Credit: Jack Rowand / Warner Bros. Television Entertainment

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