By Dumo Pokima
With the triumphant release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the 20th anniversary of Smallville, many fans from across the geek spectrum will be looking forward to the spectacular and triumphant return of Superman after his pivotal sacrifice in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. For over seven decades, Superman’s rocked the pop culture realm with various comics, TV shows, movies, cosplay, merchandise, and more. But what many fans may not realize is that Smallville played a significant role in the legacy of Superman. While it gave us an in-depth look into the origins of Superman through Clark Kent’s younger years, it also paved the way for a massive universe of superhero shows collectively known as the Arrowverse consisting of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Black Lightning.
It must be a great honor for an actor or actress to be a part of such an ever-evolving genre, but the long-running Smallville started it all. Several actors (some of whom you may or may not recognize) appeared in the WB hit show and scored some screen time in Zack Synder’s super flick. There are also some key plot points from Smallville that made their way to the big screen. Here are just a few:
Before playing Lois Lane and her breakout role in Enchanted, Amy Adams guest-starred in Smallville‘s season one episode “Craving.” She plays Jodi Melville, an overweight student bullied at Smallville High. In a desperate attempt to fit in and escape the continual torment of her cruel peers, she goes on a strict vegetable diet that, unbeknownst to her, contains kryptonite. It works miraculously, and her metamorphosis is stunning, but not without side effects. She becomes a fat-sucking vampire of animals and humans to make up drastic weight loss. Clark’s best friend Pete Ross, who stands up for her, is almost a victim, but Clark saves the day and inadvertently saves her. The episode received less than favorable reviews, but Adams would later land the role of Clark Kent’s iconic love interest and determined reporter in Man of Steel.
Fans of Crocker from Nickelodeon’s live-action adaptation of The Fairy Odd Parents films might recognize this actor if they spot him quickly. He plays Major Laramore in Man of Steel, who helps General Swanwick (Harry Lennix) track down the Kryptonians after they surrender Superman to General Zod. In Smallville, he appeared in the season two finale as a Dr. Marcus. In Season 8, he starred as Macy the Jeweler, who kidnaps and tortures Lois and Clark in an attempt to test their relationship and help heal his wounded romantic past.
Best known for his roles in Battlestar Galactica, The 100, and War of the Planet of the Apes, Alessandro Juliani also starred in Man of Steel alongside Richard Schiff, who plays Dr. Emil Hamilton. What’s beautifully poetic is that Juliani had a three-season recurring role as Emil Hamilton, a doctor at Metropolis General who Oliver Queen employs. I bet his mind was blown getting to work next to Hamilton when he himself played Hamilton. Talk about a full-circle moment!
Mackenzie Gray played Zod’s right hand eccentric scientist Jax-Ur in the film who experiments on Superman. In Smallville, he played a doctor who experiments on Victor Stone, AKA Cyborg played by the late Lee Thompson Young and a clone of Lex Luthor in Season 10. Great performances for Gray and hitting the trifecta of going up against DC heroes.
Canada has a way of showcasing brilliant actors on hit tv shows. Penikett is no exception, thanks to his roles in Supernatural as Ezekiel/Gadreel/Gadreel’s vessel and Lt./Capt. Karl “Helo” Agathon in Battlestar Galactica. In Smallville, he was unfortunately killed off twice due to liver disease after failed resurrection attempt in season three. In season six, he also played former Green Beret Wes Keenan, who was killed in action and experimented on for an enhanced super-soldier thanks to Lex Luthor. At least in Man of Steel, he is in the presence of Superman without even knowing it. All is well without the Luthors.
Star of hit shows like The 100, Continuum, Bates Motel, and Sanctuary, Ian Tracey takes on Lionel Luthor in season five of Smallville as a disgruntled employee out for revenge, and he does some serious damage. But when you star as a character in Man of Steel who’s drunk off his rocker and bullies Clark Kent, let’s just say he picked the wrong day to mess with the last son of Krypton.
It’s a pretty sweet gig to star alongside the original pink power ranger (Amy Jo Johnson) in Flashpoint. It’s an even better day to star alongside the man who plays Clark Kent. David Paetkau guest-starred in Season 1 as football player Trevor Chapbell, a burn victim of a verbally abusive and kryptonite-infected pyromaniac football coach. He also appeared in season eight as a cop Dan Turpin who nearly turns to the wrong side of the law to cover up an attempted murder of John Jones, the Martian Manhunter himself. Luckily in the nick of time, Turpin is convinced to do the right thing by Clark Kent.
Chad Krowchuck plays blogger Glenn Woodburn in Man of Steel and has a tense relationship with Lois Lane, who views his site with disdain. He sells her out to the authorities when law enforcement is trying to track down Superman’s whereabouts, and in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, he outs Superman as a pariah. He doesn’t fare any better in Smallville Season 4 as Wendell Johnson, a victim to a meteor freak high school student who freezes people.
Mike Dopud is an extraordinary character actor spanning countless dramas and science fiction shows like Stargate Universe and Arrow. He managed to hold his own as Lionel Luthor’s bodyguard before meeting a terrible demise at the hands of zombies in Season 9. In Man of Steel, he plays a Canadian Airmen in a bar who doesn’t step in to save Clark Kent from being bullied. However, he does reveal some key plot points which influence Kent to learn more about his alien heritage.
Kwesi Ameyaw is another extraordinary character actor spanning countless dramas and science fiction shows like Legends of Tomorrow. In Smallville, he worked as Lex Luthor’s bodyguard before betraying him to work for his father, Lionel. Luthor was plotting to make his son think he had a mental illness because Lex knew about Lionel killing his own parents. In Man of Steel, Ameyaw plays a Canadian Airmen alongside Dopud in a bar.
CLARK SAVES CLASSMATES ON A BRIDGE
In the most iconic moment in the history of Smallville, Lex Luthor accidentally hits Clark Kent with his car, and both go over the side of the bridge. Lex almost drowns while and unharmed Clark saves Lex’s life. In Man of Steel, Clark is on the school bus, and the bus suffers a flat tire before going off a bridge. Clark’s fellow schoolmates nearly drown, but he saves them all, leaving Lana Lang and the others wondering at the miracle as Lex did in Smallville.
GENERAL ZOD TRIES TO TERRAFORM EARTH
In the Smallville Season 6 premiere, Zod plans to use Earth’s satellites with his Kryptonian technology to transform Earth’s surface into Krypton. It sounds a little familiar to General Zod’s plan in the film to use the world engine for terraforming Earth into Krypton to save his people, but it is a nice nod to the series that I immensely enjoyed.
As an avid fan of Smallville and the Zack Snyder 2013 blockbuster, It has been a joy to follow the series and recognize amazing talent from the small screen to the silver screen. It also doesn’t hurt that being a Canadian native, Smallville just happens to film in Vancouver, and part of the Man of Steel production took place there. I’d say that’s worth bragging about.