Remember October 2001? If you’re around my age, this was the time when the new Superman refused to wear a cape and existed in a Dawson’s Creek-esque TV series called Smallville, which originally aired on a network called The WB. (Annoying frog mascot with a top hat.) But now, Tom Welling, the actor who played Superman/Clark Kent on Smallville is back in the Superman tights he avoided on Smallville for so long.
According to Deadline, Welling will reprise his role as Superman in a crossover event for the CW’s popular “Arrowverse” TV shows. This follows a similar return of fellow-Superman actor, Brandon Routh, who is also set to return as Superman on the CW. If you’re not following these shows (and really, you can’t be blamed if you’re not, they’re very confusing) the CW is apparently doing everything it can to get olds like me interested in tuning in again. Tom Welling played Clark Kent/Superman for a staggering 10 seasons on Smallville before the show finally ended in 2011. During that time, at least one mainstream Superman movie — Superman Returns— hit the big screen in 2006. So, in a sense, Tom Welling was never anyone’s favorite Superman, but, weirdly, is the guy who has played Superman the longest and most consistently in the 21st Century.
To be clear, Welling is not permanently returning to the role of Superman; he’s simply guest-starring in the CW’s big crossover event called Crisis On Infinite Earths, which, itself is based on a famous DC comic book series of the same name. The basic premise is this: Lots of alternate versions of Earth overlap, which means all sorts of bizzaro versions of superheroes get to interact with each other. All of this will start in December on the CW and happens across these shows:
- Supergirl – Sunday, December 8, 2019
- Batwoman – Monday, December 9, 2019
- The Flash – Tuesday, December 10, 2019
- Arrow – Tuesday, January 14, 2020
- Legend’s Of Tomorrow – Tuesday, January 14, 2020
It appears that Tom Welling’s Superman will be part of the same crossover with Brandon Routh’s Superman. And right now, Routh is apparently playing an older and grayer version of Superman, made famous in the comic book series Kingdom Come.
Do you have time to watch all of this stuff? Well, maybe not. But if you’re looking to kill a few late nights in December, seeing retro versions of Superman from the early aughts isn’t the worst way to spend your time.