There's nothing small about the 10th and final season premiere of Smallville. The season opener finds Clark (Tom Welling) coming back from death to face the ultimate challenge: becoming Superman. So what obstacles will stand in his way? And how will Lois deal with knowing his secret? Executive producer Brian Peterson tells all in our super Q&A below:
Smallville producer talks the 10th & final season
TVGuide.com: Clark is put in a very dark place in the premiere, and there seems to be a lot of pressure put on him.
Brian Peterson: We've said all along that this is the season where he really gets brighter and he steps into the light more, but we also are having to balance that with this big bad villain, Darkseid, that has come to Earth. It will be a season full of really big highs and really big lows. On both ends of the spectrum, it will hopefully be pretty satisfying.
TVGuide.com: If what we assume to be the final moment of the series — Clark actually becoming Superman — combined with the fact that he becomes a little dark this season, what sort of low points will he hit in the process?
Peterson: Midseason, he will probably be as low as he's ever been in the series, but that's going to be juxtaposed [with] some really big highs. For him to really make that final move, it has to come out of something pretty severe. He has yet to really put his face out there for everybody — he's put his symbol — but not his face. That move is going to take a pretty big event in his life.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel like Oliver (Justin Hartley) is also heading for greatness this year?
Peterson: Oliver takes a huge turn very early on in the season and that will send him in a different direction than he's ever been.
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TVGuide.com: Cassidy Freeman tells us that Tess will return to The Daily Planet. Will she butt heads with Lois (Erica Durance) again this season?
Peterson: They're going to butt heads. We have to remember that Lois now knows Clark's secret, so there are two people in The Daily Planet with different agendas who know Clark's secret.
TVGuide.com: Do Tess and Lois know that the other person knows Clark's secret?
Peterson: That's not going to come out until mid-way through this season in a pretty fun scene in an episode that Tom [Welling] is directing.
TVGuide.com: What can you tell us about the villains this year — Darkseid, the Suicide Squad, the Harbingers — and how they compare to what we've seen before?
Peterson: We're trying to stay with the same theme, so it doesn't feel like a radical departure from what we've done before. We're really introducing Darkseid in a different way — more as a bit of a dark force, kind of a parallel to evil that will start to overtake the world and sends hearts and souls towards a darker agenda. We are personifying the Harbingers — like Granny Goodness, Desaad makes a couple quick appearances, Gordon Godfrey — so we're not going to actually see the embodiment of Darkseid himself for a while; we're saving that.
TVGuide.com: But we'll eventually see someone play Darkseid?
Peterson: That part I can't really promise because we have yet to completely break the end of the season, but what I can say is that I think it will be a great payoff to what we've planted.
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TVGuide.com: Congrats on getting Teri Hatcher to come on Smallville in its final season. Are there any familiar faces popping up?
Peterson: This year is kind of like Christmas. We have our wish list of what we want and what we can get. I have to say, so far we've been so lucky. Everybody loves the Superman mythos and loves this show. Teri was gracious to come on, as well as John Glover, John Schneider, Aquaman, Hawkman. There are a few that are still outstanding. Obviously we'd love to have Kristin [Kreuk] and Michael [Rosenbaum], and we've been asked about Annette [O'Toole] and Michael McKean. We'd love to have them back; it's just a matter of what we can accomplish in 22 episodes.
TVGuide.com: Is there anything off limits in the final season of Smallville?
Peterson: We never, ever want to limit ourselves. Never in the writers' room or in production do we say anything is impossible. Everything is possible.
TVGuide.com: Despite Lois leaving in the season premiere for Africa, I spied Lois' and Clark's desks at The Daily Planet next to each other again while on set this week. Are they going to be hardcore, investigative reporters together again this year?
Peterson: Yes. We're trying to continue their relationship in that tradition that is decades and decades old, which is them hitting the pavement together. The fun twist this year is that Lois is not only juggling what she's always has been, but now she knows Clark's secret, so she has a lot more balls in the air than she's ever had.
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TVGuide.com: If you could describe this season of Smallville in one word, what would you say?
Peterson: I would say "legendary."
Smallville returns at 8/7c on the CW.