Teri Hatcher

Teri Hatcher is no stranger to the Superman mythos.

The 45-year-old actress' first leading role was the dynamic Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane on ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which ran from 1993 to 1997.

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Before her, the role of Lois Lane had been portrayed by a plethora of women, Phyllis Coates took the part in the first live-action series. Perhaps the most well-known is Margot Kidder, who starred opposite Christopher Reeve in the films from 1978 to 1987.

Even her on-screen mother on Desperate Housewives, Lesley Ann Warren, portrayed the heroine in the Broadway musical It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. And her other Desperate co-star, Dana Delany, took a spin as Lois in Superman: The Animated Series.

After 13 years away from Lois, Hatcher returns to Smallville to play another Lane: Ella, mother to Lois (Erica Durance). Though Mrs. Lane has been dead for some time, she'll resurface in this Friday's episode with a message for her daughter left in a series of videos made before she passed away from cancer.

VIDEO: Teri Hatcher arrives in Smallville

The concept was actually based on a true story told in the Smallville writers' room. From there, choosing who would play Lois' mother was a piece of cake. "We thought, well, who do you get to play Lois' mom? And everybody just looked at each other and it's like — beat, beat — Teri Hatcher," executive producer Brian Peterson recalls, noting that Hatcher has been at the top of his casting "dream list" for a while.

Though Hatcher's cameo is short — much shorter than her Lois & Clark co-star Dean Cain, who appeared in Season 7 as an immortal doctor harvesting Kryptonite-infected body parts from meteor freaks — her appearance is for the fans.

"It is a very small cameo that I did as a gesture of respect to honor all the devoted Superman saga fans who've supported me then as Lois and support me now as [Desperate Housewives'] Susan," Hatcher tells TVGuide.com.

Because of Hatcher's busy production schedule on Desperate Housewives, the actress shot her stint not too far from the fictional Wisteria Lane. Once the scenes were cut together with Durance's reaction shots, executive producer Kelly Souders says she had to take a breath from watching what she called a "heart-wrenching" and "beautiful" performance.

"You really get to see why she was Lois Lane. I mean, it's right there on screen," Peterson adds.

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Overall, Hatcher seems grateful for the opportunity. "It's been quite special to be involved in two entirely different but significant television worlds. I just hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did," she says. "Getting to step back into that world and 'wig' just made me feel grateful for all the opportunities I've had over the years."

Check out a promo of Hatcher on Smallville below: