After another of its too-long winter hiatuses, The CW’s ‘Smallville‘ returns with a bang starting this Friday at 8/7c. To whet our appetite there’s “Disciple,” in which Justin Hartley’s Green Arrow lands in the crosshairs of a blast from his past, misguided mentor Dark Archer. Once the boys with the bows settle their row, “Absolute Justice” will be served on February 5, in a two-hour movie event that introduces Clark Kent to a crime-fighting crew from another time – and just in time to propel our hero toward his super destiny. Executive producer Brian Peterson shared with me this look at the exciting things to come.
You’ve done a terrific job delving into Oliver’s psyche this season. Why did you choose to revisit that thread with your first episode back?
Well, we dealt a lot at the top of the season with Oliver’s descent into the ghosts of his past, and having the help of his friends and Clark pull him out of that, so it seems like we’d be remiss to not have him at any point wonder, “Wait, did I really get fixed? Or did I have complete split, and there are two sides of me?” We wanted to touch [on that] rather than go, “Oh he’s free and clear and everything’s wonderful.” It was a nice way to tie in the beginning half of the season with this next run.
You’ve fleshed out the character so much, has there ever been talk of spinning him off into his own series?
I have heard rumors of lots of spin-offs over the years, I have to say, but nothing, honestly, that has ever been terribly concrete. I think that right now, everybody’s really happy with having the characters that we have on ‘Smallville.’
Many Chloe fans are wondering if Oliver will be her next love interest. Does “Disciple” throw them any bones?
They will need to watch for a few episodes before that is addressed one way or another.
As far as Clark’s involvement, what does “Disciple” do in terms of helping set the table for “Absolute Justice”? Is there a place you needed to get him to?
One thing that is touched on in the episode is really how everybody in the burgeoning “league” under Watchtower is really working on their own and very separately. They aren’t coalescing the way they really need to be, as a team. That leads in nicely to “Absolute Justice.”
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The episode “Warrior” was supposed to air before “Absolute Justice,” but has since been moved to after. Will that result in any continuity hiccups?
No, that episode was pretty standalone. The great thing is the network was really supportive in keeping our whole run together, once the postponement happened. One thing to note is that we’ll now be one more [week] away from [seeing] Zod [again], so we ask for patience. He will be returning for two amazing episodes after “Warrior.”
What was most daunting about introducing the Justice Society of America?
I think that whenever we embrace a character that has such a rich history and mythology like the three characters we are introducing [Hawkman, Dr. Fate and Stargirl], it is so paramount to be able to do that with integrity to the original source material. There is a terrifying fear that you’re going to disappoint fans, because we have usually taken a very ‘Smallville’ spin on things and made it our own. But these are three characters that, with [“Absolute Justice” writer] Geoff [Johns], we literally pulled out of the comics and put on the screen. From their costumes to their powers to their attitudes… all that had to be realized. I feel like we did, and I think everybody will be completely satisfied. [Chuckles] But that is a very optimistic view.
Michael Shanks (‘Stargate SG-1’) said in an interview that the relationship between Hawkman and Dr. Fate (played by ‘Andromeda’s Brent Stait) makes the first half of the movie “heart-wrenching.” How so?
I want to save something for the episode, but we definitely get a window into the emotional history of Hawkman and what is under the mask and vest of this seemingly very gruff, almost brutal hero.
And Stargirl – Britt Irvin told me she’s a bit in awe of Clark?
Yeah. She might have a tiny bit of a schoolgirl crush on him.
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Speaking of those who crush on Clark…. What’s more difficult: keeping the Clark-Lois romance at arm’s length, as you had to for so long, or actually doing it justice now?
What I will say is that last season it unfolded very organically, because both Tom [Welling] and Erica [Durance] and all the writers felt like for Clark to really fall for somebody new, he needed space from his last love. So he gradually put [his feelings for Lana] to bed and started to have new feelings for Lois. This year, again, everything seems to be unfolding very organically between the two of them – and we have a couple of surprises there toward the end of the season. They’re just so fantastic together, the two of them. They’re so fun to watch.
On top of everything else, “Absolute Justice” gives us our first look at Amanda Waller….
Yes, and Pam Grier is so fun in that role. You get teased a little bit about what she’s about and what her goals are, and then we’re going to pay that off with Episode 17, which is called “Checkmate,” and another episode in the last three or four [of the season].
The official logline for the movie says that Checkmate sends a package to Lois. Why would a super-covert organization be reaching out to a news reporter?
Ahhh…. [Laughs] All I will say is Amanda has a couple different agendas that might seem at odds at first.
Will “Absolute Justice” lead Clark to be more comfortable in his role as a leader of heroes?
Yes, that is the goal in introducing the Society, that Clark gets to see what it was really like to have a team that functioned together and worked together as a family.
And that should provide a firm nudge towards his destiny.
Right. I think it will be one of the seminal episodes of the series, really.