On October 16, 2001, a series landed on the American channel The WB (now renamed The CW): “Smallville”. The show which recounted the youth of Superman saw many iconic characters from the DC universe. Among them, The Green Arrow who landed during season 6, never to leave the series. The superhero then had his own show on The CW. But without Justin Hartley and without the intrigues of his character in the show …
Smallville : Somebody save me!
10 seasons! A number that is both honorable and surprising for a series of this kind. Indeed, while other series for teens saw their audience deteriorate (or even be deprogrammed), Smallville held. Held against the critics, the actors leaving the series season after season, or even the audience declines that threatened to suppress it. We can blame a lot of things to the baby of creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, but we can only salute their courage.
Yes, failing to be one of the brightest teen shows of the 2000s, Smallville is surely one of the most courageous and sincere. Thus, Gough and Millar went through with their idea: to make a television adaptation telling the origins of the most iconic of superheroes. How did Clark Kent become Superman? Of all the adaptations of the famous comic, no one has really dared to take an interest in this question and put it into shape. It was very complicated, too long, without any real stake. And yet …
Smallville is above all the series that paved the way for others. Indeed, The CW is today considered “the TV house” of DC adaptations: The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning, Batwoman and recently Superman & Lois were born on the channel. And all these series can only thank Smallville.
As a reminder, the series closely follows the early years of the Kryptonian. We thus discover his youth in the small town of Smallville and the Kent farm, the wise education of his parents Martha and Jonathan, his friendships with Chloe and Pete, his romance with the first love of his life, Lana Lang, his meeting with his fiercest enemy Lex Luthor, and later his first exchanges with Lois Lane.
Clean slate for The Green Arrow
In 2006, Justin Hartley landed in the superheroic series. Ironically, before Smallville, he had played the role of Aquaman for the pilot of the series of the same name. The latter not having been selected, he was finally contacted by the creators of Smallville to come play The Green Arrow in the sixth season. During four seasons, the actor and his character become very popular, even to the point than a spin-off of Smallville almost saw the light of day, with the Green Archer, Impulse, Cyborg and Aquaman as protagonists. However this project, presented as a future series Justice League (with Oliver Queen in charge of the pack), will never succeed.
After the end of Smallville on May 13, 2011, The CW wastes no time and then started a television project centered on another superhero: The Green Arrow. However, the American channel opts for another direction: start again from the beggining. The series is then called Arrow, the story does not follow the events of Smallville, and Justin Hartley is replaced by Stephen Amell. But why this sudden turnaround?
In 2012, Arrow’s executive producer Marc Guggenheim was interviewed by the magazine Entertainment Weekly about this question. And the latter had simply replied:
We certainly wanted to chart our own course and our destiny.
Translation: The series wanted to give writers and producers the opportunity to create new stakes, as The Green Arrow of Smallville seemed to have already concluded his story (he had made peace with himself, married Chloe and had a child with her). In these conditions, Justin Hartley could not have been re-cast. However, the actor rebounded a few years later, being one of the key players in the television masterpiece. This is Us.