Los Angeles Comic Book And Science Fiction Convent

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LOS ANGELES -- If the questions aimed at Smallville executive producers Al Gough and Miles Millar are any indications, fans really want to see Bruce Wayne on the show.

Alas, with Batman hot as a feature-film property in live-action, that's not going to be happening. Appearing at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention at the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday afternoon, the show's creators said they have tried several times to get Bruce Wayne, but they've moved on from that pursuit.

"Sadly, no," Gough said with a smile after the first of several Batman/Bruce Wayne questions during the panel. "It's not our fault. We've tried and tried, but because of the feature-film franchise, they've made that kind of off limits. Unfortunately."

"It's a very clear statement: You can't use Bruce Wayne," Millar said. "We've got over it and we're moving on. There are plenty of other characters we can exploit."

In a rare convention appearance, Gough and Millar handled questions -- often several in rapid-fire succession from a single fan -- for more than 30 minutes and then signed Smallville posters.

Following are highlights from the panel:

* Asked what they would do with Wonder Woman -- again, it's not going to happen because of feature-film priorites -- Millar said, "We've always wanted to have her. We always thought she could have a relationship with Clark."

"Since Superman and Wonder Woman had a relationship in the comics," Gough added.

Millar said they never had firm ideas of how to treat Diana. "We always ask, then think about it afterwards," he said.

* Gough said he and Millar feel they "definitely have two more seasons in us" and acknowledged there have been rumblings since Season 4 about the show ending.

"We certainly feel, now that they're out of high school, with last season and certainly this season, we have a lot more stories to tell," Gough said.

* "Could happen" and "potentially" answers were given to questions about another Good Lex vs. Bad Lex episode; Superman villains such as Bizarro, Metallo, Doomsday and Parasite; a Hawkgirl appearance; a Green Lantern apperance; and some time-travel.

"We certainly like our doppelganger episodes," Gough said, "which always played into the Bizarro element of the comics."

* Gough said Tom Welling will not be putting on the Superman suit, again because of the feature-film franchise.

"It would be the end of the show because that would be when Smallville would end and Superman would begin," Gough said

"It's always been Clark Kent becoming the hero we all know him to become. It was never our intention to put him in the suit, as we always said, unless it was the last moment of the last episode of the series. Now, with the feature film out, we're steering clear of it."

* Despite what happened in "Hydro" and "Crimson," Millar said there are still restrictions with the relationship between Lois and Clark because of the movie franchise.

"We can't play any romance between those two characters," he said. "We did sort of vaguely, because of the Red Kryptonite, get into that area.

"We're very pleased to have her on the show, and we feel very lucky that the features department let us use the character at all. So it's not a problem."

Gough said that he enjoys the current version of Lois because "she's the only one who doesn't treat Clark like he walks on water." Gough also noted that Welling and Erica Durance have a "romantic comedy kind of rapport."

* Lionel's ability to read Kryptonian will play out this season.

* Gough said they've toyed with the idea using Bizarro. He noted that in the Season 4 opener, where Clark came back as Kal and flew the one time, when Martha uses the Black Kryptonite, the plan originally was for Kal and Clark to split apart and have a super-fight.

"But, alas, the budget didn't allow for it," Gough said.

Millar added a "stay tuned for the season finale" hint.

* Will Lois' father return? "Maybe," Gough said. "There may be a tie-in with Lex down the line."

This wouldn't happen until Season 7. "He's stationed overseas for the forseeable future," he said.

* More DC Comics characters? "The more we can play in the DC toybox, the better," Gough said. "It's just a matter of which toys they'll give us."

* Millar said that early in the series' run, when McG was concurrently developing a Superman movie, Smallville couldn't use any Krypton imagery because, in that version of the movie, Krypton wasn't destroyed.

"We've always been curious to look at Krypton and its last days," Gough said. "It's just a matter if the storyline fits and also if budget fits. Because obviously to do something like that would be very expensive."

* Millar said the producers "are definitely talking" about the return of Pete Ross. "It feels like the time," he said, greeted with applause. "We tried to a few years ago, but Sam's (Jones) schedule, he couldn't do it."

Asked about the genesis of Chloe Sullivan, Millar agreed with a fan that she was "a Lois archetype" but "not Lois herself."

"Chloe was also the audience's point of view into Smallville," Gough said, "that this was a place where weird things happen. And we said up front that she was Lois' cousin. I think that was something that was mentioned in Season 2."

"We always told Allison (Mack, who plays Chloe) that," Millar said. "That was always in our treatment to begin with that she was the cousin of Lois."

"And she was sort of Clark's introduction to journalism," Gough said. "And she got him involved into what was going on in the town, so that Clark would have a mystery or adventure to get involved with every week."

* Gough said it was "flattering" that Chloe was picked up by DC Comics. "I'm curious to see what they want to do with her," he said.

* Gough said DC Comics reads every script and will red-flag any thing that seems too far off the canon or if there are corporate issues.

* Millar said he and Gough visited the set of Superman Returns, and director Bryan Singer requested that they keep the look of the Fortress of Solitude consistent with the Richard Donner film and his.

* A fan asked, "When is Clark going to get some backbone?" in regards to being a hero and in dealing with Lana.

"You should keep watching this season," Gough said. "Again, you're doing a television show and the love triangles are something that ebb and flow. That's part of the nature of doing a TV show."

"There's an evolution to that backbone, to becoming that man," Millar said. "It's a journey to that man you know."

* Asked about Clark dealing with the Legion of Super Heroes, Gough said that "Justice" was the episode about Clark dealing with other super-powered heroes. He noted there would probably be issues with rights clearances with the Legion.

* Where did the Martian Manhunter come from?

"Wait and see," Millar said. "It all pays off."

"We've been deliberately mysterious so far," Gough said.

* Asked if they ever approached Superman movie stars Gene Hackman or Ned Beatty to appear in Smallville, Millar and Gough said that financial limits prohibted that from happening.

"There was one point we were looking at Gene Hackman as the voice of Jor-El and also as Lex's grandfather -- his mother's father," Gough said. "We approached it and his day rate was so astronomical that we couldn't even touch it."

* Asked why the Level 33.1 story was revisited when it appeared to be "too comic-booky" to continue, Gough said, "We set that up in Season 4, and I think at the time, it just seemed for Lex to get into that, it just seemed too much."

Millar added they wanted the show to be more grounded at the time. "But this season with the Phantoms, and the Justice League, it felt like the right time to do it," he said. "It didn't feel out of place. It felt dramatic."

"That's sort of the beauty of television," Gough said. "You can park some of these ideas and bring them back in later seasons and later episodes."

* Gough said there are no plans for a Green Arrow spin-off.

"We had talked about it with the network, but right now they don't seem to have an appetite for any other super-hero shows, for whatever reason," Gough said.

"It's amazing in the land of Heroes, which has done so well, and Smallville, which is the No. 1 network drama on The CW, that there's not an appetite from the network for a spin-off," Millar said. "I think Justin (Hartley) is incredible and I think fans took to him. It's just a real head-scratcher for us that the powers that be don't see it as such."

* How many Zoners are out there and is Martian Manhunter going to help Clark?

"Yeah, you'll see that he's definitely here to see Clark deal with this problem," Gough said. "We play a lot more with the Zoners in the third part of the season. We've sort of been deliberately vague about how many are out there."

* Gough said the Lex/Lana wedding episode will air March 16.

* Gough said that he would love to see Dean Cain on the show. "It's somebody with flirted with in Season 4 and he may show up on Season 7," Gough said. "We're always interested in getting those different incarnations of Superman on the show."

* Gough said in "Freak" viewers will see Clark take a power that he has used and "refine it a little more" because of a situation where it become necessary.

* Gough said you probably won't see Martian Manhunter in his green Martian appearance.

"We'll probably avoid that, because we don't want it to look cheesy and it's very expensive to do," Gough said.

* Gough said that Smallville's version of Oliver Queen was in step with the character's comic-book backstory and not as a replacement since Bruce Wayne wasn't available.

"The thing that we added to Oliver Queen was that he showed Clark there was a bigger world out there, that there were other people out there who were trying to do good and fight injustice," Gough said. "And that you have to look outside of Smallville and Metropolis."

* Asked if he could give a spoiler about the next super-powered hero on the show, Gough said with a laugh, "No. Sorry."

* Asked if Clark might visit Gotham City, Millar said no and that it was a rights issue. "It's a very difficult legal quagmire," he said.

* Millar said he would like to keep some distance before introducing another color of Kryptonite into the series. "So it doesn't feel too repetitive," he said.

* Any hope for Supergirl? "Yes, absolutely," Gough said.

* Gough said he and Millar have entertained offers from both DC Comics and Marvel Comics to write comic-book stories, but their schedules haven't allowed them to work on any comics projects.


there you go... Clois can't happen yet.. darn it..
no GA spin off yet..

Pissed about both...

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