Smallville's Creators Wish They'd Taken A Different Route With Clark And Lana's Arc

Comics have some incredibly iconic couples: Spider-Man and Mary Jane, Nightwing and Batgirl, Reed Richards and Sue Storm, Superman and Lana Lang ... wait a minute, that last one isn't right. Even those only tangentially familiar with Superman know that Lois Lane is his one and only. That wasn't, however, the case for Clark Kent, who fell for Lana long before meeting his future wife. So, when creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar went about telling the story of Clark's (Tom Welling) younger days in "Smallville," it was Lana and not Lois who initially stole his heart. This is not to say the writers were bound by Superman's already dense mythology, because the duo added some pretty exciting new developments to the mix, most notably making Clark's burgeoning friendship with young Lex Luthor (a brilliant Michael Rosenbaum) serve as a core element of the series.

Played by Kristin Kreuk as the girl next door that Clark was hopelessly in love with, despite her boyfriend and kryptonite necklace, Lana Lang was integral to "Smallville" from the pilot. However, the series went on much longer than originally intended. Gough and Millar had hoped to make it to five seasons (the number needed for syndication), which was a common goal in 2001 when the show initially began airing. Although the duo left after season 7, "Smallville" lasted a whopping 10 years, sticking with the show's famous "no tights, no flights" rule right up until the very end. It was a move that frustrated some fans, but perhaps not as much as the decision to keep the romance between Clark and Lana going for so long. Seriously, it went on for a while! Well, it turns out that in retrospect, the show's creators agree that they should've wrapped that relationship up sooner.

'What's the deal with these two?'

When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter recently about their new Netflix show "Wednesday," Gough and Millar were asked if there was anything they would do differently with "Smallville." Both spoke about the romance between Clark and Lana. Gough explained:

"The Clark-Lana thing played out way too long. Something else had to happen there. I think that was one that got a little repetitive. My younger daughter is now, finally after 'Wednesday,' she's going back to watch 'Smallville,' and she's in season 2. She goes, 'What's the deal with these two?' I'm like, 'It was a different time.' So, I think there are things there, if we went back, we probably would be a little more adventurous with some of those relationships and bring them to certain heads and let them play out."

Millar noted that since they were hoping to hit the five-season mark, they weren't quite sure what to do if they split Lana and Clark up too soon. He admitted that Lana lacked agency and could have been "a much stronger character," agreeing that it was "a different time." The TV landscape was quite different in 2001 and while Lana didn't have much agency early on, it's clear that later in the series, the writers were attempting to give her some.

The neverending love story

Although Erica Durance's Lois Lane shows up in the season 4 premiere of "Smallville," she and Clark don't officially become a couple until season 9. Waiting this long wasn't the issue, considering the show took its time bringing Clark to Metropolis and moving into this new phase of his life. Having Lois and Clark spend years developing a close friendship before their romance finally blossomed is also not a bad idea.

As someone who watched the show while it was airing, my biggest issue with the Clark and Lana romance lasting as long as it did was that at a certain point, it began to make Lois feel like an afterthought, when we all knew she and Clark were endgame. I was pretty young watching this show and I had a huge crush on Tom Welling — who didn't? I also really liked Lana, so in those early days of "Smallville" I remember being quite invested in their relationship. Lots of couples break up and make up several times, and the show did have Lana and Clark both date other people during their time apart. Lana even married Lex, in one of the show's most baffling decisions ever. Lois was also dating during this point, with Clark very firmly in the friend zone. By the time Lana and Clark get back together yet again in season 7, it's difficult to root for them because the relationship very much feels like it's already run its course. Plus, Lois is right there!

Smallville's real OTP

As much as I liked Lana, I was glad when she left in season 7 because she and Clark had become that romance that everyone knows isn't working except for the couple themselves. Realistic? Perhaps, but Clark and the audience were ready to move on. The trouble was, Lana returned once again in season 8, just as Lois and Clark were finally growing closer together! We can't even blame Millar and Gough, because they'd already left "Smallville." Honestly, it would have been fine if Lana's appearance had served as some sort of closure for the couple, but that's not how it went at all. With Lois all but forgotten, Clark is ready to revisit their relationship and when they have finally split apart, it's the result of Lana having absorbed so much Kryptonite — it's a long story. This decision to leave their relationship behind wasn't even made by Clark or Lana. It was forced upon them.

Look, Durance and Welling had major onscreen chemistry, so I completely bought into their romance once it finally happened. That said, there was a part of me that always felt like the show set things up in a way that made it seem like Lois was Clark's second choice and that's not how you treat one of the most beloved comic couples of all time. Again, I adored Lois and Clark together on "Smallville" and I love the way their relationship took so much time to build. That said, keeping Lana around and having Clark clearly love her for so long ultimately did a disservice to all three characters.