SMALLVILLE: 'Siren' & the End of Season 7

Actor Justin Hartley chats about reprising Green Arrow, while producer Al Gough dishes on the rest of the season and more.
Thursday's episode of Smallville, "Siren," introduced the Black Canary (played by Painkiller Jane's Alaina Huffman), and also marked the return of Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow. Actor Justin Hartley enjoyed coming back (for one episode only, due to the WGA Strike-induced shorter season), which, he told Buddy TV's JOHN KUBICEK, wasn't difficult at all.

"The only thing I had to make sure I was doing was keeping myself in semi good shape, you know what I mean?" he asked rhetorically. "You don't want to show up and bust through that costume."

Before stepping back onto the Vancouver set, however, he made sure to bone up on Black Canary's history with Green Arrow, because he wanted to be faithful to that back story. "That's pretty much how I do all of my research. I think that's important. You're not creating a brand new character, you have to kind of serve...the whole mythology of the character kind of as you do it. I was familiar with the Black Canary, the relationship and all that kind of stuff from reading the comics. I was never really like a huge comic book fan until I started doing all this kind of stuff, and you get sucked into it really quickly."

Hartley definitely did more research than did Executive Producer/Showrunner Al Gough before he and partner Miles Millar brought Dinah Lance into the Smallville Universe.

"I'll be honest with you, I'm not that familiar with her in the comics other than her basic information," admitted Gough. "She's got the 'canary cry,' she's got the fishnets, she kicks ass, and I think has a lot of attitude. I think she incorporates the basic tenets of the character from the comic..."

While on the subject of introducing new heroes, R.J. CARTER of The Trades pressed Gough about the possibility of bringing in more DC characters, especially the other two members of the legendary Big Three.

"Bruce Wayne: No. Wonder Woman: Probably not, but we always ask," said Gough. "It's the movie franchises that prohibit us from doing that. We're just told that we can't use that character. It's a corporate decision. With Bruce Wayne, we won't because of the movie franchise, and that's sort of an arbitrary corporate decision that we have no control over."

But he said that wasn't why Hartley's Smallville spinoff, the Aquaman series Mercy Reef, died at birth. "That became, unfortunately, a victim of the UPN and WB demise, and the formation of the CW. We became a corporate orphan, so to speak. It was more a matter of unfortunate timing than anything else."

Speaking of spinoffs: while he's not aware of any actual development of a Green Arrow or Justice League show, Hartley certainly would be up for it. "Can you imagine that job? Your job is basically to dress up like a superhero, play a superhero, just kick ass. That's your job. I don't know if it gets much better than that."

Gough, however, said that fans can pretty much write off the idea of a live-action Justice League series. "Well, they have a Justice League movie in development, which was moving forward, and now because of the writers' strike was sort of sidelined, so I'm not sure whether that's going to come back. But again, in the strange corporate world we live in, I think that would negate any Justice League series on our part, unfortunately."

He did say to be on the lookout for appearances by Black Canary and Green Arrow in the hoped-for eighth season, which will pick up from the cliffhanger in the upcoming Episode 15.

In the meantime, there's the latest devious plan of the newly-returned Braniac (James Marsters) to contend with--a plan that involves Clark's cousin, Kara (Laura Vandervoort). Plus, in Episode 12, "Fracture," we learn just what did happen to the Girl of Steel after she landed in Detroit with no memory or powers.

And, while he wouldn't reveal the identities of any future new heroes coming to Smallville, Gough didn't rule out a possible future appearance by Clark's imperfect duplicate.

"There is ALWAYS a chance that this guy could show up," he said. "Also, it didn't make the episode but was in the script for 'Persona,' Bizarro was released because of the eclipse that Zor-el started in Episode 8. With the sun blocked, he was able to escape...thought you might find that interesting especially for you continuity junkies! See, regardless of what they say about us on the boards, we DO actually think about this stuff..."

[Thanks to Movieweb for additional material.]
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