Christopher Reeve’s final role was in Smallville but, according to costar Tom Welling, his time on set almost resulted in a call to the police.
Tom Welling reveals that a funny incident involving Christopher Reeve on the set of Smallville led to threats of calling the police. Welling portrayed a young Clark Kent on the television series throughout the show’s ten season run on air. Smallville featured numerous, notable guest stars over the years including actors like Amy Adams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and even Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher. However, one of the most anticipated and memorable guest roles was that of the man who many still consider the greatest actor to don the red cape, Christopher Reeve.
Reeve first portrayed the Man of Steel in the 1978 film Superman: The Movie, going on to star in three sequels following its box office success. It is no surprise that Superman enthusiasts were ecstatic to learn that he would make a cameo in the Smallville series some 16 years later. Reeves starred as Dr. Virgil Swann, a renowned scientist who took it upon himself to seek out and protect an interplanetary traveler named Kal-El. Although Reeve was confined to a wheelchair at this point in his life, the actor still managed to appear in two episodes of Smallville.
Because of health concerns, Reeve was only supposed to be on set in a limited capacity. According to EW, Welling recently reminisced about his experience filming alongside Reeve. The Smallville star revealed that Reeve’s cameo did not come without controversy. As a matter of fact, Reeve’s personal nurse threatened to call the authorities because Reeve refused to abide by her filming restrictions. Read below to see Welling’s full commentary about how the unique situation that unfolded:
“He was only supposed to be there for three hours, but I think he stayed for like six and a half. He was like, ‘I don’t want to leave.’ The idea was he would shoot all his coverage, then he was going to leave and I would shoot all my stuff with someone else. But he wanted to stay with me! It got to the point where his nurse said to him, ‘I’m going to call the police.’ He’s like, ‘on who?’ She’s like, ‘On you! You’re done, you can’t be here anymore!’ He just wanted to be there. It turned out great, and the story was fantastic.”
Why Christopher Reeve’s Final Role Was Significant
As a former Superman star, the opportunity to return to the superhero’s fictional world was obviously a special moment for the actor. Reeve felt so compelled to be on the Smallville set that he was willing to risk his physical health to enjoy a few more hours in the DC cinematic universe that he’d helped create. Sadly, Reeve did not have the opportunity to be featured in any additional episodes since these would serve as his final role as an actor. Reeve passed away due to heart failure in 2004 at the age of 52 years old.
Reeve’s actual death inevitably led Smallville writers to script Virgil Swann’s demise as well. In a fitting farewell, the character sent Clark a key to access knowledge about who he truly is and encouraged him to forge his own destiny. The conclusion was not far from Reeve’s own actions appearing in Smallville. In doing so, he essentially gave Welling his approval to take up his mantle. Reeve was even quoted as stating that he believed Welling should be the next Superman. Unfortunately, aside from a short snippet in Smallville’s finale, Reeve’s wish has yet to come to fruition.
Next: Smallville Is Still The Perfect Superman Origin Story (Why It Beats The Movies)