UPDATE: The CW has renewed Smallville for season 9.  Click here for more details.

Smallville fans worried when both Kristin Kreuk and Michael Rosenbaum decided not to sign up for season 8 of the series.  Thankfully, the cast changes didn’t affect the overall quality of the show.  With dangerous new villains and a renewed focus on Clark’s ultimate destiny, the current season of Smallville has been one of the best of the series.  Fans are happy and the ratings are sky-high, but will the CW’s cash cow live to see season 9?

TV Guide recently interviewed Smallville executive producer Darren Swimmer, who said that issues with “actor availability” may prevent season 9 from happening.  Could Tom Welling be ready to hang up his blue shirt and red jacket?

As hard as it is to believe, Tom Welling is already 31 years old.  That makes him four years older than Dean Cain when he began playing the Man of Steel on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and five years older than Brandon Routh when he starred in Superman Returns.  It’s no surprise that Welling might want to move on to other things after playing the same role for eight years, but will he actually leave if the CW decides to renew the show for a ninth season?  My guess is that he’ll stay if the right amount of cash is offered, but we won’t know for certain until early 2009.

Darren Swimmer mentioned that he’s prepared for a series finale if it comes to pass, but there are still a few things he wants to see Clark explore before everything is wrapped up.  “Clark’s now in full control of his powers and basically accepting the fact that he’s going to become Superman,” Swimmer said.  “The formation of the dual identity is what he’s going to be negotiating from here on out.  He’ll start to experiment.”

New episodes of Smallville return to the CW on January 15, which is when fans will see the Legion of Super-Heroes come to Metropolis.  Before season 8 comes to an end, viewers can also look forward to a return of the Justice League, an appearance from the villainous Toyman, and three episodes that show Clark struggling with his dual identity.  Will Clark’s acceptance of his heroic destiny mark the end of Smallville, or will Tom Welling and the CW come together to make season 9 possible?  We’ll have to wait and see.

– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Source: TV Guide
(Image courtesy of the CW)

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