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Smallville: Rosenbaum on "Last Straw" That Killed Lex Luthor Return

On Katee Sackhoff's Blah Blah Blah podcast, Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) revealed "the last straw" that killed a possible Lex Luthor return.

Article Summary

  • Michael Rosenbaum discusses contract issues on Katee Sackhoff's podcast.
  • Reveals "the last straw" that ended Lex Luthor's possible return to Smallville.
  • James Gunn shares his take on Lex Luthor portrayals, sparking debates.
  • Rosenbaum and Gunn reflect on Lex's character during Inside of You podcast.

Well, this was a nice change of pace! Normally, when we're covering Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) & Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian), the latter is checking in with the former on the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast. But this time around, Rosenbaum is in the "hot seat" as Sackhoff's guest on her Blah Blah Blah podcast, where the two cover a wide range of topics – but there was one revelation, in particular, that we wanted to pass along. As you know, Rosenbaum has proven himself to be pretty open & honest when it comes to discussing his time on Smallville – on both sides of the camera, warts and all. But beginning at around the 48:45 mark, Rosenbaum shares some intimate insight into two instances regarding his contract negotiations with the show.

In the first, Rosenbaum shared how Warner Bros. Television Studios Chairman & CEO Peter Roth reportedly went to the show's creators to demand that they fire him in the midst of Rosenbaum working on a new deal. Following that, Rosenbaum shares how Roth invited him out to dinner to convince him to return to the series – and how Roth wanted him for a three-year deal. Noting that the dinner felt to him like Roth didn't know who he was and was just meeting him for the first time, Rosenbaum runs down the number of projects that he's been involved with under Roth's run. Although he explained to Roth that he felt like he was done with the character and was looking to venture down other creative paths, Rosenbaum told Roth to send him an offer – and that's when Rosenbaum says "the last straw" was reached, and that he would never go back. Swearing "on my mother's life," Rosenbaum revealed to a stunned Sackhoff that the studio's offer was exactly the same as he was making when he left the series – nothing more to prove just how much they appreciated what he brought & could still bring to the show. And with that, Rosenbaum knew that it was time to close the book on a possible return for good.


Superman: Legacy: James Gunn Has Favorite Lex Luthor & That's Okay

Back over the summer, Gunn checked in with Rosenbaum on the latter's Inside of You podcast to cover a whole ton of issues. At one point, Rosenbaum shifted the "Legacy" conversation to a subject near and dear to his heart – Lex Luthor. Though Rosenbaum said he assumed Lex would be in the film, Gunn made it clear that info never came from him. So from a purely hypothetical standpoint, Rosenbaum asked Gunn if there is a Lex Luthor, that he's portrayed as "grounded and real" and true to the character's core – an approach Gunn seemed to agree with (referring to Rosenbaum as "definitely the best Lex"). Well, that didn't seem to go over well with folks who were fans of Jesse Eisenberg, Gene Hackman, and other folks who've portrayed The Man of Steel's arch-nemesis. In particular, some Zack Snyder fans thought the conversation was a directly veiled slap at the Snyderverse. So after clarifying that it was never intended as any kind of slight, Gunn had to follow up with a tweet where he argued that he had a right to have a favorite Lex – which is a weird thing to be put into a position to have to argue because… you know… opinions. We all have them.

lex luthor
Image: YouTube Screencap (Smallville); Max Screencap (Harley Quinn)

"In reading these replies, sometimes it seems like people are looking for things to get outraged about & have little sense of history. Although Donner's 'Superman' movies are some of my favorites, I've spoken out publicly before, & even written about it in EW back in the early 2000s, perhaps unwisely, that Lex Luthor is not my favorite part of those films," Gunn responded in a tweet looking to put to rest a non-issue that became an issue (shocking for social media, we know). "The portrayal can lean campy & I wished he seemed like a greater threat & I wished he'd played it bald throughout. I regret having intimated that I didn't like ANY Lex on Michael's show, but there it is. For the record, I think Hackman is one of the five greatest actors of the '70s & '80s, and he starred in some of my favorite movies; I just didn't love him as Lex." Here's a look at Gunn's tweet:

Here's a look at the complete episode – and make sure to subscribe to the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum here:

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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