Supernatural Star Jensen Ackles Almost Played Smallville's Superman Long Before Playing Batman In DC's Animated Universe; Here's What Happened

Ackles auditioned for young Clark Kent in 2001’s Smallville. He notably made it to the final two shortlisted candidates alongside Tom Welling, before the part went to the latter.

Published on May 21, 2024  |  08:33 PM IST |  62.1K
Jensen Ackles Almost Made It As Smallville's Superman Before Voice Acting Batman In DCU
Jensen Ackles in Smallville (PC: IMDb)

Think TV and it’s Jensen Ackles’ name that pops up. The actor has a stellar roster of shows under his belt, inspiring iconic characters like Dean Winchester from the long-running series Supernatural to Eric Brady in Days of Our Lives, and also voicing DC’s superhero Batman for years. 

But there’s one role the talented star couldn’t bag despite giving stiff competition. Ackles auditioned for young Clark Kent in 2001’s Smallville. He notably made it to the final two shortlisted candidates alongside Tom Welling, before the part went to the latter. Yet, it was not the end of his association with Smallville and director David Nutter.

Jensen Ackles gave Tom Welling a tough battle for Superman

Emmy-winning star, Jensen Ackles nearly made it as the Man of Steel before becoming the voice of the Caped Crusader. Today, Smallville fans cannot imagine any other Superman besides Tom Welling, who played the DC character throughout the 10 seasons. But a decade ago, Jensen Ackles almost landed the part before creators Alfred Gough, Miles Miller, and director David Nutter chose Welling over him. 

Not that he wasn’t capable or fitting for the role, but Welling represented a better young Superman physically than Ackles, 46. According to KryptonSite, the Supernatural star shared, “It got pretty close and actually came down to Tom and me. We had to go back a couple of times to the network, and they ultimately went with Tom, which I thought made sense because he looks more the part than I do. Watching the [first] three seasons, I'd say they made the right choice."

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Superman star Tom Welling, 47, echoed similar sentiments about the stiff competition with Ackles in his podcast Talk Ville, with Lex Luthor actor Michael Rosenbaum as co-host. Welling and Ackles had bested several other actors eyeing the iconic DC role. "I remember going in for the actual audition…and I walk in and there's this like [a] wonderfully handsome guy, who I'm like 'I think this guy is a real actor,’” Welling said of Jensen Ackles in 2022. 

But in hindsight, Ackles’ audition for Smallville helped him land one of his greatest and most loved characters ever. 

Jensen Ackles returned to Smallville and the DC Universe

Ackles failed to escape Nutter’s notice and was called back to Smallville but for a different role. He was cast as Jason Teague, the villainous lover of Clark Kent’s girlfriend in the show, Kristin Kreuk’s Lana Lang. Following a notable run, Ackles was later killed off in Smallville’s Season 4 finale, per CBR. 

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Besides Smallville, he was invited to star as Dean Winchester in the David Nutter-helmed series, Supernatural, a character that earned Ackles massive fame among the youth.

Likewise, Ackles's link to DC was also far from over. The actor, who also appeared in 2019’s hit series The Boys, became a central voice of DC’s animated universe. The Dawson’s Creek star voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2021’s Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, 2023’s Legion of Super-Heroes, and Justice League: Warworld. He initially voiced Jason Todd/Red Hood in 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood before making it as The Gotham Guardian.

ALSO READ: Tracker Episode 13: Recap With Spoilers Ahead Of The Finale; All We Know So Far

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