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Report: Michael Rosenbaum Won’t Return For Smallville Series Finale

If you were holding out for the return of Lex Luthor in Smallville‘s two-hour finale, prepare for disappointment: Entertainment Weekly reports that Michael Rosenbaum has refused repeated offers to reprise the role in the show’s final episode.

According to “a knowledgeable source,” the 38-year-old Rosenbaum, who left the series in 2008, “has put the show behind him and moved on. […] By all indications, he is not going to be involved.”

The final three episodes haven’t been shot yet, so there’s still a chance that Rosenbaum and the show’s producers could reach an agreement, but at this point things don’t look promising.

As recently as July, Smallville star and Executive Producer Tom Welling indicated he’d been lobbying for Rosenbaum’s return, which he viewed as critical to the show’s finale.

“I’ve twisted his arm, I’ve taken him to dinner, I’ve gotten him drunk … I’ve tried to get him to sign papers that he didn’t know what they were … so, I’m trying everything that I can,” Welling told KryptonSite during Comic-Con International. “Michael wants to come back, but there are just some things to iron out, and I think he understands that we can’t end the show without Lex Luthor. We’re even teasing the idea that he’s going to be on already, with the idea of clones, or [the idea] that Lex has developed these bodies that he could then tap into to heal himself later in life.”

The CW had no comment on Entertainment Weeky‘s report. Smallville ends its 10 season-run on May 13.

Update: Rosenbaum has announced he will return for the show’s finale: “I’m simply doing it for all of the fans out there who made Smallville the great success it is.”


  • Paul

    Taken with a grain of salt. The rumor could just be a smoke screen for a surprise.

    Not that I care, I can’t stand the Lex character.

  • catsmeow12

    He’s a dick, plain and simple.

  • The_Rear

    Isn’t that the point?

  • SomeGuy

    Typical spoiled actor.

  • Michael

    Love MR or hate him, Smallville CANNOT END WITHOUT LEX! And whether you like him or not, MR is the ONLY guy that fans will accept as Lex for the Finale. If he doesn’t come back (even if it’s just for 30 seconds at the end of the series), I will always feel how lacking the final episode was.

  • ScottyK

    What’s sad is he’s doing NOTHING right now… you go on IMDB and it’s a clean slate of nada, zilch, zippo… as someone who has to show off their aciting chops each time, wouldn’t it make sense to come back to a character he’s most known for one last time before he has no stage left to perform on?

  • brett

    Smallville doesn’t need Michael Rosenbaum, they can get any actor to play Lex Luthor. He’s not so great an actor that they can’t get someone else to fill the shoes. Honestly, Smallville is just fine without him. People are going to tune in whether Rosenbaum comes on or not.

  • Monkeypants2230

    I’m with you dude. Stay the heck away from a lame show that claims to need you but actually not thinking maybe he has a life and priorities. He does not have to do anything.

  • Peter

    He doesn’t want to save his head again. Plain and simple.

  • Peter


  • BandB54

    they should just create a bit of story where lex due to cloning has over aged and see if they can get gene hackmen or kevin spacey. I know a bit of a reach, but hey james franco appears on general hospital. Could you imagine if one of the above said yes, I think that be quite humbling for MR

  • Anonymous

    Did you actually go to his IMDB, cause it sure looks like he has stuff in the pipeline.

  • Shaun Manning

    I’m wondering what sort of likeness rights Smallville has to Rosenbaum’s Lex—for a short scene, maybe CGI would be an option. Not a great option, but it would give Lex a cameo in the finale.

  • Joseph

    I love these people getting all indignant because this guy doesn’t want to come back to a show he left years ago. He doesn’t owe the show or the fans anything.

  • Landru

    What a ridiculous thing to say. He’s spoiled for not wanting to return to a job he left years ago? Would you want to return to a job you left years ago, just to make them happy? I wouldn’t.

  • Yanks5179

    You’re right he doesn’t owe anyone anything. I think what’s bothering some people is the attitude that SEEMS (and I say seems because I can’t possibly know for sure his thoughts and am not going to put them in his head) like he’s saying, “I’m above that stupid show.”

    Now, again I’m NOT saying he said that, but rather that is the PERCEPTION that comes across at times and regardless of whether he is or is not “above” a show, I can see how that can rub people the wrong way, especially since, really, this show is the ONLY major reason he is where he is today. He was not an A-Lister (still isn’t) and this was the show that made him a much bigger household name than his other roles and at times, it smacks of the attitude of biting the hand that fed.

    I can understand not wanting to come back to a job I left, I do. But when actors sound unappreciative of the vehicles that made them stars, it does get a little irritating, fair or not. I understand Alec Guiness wanted to be known more for his excellent stage work than for Obi-Wan. I get that Sarah Michelle doesn’t want to be Buffy forever. But when they act like those shows are so awful and “yesterday”, and refuse to even show up to roundtable discussions for DVD extras that nearly EVERY member of the cast took time to do, they come off as a bit ungrateful, especially when it’s something more for the fans than the people on the show. Smallville CAN do it without him, but while he doesn’t “owe” anyone anything technically, it would still be nice to recognize the character. I mean, hell, even George Clooney returned to ER well after he left and as a MUCH bigger star.

    One thing I loved about Dave Winfield, former ballplayer was that he spent his most prominent years with my NY Yankees. But when it came time to pick his cap for the Hall of Fame, he chose San Diego–the team that at that point had NO Hall of Famers, no championships, no storied franchise history. Why? Because that was the team that drafted him and gave him his shot.

    He may not owe us anything, or Smallville for that matter, but it’d still be nice to give the fans a treat.

  • Lesya

    That’s about as newsworthy as saying Smallville won’t be back for an 11th season. This story has been told dozens of times.

  • Phineas J. Whoopie

    If Rosenbaum won’t return they’ll just have a Lex-Clone as they’ve eluded to in previous episodes of the current final season. Another actor will then take the role. I think that’s what the whole Lex-Clone thing was for anyway, a contingency plan to go to just in case Rosenbaum didn’t return for a guest role.
    I would’ve loved seeing him return for one final time, but if not…oh well….ATTACK OF THE LEX-CLONES!!! ;D

  • Dawnell_do

    Its a shame Rosenbaum won’t be returning for the Smallville finale, so I guess the Lex-clones well have too do.

  • Jdcdh

    Congratulations Rosenbaum. Your about to lose alot of fans. The notion of Rosenbaum being brought back for the series finale has something that has been brought up EVERY Season since he left. He even suggested it back when everyone thought Season 8 was going to be the end.
    And as for all that crap “in the pipeline”. He’s been asked to come back constantly since July. So that’s not a legit excuse, when they were asking when he didn’t have stuff being prepped. This better surprisingly take a turn for the better.

  • Andrew Buckle

    Lex was ok but over-used. I can’t say I am fussed either way on a return. The show, for me, has been so much better as they have moved away from that endless Lana-Lex-Clark triangle. Give me JSA / JLA / Smallville anyday over the Lex storylines. The actor did a fine job during his time, there is really no need for him to reprise his role or round off the storyline.

  • SomeGuy

    Most people that want to be actors struggle for years and if they are lucky work an episode or two of a Law & Order before having to “give up” on their dream of acting. Then there are the ones like this buy who “makes it.” He gets paid lots of money for doing what he supposedly loves, acting. This type of “actor” leaves a hit show that allowed him to act and get paid lots of money because of reasons such as: afraid of being typecast, wanting to expand artistic horizon, or whatever poppycock reason is come up with. I am sure an offer of ample money and a short shooting schedule have been offered to him to come back and he still turns his back on what made him a star. BTW what’s he done since leaving? I know I haven’t seen his name in anything worth watching.

    And, as far as me, yes if I could I would return for a “closing night performance” to one of the places I’ve worked, the restaurant I washed dishes a teenager or any of the places after that. I guess I just leave places on friendlier terms though…

  • Batt23

    Yes, it’s been brought up a number of times..but by who? The showrunners and producers that’s who. Michael never promised he would come back. He has always said he wanted to pursue other interests. He fulfilled his contractual obligations to show and is clearly been ready to move on from Smallville for some time. Blame the stupid producers and showrunners for inserting him into a storyline with the “hopes” he would come back. I applaud Michael for moving on, this show is a shell of itself and should have ended years ago.

  • Batt23

    I totally agree. I’m not getting all the hate Michael has got over this issue. He’s always stated he’s moving on from Smallville and wanted to pursue other interests. I applaud him for moving on. Blame the showrunners for constantly hinting to the media and fans that he may make an appearance. By all accounts, Michael has stated numerous times he wouldn’t be back and if he did a lot things would need to come in to place for it to happen.

  • Joseph

    I agree 100%, the show now is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was when Michael first left, let alone what it was during its prime (the first 3 seasons, IMO). The show moved on from Lex a long time ago, I don’t even know why they would still be trying so hard to get Michael back.

  • JMC

    The role is Lex Luthor not Michael Rosenbaum – just recast the role with a credible actor.

    If Michael Rosenbaum doesn’t want to return that’s his decision. He doesn’t “owe” anyone or anything. Just quit your pathetic whining and move on…

  • Alex Rogers

    That’s too bad, but not the least bit surprising. Who will play Lex, now?

  • Baldville

    Somebody SHAVE ME!

  • Opszanski

    In my view, if there are fans wanting him this badly then obviously he hasn’t fully met expectation. There are thousands of actors out there that would kill to be wanted this badly on a show like smallville.

  • failinginplace
  • Yanks5179
  • Curt

    You guys need to update this article. Homeboy is comin back.