ByJonathan Patrick, writer at
The Geek Desk
Jonathan Patrick

Recent news of Smallville alumni Erica Durance joining the CW's Supergirl has Superman fans cheering. While it may seem like a just a fun Easter Egg, Durance's new role sees her joining the ranks of many actors who have appeared time and again across the Superman franchise.

With almost 70 years of film and television shows, there are bound to be a few repeat actors in the Man of Steel's franchise, but the depths of Hollywood's family goes deeper than most would imagine. From Dean Cain to Amy Adams and Lynda Carter, these 15 actors have kept their ties to the Last Son of Krypton fully intact.

1. Amy Adams

'Man of Steel' [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
'Man of Steel' [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

Everyone knows Amy Adams as the latest iteration of Lois Lane in the DC Cinematic Universe. Appearing in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Adams rocks the role of the Daily Planet reporter, which she will reprise in this year's Justice League. Some fans may recall that Adams first met Clark Kent much earlier in her career.

In 2001, Adams guest-starred in the Smallville Season 1 episode "Craving" as overweight high school student Jodi Melville. Melville used meteor rock-infected vegetable shakes to get thin, but soon started losing weight with such speed that she sucking the fat out of others. Yum.

2. Dean Cain

The last person to wear the "S" on his chest before Smallville's Tom Welling, Dean Cain brought Superman to life in the '90s television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The show ran for four seasons before it was cancelled, but it wouldn't be Cain's last appearance in the franchise.

In 2007, Cain guest-starred in Smallville's seventh season episode "Cure" as the immortal Dr. Curtis Knox. More recently, Cain has a reoccurring role as Jeremiah Danvers, the adoptive father of Kara Zor-El, in Supergirl.

3. Teri Hatcher

'Supergirl'  [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
'Supergirl' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

As with Cain, Teri Hatcher broke into the world of Superman with Lois & Clark. Hatcher portrayed Lois Lane from 1993 to 1997. After the series ended, she went on to enjoy a successful career, but she never forgot her Superman roots.

In 2010, she made a brief, yet powerful cameo in Smallville as Ella Lane, mother of Erica Durance's Lois Lane. In 2017, Hatcher became the primary villain in Supergirl, appearing as Queen Rhea of Daxam. Rhea was not only out to conquer the world, but was also the mother of Kara's love interest, Mon-El.

4. Annette O'Toole

Annette O'Toole is most recognized in the Superman universe as Martha Kent in Smallville, but O'Toole first appeared as Lana Lang in 1983's Superman III. In the film, Clark reunites with Lang, who is a divorcée with a young son.

In 2001, O'Toole became Kal-El's adoptive mother in Smallville. Unlike her older comic book counterpart, O'Toole's Martha is seen in her early '40s. The younger Kents were not only allotted more screen time than fans are used to, but they also became more fleshed-out characters. O'Toole's version of Martha is perhaps the most elaborate to exist.

5. Christopher Reeve

'Smallville' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
'Smallville' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

When most people think of Superman, they think of Christopher Reeve. Reeve entered the DC Universe as the title character in 1978's Superman: The Movie. The breakthrough film pushed Superman to new heights, and generated three sequels along with a Supergirl spin-off.

After the films concluded, Reeve didn't return to the franchise until 2003, just a year before his death. Appearing in Smallville, Reeve portrayed Dr. Virgil Swann, a brilliant and wealthy scientist dedicated to communicating with beings from other planets. Guest-starring in two episodes, Reeve's character took great interest in the young Clark Kent, and sought to help him understand his alien heritage.

6. Margot Kidder

Margot Kidder's Lois Lane was not only memorable, she made the character relevant to a whole new generation. She starred in the three sequels and, like Reeve, only returned to the world of Superman to appear in Smallville.

In 2004, Kidder guest-starred as Dr. Bridgette Crosby in two episodes of Smallville. Crosby was an emissary of Dr. Swann, played by Reeve. Crosby met Swann in her youth and it has been implied that the two had a romantic relationship at one time. She also knew about Clark's true identity as Kal-El of Krypton.

7. Laura Vandervoort

'Supergirl'  [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
'Supergirl' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

Fans of Smallville cheered when Laura Vandervoort showed up in the DC universe again on Supergirl in 2015. Vandervoort once played Clark's Kryptonian cousin herself, making her debut in Smallville Season 7. Vandervoort's Supergirl was the main focus of the season and she continued to appear throughout the series.

In 2016, Vandervoort guest-starred as the villain Indigo in three episodes of Supergirl. Not only was Vandervoort's Indigo (also known as Brainiac-8) a badass, but her casting in the role made her the last of the three actresses to portray Supergirl to appear on the show, joining Helen Slater and Melissa Benoist.

8. Phyllis Coates

Phyllis Coates starred as Lois Lane in 1951's Superman and the Mole Men film. From 1952 to 1953, she played Lane again in the first 26 episodes of Adventures of Superman, alongside George Reeves' Superman. Fearing that her role in the popular series would limit future opportunities for her, she quickly distanced herself from the franchise.

In 1994, Coates returned to fold, appearing as Lois's mother, Ellen, in the Lois & Clark episode "House of Luthor." In doing so, she followed in the footsteps of original Lois Lane actress, Noel Neill, who also once portrayed the older Lane.

9. Helen Slater

'Smallville' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
'Smallville' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

After the success of the Superman film series starring Christopher Reeve, Helen Slater made her debut as Supergirl in a spin-off film of the same name. While the film did not do well, it gained a cult following.

Slater later guest-starred in three episodes of Smallville as Lara-El, Superman's biological mother. Maintaining her parental status, Slater can now be seen on Supergirl in the reoccurring role of Kara's adoptive mother, Eliza Danvers. Slater has also voiced Martha Kent in animated show DC Super Hero Girls.

10. Erica Durance

Erica Durance first appeared as the teenage Lois Lane in Smallville's fourth season. She quickly became a fan favorite and continued as Lois for seven seasons. She earned three Saturn Award nominations for her work as the Daily Planet reporter.

This July, it was announced that Durance would be returning to the franchise by way of Supergirl. She will be taking over as Kara's Kryptonian mother, Alura In-Ze, from the original actress, Laura Benanti, who is unable to return to the series. Benanti also played Alura's twin sister General Astra.

11. Lynda Carter

'Supergirl'  [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]
'Supergirl' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

Former Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter made her Superman debut in the Smallville episode "Progeny." She appeared as Chloe's Kryptonite-empowered mother, Moira Sullivan, a metahuman with the ability to control other meteor-infected individuals.

From 2016–2017, Carter appeared in three episodes of Supergirl as US President Olivia Marsdin. In what what could be seen as an alternate ending to the 2016 US Presidential election, Marsdin won the presidency over an unknown male candidate. She is a Democrat and secretly an alien from Durla.

12. Michael Ironside

Michael Ironside first entered the world of Superman as the voice of Darkseid in Superman: The Animated Series. He continued in the role on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Between the three series, the ruler of Apokolips appeared in 11 episodes.

Between 2004 and 2010, Ironside appeared in three episodes of Smallville. He portrayed Lois and Lucy Lane's father, General Sam Lane.

13. Noel Neill

'Superman Returns' [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
'Superman Returns' [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

Noel Neill was the first actress to bring Lois Lane to life, starting with the 1948 film serial Superman and 1950's Atom Man vs. Superman. In 1953, when Phyllis Coates was unable to continue playing Lois in the Adventures of Superman show, Neill returned to the role of Lois for the remaining five seasons.

Neill continued to appear in Superman-related productions. She began the tradition of Lois Lane actresses returning to play Lois's mother, doing so herself as Ellen Lane in 1978's Superman film. In 1991, she was in an episode of Superboy. In 2006, she played Gertrude Vanderworth, the dying elderly wife of Lex Luthor in Superman Returns. She passed away in 2016.

14. Terence Stamp

Diehard fans will recognize Terence Stamp as the Man of Steel's arch-enemy General Zod. He appeared in the role in both Superman: The Movie and Superman II. He would not return to the franchise again for over 20 years.

In 2003, Stamp reappeared in a completely different — yet still Kryptonian — role on Smallville. He provided the voice of Clark Kent's biological father, Jor-El, over 23 episodes. He also lent his voice for the scream of Zod as he was exorcised from Lex Luthor in the sixth season episode "Zod."

15. Jack Larson

'Superman Returns' [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
'Superman Returns' [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

Jack Larson is best known for his portrayal of Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen in Adventures of Superman. He appeared in 101 episodes between 1952 and 1958. He also played Olsen in the 1954 short, Stamp Day for Superman.

In 1991, Larson guest-starred in an episode of the TV series Superboy, alongside his former Adventures of Superman costar, Noel Neill. He also made a cameo on Lois & Clark in the 1996 episode "Brutal Youth" where he portrayed an aged Jimmy Olsen. In 2006, he briefly appeared in Superman Returns as Bo the Bartender. Larson passed away in 2015.

Who is your favorite actor to reappear in the Superman franchise?


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