Smallville is currently in the midst of it's eighth season, and fan reaction suggests that this season has been more successful than most in recent memory - however it has been suggested that a ninth season may not be in the cards due to Tom Welling's contract being up, and the actor may be growing tired of being Superboy. However, as spotted by Ain't It Cool News|, there was an interesting suggestion in the latest print edition of TV Guide| about what might happen in place of the show.

The article says that "[Showrunner Darren] Swimmer suggests a Smallville spinoff starring Phil Morris (John Jones aka Martian Manhunter), who next appears Jan. 22."

Morris' character, the Martian Manhunter, has long been a key member of DC Comics' Justice League of America, and the similarities between his character and Superman are many. Both are super-strong, invulnerable, able to fly, and are the last surviving members of an alien race. The Manhunter has many other abilities, however, including shape-shifting, density control, invisibility and telepathy. His regular appearance is also fairly inhuman.

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It's interesting to see that Swimmer is considering a spin-off focused on the Manhunter, instead of a more ensemble-based piece around the Justice League, or featuring either Laura Vandervoot's Supergirl or Justin Hartley's Green Arrow.

This statement also comes on the heels of the pitch for The Graysons, which would have focused on the pre-Batman days of Dick Grayson/Robin. Although it originally seemed like plans for The Graysons were moving forward, Warner Brothers executives have since put a hold on that project.

Smallville airs Thursday nights on the CW. New episodes, starting with LEGION begin on January 15, 2009. The drama about the early days of Clark Kent stars Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Allison Mack, Aaron Ashmore, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman and Sam Witwer.