Michael Rosenbaum

The WB/Brian Cyr

Lex Luthor apparently feels ready to exercise his evil tendencies on a bigger stage than Smallville.

The pre-Superman drama's producers have confirmed that Michael Rosenbaum, who has played the emotionally complex bald baddie since 2001, will be leaving the series at the end of the current season.

"It has been an honor and pleasure to work with Michael for the past six seasons," the CW and Smallville executive producers Darren Swimmer, Todd Slavkin, Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson said in a joint statement. "He is one of the best actors on television and has never failed to bring a new layer to the character of Lex Luthor in every episode. While Michael won’t be a series regular and we won’t have the pleasure of working with him on a weekly basis this fall, we like to think that we haven’t seen the last of Lex Luthor. Stay tuned."

Meanwhile, Rosenbaum, ever the gentleman—minus his onscreen shenanigans, of course—also took time out to pen a personal note of thanks to his fellow cast and crewmembers and to all those devoted Clark, Lana and Lex fans out there.

"Your support is what has made Smallville so successful, and I appreciate you all more than you know," the 35-year-old actor wrote.

"That being said, it is time for me to start the next chapter of my life and career. I hope that I gave you some enjoyment over the years, and that you found my portrayal of Lex Luthor to be satisfying. I am truly grateful, as Smallville fans are the best fans out there. I sincerely hope that you will continue to follow my career through my hair growth period and beyond."

"Thanks crew. Thanks fans. Thanks Smallville," he concluded.

The CW announced in March it had renewed the cult-favorite series for an upcoming eighth season. Which, despite Rosenbaum's absence, doesn't promise to be a total letdown.

Per Swimmer, Slavkin & Co., two new villains—Doomsday and an as-yet-unnamed female nemesis—will be coming on board to keep Clark on his toes.

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