Is This A Good Thing?
The next Superman movie will look wildly different from any previous Superman offering. In February, Warner Bros. hired acclaimed author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates to write the screenplay for a new Superman movie, with J.J. Abrams producing.
Rumors began to swirl that this planned film would introduce a new Superman – in fact a Black Superman. Warner Bros. is indeed planning to introduce the world to a Black Superman for this DC reboot.
Not everyone is a fan of the idea.
— Lamard Cher-Aimé (They/Them) (@LamardCherAime) May 5, 2021
Nonetheless, Warner Bros. is committed to hiring a Black filmmaker to direct the movie, meaning Abrams will only be producing. Coates’ screenplay isn’t even due until December, which hasn’t stopped the ever-eager Warner Bros. search to find a director to shepherd the project in its nascent stage.
Some names being mentioned amongst the Hollywood brass are Stephen Caple Jr. (Creed
II), J.D. Dillard (Sleight), Regina King (One Night In Miami), and Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah) are all definite possibilities.
Warner Bros. could also shoot for a more established director such as Ryan Coogler or Barry Jenkins, however, Coogler currently has his hands full with Black Panther 2, and won’t be finished with that film until after it releases in the summer of 2022.
Regina King, Barry Jenkins, Steven Caple Jr., and Shaka King are among the potential candidates to direct the upcoming 'Superman' film for Warner Brothers.
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) May 5, 2021
Shaka King could have an edge as his Warner Bros. film Judas and the Black Messiah just scored two Oscar wins and a Best Picture nomination, but again the project is in its early stages so it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
What is clear, however, is that this new Superman movie will move DC further away from the “Snyderverse” despite the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max.
Warner Bros. has made clear its intention not to “Restore the Snyderverse” as fans have been clamoring, and while films like Aquaman 2 and The Flash will still be a part of an interconnected universe, the aesthetics and overarching stories will differ from Zack Snyder’s original plans.
The Flash will introduce the idea of the multiverse, which will explain how Robert Pattinson’s The Batman is set in a different universe than Aquaman or Wonder Woman. As of now, it appears as though this new Superman movie will similarly take place in its own universe. Imagine it coming from its origin, from Earth to Krypton.
One other possibility being floated around is setting the film in the 20th Century, which would certainly tackle the idea of race head-on should a Black alien arrive before, during, or in the immediate wake of the Civil Rights Movement.
Coates has never been one to shy away from hard truths and real-world politics. That in itself makes it exciting to think about how he might frame this Superman movie as not only a high-flying superhero movie but also one that tackles serious social issues head-on. It’s not an impossible feat, as HBO’s brilliant Watchmen proved.
I’m excited to see how this comes together and to hear that Warner Bros. is committed to hiring a Black filmmaker to helm what could be a truly groundbreaking and epic superhero movie.