Superman is arguably the best-known superhero in the world, but his cinematic outings have been a rocky road. While 1978’s Superman is pretty well-beloved as is Superman II, the next two movies, Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace were met with less-than-glowing praise. The franchise got rebooted in 2006 with Superman Returns, a Bryan Singer-directed sequel/reboot to Superman II, but again, fans were lukewarm on the film (personally, I think it’s a pretty great post-9/11 take on the character). So back into storage he went with the TV prequel series Smallville picking up the slack. Then he returned with Zack Snyder’s take on the character for Man of Steel followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, but for Henry Cavill’s tenure to only have one solo ride in eight years is not terrific for such a beloved character.
Warner Bros. is now looking to get him back on track under their new producing deal with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production. Shadow and Act reports that the studio has hired acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates to write the screenplay for the film, although it’s unknown if this will be a full reboot or if they’ll ask Cavill back to reprise the role.
While Abrams’ involvement makes me skeptical (you can check out this review of the reviled script he did for Superman: Flyby), especially in light of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Coates is a name that deserves respect. For his run on Marvel’s Black Panther comics, he has done a thoughtful approach towards a superhero’s universe that examines what it means to hold power. Superman is an incredibly rich character when you know how to approach him—he’s an immigrant, he’s a god, he’s an outsider—and so much more than the “blue boy scout” he’s reduced to when placed in the right hands.
“To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor,” said Coates in a statement received only by Shadow and Act. “I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America’s most iconic mythic hero.”
“There is a new, powerful and moving Superman story yet to be told. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen, and we’re beyond thankful to the team at Warner Bros. for the opportunity,” said J.J. Abrams in the statement to S&A.
THR reporter Borys Kit also tweeted that Warner Bros. has been trying to get a Black Superman on screen for a while and that this may be the project that does it:
Whether the involvement of Coates and Abrams will be enough to get Superman flying again remains to be seen, but fans of the character want to see him back on the big screen as soon as possible. Here’s hoping that this project can hit the fast track, especially with Coates’ crafting the script for what could be a Superman movie drastically different than everything we’ve seen before.