The next Superman movie will look wildly different from anything that’s come before. We learned in February that Warner Bros. had hired acclaimed author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates to write the screenplay for a new Superman movie with J.J. Abrams producing. Rumors also swirled at the time that this planned film would introduce a new Superman – a Black Superman.
That is indeed what Warner Bros. is planning, as a new report over at THR takes a look inside what’s on deck for this DC reboot. The plan is to introduce the world to a Black Superman, and Warner Bros. is also committed to hiring a Black filmmaker to direct the movie – meaning Abrams will only be producing, not directing this venture. It’s still early days on the project as Coates’ screenplay isn’t even due until December, but Warner Bros. is currently eager to get a director attached so shepherd the project in this nascent stage.
THR throws out Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II), J.D. Dillard (Sleight), Regina King (One Night in Miami), and Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah) as possibilities while also noting Warner Bros. could shoot for a more established filmmaker like 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 Summer 2022, so he may not be the likeliest of possibilities. 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 report stresses that it’s “phenomenally early” 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 part of an interconnected universe, its aesthetic and overarching story will differ from the one Zack Snyder had originally planned.
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, and as of right now it appears as though this new Superman movie will similarly take place in its own universe. That could certainly change, but THR says Coates’ take on the story is an origin tale that will introduce a Kal-El in the vein of the original comics and will find him coming to Earth from Krypton.
Again it’s early and story details could change, but another possibility being floated right now 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 is not one to shy away from hard truths and real-world politics, so it’s exciting to think about how he might frame this Superman movie as not only a high-flying superhero movie, but also a film that tackles serious issues head on. It’s not an impossible feat, as HBO’s brilliant Watchmen limited series proved.
We’ll see how this one comes together, but it’s exciting to hear that Warner Bros. is committed to hiring a Black filmmaker to helm what could be a truly groundbreaking superhero movie.