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DC's ‘Superman’ reboot to feature Black actor, director - report

By Christian Imperio Published May 06, 2021 12:01 pm Updated May 06, 2021 12:10 pm

The upcoming DC reboot of Superman will reportedly feature a Black actor in the titular role and a Black filmmaker at the helm of the project.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. and DC are "committed" to hiring a Black director to shepherd the project, which will center on a Black incarnation of Kal-El. The film's screenplay is being written by acclaimed author and comics writer Ta-Nehisi Coates with J.J. Abrams producing.

THR said that some of the directors that are being considered are Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II), J.D. Dillard (Sleight), Regina King (One Night in Miami), and Shaka King (Judas and the Black Messiah). The report also mentioned that the project could also tap established filmmakers like Barry Jenkins or Ryan Coogler.

Meanwhile, THR also said that the next Superman film won't be part of the DC Extended Universe, which means that the upcoming reboot would likely be a standalone film such as Todd Philips' Joker and Matt Reeves' The Batman. Sources also said that Coates is crafting the iconic superhero in the vein of the original comics and will see the Kryptonian making his way to Earth.

Since Coates has until December to finish the script, THR noted that several details in the story could still change. However, one option that is being considered is for the film to be a "20th century period piece." 

This developed following rumors that Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan would suit up as a Black Man of Steel. However, Jordan quickly downplayed his involvement in the project and said, "I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation. It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one."

This is the first time that a Black incarnation of Kal-El will appear in the big screen. Previously, Christopher Reeves wore the blue suit and red cape in Superman: The Movie (1978), Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Decades later, Brandon Routh stepped in as Clark Kent in 2006’s Superman Returns. Henry Cavill then took on the role of Kal-El in three DCEU films. As of now, there’s no word yet if Cavill will reprise his role in the post-Snyderverse projects.

In the comics, there have been two versions of a Black Superman: Calvin Ellis and Val-Zod. Ellis first appeared in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis in March 2009 as a Black US president inspired by Barack Obama while Val-Zod, the second to wear the Superman mantle, first debuted in 2014’s Earth 2 #19.

(Image from DC)