Superman: DC commits to hiring a Black lead and director for new film

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Warner Bros., Superman, Black Superman

Perhaps one of the most encouraging things about the comic book movie landscape is that the genre allows filmmakers to change things up at a moment's notice. Since the announcement that J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates would be developing a new iteration of Superman that would be portrayed by a Black actor, the Interwebs have been abuzz with chatter, both positive and negative. While Michael B. Jordan has respectfully distanced himself from rumors that he would be in contention for the coveted role as the new Son of Krypton, rumor mills and theories have abounded as to who could take on the mantle of one of DC Comics' most iconic superheroes.

The latest addition to the developing project is the news that DC and Warner Bros have committed to not only casting a Black man as Superman but are also dedicated to having a person of color direct the movie as well. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that the studio considers it "tone deaf" if Abrams were to direct the film, which changes the short list of filmmakers who could direct this major endeavor.

Based on recent Oscar contenders, names bandied about include Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, Creed II helmer Steven Caple Jr, One Night in Miami director Regina King, and Judas and the Black Messiah's Shaka King. Further complicating the selection process is the competing Blade project at Marvel Studios which is also searching for a Black filmmaker to direct their Mahershala Ali reboot.

It seems that filmmakers have already met with both studios about the projects although there certainly could be other indie filmmakers without marquee credits that could be in the running. The same goes for the lead actor who could be relatively unknown to the likes of Brandon Routh or Henry Cavill, who won their franchise roles after an exhaustive search for the ideal Superman.

For those of you concerned about this film replacing Henry Cavill, it appears that DC is approaching this new film in the same way as Robert Pattinson in The Batman and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker as alternate universe takes on established characters rather than mainstream canon. That means we could have two active Supermen, both hailing from Krypton with similar origin stories.

Diversity is the key in this day and age of studio tentpoles as movies no longer rely solely on the North American box office but the global economy which is not purely Caucasian. DC and Warner Bros currently have projects in development that feature a Latino take on Blue Beetle and Supergirl, while HBO Max is casting for a gay Green Lantern (Alan Scott) for their upcoming series.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.