Warner Bros. and their Black Superman

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DC Comics is looking to get rid of the old and bring in the new when it comes to their new cinematic universe, and it is prevalent in their Black Superman project.

Henry Cavill’s birthday was earlier this month, on the same day as Cinco De Mayo — a Mexican holiday commemorating the country’s independence in 1862. 

In celebration, fans were spreading birthday wishes and hopeful messages throughout the actor’s social media feed. His girlfriend, Natalie Viscuso, decided to join in on the fun as well, sharing a snap of the couple sitting together in front of a beautiful city landscape, with the caption, “Happiest of birthdays to my birthday boy.”

However, all of the enthusiasm came to a halt when The Hollywood Reporter published a news story that Cavill never wanted to hear — especially on his birthday: They’re rebooting the Superman franchise.  

After careful consideration, Warner Bros. decided to reboot the Superman franchise —with a Black Man of Steel on the forefront —along with diversifying the rest of their DC lineup.  

One of the only people producing and supervising the project —J.J. Abrams —is a well-renowned director, but, surprisingly enough, he will not work on this film.  The reason is that, from the studio’s perspective, it would be considered “tone deaf” for a white director to work on a project dedicated to the Black community.  

J.J. Abrams inked a deal of $500 million with Warner Brothers back in 2019 to supervise some of the studio’s franchises, including the Superman IP.

There is still no news on whether or not Warner Bros. has hired a director for the future adaptation of Superman, nor any cast or crew for that matter. Be that as it may, it was announced in February earlier this year that author Ta-Nehisi Coates — a prolific journalist and activist of the Black community — will be writing and fully realizing the screenplay.

Coates is mostly known for his activistic mindset, pushing a lot of suggestive themes into his books, graphic novels and films. He’s worked on the novel “Between the World and Me,” a letter to his teenage son discussing the hardships of being Black in modern society.

Coates’ biggest question when it comes to how he wants to take on the character is probably one of the strangest: where, and maybe when, will Kal-El land on Earth?  Coates suggested doing a 20th-century period piece set in the middle of the enduring Civil Rights Movement — which is very similar to stories like “Superman: Red Son,” where Kal-El landed in Soviet Russia rather than Kansas.

 “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen,” 

Abrams told The Hollywood Reporter in response to Ta Nehisi’s involvement in the film, “We’re beyond thankful to the team at Warner Bros for the opportunity.”

On Cavill’s birthday, THR addressed in their most recent and controversial article that the film is on its way to production. However, they are still having difficulties with hiring a director. 

“Insiders say Warners and DC are committed to hiring a Black director to tackle what will be the first cinematic incarnation of Superman featuring a Black actor.”

Shaka King and Ryan Coogler are two directors that would be perfect to work on the genre-bending film.

They’re both well-known for their works on “Judas and the Black Messiah” and the “Black Panther” movie. 

 Ryan Coogler has been busy with his work on “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” so the chance for him to work this film is very slim.  

Shaka King, on the other hand, could be Warner Bros. newest prodigy.  His most recent film, “Judas and the Black Messiah,”  has won several awards from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, making him one of the most celebrated directors of 2021.

J.J. Abrams' Black Superman film to be separate from the DCEU
Calvin Ellis

Who Will Play the Black Superman?

The actor who will bring this Superman to life has been one of the most talked-about questions in the community.  Many have predicted that Michal B. Jordan will play the part, but he quickly denied the rumors when asked by several news outlets. 

“I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation,” Jordan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.” 

Some fans are not with the racebending of Superman. Many have taken to social media to air their frustrations while prominent Black personalities have spoken out against the matter. 

Youtuber, YoungRippa59, expressed his frustrations with how Warner Bros. tried to appeal to the Black community. 

“They’ve made it abundantly clear that it is about race; they are hiring based on race,” YoungRippa said in a recent video, highlighting the prolific Hollywood Reporter article.  “So, that means that the best person isn’t getting this job.”

YoungRippa continued saying, “This is tokenization from top to bottom.”

In the comics, there are already two Black Supermen that would perfectly substitute a Black Clark Kent. One of these is Val Zod, the son of General Zod and Earth 2’s greatest protector.

Val Zod is the second character to don the mantle of Superman, right after Clark Kent.  He is a pacifist at nature— by the teachings of Kal-El’s parents —and hopes to pass on those lessons throughout Earth 2.  

The second Black Superman, Calvin Ellis, comes from the Final Crisis event.  Based on former President Barack Obama, Calvin Ellis operates from within the White House as POTUS, working alongside a multitude of Supermen in most of the world-changing DC novels.

This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. has tried to reboot the character either.  

After “Batman V. Superman” flunked, the corporation decided to start anew by recasting some of their actors, but Cavill was still fighting for his role as the Caped Wonder.  After all,  in many peoples’ eyes, he is the ideal Superman actor.

In a 2019 interview with “Men’s Health,” Cavill heavily enforced his beliefs on the Superman role.  

“It’s still mine,” Cavill said. “I’m not going to sit quietly in the dark as all the stuff is going on. I’ve not given up the role.”  

He later addressed what direction he wanted the character to take, putting comic accuracy as a number one priority for the Caped Wonder. 

“There’s a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into,” he said.  “I want to reflect the comic books. That’s important to me. There’s a lot of justice to be done for Superman.”

The Black Superman movie could be Warner Brother’s chance to start anew or their third strike after a very long inning against the DC fandom.  Either way, the movie’s script will be finalized by late December. 

With a kryptonite bow, the reboot will tie off Henry Cavill’s chances of reprising the character, putting an official end to the Snyderverse and DC’s current cinematic timeline.

Superman Movie Reboot Will Reportedly Introduce A Black Superman

Works Cited

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/black-superman-ta-nehisi-coates-warner-bros-movie-1234947599/

DC Fans Furious After Superman Reboot News Drops On Henry Cavill’s Birthday

https://www.looper.com/340949/dcs-blue-beetle-movie-release-date-cast-and-plot-what-we-know-so-far/

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