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Mark Millar's 21st Century Superman Pitch Moving Forward?!

by
July 2, 2008

Superman: Red Son

The comic book publisher battle is heating up again. We all know Marvel is kicking ass with Iron Man and Incredible Hulk this summer, but DC Comics is about to drop The Dark Knight in just a few weeks. And in December when we all frown upon Marvel's Punisher: War Zone yet again, we'll already be hyped about DC's upcoming Watchmen. As great as DC Comics is, one of their biggest characters, Superman, still seems to be stuck in a rut after Bryan Singer's "return" in 2006 didn't bring in the box office "returns" that Warner Brothers was expecting. Well, you may remember a little article from October last year, where legendary comic book writer Mark Millar talked about putting together his own pitch for a new version of Superman for the 21st Century - his dream project. Given Singer's Superman Returns sequel is still stuck, Millar has begun ramping up his pitch - and now he's got his team already in place!

Millar recently spoke with The Daily Record (via SlashFilm) and told them that "I've been planning this my entire life. I've got my director and producer set up, and it'll be 2011. This is how far ahead you have to think." He continues, explaining that "the Superman brand is toxic after that last movie [flopped], but in 2011 we're hoping to restart it. Sadly I can't say who the director is, but we may make it official by Christmas. But fingers crossed it could work out, that would be my lifetime's dream." This is indeed a very interesting development. It sounds like Millar has set up this pitch big time, with everything in place, including a director and producers and everything. Back in October, he event went as far as to say that he "would honestly write this thing for free."

Why is this such an important project to Millar? "Since I was a kid I've always wanted to reinvent Superman for the 21st century." Last year, he explained that "I have literally hundreds of pages of notes and sketches just waiting for this opportunity. This would be my dream gig and, as a fan, I know exactly what this project needs to work. This has to be Superman for the 21st Century, keeping everything we adore, but starting from scratch and making the kids love it as much as the 30-somethings." In fact, given Millar is one of the most well-known and highly praised comic book writers out there, I'm willing to bet that his pitch and script for the new Superman might kick some serious ass. How many of you read his Superman: Red Son series? Isn't that enough of an indication that Millar is talented enough to reboot Superman again?

Before we get too far into this, I need to mention the additional details that Millar mentioned in the message boards on his blog as an additional update. He knew that this news would hit and decided to clarify details before the whole story started spinning wildly out of control.

"PS: That Superman news is interesting, isn't it? In the interests of clarity (because I'm sure this will be picked up somewhere) a very well known American action director heard about my love of Superman, approached my and asked me to team up with he and his producer to make a pitch for this. We've been talking for several weeks now and, if this is going to happen, we'll know by Christmas. He has huge pull at WB so fingers crossed. But this is nothing more than a huge US name pulling me into his fold and making me part of a package."

Very interesting update. I'm too excited at this prospect of Millar's pitch coming to life to wait until Christmas to find out who! However, that's how the world works and it will give everyone the time necessary to soak in this idea anyway. So let's go back to the beginning - Millar's pitch for Superman in the 21st Century. I doubt it will be the kind of story that was in Superman: Red Son, but maybe he's got some brilliant idea. I've grown fond of Millar over the last few months in relation to Wanted and he recently spoke with me regarding his thoughts on the adaptation of that comic series. Although I have no idea what his pitch might involve, I'm willing to wait it out and will be hoping that Warner Brothers likes what they hear. In the meantime, we're throwing our support behind Millar! Good luck in Hollywood!

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  • http://whatisthekingdom.wordpress.com R
    Very interesting. Supes has the deepest roots in the American mythos with its allegorical relationship to Christ... Dunno why his movies suck so bad. (Except for Superman and Superman II).
  • http://www.websbestcomics.net Scott
    Superman Returns was fine. Not the classic that I & II were obviously, but I'm still hoping to see a sequel with this same cast. My only hope is that they ramp up the action more this time around. It would be good to Supes actually get into a fist fight with some bad-ass villain.
  • http://ivanjaime.blogspot.com Ivan
    Millar's "Superman: Red Sun" is 3-issue mini-series that was a triumph in creativity. In those three issues he re-created Superman and the DC Universe out of one odd-ass question: what is Supes' was a commie? I've met this man, nice gent and brilliantly insane/insanely brilliant. He rethought the idea of a superhero team with The Authority, forever changed Marvel comics in Marvel Civil War and and is currently telling the story of a young boy who sees comic book villains come to his life on earth in Marvel's 1985. An extra tidbit: In the late 1990's, Millar along with fellow comic writers Tom Peyer, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison pitched a revamp of the current Superman comics line (not a character reboot, but a creative team change and storylines). Sadly (for some including me), the Superman revamp never happened, though Waid and Morrison told their own Super-stories with Superman: Birthright and All-Star Superman, respectively. Below are links to Millar interviews w/ the Superman Homepage from many years past. If you have the time, please have a look: http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/interviews/interviews-intro.php?topic=c-interview_millar http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/interviews/interviews-intro.php?topic=c-interview_millar2 http://www.supermanhomepage.com/comics/interviews/interviews-intro.php?topic=c-interview_millar3
  • Jeff Basset
    Superman died in the theatres for a few reasons. first and formost, because they took it away from the core values of Superman in the past. In this latest incarnation, you had Superman: with a illegitamate child, not following the American way ( Singer notes it is an international franchise and as such Superman cannot do the American values push), Superman is shown stalking his ex at night looking into the windows of the house, Lex is downgraded to becoming a gigolo to get monies needed from a spinster. Singer took the values and strengths of the characters and turned them upside down. The rescue scenes were incredible, the scapes great. The storyline stunk. If you think going to the Red Son story line is going to help after this floundering, you are mistaken. It will take the franchise further the wrong direction that harmed it in the last film. Warner needs to stick to the original boyscout personality with Superman, THAT is what made him so popular. If you want to push boundries, take a really serious look at the villians, get away from the comic book goofiness feel to something more like the Batman franchise is pushing. Then you will have an incredible Superman franchise to give the public.
  • http://www.zigwa.com James
    I am honestly a little bit weary of Superman. I hope this new team will be able to bring something fresh and make me want to watch this character again.
  • rodan8812
    Superman has to do something because right now Batmans kicking him from Gotham to Krypton with no end in sight.
  • Bryan
    ys, that's all and good but who would make a good villian?
  • http://www.youtube.com/snears Nick Sears
    I just read he'd want either Daniel Day-Lewis or Nic Cage - which neither one should dawn the cape. I thought Bryan Singers' casting of Brandon Routh was a great choice not only he was a new face with classic 'superman' facial features, but he nailed the embodiment of Christopher Reeves - that's the one thing that everybody loved from the previous movies. I think if he's given a solid script and that HUMAN element is there, I think it will succeed. Given that honest, and yes, boyscout kind of demeanor, you have to bring him (no pun intended) down to earth. Superman is one of the most powerful superheros, so its hard to make him seem vulnerable and connect with the audience. That's why the Batman and Spiderman movies did so well(granted, it wasn't the only thing that made them succeed). But for the audience to have that connection with the main character - and the incredible odds against them pushed by a mastermind of a nemesis, then I think it will do well. We need more action though this time around. We gotta turn superman back into a badass. Is Metallo going to be the new main baddie in 'THE MAN OF STEEL" ? And how about some crossovers?! Marvel's definitely tapping into that fad, but it wouldn't be like they were copying - they'd be stupid not to do so. I may be getting ahead of myself/hollywood's current pace) PLUS - It always seems that when it comes to Superman and the general public, it always goes to the toilet in some regard. From the latest movies(honestly, I thought they were all great, or at least has their strong moments) to every superman videogame - Nobody has yet really scored points across the board with a uber-successful superman movie/game. Hopefully Singer learned his lesson and can now focus on dishing out a real badass, exciting movie that makes people believe once more that a man can fly.
  • Colin (brother of Mike) Hunt
    Ahem. Mark Millar is not "a legendary comic book writer". Alan Moore is. Millar might be in 10 years but we'll see.
  • Devon Shaw
    No, no, no. They've got it all wrong. The Death of Superman trilogy has been BEGGING to be made for 15 years now, it's astonishing to me that nobody's optioned it. Superman doesn't need a reinvention, he needs a faithful adaptation of one of his most storied timelines.
  • Jesse
    Action director with alot of pull at WBs? Hmmm can't think of many.
  • Thoughtless
    My interest has been perked. However, I agree with everything Scott said. Superman Returns, while not living up to expectations, did set good groundwork for an amazing sequel. I would like to see the same cast, better writing, and more action.
  • Jojo
    Wachowski's.
  • Fisherman
    Sounds interesting.
  • Rudy Rosas Jr.
    The reinvention of Superman.....Superman/Doomsday storyline....Make adjustments after he returns from death...Adjustments for new era...Death of Superman...followed by Reign of Supermen....Followed by Superman/Batman team up.... All elements for a reboot of the franchise are already written....at least a trilogy to start things off...leading into Justice League Movie!!!!! Looking at the big picture ....mean while keeping Batman franchise going, start Wonder Woman, AquaMan, Green Lantern films. Get JLA out right with ORIGINS...outlines for future films. Do it right the first time!
  • Kyle A. Koyote
    Superman just needs a movie where it isn't all camp (like the last one)..a bit of camp is fine, but when the movie is just overwhelmingly lame, it doesn't help it. He also needs a 'real villain' in his movies.
  • Monica
    This news makes me so happy I could cry! Save us Mark Millar! The horrible specter of a sequel to the bloated garbage of Superman Returns is like watching a catastrophe unfold. Bring on the new actor. The role isn't that hard and nobody remembers the new guy's name anyway. His career entered the witness protection program after the movie left theaters. Bring on the new director -- Dear God, please bring on the new director! Bring on the clean reboot.
  • Shane
    I had no problem with Routh. Bosworth as Lois Lane was horrible. The whole premise was a bad idea though, relaunching a franchise as a sequel to movies over twenty years old. Adding something to the mythology like a kid was ridiculous as well. What Superman needs is a Hulk type relaunch.
  • Mineral
    Can't but help compare it to the Dark Knight thats coming out. If Superman is done I hope it is in the same league as the Dark Knight or atleast Batman Begins. To bad Nolan wouldnt be doing it.
  • Samuel
    Singer screwed Superman wit returns while the movie was alright bosworth as lane no it didn't work (hey could do a whole legion of superhero movie fixing things wit smallville and put him on the path to be Superman.) miller is a good writer the whole thing wit civil war it didn't change the marvel landscape its all still the same secret avengers warriors meh nothin changed just got more team comics. Miller can write and all these brits seem to love the man of steel. The death of Superman as a movie rather see brainaic metallo toyman. Parasite bizarro before doomsday and hey Superman returns the game was ok better buttons and control it be a great game. But I thought miller said that DC won't hire someone when they work for the compatition but hopefully he gets to bring his version to light singer had his chance and failed time to start over
  • Samuel
    Singer screwed Superman wit returns while the movie was alright bosworth as lane no it didn't work (hey could do a whole legion of superhero movie fixing things wit smallville and put him on the path to be Superman.) miller is a good writer the whole thing wit civil war it didn't change the marvel landscape its all still the same secret avengers warriors meh nothin changed just got more team comics. Miller can write and all these brits seem to love the man of steel. The death of Superman as a movie rather see brainaic metallo toyman. Parasite bizarro before doomsday and hey Superman returns the game was ok better buttons and control it be a great game. But I thought miller said that DC won't hire someone when they work for the compatition but hopefully he gets to bring his version to light singer had his chance and failed time to start over. Needs to do like batman begin s focus on the characters (this time being true to the source material) with action in this day and age how you not finna have action in a Superman movie?
  • Ivan A. Arcaya,Sr.
    George Reeves is not Superman! The TV Show Smallville is not Clark Kent/ Superboy. They are nothing like the Superboy or Superman Comic Books of any age-Golden, Silver or Bronze. They are totally made up Hollywood Stories. Isn't anybody here a fan of the Superboy and Superman Comics. If all you know is The Hollywood George Reeve's Superman and The Smallville TV Show's Clark Kent/Superboy then you know nothing about Superman or Superboy. If you want to really get to know Superboy; buy The graphic novels of Superboy and Superboy and The Legion of Superheroes. The same goes for Superman. If you want to really know Superman buy the graphic novels of Superman. As for Mark Millar; he either hits or misses. He is not perfect. However; I do believe that he would make a better Superman for The 21st Century then any of the past movie producers/directors.
  • Goudos
    Superman needs a complete reboot for the screen. Pure and simple. What I would like to see is a Superman world that is fitting of the character. Gothem looks like it needs Batman in it. Its dark and urban, gothic and high tech just like Bats. Superman needs to be from a Norman Rockwell Smallvillie and an art deco Metropolis. Lois Lane needs to be a spunky go getter that gets in over here head; a Howard Hawkes woman. No Lex in the first reboot, give us someone else, someone who can go toe to toe with Superman. That or if you are going to go with Lex he needs to be an evil S.O.B. not a goof ball. Superman does need to be a boyscout, not an emo kid in red booties. Singer did the X-Men right becuse the characters are conflicted, Superman isn't. He knows what he is doing is the right thing in a conflicted world. Millar might be the right guy for the job, he's done great work and he wants this. DC's superhero line needs this as well. All they have is Batman. They've let Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and all they're other heroes fall to the wastes side. You need a big, mega-hit Superman to breath life into the entire DC universe on film, Batman is a completely diffrent world on screen. Batman is our cynism, Superman is our dreams.
  • Ajax
    I'm interested in it, but I'm not holding my breath. Superman is just not as interesting a character as Batman. I would like them to do a Death of Superman movie. Will he add that kid who turns out to be Superman's son? Plus, I'm tired of Lex Luthor as the villian. I WANT BRAINIAC! I WANT BRAINIAC! I WANT BRAINIAC!
  • Chris
    As has been mentioned, superman movies need a great villian to make them work. None of the movies have done Lex Luthor justice. They need to make him smarter and more ruthless. A person who can put superman in compromising positions without using the cliched kryptonite. OR they can go in another direction and give superman a villian that is actually stronger than he is (a la doomsday) so that superman can't win be just overpowering the bad guys like he usually does. A Brainiac villian would work as it combines both those elements.
  • Samuel
    Singer screwed Superman wit returns while the movie was alright bosworth as lane no it didn't work (hey could do a whole legion of superhero movie fixing things wit smallville and put him on the path to be Superman.) miller is a good writer the whole thing wit civil war it didn't change the marvel landscape its all still the same secret avengers warriors meh nothin changed just got more team comics. Miller can write and all these brits seem to love the man of steel. The death of Superman as a movie rather see brainaic metallo toyman. Parasite bizarro before doomsday and hey Superman returns the game was ok better buttons and control it be a great game. But I thought miller said that DC won't hire someone when they work for the compatition but hopefully he gets to bring his version to light singer had his chance and failed time to start over. Need to do like batman begins focus on the characters (this time being true to the source material) with action in this day and age how are you not going to have action in a Superman movie?
  • http://www.doortoyourimagination.com HEATH
    My simple opinion... If they decide to start over with a new idea, a fresh darker approach ... they should really consider finding a new superman. Brandon Routh seems like a nice guy and all, but he is little cheesy and bland. Same with Spacy and Kate. Why cannot the producers, writers, and director go with an Alex Ross approach. Make our beloved character an actual superhero. Give him large broad shoulders ... Hell, why not find a body builder at a random gym and see if he can act. Please do not go with another silly television heart throb for little girls to sell tickets. Get a brute, a man with a jaw, with structure. Someone that resembles strength and enables us to believe that he could actually be able to punch through a wall, to handle himself in situation involving incredible powers that could easily destroy Metropolis. Please let us take this DC universe in the proper direction. Again, let's have a hero that appears to be bold, powerful, and visually strong. We should really consider staying away from Brian's flamboyant soap opera. The Man of Steel should represent the inner strength in all of us. I feel that the next installment of Superman should be a type of hero that we all want to be, down deep inside. A figure that demonstrates self-sacrifice, reaching out to help the less fortunate and humbly does so without expecting anything in return. Do not bring back his child, do not make another love story between Lane and Kent. "Been there done that". In fact, no Lex ... maybe a cameo, but do not center the story around an stale conflict that everyone is bored of. Instead, please consider directing a movie about Superman that produces a figure that children and even older alike could look up to and be inspired by. I think Donner came close, but we need more suspense, action, and a factor consisting of FEAR. We need a threat that, perhaps touches us in reality. No simple cliches dealing with large Robots with green kryptonite. Why not introduce a new threat. Bring in an alien agenda that has thirst for aggression. Something that overwhelms Supes to the point of his demise. Not Doomsday, Darkseid ... let's get a new visitor, or should I say visitors. "Something original".. Something the fans will be excited about. Bring in a 'War of the Worlds' scenario. An alien invasion with huge ships destroying our planet. Make it so disastrous that it consumes the viewers inner fear to the point of suffocation, which in turn relies on our appreciation of The Man of Steel. Show death, show destruction, make people feel uneasy about it. Scare people ... I think this will enable the viewers to seek help from a godlike figure, a higher being. "Our Superman"
  • PeepsMcJuggs
    "A very well known American action director"...dear God, do NOT let it be Michael "BoomBoomExplosionLookAtThePrettyColors" Bay. That jackass poisons everything he touches.

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