Christopher Nolan to Shepherd a Brand New Superman Film
It was last September when Diane Nelson, head of DC Entertanment, said, "we don't have current plans behind Superman." A lot can change in five months as Deadline Hollywood has discovered, Christopher Nolan, has been asked to 'godfather' a new Superman flick. Let's be clear that he's not directing the movie (not yet anyway), but rather guiding the film in the right direction for critics and fans alike. This brand new Superman iteration won't be a sequel, or even a pseudo reboot/sequel like Superman Returns, but rather an entirely new franchise. It's about damn time Warner Brothers got the right guy to help Superman fly.
After Superman Returns didn't quite get the reaction execs were hoping for, the studio learned its lesson and ever since then they've been trying to figure out what they wanted to do with Superman. Someone at Warner Bros. told Deadline: "We know what we don't want to do. But we don't know what we want to do. We learned a lot from the last movie, and we want to get it right this time." Hiring Chris Nolan is a step in the right direction, but even a cinematic genius like Nolan could have some trouble with the franchise. More than a few heavy hitters have attempted to get Superman off the ground (no pun intended) and failed.
Tim Burton tried to make one with Nicolas Cage, a then-relatively unknown J.J. Abrams wrote the first script in a trilogy but wasn't a big enough name to direct, so Brett Ratner and McG tried to do it with Abrams script, but both never got there. But when Bryan Singer was brought on board, it seemed like all was well. Solid set reports, stunning trailers, a seemingly decent Superman, but ultimately, no one really believed a man could fly; at least not enough to return on the $270 million budget. Singer is still in the cards as a director, but I wouldn't count on it since he's off preparing his own reboot with X-Men: First Class.
Aside from a desire for a decent Superman flick to do Krypton's last son justice, there is literally a ticking clock attached to a Superman flick from Warner Brothers. Deadline breaks down the legal mumbo-jumbo:
Attorney Marc Toberoff, who keeps suing Warner Bros on behalf of creative rightsholders, warns that, in 2013, the Jerome Siegel heirs along with the estate of co-creator Joe Shuster will own the entire original copyright to Superman -- 'and neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to exploit any new 'Superman' works without a license from the Siegels and Shusters.' He's also pointed out that, if Warner Bros does not start production on a new 'Superman' sequel or reboot by 2011, the Siegels could sue to recover their damages on the grounds that the deal should have contained a clause in which the rights returned to the owners after a given time if no film was in development. The heirs of Siegel have already been awarded half the copyright for Superman. And in 2013 the heirs of co-creator Joe Shuster get the remaining half. After that, neither DC Comics nor Warner Bros will be able to use Superman without a financial agreement with the heirs.
Well that sucks for WB and DC. Sounds like someone should've gotten a fire lit under their ass a couple years ago. Alan Horn told a court hearing, "We had hopes to keep the character alive and to once again reinvent Superman. Our hope is to develop a Superman property and to try again. What hurt us is that the reviews and so on for the Superman movie did not get the kind of critical acclaim that Batman got, and we have other issues with Superman that concern us." The fans could say the same thing with the studio approach to Superman, which has largely ignored the comic books in favor of staying true to the campy, albeit somewhat respectful, original films with Christopher Reeves.
Here's the thing: Superman doesn't necessarily need to be darker or edgier, which many will assume that's what Nolan is going to do. He simply needs to be more sophisticated and have more substance. Superman struggles with more than Kryptonite and his love for Lois Lane. There are more limitations on his powers than the green space rock of his home planet, and he fights more villains than simply saving falling people or catching big debris. Superman needs a worthy adversary to fight. And if Lex Luthor's schemes are going to challenge Superman, then maybe we should move away from that real estate plan. Because no one wants to buy land on a planet made up of jagged Kryptonite, and no one wants to see Superman wasted like this.
And for those of you worried that this is really going to delay a third Batman film, Jonah Nolan and David S. Goyer are indeed working on the screenplay for the next installment like we previously heard. So things will still be on track for the Caped Crusader, and DC Comics should have one hell of an upcoming slate with an established Dark Knight returning soon, a very promising Green Lantern, and an all-new Superman in the works as we speak. Are you guys pumped to see a Christopher Nolan-infused Superman?