The Next Superman Movie Should Also Skip The Origin Story
Superhero origins can be difficult to adapt. For one thing, they’re often crucial parts of a character’s story – however, the most popular superheroes have had their origins told and retold so many times over the decades that audiences just want to hurry. and get to the good stuff already.
This is the case with Batman, whose last cinematic release – The Batman starring Robert Pattinson – seems to skip the origin story and jump straight to Bruce Wayne’s early life as a crime fighter. By now anyone who cares about Batman already knows the story of how Bruce Wayne lost his parents and became a superhero, just like everyone knows how Superman is an alien who was sent to Earth so that he was a baby to escape the destruction of his homeworld. As such, the next time Superman gets a film adaptation, it would be best if he didn’t dwell on his backstory.
Although Superman has been a pop culture icon since 1938, his film career was surprisingly short. Aside from a few obscure film series in the 1940s and 1950s, there have only been three depictions of Superman in modern film. First, of course, is Christopher Reeve, who appeared in four Superman films between 1978 and 1987. The original 1978 Superman became the archetypal iteration of the Man of Tomorrow origin story, covering everything from the destruction of Krypton to Clark Kent’s childhood in Smallville, from Superman’s arrival in Metropolis to the start of his feud with Lex Luthor. Superman then disappeared from the big screen until 2006 The Return of Superman. Although it featured Brandon Routh in the lead role, the film was intended to be a continuation of Superman 2, offering an alternate timeline for Christopher Reeve’s films. As such, Supermen Reeve and Routh are technically the same character, making a recap of his origin story unnecessary.
After 7 years of absence, Superman returned to the cinema again with Zack Snyder Steel man, starring Henry Cavill as Clark Kent. Essentially, Steel man is to Superman like batman begins is to Batman, depicting an expanded narrative of Clark’s journey to becoming Superman. It’s not until the very end of the film that the traditional status quo is established, with Clark becoming active as Superman while working as a reporter for the Daily Planet. However, the promise of that familiar status quo never really comes true – the next film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justicepresents a very austere vision of Superman who is forced to share the role of protagonist with Batman and ends up dying at the end of the film.
Justice League, both in its theatrical release and in the Snyder Cut, features very little of Superman, with him remaining dead for the majority of the film and only joining the Justice League for the final stage of the battle with Steppenwolf. And sadly, that seems to be the end of Henry Cavill’s career as Superman. He spends his first movie becoming Superman, dies in the next one, and is dead for most of the last one. As a result, Cavill never really gets the opportunity to just be Superman as we know him. Snyder spends his films either constructing the Superman mythos or subverting it, but never really exploring it.
Currently, very little is known about Superman’s next big-screen adventure, which has Ta-Nehesi Coates attached as screenwriter with JJ Abrams as producer. It was confirmed last year that the film would be set in its own continuity, with a black actor reprising the role of Clark Kent for the first time in movie history. No information about the film’s story has been released other than rumors that the film will be a period piece set in the 20th century. But while the exact nature of this next Superman the movie is a mystery for now, it could very well be the change of pace the character needs. The previous two Superman cinematic continuities took the time to cover Superman’s backstory before delving into his career as a hero. However, the next movie could easily jump right into Superman’s time as an active crime fighter, immediately establishing the status quo that fans know and love.
Throughout Superman’s cinematic history, only the surface of his comic book mythos has been scratched. Of all his many arch-villains, only Lex Luthor, General Zod, Doomsday, and Darkseid have ever made it onto the big screen – and technically Bloodsport as well, though he and Superman have yet to appear on screen together. The likes of Brainiac, Bizarro, Parasite, Metallo, Mongul, Lobo, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and more have yet to make their movie debuts, even though Batman and Spider-Man have had the majority of their iconic Rogues. featured on the film.
Skipping Superman’s well-rehearsed origin story and getting straight into the meat of his hero career, the next Superman the film would be free to explore new stories that no big-screen adaptation has told before. Superman’s backstory is certainly one of the most compelling and iconic origins in comic book history, so it’s understandable that the filmmakers would want to revisit it. But Superman’s story is very long, and it would be nice to focus on some of the later chapters for a change.
MORE: Superman takes on Black Adam in this awesome fan art
Nintendo is the next video game company to get into the acquisition game, buying SRD Co. Ltd., a studio it has worked closely with over the years.
About the Author