It seems like the fate of a standalone Superman film is turning on a dime.
First, rumours emerged that veteran Mad Max director George Miller would be taking directorial duties away from a busy Zack Snyder for a sequel to his divisive super-reboot.
Then, more rumours emerged that the proposed Superman film was on “permanent hold”, because the execs at Warner Bros. were so enamoured of Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman that they want more of Batfleck and less of everything else.
This is all just conjecture at this point but as delighted as I am that Affleck is the smash hit that we all hoped he would be and as excited as I am for a Batman standalone film (or three) set in the DCEU, it’s the world’s first superhero that should be at its epicentre.
Batman works wonderfully in small doses in team scenarios, but in both crime-fighting and narrative terms, he doesn’t play that well with others.
Man of Steel introduced us to a fledgling Superman that was flawed and rough around the edges, and while it irked some that he didn’t emerge straight away as the infallible paragon played so beautifully by Christopher Reeve, I for one am very interested in seeing this Kal El become the Superman we all know and love.
The flame of hope for a Superman sequel is far from guttered as the man himself Henry Cavill has assured us that there’s “plenty of time” for that sort of thing.
So, with fingers very much crossed, here’s what I’m hoping for.
10- City of Tomorrow
We may get a glimpse of this in BatmanVSuperman but I’m hoping that we see Metropolis get a facelift in order to become the glistening glass and chrome utopia that we know from the comics in the wake of the destruction of MoS. I’m done seeing redux versions of Chicago and Pitsburgh. I want to see a larger than life, expressionistic rendering of a modern city in the production design.
Moreover, would it kill them to put some gargoyles in this version of Gotham while they’re at it?
9- Mild Mannered Reporter for a Great Metropolitan Newspaper
While the studio and film-makers will have big action set pieces in mind for their more established Superman, I hope that they don’t come at the expense of investigative reporter Clark Kent.
Even as an adolescent I always found the journalistic sleuthing of the Lois & Clark TV show a charming device to weave a veil of intrigue around the plot , the characters and the inevitable reveal of the antagonist. I want to see the film establish Clark as a journalist worthy of sharing a by-line with the fabled Lois Lane.
As one of the strongest elements of Man of Steel, I have no performance notes for Amy Adams whatsoever aside from “more, please!”.
If they can find time to explain how Clark scored a gig at the world’s biggest paper with no training, experience or qualifications, I’d appreciate that too!
8- Supporting Cast
A hugely underrated aspect of Man of Steel is the strength of its supporting cast. I want to see Lawrence Fishburne continue to bring his dry wit to the abrasive but supremely ethical Perry White. I’d also like to see the film address the fact that Perry is way too good a reporter not to have found out Clark’s secret. Seeing them share a similar understanding to that of Bruce and Lucius in the Dark Knight trilogy would give me happy-shivers!
The wonderfully warm and compassionate yet pragmatic presence of Diane Lane as that quintessential mother, Martha Kent is another strength that it’d be foolish not to reprise. While we’re at it I’d love to see Kevin Costner return to give some sagely advice to a slightly older Dylan Sprayberry or Cooper Timberline as young Clark in some flashback sequences.
Please, please, please bring Dr Emil Hamilton and Colonel Hardy back from the Phantom Zone! We lost some tremendous supporting characters to the void and while it would play to the notion of “in our films shit has consequences!” that seems to be a big part of the DCEU it’d be a shame if we never saw them again.
Perhaps Hardy and Faora will have a happy announcement for us upon their return. I think they had a certain chemistry!
7- Krypto… No seriously!
Obviously I’m not expecting a caped great dane in a rocket but the animal lover in me would love to see this plucky little guy get some sort of cinematic treatment. Man of Steel had some gorgeous creature design in its Krypton sequences. If they found a way to work a vaguely canine looking quadruped into Clark’s supporting cast, I’d be a happy bunny!
6- “Way To Go, Superman”
I don’t expect everyone to be convinced but if by the end of BvS, Superman’s biggest critic (or at least his biggest critic with hair and a black cape) can admit that Superman is a force for good I’d like to see the public at large embrace Big Blue a little more.
In Mark Waid’s beautiful and essential series “Superman: Birthright” Supes tells Luthor that he’s willing to convince the populace that he’s on the level “one at a time, if I have to”. I’d love to see that same compassion and conviction here!
5- “This looks like a job for… my tailor!”
It’s a silly conceit that Clark would wear his Superman duds under his business suit (how would he explain away the bulge of his cape?- history’s worst recorded case of haemorrhoids?). Nonetheless, the image of Superman’s trademark shirt rips encapsulate everything that’s wonderful about superhero fiction- the notion that beneath the everyday façade we present to the world lies something special, powerful and beautiful.
It’s a beautiful, cool and iconic image and one that we shouldn’t be deprived of in the name of realism.
4- More of Jor
Surely, the most jaded Man of Steel critic couldn’t fault the emotional integrity of Russell Crowe as Krypton’s most ass-kicking scientist?
Whatever narrative gymnastics it takes, I’d love to see Crowe take on the mantel once again.
In fact, remind you to tell you my pitch for a Godfather Part II-esque Superman sequel which weaves two stories of both Jor El and Kal El, both encountering Brainiac some time!
3- Return to Krypton
I can’t overstate how deeply in love I am with the production design of Krypton in MoS.
The ethereal, crystalline design of Superman The Movie was great and all but this is a Krypton that has been in decline for centuries. This is a Krypton that has rested on its laurels and refused to embrace change. This is a Krypton that combines a little bit of ancient Greek and ancient Roman decadence with a Gieger-esque biomechanoid flavour in its design aesthetic.
It’s a visually captivating and cine-literate take on Superman’s home world that I’d be sad to see constrained to just the one film.
Whatever narrative constructions are used to get us there (stories detailed in Kryptonian archives that somehow survived the blast?) I’d love to return to this doomed planet.
Why not bring back Michael Shannon for another turn as Zod? It would enrich the mythos so much if we could see he and Crowe’s Jor El interacting as friends and allies. Real Obi Wan and Anakin territory!
2- Rogue Nation
While there’s little point denying that Batman has the best and most psychologically compelling rogues gallery in the DC Universe, there are some super-baddies in Metropolis that only the big guy can keep in check.
The trouble is, we tend to keep getting Lex and Zod over and over again.
It’s time to open up the floor to some of Superman’s lesser known villains.
Snyder & co have been quite vocal about their reticence to make another alien invasion movie so it’s safe to assume Brainiac’s out. Parasite has some interesting visual opportunities in his power set and character design.
Metallo’s name has been bandied about a bit, and I think the right actor could get us to empathise with the tragedy of a man trapped in a robot body even as we boo and hiss at John Corben’s arrogance. Plus, where there’s Corben, Sam Lane can’t be far behind and seeing Lois’ strained relationship with her Super-phobic father would give Amy Adams some wonderful opportunities to shine.
The Eradicator, Toyman, Mongul… All would make for some intriguing antagonists for Superman to test his skills against, and all could translate wonderfully onto the screen.
I’m more than happy to retain Jesse Eisenberg’s Luthor as the master puppeteer but please don’t let him be the sole antagonist.
In the iconic scene where Clark finds the scout ship, and is introduced to the holographic ghost of Jor Elin MoS one of the ship’s (presumably) cryo-chambers is conspicuously open and vacant.
This has led to rampant fan speculation that when Clark activated the scout ship, it awakened young Kara Zor-El from centuries of hypersleep. Maybe she’s still out there; wandering, dazed and confused through Alaska.
Melissa Benoist is looking ready to conquer the small screen in the CBS’ upcoming Supergirl TV series, and we’ve already seen that parallel versions of the same character can co-exist with both Grant Gustin and Ezra Miller playing The Flash on TV and in film respectively.
While we have seen a Supergirl grace the big screen before we have yet to see the dynamic between youthful Kara who has spent most of her life on Krypton and Clark who has spent nearly all his life on Earth. The familial love coupled with the friction of their very different upbringings as well as how they both respond to the emergence of their powers makes for some dramatically and visually rich territory indeed!
Speaking of visually rich, I would LOVE to see Kara’s costume translated into the costume aesthetic already established in this version of Krypton.
In terms of casting… This fan manip of the always-on-form Chloe Grace Moretz in the role got me thinking…
Do you share my fervour in desperately wanting to see Superman return to the big screen in another solo outing?
Talk nerdy to me, folks!