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What Kind Of Superman Movie Does Warners Want?

If rumors are to be believed, Warners and DC Entertainment have a shortlist of directors they’d like to see work on the reboot of Superman’s movie career. Presuming that the five names on the list are for real, do they offer hints about what kind of Superman we’ll be watching in a few years’ time?

If Deadline Hollywood is to be believed, the Christopher Nolan-produced, David Goyer-written Superman movie – title still unrevealed, but I’m betting it’ll be Superman [Something] – is likely to be directed by one of these five men: Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Jonathan Liebesman, Duncan Jones, or Zack Snyder. It’s an odd list, looking at it; Scott and Snyder are proven quantities with a track record for style-over-substance but also getting asses on seats (Sure, Watchmen may have flopped at the box office, but it’s allowed for multiple DVD releases and who’s to say that the problem audiences had with the movie wasn’t the subject matter?), while Jones, Reeves and Liebesman are more unproven – and, in Jones and, to a lesser extent, Reeves, there’s more of an indie feel to their output. Liebesman is more of a wild card – He’s getting a lot of heat for his upcoming Battle: Los Angeles sci-fi movie, and is lined up to direct the second Clash of The Titans movie as a result, so he’s clearly got no problem with genre work, but he’s also not had a hit in either critical or financial terms yet, either…

It’s worth noting that, of that shortlist, I think it’s safe to say that Liebesman and Scott are both ringers – Like I said, Liebesman is already committed to Clash 2, which I’m sure would conflict with any potential Superman shooting date, and Scott has all manner of projects that he’s already in various states of pre-production on, including his own superhero movie, Mark Millar’s Nemesis – Although the cynic in me would almost want him to end up with Superman, just to see how Mark would choose to spin it.

Of the three that that leaves, then, what are the shared characteristics that would put them together? Well, there’s an attention to visual spectacle – Snyder, for all his faults with narrative, makes films that look great (Have you seen that Sucker Punch trailer?), and Reeves’ Cloverfield was similarly as defined by its aesthetic almost as much as its content. Jones, perhaps, has less of a tendency towards this, but Moon was, in its own way, filled with lovely eye candy, direction-wise. The three also share an off-kilter sensibility; not so much that it overwhelms everything else – although, perhaps, in Jones’ case? – but there’s something more going on in each of their movies, for better or worse, than the average blockbuster. Each director has a specific voice that comes through in their work. This is the part that rings bells for me, especially when it comes to Nolan’s involvement. He has a similar tendency in his work – You can’t watch a Christopher Nolan film and mistake it for someone else’s – and it makes sense that that’s what he’d be looking for in a collaborator in his case (A similar case can be made for a focus on spectacle; again, look at Inception or The Dark Knight. Both movies just dazzle, visually).

I doubt very strongly that Superman will tonally mirror either of Nolan’s Batman movies, but in all terms of direction, I’d be surprised if it strays too much from what we’ve already seen. Whoever gets the directing gig for Superman, whether it’s one of these five or someone else entirely (I’m genuinely surprised that DC hasn’t gone after Iron Man director Jon Favreau… Maybe he’s too loyal to Marvel, or perhaps they’re waiting for a character who’d be a better fit. Wonder how quickly someone can start up a Wildcat movie?), will inevitably have to have a skill set that, in many ways, mirrors Nolan’s own, valuing strong visuals, an intelligence above that of the average blockbuster, and – and your mileage may vary when it comes to this last one – some interest in technical play within the medium. Hmm. Zack Snyder’s not got anything booked up for after Sucker Punch, does he…?



    Well as someone who found dark Knight ponderous and Boring! THATS Right BORING! I dont think NOLAN is all that graet anyway. Zack Sydar has no problem with narrative as I have of his films. Watchman director cut was a far supior film to then DARK KNIGHT and I think time and history will bare this out. OF ALL the directors metioned SYDER would be the best choice.

  • Joe

    Duncan Jones is the only director on that list I'd like to see a Superman movie from. Moon was fantastic. Snyder will probably be the fan favorite but so far I haven't seen Snyder tackle anything original, (Dawn of the Dead remake, and two almost exact, although abridged, comic translations) and I think this next Superman movie is going to need a lot of new ideas.

  • Mike-EL

    Hire people that have actually read a Superman comic. Restore Superman to the spirit of the action/adventure hero that he was created to be–protecting the oppressed,fighting for truth and justice.
    Cast a lead actor that that charisma and charm (like Chris Reeves), a director that understands the epic sweep of the Superman myth (like Richard Donner), and a use a script that transcends the superhero genre (like Jonathan & Chris Nolan's Dark Knight).

    Or, better yet, just adapt All-Star Superman!

  • pDUB

    as good as all-star superman is, making it into a movie would just mean another superman movie with lex luthor as the villian.


    AS someone who found the DARK KNIGHT BORING that right BORING! I never found CHRISTIPHOR NOLANS work all that compelling. BATMAN BEYOND notwhithstanding. Watchman DIRECTORS CUT. was Supeior film in everyway for insatance in the prison break scene with OWLMAN and SILK SPECTOR thats that way BATMAN should move and hit.ZACK SYDAR has no problems with narrative at all I HAVE SEE ALL OF HIS FILMS AND OWN THEM ALL. So for me SYDAR would be the BEST CHOICE. btw LOOKING FORWARD to SUCKER PUNCH!

  • batmangorilla

    Who cares what kind of Superman move Warner wants. Ask the fans and you will get a cool movie. Brain Singer never read a Superman comic until he was hired to do the movie.

  • batmangorilla

    Hey man, I just wrote the same thing as you did above before I read your comment. I never met a Mike I didn't like. But I agree with pDUB. No more Lex. Instead maybe something truly cool like Darkside fully invading Earth

  • GreggN

    Asking fans of the comics to dictate what a movie should be like is a fucking awful idea, because 99% of fans don't understand what works in the comics, let alone what works in an adaptation to another medium.

  • Raymonddiaz1153

    Robrock u suck how dare u say tht chris nolan has no impact on the batman,the dark knight was worth watching and i enjoyed it and besides to make a gud superman movie all they have to do is find the right director,villian,story and the right cast i want them to find a cast for superman tht looks like reeve or superman w.e lol but i want them to follow up the comic of superman and read it to bmake them understand and make a gud dark b honest the villian tht i wanted to see for the reboot is zod,or mongul if nbot y not put metallo

  • Redvector

    I hated both of Nolan's Batman films. They were boring overwrought crap. In fact I have hated every Nolan film I have ever seen.

    And to be brutally honest I don't think the viewing public cares to see another Superman movie. What are they going to do rehash the origin story again? Before greenlighting this movie they should wait to see if GL is a hit first.

  • comic relief

    I imagine there is a reason you feel this way about all of Nolan’s output. Of course Hollywood has already spoken, (after Nolan achieved the 2nd highest grossing movie in Hollywood history); they think Nolan is a God. I imagine unless you are holding out for the same title you probably won’t be changing your tune.

    After all you liked Watchmen more than “Batman Begins” or the “Dark Knight”; go figure.

  • comic relief

    Given what may be written in the script and what Nolan has said about the character I can’t imagine another Donner perspective rip off. In previous interviews Nolan discussed taking the Superman character back to his roots.

    That Superman (based on my memory) wasn’t yet the icon of “justice, truth, and the American way” that we were introduced to in the ’50’s. He was more of a prankster, trickster, and oddly (to our collective memories) rebellious. We tend to think of Marvel providing the anti-heroes, (yet what would become) DC actually produced the first. I believe if this character is comical it will not resemble what Christopher Reeve demonstrated.

    I really can’t wait to see the movie should it stay on the narrative trajectory Nolan suggested.

  • Flipflops

    Wow dude your so indie! See you at Starbucks later you twat.

  • GreenBastard

    I believe that Jones under the shepherding of Nolan could make this a truly amazing movie. I also feel it would get Jones more into the public eye which I personally believe is where he should be. Moon was amazing.

  • Immaculatewang

    I have no idea who Matt Reeves is, but the (admittedly usually ignored) superstitious part of me says to associate him with the franchise based on last name alone. It's been a good name for Superman in the past.

    Yes, I realize this is not a useful suggestion.

  • Klasdkmlak

    Snyder, adapting Birthright FTW

  • T_boariu8

    The director will take care of itself.

    All I got to say is:

    JON HAMM!!!!!

  • Shaun

    I don't think the Superman movie will be in the same vein as Nolan's Batman movies either… I think Nolan's smart enough to recognize that what works for Batman is not going to be what works best for Supes. I am intrigued to see what his ideas for the character are though. I wouldn't worry about “darkness.” I mean, I don't think Superman could get much darker than he was the dog-awful Superman Returns, what with Supes moping and stalking Lois the whole while. If Nolan & Co. can up with an intelligent story that brings back the fun that SR was seriously lacking, plus really ratchet things up as an epic, adventerous film worthy of the character (and give us some supervillains for once), then it should be great.

    Anyhow, given all the choices above I'd vote for Jones. I think there's more than a little Nolan in his work, and I think he's got the brains and skill to make a great Superman movie. Snyder's movies look good, sure, but “style over substance” is definitely his M.O. Watchmen, sadly, was a prime example of making a movie look really good but forgetting the substance that made the source material so good in the first place.

    Favreau is likely a Marvel loyalist, which is fine, though I think he might have a good Superman movie in him too. He'd be worth a look, but I'm intrigued at the idea of Duncan Jones working under the guiding hand of Chris Nolan. Then get Jon Hamm onboard and I'll be on happy little fanboy!

  • Tedly

    Doesn't matter which of these director is at the helm — it all falls to matching the tone of the film with the character properly. Nolan understood this with Batman and delivered. Once you get your head around that one point (make movie fit the character) the rest falls into place.

    This is the probably the reason WonderWoman hasn't been made yet; NOBODY can agree who she's supposed to be.

  • Santos8928

    Whoever ends up directing this next Superman movie they need to remember what the last movie lacked and that was not enough comic book action. I also thought Brandon Routh was a little too wimpy. Not sure if that was his own personae or if that is how he was directed to act. Either way he needs to be more kickass and not such a sensitive wuss. I also would like to see a real nemesis to fight not a bunch of regular dudes with guns. I am talking Mongul, Parasite, Doomsday or even Darkseid. What I wanted to see in the first movie was a Lex Luthor in his battlesuit. Now that would of been super cool. Maybe we can see a little of that in the next movie. Maybe a little cameo to lead up to a third flick if the second does well. I am all for that. I know every Superman comic book fans crave for that shite. I know I do.

  • gnort

    And probably why they should have Nolan “godfather” Wonder Woman too.

  • Mark

    Zack Snyder, all the way.

  • Ben

    For the record, whatever your opinion of Watchmen, it was NOT A FLOP. A “flop” is a film that makes less money than it cost to make. Watchmen made 55 million dollars over its budget (before dvd/bluray sales). That's not chump change. It may not have been super successful, but it was not a flop. Also, comparing it to other rated R superhero movies, it ranks above any of the Blade films and Kick-Ass. Give Snyder his due credit.

    That being said, I favor Snyder to any of these other directors.

  • MW

    I really hope it isn't Synder; I hate the heavy visual stylization he uses. Its just not my thing

  • Grant

    Duncan Jones is interesting. Moon was really good and it would be awesome if Superman could help bankroll a bigger movie. Would love to see what he could do an original movie on an Inception scale.

    Not sure about Matt Reeves. I liked Cloverfied but I'm not too excited about the Let the Right One In remake (though the cast is pretty solid).

  • Zagreus

    Hey Robrock… did you think the Dark Knight was boring? I couldn't quite tell…

  • Weston Konik

    I hope they do some Costume changes from the last one <.< too much to ask for the comic book look? bright red cape, big printed CLASSIC 'S' (not a new design that is small and plastic….) and a lowered neck line….. not up to his throat XD would love to see Braniac or Darkseid. or… perhaps Braniac and Metallo =O

  • demoncat_4

    of course the new superman film will mirror Nolans work with the batman franchise . for that is the reason warners has him on super man. to take what he did with batman and make superman good again. which is why the list of directors. though zack should have a chance since he did prove watchman could be done as a film. for Zack would be interesting on what he could do to the superman mythos.

  • Omey

    I don't think so, Nolans are very respectful to the characters and their mythos. Yet new times requires a new focus for the characters, he delivered in Batman Begins an extraordinary origin point for all the characters.

    Tomas and Martha's death, Bruce there watching in shock, feeling guilt due their death. Bruce looking for a symbol, the bat flying in the celling, that was classic.

    Maroni in a movie, for real what else could you ask?. What I can tell you is that Goyer's superman will focus more on Clark more than Superman, but making each appareance of Superman iconic… that I can Gurantee.

    Nolan is not directing the movie, we still need to see which way the director chosen by him (the producer), will take Superman to. There's a lot in stake with Superman, they are not going screw it.

    Is going to be better than Batman's films?, Well for sure better than batman forever, batman and robin and better action scene than superman returns.

  • lead_sharp

    Watchmen was like watching your dad dance and a kids party, utterly embarrassing. If I want to watch Superman move in slow motion whenever he uses super speed I'll watch Smallville, otherwise keep him away from films forever. Give me Duncan Jones with a Goyer script.

  • Fishlips

    Zack messed with Rorschach and in my mind that in unforgivable.

  • batmangorilla

    What was implied is that the person making the movie should have an idea of what makes the idea cool. Typically you need a fan or a group of fans to make the concept right. Bottom Line Superman Returns was terrible.

  • Shaun

    Whatever… A box office dud that didn't get all that great of reviews either, and wasn't even terribly well received by its built-in fan base, vs. a movie that had near-universal acclaim,, became one of the biggest hits ever, completely raised the bar for what comic book films can be, finding an audience well beyond the comic geek crowd, AND featured an Oscar-winning performance.

    Yeah, time's going to “bare” that one out alright.

  • Jetsorm

    Right there with you buddy! Let it be anyone but Snyder!

  • Mike Fikaris

    Superman is a visual directors dream, so Snyder can definitley shoot him in the way he deserves, Leonidas anyone?!? Superman Reeturns was far too soft, the whole kid thing plus the stalking of Lois was pretty bad. Everyone who is a Supes fan knows the origin already! Lex Luthor need to be as evil and witty as Nolans Joker was. Superman has to get pissed off, and I think Zach can show us what we all want to see.

  • Binker

    Please don't go against me if this topic did bring it up, but I feel there is another POV that needs to be discussed in terms of why these directors, and its not WB, its Nolan. While its not easy to discuss his thinking process (he saw something in Ledger that NONE of us thought for the Joker) but its not hard to speculate on what this man sees in these directors as possible choices for Superman.

    BTW, again I don't know if you guys said this already, but acording to AICN, there is a sixth not listed that he says is being seriously considered apart from the five above, and he feels he is most likely going to be the director. As for who “he” (the director) is; doesn't say, of course.

  • Ben

    Color me ignorant, but in what way did Snyder mess with Rorschach? Jackie Earl Haley was amazing, and most of the Rorschach scenes were lifted verbatim from the graphic novel. The only things that come to mind are him cleaving the one guy's head open instead of burning him alive and then some of the choreography of the final confrontation, but all the character beats and cool moments were left intact.

  • HinxLinx

    Dude, do try to improve your spelling (great not graet, superior not supior, than not then, mentioned not metioned, and Zack Snyder not Zack Sydar) before you embarrassingly declared the Dark Knight is boring… LOL… Kudos on spelled “ponderous” correctly though.

  • methfront

    On an unrelated note, I find it horrifying that they're making a sequel to that abominable Clash of the Titans remake…

  • Deanjsimons

    i would love to see an indie director take on the franchise.

    big directors like snydar seem to miss out on decent characterisation. while i like Watchmen and 300, they just felt like meatball action sets with immense CGI coupled with awkward dialogue and scenes that seemed to focus more on spectacle than any motion to the characters. Alot of indie movies i've seen seem to hold better with character.

    What i like about nolan is that his plots are fantastic and layered and the story is at the same time a character piece. Dark Knight, Memento and Inception cases in point.

    I'm curious to see how Jones would do if he was offered.

  • Dwschock

    an odd list–cant imagine anyone less suited to it than Duncan Jones–and who is to say Watchmen failed because of the content–well, I will–any seconds?? (the trailer was awesome, the movie not so much!!–Zach Snyder–no)

    The idea template for a Superman revival is not the old films with Reeve, but the 1990's cartoon network series by Paul Dini—

    Supes (the man of tomorrow) plays best as a future science/technology genre with Metropolis as the teeming city of future vision, darkened only by Luthor at the helm of a massive military industrial corporate regime, and therefore a genuine threat on a global scale—and brainiac the ultimate expression of the future gone awry, with Superman fighting the fight of our highest hopes (and living in a world of great beauty and optimistism —-)–Jon Hamm is already playing Superman in the brave new shiny world of Mad Men's 1960's New York—–let's make it official

  • Exandakane

    That bloke, you know, that bloke. Get him to direct. What's his name? Oh yeah: Bryan Singer.

    As much as waiting for Duncan Jones next film with interest, Bryan Singer is a superior director to all on that list. Seems a few steps backwards for the Superman franchise.

  • Cameronbrown76

    After Moon, I'd watch anything directed by Duncan Jones. That the studio didn't back the film for Oscar consideration is criminal. With Nolan as producer, I'm convinced this would be the best Superman film ever made.

  • GreggN

    …and it was directed by a Superman fan. What's your point?

  • Michael Norton

    Christopher Nolan is the most overrated director in film. Every movie I've seen of his is boring. He made a movie with Al Pacino and Robin Williams boring. How does someone do that? He has already said “We're going to do with Superman what we did with Batman because it's kind of all we know how to do” in interviews so he's going dark. WB seems to believe (and frankly internet fandom proves this out to some degree) that in order for a superhero movie to be successful it must be dark. The over-reaction to “Superman Returns” (which I feel is far superior to Dark Knight) as “boring” (because character counts for nothing, it's fights we all want right?!) has convinced them this must be a loud bombastic dark ride. Most likely Superman will spend the entire movie mourning the loss of Krypton and end up killing someone.

    If WB was really smart they'd double down on Singer and let him make the sequel he had planned instead of doing what they're doing. Keep in mind this is the company who's head said that because of the horrendous box office of Halle Berry as “Catwoman” they would no longer make superhero movies with female leads.

  • Corbin the Face

    Watchmen was great. As a fan of the book, Watchmen did fine. I don't understand all this nerd rage towards the movie (and I say this as a total nerd who often suffers from nerd rage.)

    And it improved the ending. I know that's heresy, but the book ending is unfilmable and totally lacking in narrative cohesion. The movie version has to be cut and dry, which it was. Squid Ex Machine, removed.

    Zack Snyder, please. Maybe Superman will actually get to punch someone in this movie, instead of routing real-estate scams and Ponzi schemes.

  • Mcbar0321


  • Corbin The Face

    The List of Things That Should Not Be in the Next Superman Movie:

    Lex Luthor, Kryptonite, Natural Disasters, White Collar Crime, Supes Powers Being Removed, and a Wacky Villain Sidekick.

    Alright Hollywood, I've done all the hard work. You now have the keys to a hot rod.

  • Madcattv2

    I agree.

    Brainiac would be an obvious choice and Lex could be mentioned and made refrence to…but that's it. And it diesn't need to be a complete “re-do”…everyone knows Superman, his origin and his supporting cast! Just jump into the storyline and get the ball rolling.

    And as far as a director…Zack Snyder should be nowhere near this script! No offense to the guy being that I thought his other films were OK, but he ain't the guy for this movie!

    Not sure who is, but I know who ain't…If I had to throw a name out there, I'd say Brad Bird (of “The Iron Giant” and “The Incredibles.”)

    I like the concept of Jon Hamm as Clark Kent/Superman, but I wonder if he'd be considered too old?

  • Mou101

    I liked Bryan Singer's sequel to “Superman: The Movie” and “Superman II.” As a sequel to those two films, it worked; as a new Superman film, not so much. I wish he'd chosen to relaunch, rather than revisit.

    That said, I'd like to see the new Superman film avoid retelling the origin. That could likely be done over the main title sequence—as could some of Superman's successes, perhaps via Daily Planet headlines, like “Caped Wonder Stuns City,” “Man of Steel Brings Luthor to Justice”, etc. Once the main title sequence is done and the audience is reminded of what they already know, I think you go immediately Brainiac's spaceship or Darkseid's throne room.

    I've not cared much for Zack Snyder's films thus far; I've yet to be wowed by his work. I wouldn't mind seeing Tony Scott get the job. I've enjoyed his films for some time now. It would also be cool to see Jon Favreau or Len Wiseman get the job.

    I'm all for Jon Hamm as Superman/Clark Kent, but I wouldn't mind seeing Jamie Bamber get the job.

  • JaySin420

    At this point I don't even care what kind of movie it is, JUST MAKE IT ALREADY!

  • No

    *…having spelled

  • Omegasaga

    SO the problem a NEW superman film faces is:

    If it tries to honor the Christopher Reeves/Brandon Routh version- then you have the detached younger audience & people in general who were put off by the last film.

    If you try a TOTALY NEW APPROACH- then you alienate the SMALLVILLE generation of fans and just confuse the general populace with a 3rd incarnation of SUPERMAN in just the last 10 yrs.

    SOLUTION A: continue with BRANDON ROUTH and hope you have an action packed AWSOME story that doesnt rely on anything thats happend before but just movies forward.

    SOLUTION B: graduate all of SMALLVILLES mythology and actors to the big screen like Star Trek THE NEXT & origninal GENERATION did.

    SOLUTION C: confuse us with another origin sotry with new actors :(

  • Omegasaga

    WATCHMEN is a damn good movie on its own. The problem is the way it was marketed as this “DARK JLA” superhero team up adventure.

    The avergage ( non comic historian) movie goer was expecting.

    WATCHMEN is fantastic and insanely faithfull as an adaption.

  • Identitycrisis

    did you find dark knight boring? i'm confused…
    are you someone who found the dark knight boring? i just want to clarify.

    i do not believe that this has been stated clearly or enough times…

    are you the type of person who found the dark knight boring?

  • Kbsebastian

    $100 million box office for a 2+ hour movie is a flop?

  • Humurabrian

    If there is anyone who can turn the superman movies into a doomsday ass kicking fiesta, its Nolan. All the previous superman movies sucked. I just hope Lex Luthor isnt da main villian this time….at the very least he should jst make an appearance….thats jst me