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What Don’t We Know About Superman’s Movie Return?

So, now we know that Zack Snyder will be directing the new Superman movie, we know that David Goyer has written the script, and we know that General Zod is heavily rumored to be the villain. So why does it still feel as if we need to know more?

It’s odd to feel as if there’s a lot about the Superman reboot that’s being kept secret; in addition to everything listed above, there’s also a plot logline floating around – Clark Kent travels the world as a journalist, deciding whether or not to become Superman – that many have pegged to mean that the movie will reflect Mark Waid’s wonderful, overlooked Superman: Birthright comic in some way, even if it sounds more like Smallville: The International Edition to me. But it does; for whatever reason, the Superman movie still feels like something we’re being kept from, in some way… I don’t know if it’s that we’re so used to knowing everything about movies in advance from spoilers, teaser trailers and casting announcements, or that Superman in particular inspires such trepidation and anxiety out of fear that it’ll be done “wrong” (See: Superman IV: The Quest For Peace or, for some, Superman Returns, although I’m one of the few who likes that movie… Not to mention any of the unmade Superman movies that were developed in between the two).

But short of everyone being able to read Goyer’s script – already being described as “a mess”, of course – or having some Kryptonian supercomputer that shows them the future, what else is there to know about the movie? There hasn’t been any casting done, as far as anyone knows, nor has Snyder even started work on the movie (and he isn’t expected to until his Sucker Punch is completely finished), so… don’t we actually already know everything that there is to know already? It’s almost not even worth speculating about, because right now, there’s not anything to really speculate on that isn’t… well, completely speculative. For all we know, Snyder is going to CGI motioncap all of the characters on performances from William Shatner and Betty White (Now, there‘s a rumor I want to see picked up on Ain’t It Cool).

I mean: Yes, I’m excited and nervous about how the movie is going to turn out, as well. I love Superman as a character, and I want to be able to love his movies, as well. Snyder makes me nervous as the choice of director based on his previous movies, but, so what? Maybe this is the one where it’ll all come together for me; I won’t even be able to guess how true that’ll end up being until we know more about the movie, though, and right now, there just isn’t any more to know. So, maybe it’s time to stop thinking about the thing until someone’s willing to give us some more facts – or, at least, well-sourced rumors – because, otherwise? We’ll be sick of the movie before the movie’s even been made.

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Comments

  • Lenny

    I love Mark Waid, but Birthright is awful.

  • stealthwise

    Is “awful” the new kid slang for “excellent”? Because if that's the case, then I would agree. Otherwise, no, Birthright was great stuff.

  • Prometheus

    No, Lenny was correct the first time. There's a reason no one remembers BIRTHRIGHT. Because it sucked. Story, End of.

  • gnort

    So basically this article is speculation on the speculation? I'll await CONFIRMATION! ;D

  • Ryanweston1974

    The movie is over two years away from being released. There's no reason to expect we should know more about it at this stage. Hell, we don't know any more about the next Batman film yet, beyond rumors, and that's coming out about six months before Snyder's Superman.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    The idea of “Clark Kent (as) a journalist traveling the world trying to decide if he should, in fact, even become Superman” is from Man of Steel #1.

    After Pa Kent revealed the truth of his alien origin to Clark, Clark bid farewell to Lana Lang and then set out to travel around the world for a number of years before he settled in Metropolis and revealed his existence to the world when he rescued the Constitution.

    Aspects of this were used in the pilot for Lois & Clark, where Clark handed Perry a series of articles that he wrote while working abroad.

    The idea of Clark traveling around the world was also the basis for Superman: The Odyssey, a one-shot prestige format graphic novel by Dixon and Nolan published about a DECADE before Birthright.

    Birthright is nothing more and nothing less than a blenderized mixing of elements from Superman comics, TV shows, and movies, and because Waid didn't bother to credit any of his sources people like you tend to believe that he came up with the ideas in the story when he, in fact, did not.

    Either World of Metropolis #3 or World of Metropolis #4, whichever it is that focuses on Clark Kent, makes further references to his journey around the world before he settled in Metropolis.

    What you see in BR is what Waid took from other sources.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    The idea of “Clark Kent (as) a journalist traveling the world trying to decide if he should, in fact, even become Superman” is from Man of Steel #1.

    After Pa Kent revealed the truth of his alien origin to Clark, Clark bid farewell to Lana Lang and then set out to travel around the world for a number of years before he settled in Metropolis and revealed his existence to the world when he rescued the Constitution.

    Aspects of this were used in the pilot for Lois & Clark, where Clark handed Perry a series of articles that he wrote while working abroad.

    The idea of Clark traveling around the world was also the basis for Superman: The Odyssey, a one-shot prestige format graphic novel by Dixon and Nolan published about a DECADE before Birthright.

    Birthright is nothing more and nothing less than a blenderized mixing of elements from Superman comics, TV shows, and movies, and because Waid didn't bother to credit any of his sources people like you tend to believe that he came up with the ideas in the story when he, in fact, did not.

    Either World of Metropolis #3 or World of Metropolis #4, whichever it is that focuses on Clark Kent, makes further references to his journey around the world before he settled in Metropolis.

    What you see in BR is what Waid took from other sources.

  • hgd

    Yeah, “Birthright” was embarrassingly BORING.

    As to the Movie: What is it about Hollywood executives that they continually hire devastatingly UNTALENTED WRITERS like Goyer?? What is so difficult about the concept of hiring someone like Grant Morrison to adapt All Star Superman to Movies?? Is it Advanced Calculus difficulty level for these morons to grasp such an idea.

    Now before anyone comments that Warner Bros is already “adapting” All Star Superman for animation: you err greatly. The word isn't “adapt”, it's “butcher”, it's “defile”. From all the preview material that's out there: Clearly, the people in charge thought that Grant Morrison's superman work is too cerebral for general (albeit PG-13) audiences that they actually decided to dumb the plot down. FUCKING OUTRAGE.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    Please delete the double post.

  • urbaneturtle

    We don't know ANYTHING. Why is this article even up?

  • Brian

    Call me old-fashioned, but I'd like to learn more about the movie by actually watching the movie.

  • Brianri

    All-Star Superman. Follow the panels as a storyboard, as R.R. dos for Sin City, and you will have the greatest comic film evar.

  • Shawn
  • Shawn

    dido, I enjoyed Secret Origin way better

  • Ronan

    I think they should look to “Superman for All Seasons” as a great storyline for next flick.

  • lead_sharp

    The reason is WB are throwing out titbits to the core audience to swallow. If it stays down hurrah! If it returns (ha ha) it won't be in the movie. Of course anything swallowed could still turn into shit.

  • Mou101

    Ronan, I completely agree: I've long thought Superman for All Seasons to be one of the best Superman stories ever told, and it would provide some excellent source material for a film about the Man of Steel.

    No matter what, the new Superman film should retell the origin over the opening title sequence and hit the ground running after it says, “Directed by Zack Snyder.”

  • Barry Allen

    GMO gave them the go ahead and signed off on many of the ideas. It was stated on the preview of the movie he actually liked many of them alot. So call it what u like buddy but I think it will be the best animation yet.

  • Tom Strong

    If the forums are an indicator, many remember Birthright, myself included. Birthright got the shaft because DC wanted to make Superman closer to the movies, and Geoff Johns gave the inferior Secret Origin.

    I loved Birthright. It gave us a Superman, who's a young idealist leader that supports the little guy.

  • Tom Strong

    That's how we got Smallville though.

  • http://khiaao.blogspot.com Khiaao

    Marvel has the market on movies now

  • DCDemoncat

    Who is Clark Kent? Is pa Kent in this? When is this moving coming out? Will it be filmed in 3-D? Will Barrack Obama approve of this flick. This and more in the next episode of

  • shoelace

    not quite

  • papasanchez

    I'm just gonna throw this out there, so here goes….(inhale deep breathe, form funnel over mouth with hands) WE DON'T KNOW SHIT ABOUT THIS MOVIE!

    Let's just wait and see, eh?

  • Qwerty

    Why do they need to 'reinvent' or give us a 'new take' or a 'fresh take' or whatever it is they claim to do.

    When is it that they're gonna give us a film based on what we want to see.

    I wanna see Superman flying around and punching stuff.

    No real state plots, bastard kids, human enemies, etc.

    Superman fighting someone that poses a threat.

    Clark Kent traveling the world and finding out who he is is a great story for comics where you have the time to explore such a thing. On a film you have to pick and choose, and if you were to explore such a thing you need to sacrifice other stuff.

    No more, just give us a real Superman film where he acts like Superman.

  • Kungfuhustler84

    Utterly pointless article. Telling internet nerds to stop speculating is like telling the waves to quit coming back to the shore. It's just gonna keep happening.

  • Madcattv2

    This is a “wait and see” thing…too early to speculate.

    I'm just somewhat thankful that Superman is getting another chance to get it right and my fingers are crossed.

  • Todoroff

    What don't we know about the next Superman movie? How about how much its gonna suck. Its a shame how much they screwed up this franchise. I don't want to see Clark Kent wandering the Earth deciding whether he's going to put on the cape or not….didn't we see this already in Smallville? How can they screw this up????

    Ditch Luthor. Ditch Zod. Been there. Done that. Get Brainiac invading Metropolis. hell, the Earth! Think War of the Worlds or Independece Day, with Earth at its knees and only the Man of Steel able to fight them off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/strivearth Zen Strive

    And so the curse of Superman continues. Why don't WB just bite the bullet and make Smallville:The movie instead?

  • Rob Lowe

    I want William Shatner to be Perry White. What does anyone think about that idea?

  • Phlegmbot

    That's freakin' awesome!

  • Y Lu

    The reason people think of Birthright instead of Man of Steel #1 or World of Metropolis #3 or #4 is for a very simple reason: It was a lot better than those works.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    No, it wasn't.

    BR is nothing more than a footnote in the history of Superman comics, while MoS and the related mini series served as inspiration for multiple adaptations of the concept in other media.

  • Mike

    That's just crazy talk, as this would completely remove the purpose of the internet and fan forums such as this. And we just can't have that.

  • Joey

    I hope not on this movie script. We don't need no more Zod or origin story. Get to the real superman in comics. Why they attend to pick crappy comics to make a movie based on is stupid. Why not pick brainiac, Darkseid, Metallo or Doomsday. Is it too much to ask for Superman to show his powers in actions. What the hell is wrong with them? All original Superman movies stink. We need comic driven movie but not Brithright.

  • Mon-El

    Oh no! If Superman Returns was a bad remake of Superman:The Movie, and Zack Snyder's movie has Zod like in Superman II, then will the next Superman film be forced to remake Superman 3, with Dave Chappelle in the Richard Pryor roll? Noooooooo!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    A show that has been on the air for a decade and shown far more consistancy in the storytelling than the comics have done in the same time frame.

    The horror!!

  • Yankeegelboy

    if there gunna make a superman movie it should be a continuation of smallville at this point i cant see anyone other then tom welling being the next to dawn the red and blue suit… i would be so upset if there just a superman reboot. smallville has a great foundation for a superman movie!!!!!

  • MR.MXYZTPLK

    Well instead of all this damn hand wringing and angst over what story to tell,who to write it and who's going to play who –DC needs to get its crap together and tell warner brothers to put up or shut up and then go into production of the best thing that could ever be put on film—-KINGDOM COME!!!! JUST DO IT DC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Michael

    I loved Birthright. I loved Superman Returns. I hated Batman Begins and Dark Knight. But fanboys have complained and whined that SR was “boring” because it didn't have a fight (nevermind that Batman Begins was the single most boring superhero movie of all time and had fights in it) and just can't wait for the dark Superman. Well I'm sure they'll get a Superman who kills and wears black and they'll be happy. As I've said before, Snyder is not who bothers me. It's Nolan that worries me. The man is even quoted as saying “We''ll do with Superman what we did with Batman. It's kind of all we know how to do.” It might turn out great but until I see it I'm not holding my breath.

  • Octoberist

    You loved Superman Returns but hated Nolan's Batman films? You must be from Bizarro World! :)

  • Humurabrian

    lets just wait for the movie……how about that folks?

  • Cmkporter1

    I also have always loved Superman as a character and being an optimist by nature still believe with the proper guidance there is still time to produce a good movie. Perhaps it could be done by combining elements from the Golden and Silver Ages, movies, Birthright, etc. My kids & grandkids would certainly recognize the character. However, I would love to see the return of the classic costume worn by Christopher Reeve rather than the nouveau one worn by Brandon Routh. the raised “S” and burgundy cape and boots are part of the so called “aesthetic” that partially damaged my enjoyment of Superman Returns. Hollywood should remember the little (& great) things that made the character great in the first place.

  • Y Lu

    Birthright, which DC didn't fully back and which has only been around since 2003, hasn't affected as many adaptations as Man of Steel, a series that's been around since '86 and had DC's full support? Well, yeah.

    Nevertheless, when people hear about Clark Kent traveling the world, they think of Birthright before the series that had an eighteen year headstart to make an impact. Because Birthright explored the concept with more depth.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    Man of Steel was published in 1987, and within a YEAR of publication CBS aired an animated series that was heavily influenced by the reboot.

    Lex was no longer a mad scientist, he was a Metropolis mogul.

    Ma and Pa Kent were alive in the then-present.

    The reason people think of BR when they hear about Clark traveling the world is because Waid plagerized the idea from comics like MoS, World of Metropolis, and The Odyssey and did NOT cite his sources, making people think that he came up with them himself, when he, in fact, did NOT.

    Superboy was no more.

    Clark tried out for the football team (and ultimately decided to stay in as an assistant coach instead of a player, a minor change from MoS).

    You should try to get your facts straight before you speak.

    BR didn't explore anything in more depth, it did the opposite. Prior to its publication, Waid claimed that the number of issues would allow him to explore each and every character in depth, and yet he didn't.

    Lana, for instance, was part of the story for an entire PANEL and then we never heard from here again.

    Ma and Pa were in it in a couple of issues and that was it for them.

    Jor-El and Lara as well.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    Urgh, I'd love an edit function.

    This

    “The reason people think of BR when they hear about Clark traveling the world is because Waid plagerized the idea from comics like MoS, World of Metropolis, and The Odyssey and did NOT cite his sources, making people think that he came up with them himself, when he, in fact, did NOT.”

    Should be at the end, not where it appears right now.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    Another fact you may want to check is the reason why Byrne quit working on the Superman comics, which is that (as I've heard it) he and DC had a disagreement over his version of Superman in that DC kept licensing the Pre reboot version when he wanted them to license his version.

    While WB has shown support for Byrne's and Wolfman's reboot since publication (starting with the CBS toon and continued on with Lois & Clark, Superman TAS, Justice League/Unlimited, Smallville, and aspects of Superman Returns), if the above is true it would seem that he didn't have DC's full support even back then.

  • Y Lu

    We're talking the 1988 Superman cartoon whose main story editor was Marv Wolfman, Byrne's number two on the post-Crisis relaunch? Little wonder it incorporated elements of post-Crisis Superman, then. I imagine if Mark Waid had been in charge of a Superman cartoon like Wolfman was, we'd have seen see some Birthright elements crop up.

    Also, keep in mind that there hasn't been a new Superman TV show, whether live action or animated, since Birthright's release. There hasn't been much opportunity to incorporate OR reject Birthright's influence in other media.

    Waid “plagiarized”? I suppose in the same way Byrne plagiarized Lana Lang, seeing as he never credits the character to Bill Finger and John Sikela. Or the way he plagiarized Lexcorp, seeing as how he never credits Mark Gruenwald (who gave Byrne the name) or Elliot S! Maggin. Was there a credit to Bernstein or Plastino in post-Crisis Metallo's debut? (Not a rhetorical question.) If not, there's another instance of plagiarism.

    Most of us don't consider things like that plagiarism though, whether they're done by Waid or Byrne. It's taken as a given that a creator working on a revamp is going to take elements from previous versions of the character.

    Some other elements in Birthright: Lex Luthor the media mogul, no Superboy, Pa and Ma Kent not dying. Pretty sure Waid didn't “cite his sources” for those either, yet they don't get attributed to BR instead of MoS the way Clark Kent wandering the world does. It's not the lack of citation that makes people credit Clark wandering the world to BR. It's that Byrne and co. failed to make their version of that element memorable, whereas Waid did.

  • Y Lu

    Also, I'm not sure what Byrne meant by licensing the pre-Crisis version of the character. Post-Crisis, pre-Crisis, the two look basically the same. How are you supposed to determine whether its pre- or post-Crisis Superman appearing on a kid's backpack?

    I take your point that it wasn't *full* support, though.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    http://www.supermansupersite.com/rubyspears.html

    “Although his work in comics made him a Superman expert, Wolfman was hired based upon his prior experience in animation doing a Superman parody for the Garbage Pail Kids series. ”

    IMDB credits Wolfman as story editor for one episode, and as writer of three episodes.

    Smallville has been on the air for years since BR's publication and it has not only adapted aspects of Superman's pre BR continuity, but Silver Age and Bronze Age continuity as well.

    An upcoming episode will incorporate the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, a character whose appearance followed BR's publication.

    I will give you this much, though it sucks to admit it. There was an episode of Smallville that aired post Birthright before we saw the Fortress of Solitude that gave us a glimpse of Jor-El and Lara placing baby Kal-El the rocket in which we only saw their hands, which were adorned with jewelry that that seemed to come out of BR given that no other version of the characters ever wore jewelry before. I belive we may also have seen their sleeves, but I don't recall.

    Having said that, Jor-El's subsequent appearance on the show as played by Julian Sand dismissed the jewelry and returned to the version from the Donner movie.

    MAYBE if BR had been more successful, then WB would have continued to employ aspects from it, but because it was an absolute failure they went in another direction.

    You seem to be confusing plarigizing plot with using characters.

    The use of characters isn't plagirism, it is the use of plot that is plagirism.

    When Byrne reused the plot of Bizarro's origin in MoS he made sure to credit Otto Binder. I believe – but may have to recheck – that he did the same thing when he reused the plot of Lori Lemaris' origin.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    Who knows.

    Can you talk a little about why you left Superman and the circumstances under which that happened?

    JB: DC hired me to revamp Superman, and then immediately chickened out. They backed off at the first whiff of fan disapproval, which came months before anyone had actually seen the work. During the whole two years I was on the project, although nothing happened that was not approved by DC editorial, there was no conscious support. They even continued to license the “previous” Superman. At one point, Dick Giordano said “You have to realize there are now two Supermen — the one you do and the one we license.” Seemed counter-productive, to say the least, since far more people saw the licensed material. After two years of this nonsense, I was just worn down. The fun was gone. (from http://www.comicbookresources.com/features/byrne/)

    http://www.byrnerobotics.com/FAQ/listing.asp?ID=3&T1=Questions+about+Aborted+Storylines

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    http://smallville.wikia.com/wiki/Jor-El_%28Kryptonian%29

    Scroll all the way down to the section labeled “Later Years” and you'll see an image of Jor-El and Lara's placing Kal-El on the ship. The color of their sleeves seems to be in line with Birthright, but following that publication's failure the producers clearly went in a different direction.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    I'll say this:

    Warner Brothers already once before adapted one aspects of Birthright from the comics to live-action (i.e. the look of Jor-El and Lara's clothing as seen in an episode of Smallville), but soon thereafter they did a 180 and went back to the time-tested aesthetics from the Donner movie.

    Given that they already shown that they don't care about BR that much to support it in other media, like the TV show, how likely are the odds that they would use any of it for the upcoming movie?

    In Birthright Kryptonians look like giant action figures. Can anyone seriously see Nolan being involved with an adaptation of Superman that has such simplistic and outdated aesthetics? Same goes for Secret Origin, in which Kryptonian attire looks like cheap superhero costumes.

  • admiralmattbar

    I liked Superman Returns too. What's with all the haters?

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    I liked Returns as well. I specially liked the scene with the airplane, and liked the idea of Superman and Lois having a kid together.

    Some of the execution regarding that plot point was meh, but the idea is valid.

    Not a hoax, not a dream, and not an imaginary story. Love it or hate it, Superman has a son.

  • Y Lu

    Don't know if you're still reading, but in case you are…

    Yeah, I know about the interesting path that led Wolfman to working on the show. He even has an amusing anecdote about how the TV folks had no idea he worked on the comic and were surprised that he already knew Jenette Kahn when they tried to introduce him to her during one meeting. My point was that him being there as main story editor really gave the pre-Crisis changes a leg up in getting incorporated in the show. It's not comparable to Birthright's situation.

    Many of those Bronze/Silver Age or MoS elements used in Smallville are ones shared in common with Birthright. (That's as to be expected, as Waid was deliberately trying his best to incorporate the best of all worlds; unlike certain other writers, he wasn't so arrogant as to desire to throw the baby out with the bathwater.) How exactly do you tease out what was a BR influence and what wasn't? By your logic, LOIS & CLARK's use of Clark Kent as the real identity/Superman as the disguise wouldn't count as a MoS contribution because it first came from the George Reaves show. (In reality it's from neither. According to the show head's commentary on the DVDs, she thought up the idea independently.)

    Plot and character aren't as easy to separate as you make it out to be. Metallo's a character, but his debut storyline — of a scientist turning someone into an android and inserting a Kryptonite power core into them, only for the robot to betray the creator, then try to kill Superman using the power core — is the same as his original pre-Crisis debut. That's plot. The two stories are only the same when reduced to their generalities, but of course the same goes for Birthright Clark's travels around the world and pre-BR Clark's.

  • Y Lu

    No other media ever adopted the visual aesthetics of Byrne's Krypton (which is, I must say, my favorite visual depiction of Krypton), yet they were still able to incorporate other elements of his version of Superman. Even if Nolan and co. didn't want to use the look of BR or SO's Kryptons (which, after all, weren't designed for the film medium), it would still be perfectly possible for them to incorporate other aspects of those reboots.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    You do know that Byrne credited the George Reeves show as an influence on the MoS reboot, specifically his portrayal of Clark, right?

    You should also take into consideration that the reason the name of the show was “The New Adventures of Superman” is because it was, basically, a new version of the old show, hence the “new”.

    That said, the show was clearly based on the MoS reboot, from Clark coming first, to the Kents being alive, to the use of Cat Grant, and the transformation of Luthor into a metropolis mogul.

    I would recomend to you that you buy this http://www.milehighcomics.com/cgi-bin/backissue.cgi?action=fullsize&issue=50744565482%201%20DIRECT

    It has a one-page introduction by Byrne in which he details the effect Superman had on him, when he first became aware of the show, what he thought went wrong with the concept that it required a reboot, etc, etc,… it’s the kind of thing that is missing from Birthright.

    It’s called “Superman: A Personal View by John Byrne”, it’s a one-page intro printed on the interior back cover of the comic.

    See, Byrne didn’t wait for the trade to list his influences, or speak his mind, like Waid did. He put it out there from the start…. then again, unlike Waid, the purpose of his project was clear from the on-set. It didn’t start as one thing and then turned into another, like Birthright did.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    What is left in BR that doesn’t originate in other media or comics?

    Lex being obsessed with aliens and wanting to move to Krypton?

    A giant spider?

    A gun salesman posing as a Kryptonian general?

    Can you list anything in BR that didn’t originate elsewhere, that came from Waid and ONLY Waid which could be used in the new movie?

  • Guest

    Enough of Zod. Figure out something new for crying out loud. It’s been done to death, and it’s BOOOORING!

    If they want a good ‘Begins’ story use some of the ideas from the first story arch from Superman Confidential. The idea of Supes freaking out in lava because it’s not killing him, but he doesn’t know what to do was pretty interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelSacal Michael Sacal

    Talking Kryptonite, urgh…. pass.