Is ‘Man of Steel’ Being Influenced By ‘Superman: Birthright’?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:46 pm,

Superman Man of Steel synopsis Is Man of Steel Being Influenced By Superman: Birthright?

Now that many of the central roles in Man of Steel have been filled, there’s been renewed interest in the film’s potential supporting players, as well as the actual plot of Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot. The film will touch on the superhero’s origins to some degree, but whether or not it will be a full-blown origin story is not yet clear.

The most recent rumored Man of Steel synopsis suggested the film will begin with Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) as “a young twenty-something journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination” and that “when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack.” Vague, to be sure, but certainly feasible.

Now Bleeding Cool has picked up the following Man of Steel plot description from The Baseline Studio System:

A young reporter named Clark Kent roams the world covering various news stories. When he is compelled to use his secret powers to intervene in a crisis in West Africa, he returns to Smallville to learn more about his origins and the hero he was born to be.

That synopsis not only gels with the Superman character description that emerged last fall, it also suggests that the Man of Steel storyline could very well be influenced by Mark Waid’s “Superman: Birthright” comic book miniseries – with the Kryptonian villain General Zod (Michael Shannon) being thrown into the mix as well.

Superman Birthright reboot plot Is Man of Steel Being Influenced By Superman: Birthright?

For those who don’t know, here is a brief synopsis of what “Superman: Birthright” is all about:

‘Superman: Birthright’ retells the early chapters of Superman’s story, from escape as an infant from the doomed planet Krypton to arrival as reporter Clark Kent at the Daily Planet and his first public exploits. Writer Mark Waid puts his own spin on the legend, rethinking nearly every aspect of the venerable character while remaining respectful of his established history. Waid wisely integrates ideas from the popular TV series ‘Smallville’ but doesn’t slavishly follow its innovations; for instance, a young Lex Luthor befriends Clark in high school, but unlike in the series, his sinister nature is clear even then.

While Snyder previously stated that “['Man of Steel'] will not be based on a comic book in particular,” he coyly avoided dismissing the possibility that his reboot would be influenced or inspired by a previously-published graphic novel (like “Superman: Secret Origins”) – and after his previous misleading comments about Zod, we now have all the more reason to read between the lines of what Snyder says.

It also stands to mention that while Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies are not specifically based on any comic books, they are openly acknowledged as having been strongly influenced by significant titles in the Caped Crusader’s graphic novel oeuvre (see: “Batman: Year One” and “Batman: The Long Halloween” for examples). So it’s not unreasonable to assume the duo might have taken a similar approach to the Superman reboot as well.

Waid’s “Superman: Birthright” also incorporates several elements from Smallville – specifically, Clark’s parents and Lex Luthor being younger. That could explain why stars like Diane Lane and Kevin Costner have been cast as Ma and Pa Kent in Man of Steel, and it also gels with the rumors about Adam Harris auditioning to play Luthor in the film.

Finally, the “Birthright” storyline very much presents Superman in a more modernized light – and Snyder has been quite forthright about his intentions to deliver a reboot that does just that.

This is of course all speculation based in no small part on RUMOR, but I find it to all be quite reasonable. By combining elements from the comic book source material with a classic Superman villain – one that provides (among other things) Snyder the opportunity to put his hyper-stylized action sensibilities to work and deliver some truly epic fight scenes onscreen – Man of Steel could both respect the character’s rich history and approach him from a new and fresh angle. If a number of these rumors turn out to be true, it’s all the more reason to be be hopeful that the Superman reboot isn’t doomed after all.

Man of Steel is tentatively scheduled to reach theaters by December of 2012.

Source: The Baseline Studio System (via Bleeding Cool)

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  1. Could definitely work.

  2. This premise could actually be interesting if done right. It would be good if the film is based on current affairs and aside from fighting rogues gallery villains, Superman also battles a real world threat such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Iranian extremists, North Korean extremists, Somali pirates, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, etc.

  3. Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude but this just isn’t new infomation. The rumour that this is based on Birthright has been around for months, and was even reported on here at least once. Snyder said it was based on no particular comic but he has proven to be an untrustworty source so this could very likely be true.

    Birthright is a great comic but it wouldn’t do for a film adaptation even with the inclusion of Zod to the story. Plus there are massive comparisons to Birthright and Smallville, something noted by the writers of the comic, a comic which isn’t even considered to be official cannon. I would have thought Snyder would want to distance himself from Smallville and the films that had gone before, but all he’s doing is retreading old ground.

    • Yeah, this rumor’s been around before (which I did mention 8-) ) but now there’s much more reason to think it’s legit.

      That doesn’t mean it’s not just rumor, of course, but it fits nicely with a lot of recent developments and news.

      • It’s fits alright. But there’s nothing nice about it. :)

      • Bit defensive don’t you think?

        • RP1N,

          How is Sandy’s response even remotely defensive? It’s explanatory.



          • Hey Vic,
            This article is starting to pop up else where now, and I want you to know that I read it here first, as with many other articles. Keep up the good work getting these rumors out fresh.

            • Thanks, Drop-Out. We’re not usually first with this stuff but we do try to add our thoughts to make the version on our site unique.


          • Vic…

            I may have misunderstood, but I thought RP1N was calling Sam defensive. I know the comment was not indented beneath Sam’s, but it seems to fit more with his than with hers.

            BTW, No, I am not saying Sam WAS being defensive; I simply mean that Sandy’s response was completely neutral and calm. Sam has been quite passionate about this topic for some time now.

            • :D

            • I was just looking at which comment RP1N was replying to. Looked like it was to Sandy. If I’m mistaken, I apologize.


  4. When everyone was upset that zod was the villian and not some other guy never used before (doomsday, metallo etc…) they all wanted the biggest bad guy, but Batman Begins didnt start off with the joker…

    I think (if this movie makes alot of money, and gets a second) then we will see a new character, im hoping its doomsday, bizarro, or parasite… lex should only be the supportive villian who pulls strings behind the curtain, untill the third fourth whatever movie…

    • Yes but Batman Begins gave us a new villain we had never seen in the big screen before. The comparison doesn’t work.

    • You can’t have doomsday in any superman movie anytime soon. If supes is going to fight old time and well known villains it has be the ones that came before doomsday. Bizarro, Metallo, and yes, even parasite as you mentioned, but not doomsday (at least not yet). doomsday was basically the end of supes.

  5. It’s amazing how studios often ignore all the great stories already written in the respective superhero canons. Not every one of them would make a great movie. The Demon in a Bottle storyline from the ’80s era Iron Man would be a downer!

    • By and large studios think they’re writers can do better and know better than 70-80 years of comic history.

  6. Try this alternative Superman script instead. Much more in line with what people want to see.

    • I just read it now DrSam, and I thought it was great.

      • I’m sure if the writer was here to read you say that he’d thank you.

        It is certainly much better than what we have been hearing for this film.

  7. I’d love to see Supes beat up on some terrorists

  8. So it’s Smallville the movie.

    • without any Smallville actors

    • @ Dr.SamBeckett

      What i tell ya? it is sounding more like a Smallville:The Movie that as people called it.

  9. Yeahhh, not too interested in seeing a hesitant young Clark Kent struggling to come to grips with his powers and how to best use them. Smallville covered that in GREAT detail so a movie version of it is less than appealing.

    Also not seeing how someone in this dilemma is going to be a match for a seasoned military figure like Zod and 1-2 cohorts. Sure it can be written anyway they want to have Superman win against seemingly impossible odds but its all about believability. Kind of like how Routh lifted a MOUNTAIN of Kryptonite, you know the substance that robs him of his powers (and even did so 30 mins before the lifting event)

    • Well they may be have a great knowledge of Kryptonian military combat but they most likely weren’t trained on how to fight with superpowers.

      Considering that Clark has been on earth most of his life and had plenty of years to master his powers, I would see him as having a bit of an upper hand in that fight against people who have only had those types of powers for a short amount if time…

      • That was my logic behind Supes winning in a fight with Zod, he had over a decade to master his powers.

        • Well if they follow the birthright plot, Clark really hasn’t spent 10 years coming to terms with or honing those powers and has just recently learned about his true past. This is a big departure from both the accepted origin and the 1st movie that has him flying off to the frozen wastes to create his fortress and learn all about himself and his powers for years.

          Realistically (if I can even use that word when speaking about and alien that can lift a supertanker with ease ;) ) Zod and crew should still have the upper hand because of training, numbers and Clark’s caring about man. Even in Superman II, he only beats the gang by using a super cheesy molecular altering Kryptonian machine. Please let’s not repeat that or the silly cellophane chest emblem entangle!

          One thing is for sure, Superman must prevail. So however it is resolved, I can only hope it will have enough of a believability factor to not feel hokey.

  10. I’m just gonna stop reading articles on this film from now on b/c it’s only hurting my anticipation.

  11. All right! Smallville The Movie! I can’t wait for the kryptonite freakshows to come and pose zero challenge to SuperBloke.

  12. THis movie could be the Death of Superman … in movies.

    • @ Ink

      It’s that damn Superman curse. We need Dr.Fate or someone to end that. lol

      • Nah. Just get Dr. Sam Beckett to go back and rewrite history. :-D

        • I hear he’s busy posting on movie sights now. Poor guy … couldn’t all the new tech. Became addicted and now doesn’t leave the room his computer is in. Shame really.

          • Putting right that which once went wrong… This film definitely qualifies.

            • all i have to say “OH BOY!”

            • Now that sam retired he no longer puts right what once went wrong. Instead he now scours the internet and puts in their place those who once said something wrong…. Oh and Zach Snyder

  13. I only watched Smallville to the end of the second season, and I liked it up until then, but then it turned into One Tree Hill with superpowers to me. I don’t think this movie will be like Smallville, hopefully it could be much more introspective on Superman and his destiny. I don’t like the talk of darkening superhero’s who don’t need it, and this is one of them, but a much more serious and adult approach to the character would be ideal to me. With Snyder in the director’s chair, I am sure there is going to be plenty of action, but this storyline has potential to shed a new light on the drama of being Kal-El and coming to terms with becoming Superman. If this rumor is true, I hope they use it to its full potential.

  14. Refer to my previous post: The more I hear about Man of Steel; the less I want to see it. Now back to the last 5 episodes of Smallville.

  15. Birthright was the comic that got me into Superman. Before I read it I thought he was boring and had too many powers that made him too much to even pose a threat to. But after I read it I was blown away with how cool he can be and started reading more Superman books.

    I hope that they could use that one scene where Superman is saving the baby and has the giant Superman symbol blocking the beam. That, IMO, is the most epic single image of Superman I’ve ever seen in any medium!

  16. I think I’ll buy this from the 2 for $5 bin at Wal-Mart – along with Superman Returns.

  17. I’ve said this with each previous bit of news we’ve had about “Man of Steel”, and I happily say it again now, after this article: I am looking even more forward to the film coming out. They said nothing about COPYING “Smallville”; they’ve simply hinted that some of the ideas will be in line with concepts used in the show. I don’t see a problem with that. However, that’s just how I see things…

  18. With such a long history and having been done in almost every medium of course TMoS will be smiliar to some of them. It’s impossible for it not to be. But that doesn’t mean it will be a carbon copy. As much as we like to bash studios for their lack of creativity I think they know that they can’t just cut and paste a story from Smallville or a novel and expect it to work as a movie. And as far as Snyder lying about or misdirecting people as to what it will be about or if it covers any ground already explored, what else should he do? Lay out the plot and what it will cover before hand? What’s the point of people going to see the movie then?

  19. “Warner Bros. & DC Comics Lose Rights To Superman’s Origin Story”

    “But the biggest piece of fallout comes in 2013, when the Siegels and Schusters will come to own the entire copyright to “Action Comics” #1, Superman’s first appearance. According to the report, this will afford the creators’ families with “the chance to set up Superman pics, TV shows and other projects at another studio.” In other words, the WB’s days of flying with Superman could well be numbered.”


    Since Warner Brothers and DC Comics lost the rights to Superman’s origins, I expect this movie to rewrite some of his history. Come to think about it – “The Man of Steel” might be a good thing for the studio, for they will be able to use the character free of obligation.

    • “Most recently, Warner Bros. and DC Comics were mandated to put a “Superman” film into production by 2011 or else they’ll owe profits to the families of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, the character’s original creators.”


      I think this quote bothers me the most. Since they are heading towards a mandated deadline, this movie could also be an accident waiting to happen. Only time will tell.

  20. In the famous words of HOMER SIMPSON “D’OH!”…….

  21. If they were going to go through all this just to basically give us a CW movie, they should have just casted the Smallville cast and hire Geoff Johns to write the damn thing. lol

    • @ KingProphet

      I pretty much agree lol.


    French site reporting Thomas Dekker cast as Jimmy Olsen. Interesting.

  23. anybody else really wish they’d do a movie version of Superman: Red Son?

  24. I personally didn’t care for Birthright at all it was really predictable to me. Personally i hope they are doing something a lot more unique with the origin story, i want to see a side of superman that i haven’t seen before, that no one has seen before.