Director Zack Snyder made a name for himself by helming extremely literal film adaptations of the comic books 300 and Watchmen. He’ll evidently be taking a departure from that approach with his upcoming Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Although Snyder has previously insisted that the film will not be based on any specific comic or graphic novel, it would probably be impossible for screenwriter (and bona fide comic book geek) David S. Goyer not to at least draw inspiration from them.
Before producer Christopher Nolan departed Man of Steel to focus his attention on The Dark Knight Rises, he frequently mentioned that it was Goyer’s unique approach to the material that had attracted him to the project. But when dealing with a mythology as universally well-known as Superman’s, how exactly did Goyer tackle the challenge of delivering a contemporary and compelling take on a character?
A member of the Comic Book Movie community has offered some insight on the matter. He got his hands on a Collected Edition of the Superman: Secret Origin miniseries that debuted last week and noticed that it includes a foreword by Goyer. There’s one portion of it in particular that fans will likely be very interested in. Goyer expresses his admiration for Secret Origin‘s author Geoff Johns (Green Lantern) and reveals what an impact this series’ version of Clark Kent had on him:
There is a heart breaking moment halfway through the first chapter in which young Clark is told the truth about his heritage. He races out into the night, sobbing, stumbling through the cornfields. Eventually, his foster father, Jonathan, finds him.
“I don’t want to be someone else,” says Clark. “I don’t want to be different. I want to be Clark Kent.”
[And here’s the kicker…]
“I want to be your son”
Right there in that moment, Geoff contextualized Superman in a way that I’m not sure has ever really been done before. I had an ‘aha’ experience when I read that. For the first time I was able to grasp how lonely Clark must have been when he was growing up. And what a sacrifice Clark must continually make by being Superman.
He goes on to state rather explicitly that this revised take on Superman greatly informed his script for Man of Steel:
As I write this, I am midway through my first draft of a new Superman screenplay. It’s a task that has stymied many talented fimmakers in the years since Donner’s film. And for all I know, it will end up stymying me as well.
But I’ve got one advantage that the screenwriters who came before me didn’t have– and that’s access to all the wonderful Superman stories written by Geoff Johns– first and foremost being the SECRET ORIGIN issues reprinted in the very volume you are now holding.
A previous rumor suggested that the film will begin with Clark in West Africa and that immediately reminded me of the Superman: Birthright series (another recent take on the early days of Superman that Secret Origin actually retconned upon its release). There are elements of both series I enjoy considerably and it’s exciting to get a sense of the direction Goyer is taking the story in. It sounds like there’s a bit of Birthright‘s first arc mixed in with The Boy of Steel chapter from Secret Origin – and if you ask me, that’s not a bad foundation to build on.
I think Goyer is a pretty hit-or-miss writer who has intriguing ideas that often get a rather lackluster execution. However, it’s encouraging that he seems to be picking and choosing the aspects of Superman’s story that really resonate with him from a multitude of comics.
I know this might not be as exciting as learning who the villain will be or who’s going to play Superman, but I believe that the characterization of Clark Kent speaks volumes about what we can expect from this film.
Superman: Man of Steel is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2012.
Source: Comic Book Movie.