With the news last month that Warner Brothers planned on rebooting the Superman film franchise, I thought it would be a good time to give an overall status report on everyone’s favorite big blue boy-scout. And let you folks know what’s going on…as of now, at least.
First things first, no director or screenwriter(s) have been hired nor are any in negotiations at this time. Warner Brothers is simply looking at a few candidates as potential “feelers.” Nothing more, nothing less.
If there’s anything the studio learned from Superman Returns, it’s that they’re not going to hand over another blank-check to a “big name” director. So more likely than not, the eventual director will be someone who works well with the material, sees eye-to-eye with the approach they’re taking and (most importantly) can be easily controlled by the studio.
An example of this would be when Peter Jackson was first hired for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Bryan Singer for X-Men, Sam Raimi for Spider-Man, etc. You get the idea.
Regarding the big question of casting before anyone asks, the answer is no: Tom Welling will not be Superman. For some of you, take a moment, and let whatever feelings you have about that out of your system.
The studio isn’t going to spend $150-$200 million (if not more) to produce Smallville: The Movie. Like it or lump it, that’s exactly what it’d be if they went with Welling. Additionally, the failure of X-Files: I Want to Believe this past summer further proved that cult following doesn’t equal mainstream audience. So one can’t argue that Welling would bring in “a big audience” during the opening weekend.
I don’t care if you love or hate the idea of him as Superman on the silver screen. He’s not in the running. Sorry, but it ain’t gonna happen. Get over it.
Whoever becomes the next Superman/Clark Kent will be an unknown for obvious reasons. For the studio, it’s easy to nab one down to a multi-picture deal (i.e. cheap) and for the filmmakers there won’t be any “baggage” coming into the project with said actor.
Now what about Wanted and Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar who’ll tell anyone with a set of ears (and more importantly, a camera) that he wants the writing gig? Well, his claims about “being a Marvel guy” as the reason Warner Bros. rejected his pitch last year are 100% Grade-A B.S. Plain and simple, they hated it.
But what of his recent claims of writing an epic Superman trilogy that’s a second away from being greenlit with his phantom “American action director” at the helm? Uh, that would be: no.
I don’t doubt his love for Kal-El, and maybe he’s met with a director in the past. But if he was really in the running, he wouldn’t be talking out loud to the press before being heard (again) by the studio.
Furthermore, he’s had a well-documented history of flat-out fabricating news-items just to get himself press (i.e. his claim of “knowing” Jim Caviezel would play Superman in Returns and Eminem “begging” to star in Wanted – both turned out to be bogus rumors that he started!) Therefore… you can’t honestly take him at his word on the matter – especially since there’s been no one to come out and back-up his claims.
And Millar wasn’t the only comic-book writer the studio heard pitches from. The likes of Grant Morrison, Mark Waid and Geoff Johns also came in with takes on how to properly revive the franchise. And like Millar, they were shot down. So it’s safe to say they’ll begin hearing from screenwriters again.
Quite frankly, I doubt we see Krypton’s last son return to the silver screen for… awhile. They’re currently projecting a 2011 release. The thing is though, Warner Brothers appears to be damn-near booked with arguably the three biggest blockbuster tent-poles for that year: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part II, Batman III and The Hobbit.
They just plain don’t “need” Superman right now. Although it’s definitely a priority to get the Man of Steel back on track. But they can honestly afford to take their sweet time (which they are!).
That, and after the reception of Superman Returns, they want to make damned sure this revival film will be something that everyone (i.e. WB, DC, Legendary Pictures, etc.) is 100% behind.
But rest assured, Superman will return to the silver screen…eventually!