Zack Snyder’s ‘Superman’ Not Based on Comics

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 11:35 pm,

Zack Snyder, geek favorite director and newly confirmed helmsmen of Superman: Man of Steel, is known for making the most literal page-to-screen adaptations of comics books. From Frank Miller’s 300 to Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Snyder has done what very few others have been able to in making quality films that not only pay tribute to the source material, but translate them in their entirety.

With the Superman reboot however, Snyder will take a different route and will instead deliver a new origin story not based on any specific origin story or mini-series from the DC comics.

In a recent interview with the French site,, Snyder set the record straight on where his take on Superman stacks up with the franchise so far and confirms that this movie is not a follow-up to the previous installments or Bryan Singer’s quasi-sequel starring Brandon Routh, but his own film based on a script not lifted from any particular comic.

Here’s what Bleeding Cool translated with the help of Google from the source:

“As I have already explained, the film will focus on early days of Superman, so there will be no links with other films. This is not a remake then. Similarly, although I still can not talk about the script, I can assure you that this new Superman will not be based on a comic book in particular.”

Some fans demand the films to follow the comics, but with Christopher Nolan delivering quality blockbusters with his own take on Batman, it’s best to deliver a solid movie which pays justice to the character first, rather than strictly following the comics. And then there’s also the drawn-out legal battles between DC Comics and heirs to the Superman creators which involved ownership of the character’s origins… We need something new and different from Superman and there’s no better talent out there than Zack Snyder and the Nolan brothers to make it happen.

Once we confirm the villain(s), we can look forward to months of casting rumors of who will play Clark Kent (and Zod?).

The Man of Steel is tentatively set to hit theaters in 2012, following Batman 3.

Follow us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

Source: (via Bleeding Cool)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Rob, i always enjoy your pieces. keep up the good work my friend

    • Thanks bud! It’s been a week of not writing for me since NYCC but I’m getting back to it :)

      • well, bring it on Rob :)

  2. And once we get some questions answered about this movie… Then we’ll have rumors flying around about the Flash movie. Then after that it will be back over to Marvel and Dr. Strange, Luke Cage or the New F.F. reboot. Then We’ll be hearing about a Martian Manhunter film… or Wonder Woman or Justice League. – It’s a good time to be a geek. :)

  3. I like the idea of Zod because it was used in the originals and its obvious nod to those films (ala joker in TDK) but i also rather enjoy the idea of a subplot that involves Brainiac which will cliff hang the movie leading the film into a sequel (as the joker card did in BB)….

  4. ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yet again another director who doesnt give a damn about the source material, saying stuff like this just gives them an excuse to do whatever the hell they like and screw what the fans want!
    And if anyone says “But it worked with Batman”, one good example shouldnt mean all others should follow!
    Tell ya what Zack Snyder and David Goyer, take my childhood hero and do whatever the hell you want to do him, because I won’t be giving you a penny!!!

    • Woah! Dude calm down. Im sure itll be ok to say the least.

      • How would you feel if they had such an approach to Harry Potter, and said “nah, screw the books, I’m just gonna do what I want and damn the books”?

        Not happy I’d bet.

        • Wait, where did Snyder say anything like that?

          How does this not being based on a specific comic make it bad?

          • Rob, I genuinely think you’re one of the best writers on SR, however I don’t like some of the assumptions you are drawing in the article.
            If you think Superman needs something new and fresh, then you don’t really understand the characters timeless nature, the world around him can change but he must remain the same.
            A new origin story is absolutely the worst thing they can do, the story of Krypton and Kal- El is known all over the world, by billions of people.
            Superman is as iconic as the American flag.

            • what are u on he never said the story of Krypton and Kal- El wont be in the movie his reboot is going to be different then Donner film. this is the reason why he making a new origin story. Zack Snyder Krypton could be more Earth like instead of Donner Ice Planet of Krypton or some other new ideas.

        • Isn’t that what they did?

      • Nolan made Batman and it worked and he’s helping to make the film. It will be ok dude. Cool it.

        • In what way is he helping to make this film though? Seriously what will he be doing? Nolan will be directing Batman, Superman is due to open 6 months after Batman, so when exactly will Nolan have time to input anything?

          He won’t, and if he splits his attention, both films will suffer.

          • He”s producing the film. Usually a producer to a film causes the film’s downfall (Wolverine), but in this case he’s producing this film so he can nudge Snyder in the right direction. The way the fans want the movie to be. And whose to say what would happen in 6 months in between each film?

            • The film will have been shot before that period. It’s comes down to this, I have no faith in Snyder, he is all style and no substance. Not what I want in a Superman director.

              • go back and watch his films man refresh your memory dawn of the dead 300 and watchmen all have emotional moments that provide character development i mean im sorry your opinion is negative when it comes to his work but i enjoy it for it is and awsome story with great elements through and through.

                • It’s not negative, I like 300 and watchmen, but they are both incredibly stylistic, and the substance always seemed lacking. Snyder is a director whose films are born of intense violence, and that’s very wring for this film.

    • DrSam,

      When it comes to comics, even the fans don’t have a consensus on ‘what they want’ (check out how the ‘fans’ argue amongst themselves on internet forums). And to complicate matters worse, franchise characters like Batman, Superman, as well as any other big name character from either the DC or Marvel universe has been rebooted in comic form enough times, that the following would be a fair question to ask in response to demanding adherence to comic book source material: “Which source?”

      As long as the director has a consistent vision for the material and the potential in it, any number of variations and themes can be touched upon with success.

  5. Although superman is a very iconic character, he is rather dull. Must be by marvel bias

  6. I dont like this one bit. Again the studio/director are just taking an idea and just using it for the name with no respect to any of the source material. I think that the movie should have some familiarity with the comics otherwise why call it Superman? call it something else.
    Whats next they are going to start to make up villains out of the air? Who’s the villain going to be Zerxes from 300? Give me a break

  7. Dr sam Beckett, if u had to choose one: would you like to have a crappy film that follows the comic or a great film that doesn’t follow the comic?

    • I’d choose not based off a comic.

    • Why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Superman is an enduring character becuase of the great stories, there are literally thousands of stories about him, and Goyer, Nolan and Snyder have decided their ideas are way better? Arrogant much?

      Why can’t they make a good Superman movie based on the comics?

      • i agree with you sam. this is completely idiotic! goyer had so much to work with still he just does his own thing.. i am not positive about this…

      • im still trying to be optimistic as i can DSB. needless to say if someone like Ratner were in charge..well…no comment

      • Dude calm down! They are making it based on the comics just not a particular comic. How is writing their own story arrogant? When a new or different writer takes a run in the comics they write their own stories not the same ones over and over, hence why (as you stated) have “literally thousands of stories about him” How is this any different? Other than a different medium, none. They have the right to write their own take as long as they respect the source, the mythology and what the character is about.

      • I think we have to look at this in a different light. Yes there are thousands of stories already and many different interpretations of the characters and storylines in multiple different series all based on superman. Just because someone is writing 1 more “new” story [their interpretation] for a movie doesn’t mean their not being faithful to the character or his origins. If the story that Goyer and Nolan came up with was made into a comic book instead no one would cry foul unless the story was genuinely bad. I read comic books because most are very cinematic, when ever I look at the pages most of the time all I see is an extremely detailed storyboard. Frankly I encourage makers of comic book movies to make it their own, thats how comics have evolved over the decades. Each author and illustrator gives his/her own style and perspective to make it unique. It’s the same when you look at the Batman history. Look at the way Frank miller changed the dynamic of that character and story with “The Dark Kight Returns”. Chris Nolan did the same thing, except his was a movie instead. I see Comic book movies as extensions and evolutions to the comics they come from. The last thing I want to see, is something I’ve already seen before.

        • Also this movie, as a reboot (I don’t like that word, I like rehash) has to have a completely new and original origin. So it will have to change, change Krypton, how he got to earth, all that stuff (pun on the Superman Returns line). So they will have to change a lot, but can still draw from the comics, a little.

          • Sorry, but where did you hear that? There are parts of the origin story that they may not be able to use due to legal reasons, but there is simply no way on earth, krypton or kandor that they will change Superman’s origins.

            If they do, the fans will simply stay away, Batman Begins didn’t change Bruce Waynes origins at all, in fact it kept pretty damn close to the comics.

            • it was my understanding Nolan wasnt gonna do any type of origin background at all. its really not needed i know who Supes is as im sure pretty much everyone else does as well.

            • @DrSamBeckett
              I can sympathize with how you feel since Superman is the American icon of the stuff heros are made of, at least for the generations from when ACTION COMICS first featured him up thru the current 40 something’s.

              I however would recommend you take a cautious wait and see approach. I believe Snyders violent image comes from the fact that those films source material were very violent and since his movie transitions are literal instead of interpretative I believe there’s a chance the Superman film will not be near as violent as you fear it will. Because of the major miss they did on the last Superman film I firmly believe that everyone from the Studios to the producers to the production hands are all taking extra effort to do this one right. If there is one icon bigger then BATMAN in our world it is Superman and so you can bet there will be more people pushing for the best Supes film ever on the set then those who could care less how it goes.

              As for the slow-mo sceens popularized by the 300 film, I don’t believe that technique if done with moderation would be a bad thing in the Superman film. In fact it would probably be better in a Superman film since one of Supes abilities is the faster then one can see moves and so you have to slow down the time in order to see the details. Just imagine if the movie featured as a villain either Darkseid or someone like him, one who can physically go head to head with SUpes, and see them exchange blows in the Snyder slow-mo style. I think it would be awesome.

              I do hope that the involvement in both BATMAN 3 and the SUPERMAN reboot does not cause Nolan to do either less justice then he would do if he were working solely on one of these films. I know it’s tough to not be concerned about this but give the guy a chance and if he does muck it up big time then off with his head  . Just keep reminding yourself how so many thought Nolan missed big time in going with Ledger as the Joker.

              • I think if Nolan had directed or written the film, I would be more inclined to have some faith as he is a talented film maker, but A Zack Snyder film written by David S Goyer? It just doesn’t inspire the confidence that this truly magnificent character deserves.

                And yeah I can picture an awesome battle between Superman and Darkseid, all slow mo, but that’s not what it’s all about for me. I can give or take the fighting, I want the character and story to be perfect, I want to see the duality of Clark’s life, his struggle with being a god among men, his love for Lois, the sheer power he possesses. Those are the important aspects I think will be missing.

                And this nonsense about retooling the origin, anyone who thinks that is a food idea is a madman, it’s like rewriting the story of Jesus.

      • [Why can’t they make a good Superman movie based on the comics?]

        DrSam –

        Maybe the real question is why do you think they can’t make a good Superman movie that ISN’T based on the comics? Where is it written that a MOVIE about a superhero needs to be based on a particular COMIC BOOK about a superhero?

        Comic books are a medium – that’s all. And there is nothing intrinsic to that medium that makes comic books better or worse suited for conveying these stories than other mediums: it’s simply been the case that, until very recently, the best trade-off for producing these stories in a cost-effective way was via comic books, since they combine visual and narrative elements. But with the advances in technology that allows these stories to “come alive” on film in a realistic manner, their is no longer any reason to limit them to the comic book format.

        Think about it this way: all that really matters is the characters, their backgrounds and the drama. The medium is unimportant. Frank Miller created an original Batman story. Christopher Nolan created an original Batman story. Both utilized their own artistic license to create moving STORIES that just so happen to be centered around this character. The mediums are irrelevant except in so much as they represent Miller or Nolan’s area of expertise.

        A simple question is this: which would you rather see…a recreation of a great story that you already know (which will undoubtedly disappoint, as all such “adaptations” do) or a completely new great story that you don’t know?

      • DSM,

        Besides the obvious origin story, were the first two Superman films based on any specific comic book stories/arcs?


        • No they weren’t, I know that and I get your point. However, I sense that both Goyer and Snyder, especially Goyer who isn’t a superman fan, don’t care about the comics at all.

      • @ DrSamBeckett

        “Why can’t they make a good Superman movie based on the comics”?

        That’s a good question and one I’ve been asking for years but am starting to not expect anymore especially for many of my beloved Marvel characters.

        At the end of the day, whether the film is based on a comic book or not doesn’t matter as long as it’s a great story and they don’t tamper with the origins too much or mess with the core characterization.

        As you say the essence, integrity and nature of Superman is of a timeless quality. I would like to see that represented in the movies.

  8. “And then there’s also the drawn-out legal battles between DC Comics and heirs to the Superman creators which involved ownership of the character’s origins…” So because of the legal battle with the creators of Superman children, does that mean they have to rewrite his origin?? Like Superman did NOT come from Krypton and crash landed on Smallville, Kansas?? But hey, which one of all the Superman movies was base on the comics or a graphic novel?!

  9. I think this is the right direction to go for the story .As long as they keep good writers on this project I am hopeful that this movie will be interesting to watch with Zack Snyder’s style.

  10. I just hope they use Brainiac or somebody other than Zod. Luthor can be in it but he can be the scheming secondary character. He’s been done already. But if they portrayed him as a fighting villain like in Birthright where he had that kryptonite in his fist and he fought Superman. But I highly doubt he will get that kind of attention until some big event happens in DC Movie Universe.

  11. Hmmm… young Superman…

    Last season of Smallville…


  12. To tell the truth i trust Snyder and Nolan and its WB not Fox or MGM they handle things well i mean i know they are in a hurry to make it but only bcuz of the legal issues plus if there is anybody who can take what already is and make it better its Nolan&Co and Snyder its not like Uwe Boll directing with Fox pushing it DSB i think your childhood legend is gonna be just fine

  13. just because he’s not adapting from any particular comic book storyline doesn’t mean he’s taking superman and doing whatever he wants. there are various different takes out there on superman’s origin. birthright and secret origin are both from, what, the last 10 years. he certainly didn’t explicitly say (here) that he was starting supes from scratch.

  14. nolan drew heavily (at least in begins) from year one,and that was a good movie. I don’t read comics so I don’t know if tdk drew from them,but if superman doesn’t but is still a good film I will be happy. They will not completely ignore the comics, just create a new story.

  15. I don’t understand why all of this frustration is boiling up about Snyder’s newest comment. He did NOT say it would not be based on the comics; he said it will not follow a particular comic, a specific story. That opens up many wonderful possibilities for the most iconic of heroes in comicdom. The Reeve movies were not verbatim translations, and the Routh continuation CERTAINLY was not, and they turned out wonderfully (at the very least character-wise, in the Routh film). I’m even more encouraged now and that much more hopeful…

    If you give yourself an ulcer, you won’t be able to see the film anyway, as you’ll be dealing with more immediate concerns.

  16. I think the problem is that Supes origin is based on heavy sci-fi for being “SuperMan” ppl 4get he’s an ailen from another planet maybe they are trying to do something there wich i dont have a problem with cuz it would add to him and not take away i think what they have said so far him traveling the world trying to figure out weather being a savior is what he wants to do… works, i mean Begins is my fav for that reason getting to see bruce train and steal from himself and really come full circle is something that i think every supes movies failed to do and that is humanize the man that is “SuperMan”

    (For more details see recent DSB comments…regarding the difference between Reeve and Reeves…)
    God help ya, laddie! :)

    • Okay…okay (slumps to the floor out of breath) my bad…you spelled it right…just went and checked…all clear, dude… (Faints)

      • He’s safe. For now.

    • Are ANY of us truly safe???

      “Look! up in the sky!”

  18. Well, let’s see exactly what blind faith in Chris Nolan gets us shall we? Because at some point everyone makes a mistake.

  19. All I know is that they better hire Tom Welling if not I refuse to watch it.

    And ive been a Superman fan all my life but he’s my generations Superman.

  20. I’m going to bow out of this thread, because I might say something to one of you nice folks that I’ll come to regret.
    So goodnight, enjoy your flashy, overly stylised, badly written Superman.

    • aww DSB!!! nooo

      • I have zero faith in this project, for me, it all hinges on the casting, if it’s someone daft then I genuinely might give it a miss.
        I know everyone has their own fantasy cast for things like this, but, for me, if they don’t cast it right, the whole thing will tumble down like a house of cards.

        I expect a casting announcement will be fairly soon.

    • Awwwwww…C’MON MAN ???

  21. I am sure it will be fine.
    I refuse to prejudge it , especially since we dont have a clue about what the story is.
    Snyder says Zods just a rumor at this point ,So we really dont know anything for certain .

    • Wasn’t Lizard just a rumor…?

      • Rumor or not, Lizard has been one of the main villains fans have been begging for since Spider-man 2 first featured Curt Connors.

        With “Man of Steel” being the origin story, I don’t really think they will go with Zod as a villain. Unless if he does a different variation of the story, where Zod is a sleeper agent sent to Earth to conquer and Jor-el sends Kal-el to Earth to not only save him from Krypton’s iminent demise, but protect the Earth from the ever-present theat of Zod.

        While that might not sound like a good idea to some, I think it would be an interesting twist to the characters. Zod and Superman both.

  22. I think a story loosely based on birthright would be great. The whole premise of who am I? and Why was I sent here? as an origin story would be nice to see. To finally throw the cape on and stand for justice would be awesome. At least that’s my take on what an original origin story means in this context, not his origins as in Krypton and how/where he landed in Earth.

    But again I’d like to see that deception come from someone like Brainiac who tries to tell Kal-El that he must rule the Earth for it was what his people would have wanted from him and thus see the inner conflict from Supes “am I more Clark Kent or more Kal-El?”

    • I loved Birthright! There’s a book (non-comic book) titled It’s Superman which takes place in the 1930s and would be an interesting take on Superman.

      • Finally, someone else who liked Birthright!

        Birthright was a new variation of Superman. Where instead of Lex Luthor doing some crazy plot to sink California or whatever, he tried to prove his superiority over Superman by turning the public against him. And showing Superman’s struggle to gain the trust of the public he is fighting so hard to protect.

        Birthright is a shining example of how Superman can be great no matter how the origin story plays out. As long as they stay true to the characters.

        Look at Batman Begins, Dark Knight, and the Spider-man trilogy. They were new takes on classic characters. They stayed true to the characters to a point (Venom could have been done better, but Raimi’s twist on why Sandman is a criminal was interesting).

        While I’m not a fan of slow-motion shots all of the time, I’m confident that with the team of Nolan and Snyder, this is going to be the best Superman film we could hav asked for.

  23. This is interesting, because he normally follows the comics well (if not identical). His and Nolan’s take on Superman should be Suh-WEET!!!

  24. …as long as they include Batman in the Superman movie somehow. Even if it’s just saying the word “Batman”, who cares. Just put him in there.

  25. I’m ok with that as long as he stays close to the origin story. But if we get another JJ Abrams Superman script then I’ll be pissed.

  26. Well I taking a wait and see approach if its similar to Batman Begins where Clark toward the end of the film becomes the man of steel without basis on not only the comic,but to borrow from Smallville as well.
    Remember its been ten years of Smallville,and that wasn’t truly based on any comic book published by DC Comics.
    That’s my take on this article.
    Christiaan Schildt

  27. Something has just occurred to me. And I feel a bit silly for ‘some’ of my ranting here. But I’m bit going to say what it is.

  28. Just as long as there are no radical changes McG style, it should be fine.
    A comics based film does not have to follow any specific comics storyline.

  29. I’ve already lost most of my interest in seeing this. I don’t really care if they don’t follow the comics perfectly or make up their own story, but changing the origins is fairly stupid. The only reason I can imagine doing that is because of the lawsuit possibly.

    Still I lost hope of this being good when I found out that is was going to be a Snyder visual fest which Superman doesn’t need. Supes ability and action speaks for it’s self we don’t need to flash it up with weird looking CGI and slow mo.

    • Agreed.

      • Me too