Reports of Michael B. Jordan replacing Henry Cavill in the DCEU have raised questions about a big screen black Superman but the idea makes sense. The 1978 Superman movie was the first true comic book movie blockbuster, with director Richard Donner having to go through an exhaustive casting search to find the title character. Potential stars included Sylvester Stallone and Nick Nolte until a relative unknown named Christopher Reeve was cast. Reeve embodied the wholesome, charming aspects of the role and would portray the character for four movies, ending with Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
The Superman movie series than slipped into development hell, where several high-profile attempts were made to resurrect it. This includes Tim Burton's Superman Lives, where Nicolas Cage was cast in the lead before the studio pulled the plug over script and budget issues. Brandon Routh took over the cape for 2006's Superman Returns but while the young actor received good reviews for his work, the reception to the movie itself was lukewarm. British actor Henry Cavill - who was passed over for the role in Returns - inherited the part for Man Of Steel.
Cavill last played the character in Justice League, but reports suggest he's might be finished with the role. In building a DC Extended Universe, it was assumed Batman and Superman would be key characters. That hasn't proven to be the case thus far, with Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice receiving very mixed reviews and proving disappointing financially. Batman and Superman also ranked lowest with test audiences during Justice League screenings, behind other heroes Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Ben Affleck has since departed the franchise, with the role set to be recast for Matt Reeves' The Batman. The future of Cavill's Superman still hasn't been confirmed, though signs seem to point to him not returning. One potential replacement that got fans talking was Michael B. Jordan. Jordan has emerged as one of the most impressive young actors of his generation for his performances in Fruitvale Station, the Creed series and Black Panther.
For his part, Jordan debunked reports of him playing Superman, though he stated he might be interested in tackling Calvin Ellis, an Elseworlds version of Superman modeled after Barack Obama. News of Jordan's potential casting proved somewhat divisive among fans of the Clark Kent character, and the star has previously been at the center of controversy before when he was cast as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 2015's Fantastic Four.
Storm was traditionally portrayed as a white character in the comics, but Jordan was by far the best part of the much-maligned blockbuster. A similar controversy arose when Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall in Thor, which quickly died away once audiences saw how great he was in the part. If DC were seeking a radical cinematic reinvention of Superman, Jordan would be perfect. The Creed movies proved he can sculpt the physique needed and he more than has the charisma and acting chops needed to make the part his own.
Former Lois & Clark star Dean Cain also threw his support behind the idea of Jordan as Superman, stating 'Superman is more of an ideal than it is a person, you know, a race or a color. Superman is about the, you know, truth, justice, and the American way, and I believe that.' Of course, it all comes down to Jordan actually wanting the role. Like the actor said, perhaps bringing Calvin Ellis to the big screen might be the best way to introduce audiences to a black Superman and free him of comparisons to previous actors who've donned the cape.