What Should Warner Bros. Do About Superman?

Anne Thompson over at Thompson on Hollywood ran a Superman post the other day that basically reiterates a lot of the things we've been reporting here at Screen Rant all throughout the Summer/Fall of 2009:

  1. The rights to the character are still being fought over by DC Comics/Warner Bros. and the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
  2. DCE/WB has NO plans to rush a Superman movie into production before a 2013 legal deadline.
  3. The franchise is effectively in limbo at the moment.
  4. As far as we can tell, ain't nobody doin' nuthin' about it.

Comic book movie fans, right now one of our biggest icons is being benched because of some legal hangups, a loss of purpose and direction and a general sense of greed run amok. So what's to be done about it? I have some suggestions and I know you do too...


A legal settlement is probably already in the works, maybe not. I tend to believe the former, because DCE/WB would have to be soft in the brain if they aren't planning to hold on to the Superman property. This lawsuit with the Shuster/Siegel heirs is ridiculous: last we checked, the heirs were vying to get back everything their forefathers created - namely the first incarnation of Superman who appeared in Action Comics #1 back in 1938.

That early rendition of the Superman character doesn't even include a lot of the now-iconic powers, supporting characters or villains - the heirs would essentially own a strong flying guy from an exploded planet called Krypton. No more, no less. Without those origins, however, DCE/WB would be left with an unnamed superhero who has a lot of familiar friends and enemies and is vulnerable to green rocks called Kryptonite, which are the exploded bits of some mysterious unnamed planet.

Sounds pretty sill either way, right? Even more outlandish - if another superhero-based company like Disney/Marvel bought a portion of the Superman rights from the heirs (not likely, but possible) then they could effectively shelve the Man of Steel indefinitely. It would make them total A-holes to pull something like that, but hey, this is business...

VERDICT: Settle the suit, guys, and get back to giving the fans access to one of their most beloved heroes.


Between this lawsuit and the divided opinion over Bryan Singer's 2006 cinematic attempt to relaunch the franchise, Superman has a lot of dirt on his shoulder that needs brushing off. Right now, I'd say the only ones keeping the Man of Steel's name ringing within the fickle bubble of pop-culture are the good folks over at Smallville. The show seemed to be on ratings decline last year, but they're pulling out all the stops for this current 9th season, including in upcoming two-hour movie event featuring a whole gang of Smallville version DC Comics Superheroes. Of course, there's the issue of that impending 2013 legal deadline and what (if any) options Smallville will have for remaining on the air afterward...

For now, this is the only Superman we have...

VERDICT: Superman needs a to brush that dirt off his shoulder and start over with a clean slate. I'm talking total relaunch. No "Dark Superman" movie, no continuation of the mess Singer made - get a visionary director who seems to understand which core aspects of the character have made Superman such an enduring icon, give that director the necessary money (not too much) and let him/her go to work!

A wise man recently said to the world, "Allow me to re-introduce myself..." Another wise man (Chris Nolan) took that statement to heart and re-introduced the world to a Batman we never knew we'd lost touch with. Superman deserves such a re-introduction. For all the positives of Superman Returns, the film (IMO) was still basically a big-screen version of a geek's lunchroom conversation: "Is Superman strong enough to stop a bullet with his eye? If Lois Lane got pregnant with Superman's kid, would birthing a super-baby kill her? Would the kid have all Superman's powers, or just some of them?" And no offense to the man who stepped into Christopher Reeves' boots, but "geek Superman" was what that movie delivered (IMHO).

Superman, like Batman before him, needs to be taken back to the essence of what makes him great - because for the life of me, I'm beginning to forget why he was so great in the first place. Maybe I just need to pull out Richard Donner's 1976 Oscar-nominated adaptation; even today, when movie budgets swell faster than a speeding bullet and special effects have improved by skyscraper leaps and bounds, Donner's vision still holds up nicely and resonates clear and true when I think of all the things that make Superman who and what he is.

It'd be nice if SOMEBODY out there in the wide-world of filmmaking could have the opportunity to show this new generation why some icons will never fade.

What do YOU think - what should DCE/WB do about this Superman quagmire?

Source: Thompson on Hollywood

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