The last few weeks have proven that Superman fans are - to put it mildly - still twitchy about what Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder have in store for Man of Steel, the Superman reboot due in theaters next year.
Recent announcements like Michael Shannon being cast as General Zod have only boosted fan worry that this new Superman film will be covering ground already explored in previous Superman films, and that worry is likely to increase today with the latest Superman reboot news.
As you may or may not know, Oscar-nominated actress Diane Lane was recently cast as Martha Kent in Man of Steel. The actress' age (mid forties) immediately had fans wondering how the character of Martha Kent would fit into Man of Steel's storyline, since she is supposed to be on the elderly side by the time Superman has reached the age of the man who will play him in the film, actor Henry Cavill.
Well, we now have an answer to this Martha Kent casting mystery.
During an interview with E! Online, Lane dropped the following quote about Man of Steel's storyline:
"I read the script under lock and key. I was locked in a room with the script and was only allowed three hours with it. I nailed it into my memory. I'm really excited. I'm really not allowed to talk much about it, I think, but it does cover the entire range of years, from infancy on."
It's that "from infancy on" part that is likely to send some Superman fans into a tizzy, likely objecting that a 'Superman origin story' is something we've seen so many times before, and that this particular narrative approach totally contradicts the studio and Snyder's stated goal with this film, which is to offer a fresh and modernized take on Superman.
I recently wrote a piece stating why General Zod is a good villain for Man of Steel (amidst fan complaints that the villain was already featured in the movie Superman II). In that same article, I offered the idea that one reason Zod works in a modern Superman story is that he is in a unique position - as a fellow survivor of Superman's destroyed home planet - to force Superman to question both his identity (is he "Clark Kent" or "Kal-El"?) and his loyalties (is his duty to mankind, or his own race?).
If Man of Steel does indeed go down that sort of path, it's not unthinkable that the film would feature some quieter introspective moments of Superman reflecting on his own life - which in movie terms translates to flashbacks.
Let's remember that the writing team behind Batman Begins (Chris Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer) helped shape the story for Man of Steel. Batman Begins was also an origin/identity crisis story, which Nolan told effectively through clever edits that jumped between past and present, backstory and action, etc...
I say all that to say: Man of Steel doesn't have to be an origin story in the traditional (read: now boring and cliched) sense. As far as I'm concerned, the inclusion of the fundamental experiences and family foundation that helped shape Clark Kent is a good way to keep all that super-powered action grounded in something familiar people can latch onto and relate to. It also serves the purpose of reminding us, the audience, that even a godlike figure like Superman isn't too far away from us in terms of that which makes him, well, human.
...And I'm sure DC/WB wants you walking out of the theater with the thought "Superman is just like me!" or "I'm just like Superman!" firmly implanted in your mind (cue Inception horns). It's the best branding you could ask for. ;-)
We'll keep you posted on all things Man of Steel as more Superman news inevitably hits the web.
Sources:E! Online via TMT