Back in February, it was revealed that Warner Bros. is planning a fascinating big screen future for Superman. While things remain up in the air regarding Henry Cavill’s future as the character, the studio is now developing a new Man Of Tomorrow-centric movie with producer J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it appears that the plan is to have the film feature a Black actor in the lead role. Now the project seems to be moving forward, reportedly looking for a Black filmmaker to take the helm, and it has inspired us to do some thinking about what the movie could be.
The Hollywood Reporter published an article earlier today about the on-going search to find a director to make the next Superman movie, and while it doesn’t specifically name anybody who is actively in line for the job, the news got us thinking about a few individuals who we would like to see get the gig – taking into consideration both their proven abilities, and demonstrated interest in the material. There are a lot of great options in the industry, but these are the filmmakers who stick out at the moment:
Truth be told, the last time that Rick Famuyiwa worked to make a DC Comics blockbuster it didn’t end up working out. The filmmaker signed on to direct the DC Extended Universe’s solo Flash movie all the way back in 2016, even appearing on stage at that year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but the gig was short-lived, as he wound up departing the project four months later due to cited “creative differences.” In the time since then, Famuyiwa has had the chance to get into the franchise game, helming three episodes of The Mandalorian – and with that work under his belt it would be great to see him get a chance at the Superman job. He hasn’t made a feature since his fantastic 2015 indie movie Dope, and with the experience he has now it would be great to see him get a shot at making a movie about the Kryptonian who fell to Earth.
Two years ago, Regina King starred in what can honestly be called one of the best comic book adaptations we’ve seen. While fans feared the worst from the idea of expanding the world of Watchmen, the HBO series that served as a sequel to the original Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons comic proved to be an absolutely stunning piece of work, with King's turn as Angela Abar a.k.a. Sister Night being one of the greatest highlights. Recognizing this positive history with live-action DC, as well as noting the actor-cum-filmmaker’s impressive feature directorial debut last year, she is definitely a candidate who should at least be considered for the Superman gig. One Night In Miami has already provided her with the experience of rendering iconic figures on the big screen, and making a new movie about the Man of Steel could give her an opportunity to do it yet again, albeit with a much larger budget and more visual effects.
Following the incredible success of Judas And The Black Messiah, Shaka King is surely been crazy busy taking meetings around Hollywood in the last couple months, but hopefully one of those business gatherings has seen him discussing Superman with the folks at DC and Warner Bros. (which distributed the Oscar-nominated film). Telling the story of Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton and the conspiracy that led to his assassination, King unleashed some powerhouse cinema built on intimate portrayals and dynamic camerawork, and it would be amazing to see those skills put to work on a movie that could change the world’s perspective on a legendary hero. He’s surely getting a ton of offers right now, and it would be amazing if this were one of them.
In 2018, Boots Riley made one of the most bombastic and memorable directorial debuts in the last decade, writing and helming the bizarre comedy Sorry To Bother You starring LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson. Last year it was announced that his next project will take him to the small screen, as he is developing a series with Mr. Mercedes star Jharrel Jerome – but it would be amazing to see him make a return to the feature world with a new Superman movie. Part of the argument for Riley getting the job stems from his deft ability to sculpt commentary in a fantastical form, but even stronger is the idea of seeing his outrageous aesthetic utilized in a blockbuster with a six digit budget. It’s worth noting that the filmmaker has criticized the genre in the past, but that would just make it all the more fascinating to discover what kind of story would result from his perspective.
DC fans were dealt a serious bummer a few weeks ago. After years of developing The New Gods as a film with Ava DuVernay and Tom King collaborating on the script, it was announced that the project was no longer moving forward. While we haven’t heard any specific reasoning given as to why that particular move was made, we’re holding out hope that the situation has kept the door open for a conversation with DuVernay about the next Superman movie. Between Selma, When They See Us, and the documentary 13th, the filmmaker has demonstrated a tremendous capacity to create powerful cinema – and while her first venture into the blockbuster realm, 2018’s A Wrinkle In Time, didn’t quite perform at the box office as well as hoped, one can still absolutely appreciate the large-scale beauty in the movie. She clearly has an interest in bringing the world of DC Comics to the big screen, and we’re holding out hope she eventually gets the opportunity.
Of the directors mentioned here, who would you like to see take the helm of the developing Superman movie? Answer our poll below, and while you stay tuned for more updates about this specific project, be sure to check out our Upcoming DC Movies guide to find out about everything that the comic book franchise has coming in the next few years.