Justice League is the next big-screen outing for Henry Cavill's Superman, but if recent tweets from a DC Comics writer are to be believed, we may eventually be seeing Superman on our screens in quite a different way than expected. That's because Warner Bros. is apparently considering a live-action adaptation of a particularly bold Superman storyline.
Warner Bros. Is Considering An Adaptation Of Superman: Red Son, Says Mark Millar
In the 2003 limited series Superman: Red Son, instead of crash-landing in Kansas, Kal-El’s ship touches down in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Red Son spans the entirety of this Russian Superman’s career, presenting several alternate iterations of our favorite heroes and villains. It’s a very interesting (and colorful) examination of communism and dictatorships; it really gets to grips with the absolutist nature of Superman, and along with its multiple awards, Superman: Red Son also provided inspiration for Henry Cavill’s performance in Man of Steel.
Now, 15 years later, could a film version be happening? Over on Twitter, an exchange began between Red Son’s writer Mark Millar and Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts implies it's on the table.
It all started off as playful banter between the pair, with no mention of any impending announcement about potential Superman movies:
Fans' ears soon perked up when Vogt-Roberts revealed that he'd pitched a cinematic version of Superman: Red Son to Warner Bros. execs in the not-too-distant past. Yet he regretfully tweeted that it "will sadly never get made."
The fact that a talented director — fresh off the back of a successful blockbuster — was openly gunning for a superhero property is pretty big news in itself, but things soon took another, surprisingly positive turn. Millar revealed that while Warner Bros. had rejected Vogt-Roberts's pitch, they were now actively approaching other directors to helm an adaptation of Superman: Red Son.
Now that is a very interesting and bold move on Warner Bros.'s part. Continuity is key in cinematic shared universes, and an adaptation of Red Son wouldn't fit the current #DCEU model; after all, a Soviet Superman goes against everything that's been established in the decidedly America-centric Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Nevertheless, when Den of Geek later approached Mark Millar about Red Son he had this to say, walking back his tweets somewhat:
"I have no idea... [if it’s] something they're genuinely planning...I've got pals at Warner Bros but never discussed it with them... There's always 50 conversations for every comic book movie that gets made and as far as I know this is something that is very much just at conversation stage."
So while Mark Millar can't outright confirm whether or not a Red Son adaptation is in the cards, it is "conversation stage," meaning that its being discussed in the Warner Bros. boardrooms. And the fact that this has been going on very recently is definitely an encouraging sign for fans of the original comic series.
Would A Superman: Red Son Movie Work?
As exciting as the prospect of a live-action Superman: Red Son movie is, it still doesn't change the fact that it would clash with what's already been established by Zack Snyder. Yet in several more tweets to Millar, Vogt-Roberts explained that an adaptation of Superman: Red Son could stand apart from the rest of the DCEU, and he even divulged more details about his pitch to Warner Bros.:
"I wasn't even convinced you needed [Ben] Affleck and [Henry] Cavill...I think we can sustain a 'main shared universe' AND offshoots with alternate takes on characters and different actors existing simultaneously."
Vogt-Roberts does have a point. Deadpool takes place in Fox's X-Men universe, but its direct links were shaky at best. Heck, the version of Colossus in Deadpool bore very little resemblance to Daniel Cudmore's iteration in the main series; the same can be said for Logan, which (mostly) disregarded the continuity and still hugely succeeded regardless. Indeed, these films really sunk their teeth into the meaty heart of the stories over all other considerations, and thus audiences embraced them.
And that could be crucial; after all, as Mark Hamill recently suggested, the superhero movie genre can only continue to thrive if it keeps finding new and dynamic stories to tell. A communist version of Clark Kent would certainly fit the bill on that front, and this is an idea that Vogt-Roberts agreed with in his tweets:
But is Superman: Red Son the right movie to try this with? It's undoubtedly a cool concept, but as a film in itself, it could prove to be very controversial — as well as confusing — for general audiences.
Sure, Vogt-Roberts is definitely right when he says that "public understanding of the medium has evolved," yet the extent as to which it has done so is debatable. After all, many non-comic book fan cinema-goers are having a hard time getting to grips with the fact that there’s an all-new cinematic version of Spider-Man swinging into our multiplexes. And yes, that's even with the heavy presence of Iron Man to highlight the difference in all of Spider-Man: Homecoming's marketing.
Superhero aficionados may scoff at this, but comic book movies can't survive just on the backs of diehard fanatics. General audiences need to understand a film to be interested in it; if they don't get what it's about, they simply won't pay to see it. Without casual fans, who may struggle with the concept of non-canonical alternate dimensions, our favorite superhero movies wouldn't be nearly as financially successful as they are, and thus they wouldn't get made — it's as simple as that.
So, it's unclear at this early stage as to whether or not Warner Bros. will proceed with an adaptation of Superman: Red Son, but its certainly a compelling prospect. In the meantime, we can look forward to the return of Henry Cavill's Superman this November in Justice League.
Would you want to see a live-action version of Red Son? Sound off in the comments below!
[Source: Twitter & Den of Geek]