(Warning: The following contains major plot SPOILERS for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests to you is wise...)
Now, however you may feel about his controversial portrayal in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the past three-quarters of a century sure have offered up a whole lot of reasons to love Superman. Whether you fell for his goofy golden and silver age comic-book antics, Christopher Reeve's iconic performance in the original movies, or even Henry Cavill's darker modern turn, Superman has long been an icon for millions around the world.
And yet, right here, right now, in 2016, we don't really know what's coming next for the Man of Steel on the big screen. After all...
(Note: This is where those aforementioned SPOILERS kick in, right below this video...)
...the last we saw of him in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he was seemingly very dead. Except, of course, for the presence of that teasing final shot of his grave, which (alongside pretty direct confirmation from the movie's director Zack Snyder) would seem to suggest that Superman won't be gone for all that long. Justice League, Part One is fast approaching, after all.
With that being the case, though, it's perhaps time to ask:
What Will The Next Superman Solo Movie Be Like?
After all, whether you love it or hate it, it's a little tough to describe Batman v Superman as an actual sequel to Man of Steel - with the DC's superhero on superhero action epic instead acting as more of a standalone introduction to the DC Extended Universe.
With that in mind, then, what can we expect to see from a hypothetical Man of Steel 2? Let's take a look at the two leading candidates, shall we?
The Continuity Candidate: Zack Snyder's Man of Steel 2
Let's say that Justice League, Part One does well at the box office, and that Geoff Johns' installment as the DCEU's new go-to-guy brings fans and critics alike back in to the DC fold. If that's the case, then we can reasonably expect Warner Bros. (DC's parent company) to double down on Zack Snyder's involvement in the franchise, and to authorize a similarly dark and serious take on the Superman mythos to what we saw in Man of Steel.
Superman would remain willing to kill in certain circumstances, and would act as more of a metaphor for the distrust of outsiders (and the moral complexity inherent in modern life) than as the icon of virtue and humanity that his comic-book counterpart has long been. In other words, it truly will be Man of Steel 2 - a direct sequel to the 2013 film both spiritually and in terms of plot.
Alternatively, though, we could well see...
The Outsider Option: A Lighter, 'All Star' Superman
Should things not go Snyder's way, however - say, though a negative critical response to Justice League, Part One, or a similarly disappointing box office take to Batman v Superman for the DCEU's next few films - then we could well be set to see a very different sort of Superman movie. After all, there's no shortage of alternate takes on the Superman mythos in DC's comic-book back catalog.
Could we perhaps instead see some variation on the classic Superman tale spun by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely in All-Star Superman? The 2005-2008 series has, after all, become one of the most beloved DC comic-books in recent memory, and offers up a highly adaptable tale of optimism, scientific endeavor and down home Superman-ly charm. If Snyder were to depart the franchise, could DC decide to eschew its own darker approach, and offer a fan-friendly director (Joss Whedon, perhaps?) the chance to adapt an iconic modern tale of the Man of Steel?
Well, possibly. In the meantime, though, we're likely just going to have to sit tight and wait for Superman to be reborn. Should be...oh, about a year and a half, now.