*Warning: This post contains spoilers for Batman v Superman, as well as speculation on upcoming DCEU plots.*
The Superman of the DCEU is somewhat of an enigma. Unlike versions before him, Henry Cavill's Superman is troubled, uncertain of how to best utilize his immeasurable power, and carries the weight of the world on his Kryptonian Skinsuit covered shoulders.
While Man of Steel (2013) raised questions about Superman's ability to destroy pretty much every structure in Metropolis during a battle against General Zod, Batman v Superman raised the bar to an almost frenzied level. Add in false allegations of mass murder, Zack Snyder's grungy backdrop and Henry Cavill's chiseled smoulder, and you get a very downtrodden Superman indeed.
A Vilified Superhero
Such was his infamous reputation, Bruce Wayne made it his own personal mission to put an end to Superman's antics, convinced he was the one responsible for multiple civilian casualties. This resulted in the gargantuan stand off between two of DC's most adored superheroes, and more inner angst for Kal-El as he attempted to reason with his nemesis.
Considering Superman's struggles in the DCEU up to this point, it was tragically fitting that after overcoming the feud with Batman and teaming up with Wonder Woman to tackle Doomsday, the Man of Steel met his untimely demise while jarring a Kryptonian dagger into the monster's soul, sacrificing his life for the greater good. Superman is dead, long live Superman.
But this is the world of superheroes, and with the DCEU in its early stages, surely it's not the end of Clark Kent, is it? Well, if Cavill's recent teaser is anything to go by — no. He may've only shared a conspicuous close-up of what appears to be a black Superman suit, but the context is everything.
The black suit is loaded with context; its most recognised inclusion appearing in The Return of Superman, from the Death of Superman narrative. In the series — which was released in 1992 — Clark Kent dies in the arms of Lois Lane, before he is then reincarnated, donning the latest trend with the dark suit.
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The Death Of Superman
Events as they've unfolded in the DCEU so far point toward this storyline being followed in Justice League. For a more in-depth look at the potential consequences, take a look at what this could mean here. But for now, we'll focus on a different angle: If Superman is resurrected, could we see the transformation into the classic version of the character? A hero freed from the shackles of uncertainty?
A theory on Reddit believes this to be the case, and argues that we could in fact be seeing a version of the character we're more familiar with after all. But how will it pan out across DCEU's feature films? Let's take a look.
Whether you're a fan of the DCEU's Superman or not, it's quite clear that this is a different, darker take on the character and a long way from the lighthearted days of Christopher Reeves take from the late '70s onwards. Perhaps one of the reasons this isn't to everyone's taste is down to what he stands for; as a godlike being, he's often a metaphor for hope, a message hard to portray when the character is being vilified.
Could This Be The Beginning Of A New Superman?
But this could all be a ruse. Now Superman is dead, the DCEU has a blank slate. The theory suggests that Kal-El's original suit may actually have the built in capability to enter a special stasis state should Superman die. It suggests the suit is in this emergency mode, restoring Superman's powers as part of a solar regeneration kit.
While we may see the black suit in appear in Justice League, what if we also see the transformation back to the original blue and red? This resurrection gives Superman the chance to reappear, a Phoenix from the ashes, more assured, more charming, and more like the character we've come to know and love. It would also fit in to the perceived lighter tone of the Justice League movie (well, Bruce Wayne is cracking jokes, after all).
Whether or not this is a route that the DCEU takes, it's certainly an exciting prospect. However one thing is certain; whichever direction Superman's story arc goes next, there will be some serious changes to The Boy Scout.
Do you think we could see a more familiar Superman following his resurrection?