A new Superman Movie Reboot is in the works at Warner Bros, with J.J. Abrams producing, and a script from acclaimed author/comic book writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Later reporting hints this new Superman movie project will involve "a black Superman" in its story, which was all some fans needed to get triggered. Aside from the obvious debate over a black Superman being introduced in this new film, a lot of DC fans have been upset over the idea that this new film could spell the end of Henry Cavill's tenure as Superman. But there may be no reason to worry...
This is how DC can make a great Black Superman movie - while still featuring Henry Cavill's Superman in the story.
Who Is Black Superman?
First, there are several black versions of Superman in the comics, each of which would be potential good fits for the new Superman reboot movie.
The first is Val-Zod, a black Superman of the Earth 2 universe. Val-Zod was also sent to Earth by his adoptive parents Lara and Jor-El but was educated in intelligence and pacifism. On Earth, Val was locked down as a recluse, needing to be "protected" from the outside world. Between that and his long trip to Earth in his pod, Val-Zod is agoraphobic.
The other black Superman character is "President Superman" aka Kalel/Calvin Ellis of Earth 23. That version of Superman also had the same origin, but Jorel and Lara were black, and the adoptive Earth family raised "Calvin" to be a champion of oppressed people and defender of global peace. In order to achieve those lofty goals, Calvin both becomes Superman - and president of the United States, in his civilian identity. With the help of a reprogrammed Brainiac, Calvin has to handle the pressures of the presidency while secretly still being Superman.
A Tale of Two Supermen
Each of those aforementioned black Supermen characters is enough to carry a Superman movie that delivers a new origin story for a black character. They are both, essentially, variations on the original Kal-El/Superman origin from the new context and point of view of a minority. But thanks to Sony's success with Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse, we know full well that a familiar superhero origin for a minority version of the character need not exclude the original white version.
That's all to say: the story of a new black Superman is one that can very much still include Henry Cavill. The Calvin Ellis character is especially inviting for that sort of scenario; thanks to The Flash movie the DC movie multiverse will be in full play for all these new film projects that Warner Bros. is playing with. Earths colliding and bringing Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and Calvin Ellis (or Val-Zod) together would be interesting.
Why Black Superman?
So what purpose would be served by making a black Superman origin film - and possibly including Henry Cavill in it? Well, those answers could be one and the same: provide a new kind of reflective look at who Superman is as a character, and a symbol, on a larger demographic scale.
A meeting of two Supermen could force Henry Cavill's Superman (and audiences) to consider ways of "helping" or "saving" people that he never had to before. Val-Zod would be a good choice as a full-circle emotional callback to Man of Steel and Cavill's Superman killing Zod. Val-Zod traumatic experiences on Earth would also make him see people and society very differently than Clark Kent's wholesome All-American upbringing.5comments
Calvin Ellis is a more direct echo of Henry Cavill's Superman origin story, from a black perspective on both Krypton and Earth. The end result would be the same: an idyllic superhero representing truth, justice, and peace - but having two very different contexts for what those concepts mean. That's a story that could help a very divided society re-discover values we are all united in. Time will tell if it's the one we get.
No word on a release date or casting for DC and Warner Bros. new Superman movie.