The next Superman movie will feature a black actor in the lead role for the first time ever and a black director at the helm, according to a report Wednesday.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the acclaimed novelist who expanded the world of Wakanda for Marvel comics, is also writing the script and is expected to turn it in to Warner Bros bosses in December.
While it will be the first time that a black Superman will appear on the big screen, it will not be new ground for the DC comic icon.
A character called Calvin Ellis was first introduced in 2009 series Final Crisis 7, as a Superman from an alternative universe.
That character is from ‘Earth 23’ where his civilian identity is also the president of the United States. Comic book writer Grant Morrison has said he was inspired by Barack Obama when he created the character.
But there is no indication that it will be this version of Superman who appears in Coates’ script.
While it will be the first time that a black Superman will appear on the big screen, it will not be new ground for the DC comic icon. A character called Calvin Ellis (pictured) was introduced in 2009 series Final Crisis 7, as a Superman from an alternative universe
While no director or star has yet been announced there are several candidates for the roles, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Michael B. Jordan was rumored to be involved in developing a black Superman movie in 2019.
But he has since played down rumors he could be appearing in Coates’ film, telling the Reporter last month: ‘I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation.
‘It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.’
It has also been suggested that bosses could pick a relatively unknown name for the new film – as they did when Brandon Routh donned the cape for ‘Superman Returns’ in 2006.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (left) the acclaimed novelist who expanded the world of Wakanda for Marvel comics, is writing the script for the new film. Michael B. Jordan (right) was rumored to be involved in developing a black Superman movie in 2019.
Black Superman Calvin Ellis (pictured center) has appeared in several storylines in DC comics, but there is no indication that his version will be the character that appears in Coates’ script
Previous Supermans include Christopher Reeve, Tom Welling in Smallville and Dean Cain in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman.
How DC Comics’ existing black Superman was inspired by Barack Obama
The new big screen version of Superman will not be the first time that the iconic character has been portrayed as being black.
A character called Calvin Ellis was first introduced in 2009 series Final Crisis 7, as a Superman from an alternate universe.
That character came from ‘Earth 23’ – part of the wider DC ‘Multiverse’.
While the more widely known Superman’s alias was mild mannered reporter Clark Kent, on his Earth Ellis is the president of the United States.
Comic book writer Grant Morrison has said he was inspired by Barack Obama when he created the character.
Speaking to the Daily Record in 2009, he said: ‘As I was writing it, I heard Obama making a joke about being born on the planet Krypton and being sent to Earth by his father Jor-El to save the world.
‘I thought it would be a fitting end to all the darkness in America recently.
‘All the comics have been dealing with darkness recently and, having defeated evil, it’s now time to celebrate.’
The last time that Superman was seen on screen was in the 2017 film Justice League, where the character was portrayed by Henry Cavill.
As for who will direct the movie those in the running are said to include Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, Steven Caple Jr., J.D. Dillard, Regina King and Shaka King.
Jenkins directed Oscar winning Moonlight, Caple Jr. worked on Creed II and Regina King was behind One Night in Miami.
Shaka King is best known for directing and co-writing Judas and the Black Messiah.
J.J. Abrams will produce the new film, but is not among those being considered to direct. A source said that to hand him that role would be ‘tone deaf’.
‘To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor,’ said Coates in a statement. ‘I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America´s most iconic mythic hero.’
Coates is best known as the author of bestsellers including ‘Between the World and Me,’ ‘The Beautiful Struggle’ and ‘We Were Eight Years in Power.’
Since 2016, he has also penned the Black Panther comics for Marvel, with artist Brian Stelfreeze, a run concluding with a final issue in April. He was thanked in the credits of Ryan Coogler’s 2018 film ‘Black Panther.’
‘Ta-Nehisi Coates´s `Between the World and Me´ opened a window and changed the way many of us see the world,’ said Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
‘We´re confident that his take on Superman will give fans a new and exciting way to see the Man of Steel.’
‘There is a new, powerful and moving Superman story yet to be told,’ said Abrams. ‘We couldn´t be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen.’
Christopher Reeve pictured as Superman in 1983
Henry Cavill pictured at Superman in 2013