27 February 2021 762 Views

Superman: Black Face a go for reboot at Warners /Bad Robot?

by James Murphy

Yes that’s right. You heard it here first. Don’t panic. Al(l) will be revealed. 

Warners and Bad Robot were delighted to reveal their new reboot of SUPERMAN! The catch is that he will now be BLACK! In a further catch /twist? Not really. Coz it will in fact be an AL JOLSON / BLACK AND WHITE MINSTREL tribute! ‘I’d go a million galaxies for one of your smiles..my MAAAARRRTHHHHA!’.

Speaking of which? Where does this leave HENRY CAVILL? Well, he is not black. But he does love playing SUPERMAN! So he will be contemplating the black face option. It is a meta take on racism and on the kind of obscure comedy, musical and movies no longer seen by anyone because they are not superhero films from Marvel. Like, soooo metatextual, right? On message.

Kinda like WANDAVISION: which we all watch in waiting for the final Prof X /Magneto cameo; payoff being we must endure clever dicking filler revolving around sitcom history, obscure advertising satire and a deeply cynical riff on both ‘mental health’ and ‘House of M’. DC /Warners LOVE to copy Marvel. Badly. Hence, SUPERMAN: BLACKFACE!

If Cavill tests badly in the makeup? It is thought a CGI colour grading will be used. Warners think that will work because it was SO good on the moustache in JUSTICE LEAGUE. 

Ok, I lied. And it’s filed under ‘satire’. And it is deeply offensive, naturally. GOOD. Tell you what is also offensive?

  • Paying JJ Abrams half a BILLION to produce without any particular new vision?
  • Turning down many other pitches: McQuarrie, Vaughn..directors and writers with a good pitch.
  • Failing to simply make Man of Steel 2 in the first place before the follies of Batman V Justice League etc.
  • Ignoring the wealth of comics, graphic novels, tv shows, books and unmade scripts for this new ‘reboot’.
  • Allowing Henry Cavill to look as though he has been fired /replaced, without announcing anything.
  • Not accepting that Cavill is the best Superman ever and does a great deal for charity, too.
  • Somehow leaking this news when the CW just produced a tv pilot that is better than any recent film version.
  • Giving work to a (imho) substandard writer (Ta-Nehisi Coates) whose politics trump escapist fun.

MAKE A FUN, BRIGHT, HOPEFUL (but not bland: ie action packed, with stakes and pathos?) SUPERMAN FILM. It’s NOT that difficult. Race swap as rumoured is not a new ‘take’. It is a gimmick which devalues true race reconciliation imho. Superman is an alien. He is all of us.

Yes, you could deal with race through that analogy. You could even be subversive and have a white Clark Kent /black Superman? Or a black Lex Luthor (there is precedent), driven by an inverted sense of persecution and a need to defeat the alien Kryptonian. But no, suspect they may just recast it with a black actor. Wow. How original! Yawn. 

And yes, reminder: filed under satire. This is not extremist nonsense, even if recasting and colour jumping will ironically bait many an internet troll rather than unify a fanbase.

Best of luck to all involved, anyway.

ps: black superman is not a new idea. Muhammad Ali was on the shortlist for the part in the 1970s; Will Smith once mooted, too?; Michael B Jordan would be awesome (but not YET and NOT as the ‘USP’). 

Warrington College of Business



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