Hopes were high for the big screen debut of Ray Fisher’s character Victor Stone (also known as Cyborg) in Justice League – but, when the movie proved to be something of a disappointment, and Cyborg in particular felt somewhat under-used, the spinoff for the character that Warner Bros. has long had planned for 2020 seemed less than guaranteed. Now, however, a central figure in that potential storyline – actor Joe Morton – has given an update on the project, and seems to be expecting the Cyborg movie to go ahead as planned.
Morton has a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. and DC, to play Dr. Silas Stone – father of Cyborg. He’s already played that role in two DC Universe movies – Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Justice League – and the Cyborg pic was expected to be the third. As far as the actor is concerned, that apparently remains the case.
“From what I understand, there will be a Cyborg movie. It will be about him and I, and about the family that he came from, how he becomes the Cyborg, et cetera, but from whence he came, as well.”
Continuing on, he said:
“I think it’s very exciting. I think it’s exciting because there aren’t that many, if any, black superheroes, and in his case in particular, because there is no alias – because there is nothing for him to hide behind – and that he has to be who he is all the time. I think it’s a great kind of allegory for what it means to be black in this country.”
There is, of course, the highly anticipated Marvel movie Black Panther – which arrives in theatres next mont – but it’s absolutely the case that there are far too few leading black superheroes compared to white superheroes. In fact, in the realms of both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, Black Panther will be the first solo movie for a black superhero since either franchise launched.
Morton’s perspective on Cyborg’s physical nature is also an interesting point to make when drawing comparisons between superhero characters depicted on the big screen. When the first Justice League images appeared online in the early days of production, there were some comments about the fact that the only black superhero on the team had half his face replaced with machinery.
While that is an accurate issue, Morton counters that with the fact that superheroes like Batman and The Flash – and in Marvel, Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Panther – all wear masks while performing their superheroics. Cyborg does not have that opportunity, and has no choice but to embrace the fact that his identity is always laid bare for all to see.
While much has been made of the switch of Justice League directors, and the supposed negative impact this may have had on the final version of the film, Joe Morton makes it clear that his experience of working on the superhero team-up story was a very positive one.
“To sort of be around Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon, to watch the work that they do and to work with the other actors, other characters, it was just a lot of fun. It was also a stark contrast to what I was doing at the time that I started, because it was kind of the end of Scandal, and then I went off-Broadway to do a play [called Turn Me Loose] about Dick Gregory, which was very real and down to earth. So to jump literally across the Atlantic Ocean and go into a DC comic book was just kind of a head spinner, but it was a lot of fun.”
Hopefully, Morton will indeed have the chance to reprise his role as Dr. Silas Stone in a Cyborg movie, as planned – as there’s a great deal of excellent storytelling material to be mined from the comic book tales of the character. The project has yet to confirm a director, though – and there has been no confirmation of script development, either. As always though, we’ll be watching closely for any further news.