Yesterday – on Henry Cavill’s birthday, no less – a load of new details about the incoming Superman reboot that Warner Bros. is working on came our way. J.J. Abrams is producing the movie, based on a script from Marvel Comics scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it will star a black Man of Steel.
There’s previously been much speculation from the fans on which of the alternate versions of the hero from the comics it could be, but The Hollywood Reporter’s big blowout on the project clarified that the protagonist of the reboot will still be the one and only Kal-El of Krypton. The trade writes that Coates is “crafting” a take on the legendary character that will follow Superman’s origins from “the original comics,” confirming that he’ll be sent as a baby from the dying planet to Earth, as per the story we’re all familiar with.
This has caused quite a stir online, as DC fans are reacting, many with anger, at the idea of WB switching the race of Clark Kent instead of using one of the black alt-Supermen from the comics, such as Val-Zod. It’s worth pointing out, though, that just because the reboot will feature Kal-El doesn’t necessarily mean the character will go by the usual Clark Kent name. One popular choice to star in the movie is Calvin Ellis of Earth-23, for example, and Ellis’ birth name is Kalel. He was simply adopted by the Ellises instead of the Kents, hence the different human alias.
Having said that, THR’s use of the word “crafting” for Coates’ process does suggest the writer may be looking to include a brand new version of the hero in the film. Perhaps similar to how Joaquin Phoenix played an original Clown Prince of Crime in Joker. It’s likely the studio elected to retain the character’s core identity of Kal-El of Krypton to please fans, but it looks like this is going to prove to be a hugely controversial element of the Superman reboot.