It was the moment where a million fanboys cheered - I know, that I was one of them - but does Superman The Movie director Richard Donner publicly stating that the Superman movie franchise should be handed over to Action Comics writer (and former assistant to Donner) Geoff Johns actually mean that anything will change for the seemingly-permanently stalled Superman movie franchise?Okay, we won't boast too much that Donner was just saying something that we said a couple of months ago when he suggested that Johns be given the keys to the franchise earlier this week:
I'd like to see Geoff Johns take a crack at Superman...I think he would be startling. Did you read his comics? There it is. It's there on paper... The studio hasn't gone to him and said, 'Give us a screenplay.' That would be the smart thing to do, but that's show biz. Right? Show biz, that's our life.
The reason for our lack of gloating? The fact that Johns is the most obvious choice to try and turn the Superman movies around. As a veteran of the comic industry, television industry and now moving into movies, Johns has also tackled the Man of Steel in comic book, animated (in Justice League Unlimited) and, with an episode of Smallville due to debut soon, television incarnations. He's demonstrated a love for the character, but also an ability to get to the heart of what makes the character - as well as his surroundings and supporting characters - work and translate that into enjoyable storytelling. Ignore Donner's links to Johns; in this case, he's literally just stating the obvious. As to what Johns would do with the franchise if he were in charge, he's keeping that to himself. Well, apart from letting slip at the San Diego Comic-Con that he'd want to see Brainiac in a future movie if possible... Although, if Kevin Spacey is to be believed, we'd be much more likely to see yet another Superman/Luthor clash in the next go-around.
In fact, Spacey's belief that he'd be involved in any future Superman movie is half of one of the more interesting wrinkles in all the talk about a Superman Movie Reboot coming at some point. Namely, if they're trying to reboot the entire franchise, why are they keeping the cast of Superman Returns around? It's not just Spacey; according to Latino Review's speedy conversation with DC Comics' Paul Levitz, Superman himself, Brandon Routh is still involved in any future Superman movie - A fact surprising to anyone who didn't see how well he managed the role in Bryan Singer's otherwise uneven 2006 movie. Does the presence of Spacey and Routh mean that Singer's supposedly "Wrath of Khan"-esque sequel to Superman Returns is more alive than most people think, or simply that Warners don't want to have to go through the messy casting process again? Levitz perhaps offered the most honest, and perceptive, take on where the movie's progress really stands:
Everyone is waiting for Nolan to sign on for another Batman, once that happens, the release date for Superman and all other future projects will follow.
Given the success of The Dark Knight, it only makes sense for Warners to try and base their superhero strategy around another installment of the series - but we must admit, we're hoping that they'll come to their senses and see any future Superman movie as brighter, optimistic counterprogramming to Christopher Nolan's increasingly-dark and depressing Batmovies instead of trying to explore the darker recesses of a Kryptonian's soul.