J.J. Abrams’ Black Superman film to be separate from the DCEU

DC's Black Superman, Calvin Ellis, has returned
Calvin Ellis is the Black Superman. Pic credit: DC Comics

It appears there will be more than one big-screen Superman for the DCEU. 

Reports indicate that J.J. Abrams’ new Superman reboot, which may revolve around the “Black Superman” Calvin Ellis, will be set in a separate continuity than the Henry Cavill Superman films.

This allows the filmmakers the freedom to present a new take on the Man of Steel that won’t contradict the main DCEU films.

The new Superman

When it was announced Abrams would be tackling Superman, the assumption was that it would reboot the Man of Steel films already established in the DCEU.

But sources soon claimed that Abrams was planning to have a Black man as Superman, with many believing it would be Val-Zod. Appearing in the New 52 era “Earth-2” comic, Val was the son of his reality’s General Zod, who was executed for attempting to overthrow Krypton. 

Fleeing the destruction of Krypton alongside Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) and a baby Kal-El, Val would spend years in hiding but eventually rise up to become his Earth’s Superman. 

Adding fuel to the rumors was the report that the Robert Pattinson The Batman film will be set on Earth-2, the long-popular alternate world of DC Comics. 

But it now appears rather than Val, this new Superman will be a unique take on Kal-El.

Calvin Ellis appearance?

Superman reboot: Who is Calvin Ellis, the Black Superman?
Calvin Ellis is the Black Superman. Pic credit: DC Comics

Per the Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Ta-Nahesi Coates is “crafting a Kal-El in the vein of the original Superman comics and will have the protagonist hail from Krypton and come to Earth. While the story is currently being crafted and many details could change, one option under consideration is for the film to be a 20th century period piece.”

This indicates the Superman in the film will be Calvin Ellis. Hailing from Earth-23, the character debuted in 2008’s Final Crisis #7. Clearly modeled on President Barack Obama, Ellis is the Kal-El of his reality rocketed to Earth as a child.

Rather than raised by Kansas farmers, Ellis grew up with a poor inner-city couple, giving him a much different life experience than Clark Kent. He would rise up as a lawyer, activist and eventually become President of the United States. 

Calvin is able to balance being leader of the free world with his duties as Superman as he leads a racially diverse Justice League. 

Star and director undecided

Michael B Jordan
Michael B. Jordan Pic credit: Amazon Studios

Having this Superman be in a different world frees Warner Bros of any contradiction with the DCEU canon and gives their filmmakers far more freedom with their stories. 

The report of it being set in the 20th century is interesting as it leads to how the 1960s Civil Rights era would react to a Black man with the power of Superman and provide some unique perspective to today’s world. 

Coates is well known for his often charged writing, such as Black Panther and Captain America, and seems eager to make a Black Superman work.

THR reports Warner Bros is openly searching for a Black director to better handle the material while Abrams will remain a producer.

Since the project was announced, Michael B. Jordan has been pushed by fans as a great choice to play Ellis. The Black Panther star acknowledged the rumors but indicated he wasn’t interested in taking part. 

This is still early in the production stages as Coates isn’t expected to hand in his first script draft until December. Yet this new direction promises this version of the Man of Steel will be far different than any of his predecessors.

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