DC's iconic Man of Steel has suffered from a complicated live-action history that has only worsened in recent years. Following the release of 2017's Justice League, Henry Cavill seemingly departed the role for good, leaving the legendary Kryptonian suit vacant.
With the mantle open on the theatrical side of things, Tyler Hoechlin continues to lead the successful Superman and Lois series on The CW. Recent years also saw Superman Returns star Brandon Routh reprise his role over a decade later for the network's “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event.
Earlier in the year, it was revealed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams will be producing a Superman movie with his production company Bad Robot. The blockbuster production will see a Black actor portray Kal-El for the first time, as Abrams searches for a Black director to helm the film.
After years of Man of Steel drought in DC's high-budget productions, Warner Bros. looks set to make up for the wait as a second Black Superman project is reportedly in production.
MICHAEL B. JORDAN DEVELOPING BLACK SUPERMAN PROJECT
An exclusive report from Collider has revealed that Creed star Michael B. Jordan and his production company Outlier Society are in early development on a Black Superman limited series for HBO Max.
Unlike the J.J Abrams-produced Black Superman project which will center around Kal-El, Jordan's will center around the Val-Zod iteration of the character, who is Black within DC Comics.
Collider's source confirmed that Outlier Society has hired a writer for the project, which Jordan will produce and potentially star in. However, he is yet to formally commit to taking the role.
SO THERE ARE TWO BLACK SUPERMAN PROJECTS?
While DC is actively developing two projects centered around a Black Superman, each will feature different iterations of the character and release in drastically different formats.
As Abrams' theatrical production will star a race-bended Clark Kent, Jordan's limited series will instead feature Earth 2's Val-Zod. The alternate reality Man of Steel made his DC Comics debut in 2014 as a foster brother of Kal-El who also escaped Krypton in a pod thanks to Jor-El and Lara.
After the Abrams-produced Black Superman project was announced, Michael B. Jordan was an instant favorite to lead the blockbuster. While the announcement of his HBO Max series clearly rules him out on that front, he may be the actor to bring Val-Zod to life for the first time.
DC is certainly keeping Jordan busy as he is also set to produce Static Shock, a film he has been described as the creative center of. Given that the film already recruited its writer several months back, one would imagine it is significantly closer to beginning production than Jordan's latest project.
With the legendary actor set to make his directorial debut in the coming years as he helms and stars in Creed III, it's clear he's looking to increase his presence behind the camera.
Whether Jordan chooses to also star in the production will likely come down to his busy schedule, which already includes his first directing gig, multiple producer credits, and several live-action roles. As the project is said to only just be recruiting a writer, the beginning of production could still be years down the line, so perhaps his schedule will be looking a little clearer by then.
Following Marvel's great success in high-budget live-action series on Disney+ with WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki, DC looks to be doubling down on its commitment to HBO Max.
Currently, Warner Bros. is working on various series and original films for John Cena's Peacemaker, Green Lantern, Batgirl, several Justice League Dark projects, and even a Gotham-centric spin-off to Matt Reeves' The Batman.
As of now, Peacemaker is the only one of DC's many HBO Max projects to have wrapped filming as the rest remain in pre-production. James Gunn's The Suicide Squad spin-off is set to hit the streaming service in January 2022.