Some major developments for the sequel to Superman Returns, tentatively titled Superman: The Man of Steel, hit the web today in quick succession. First, IESB reports that they’ve received “100%” confirmation that Bryan Singer will return to direct the flick and they’ve also heard that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek) are in major talks to replace Returns scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris.
And then, later today Empire actually chatted with Singer, who not only confirmed his “intent” to direct, but once again defended Returns‘ poor critical, fanboy and box office reception, while playing up action in the sequel…
“That movie made $400 million!” Singer says to Empire. “I don’t know what constitutes under-performing these days…Look, I can understand, I suppose, what some people mean. Perhaps some people went in with the expectation of it being like an X-Men film, and Superman is a tougher character than that. Especially bringing him back. It really goes back to the fact that you can only please some of the people some of the time. But, yes, I’m just getting back with writers after the strike. We’re just in the development phase. I’m starting to develop a sequel…with the intention of directing it.”
He goes on to jokingly jab at female fans who went ga-ga over Superman Returns, while mentioning the sequel’s upped stakes…
“The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film,” he says. “I’ll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there’s really an opportunity to up the threat levels…Clearly there’ll be a body count [laughs]. From frame one, it will be unrelenting terror! All those teenage girls who found the movie and mooned over James Marsden or Brandon? Well, I’m going to wake them up!”
I’m moderately surprised that Warner Bros. is going ahead with a sequel rather than scrapping it and revamping the character once again a la The Incredible Hulk or Punisher: War Zone. Not to sound like a smirk jerk, but the first film, which cost $200 million (I’ll still add an ! to that), totally blew it in my opinion and was basically one of the largest pet-projects ever. A Superman movie should reign supreme over all comic book films in terms of epic-ness, scope, special effects and box office, but even if Man of Steel boasts more action, it’ll still be difficult to get stoked after the first faux-weepy, overly nostalgic bummer.
Update (2 a.m. EST): CHUD reports that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are definitely not attached to pen the Man of Steel screenplay.
Discuss: Can Singer knock a sequel out of the park? Moreover was the only complaint about the first film merely action-related?
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Last night we reported that Superman Returns scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris are not coming back for the planned sequel, and that Warner Bros is now taking pitches for The Man of Steel. It will be interesting to see what writers come to Warner with story ideas. The first notable is Scottish-born comic book writer Mark Millar, who is best known for his work on Ultimate X-Men, Wanted, Marvel Knights Spider-Man, The Ultimates, and Civil War.
“My guys at CAA get into the office in about seven hours and my call will be waiting for them to talk about this. I want to revamp Superman like Hillary wants thin ankles. Revamping this franchise is what I as given fingers for and so, invited or not, I’m putting my plan together now. I’ve been asked to work on half a dozen screenplays lately, but this is the only one I have ever truly wanted. I have literally hundreds of pages of notes and sketches just waiting for this opportunity. This would be my dream gig and, as a fan, I know exactly what this project needs to work. This has to be Superman for the 21st Century, keeping everything we adore, but starting from scratch and making the kids love it as much as the 30-somethings. I would honestly write this thing for free. Anyway, my treatment is being polished as we type. Wish me luck. I want to do that Superman movie we all want to see.”
The revamp comment is reference to the Hollywood rumors that the studio wants to make a sequel which totally negates Superman Returns, much like Universal is doing with The Incredible Hulk. Warner Bros has denied this publicly, however, many believe that it is only a matter of time before director Bryan Singer leaves the project, which might allow the studio to begin from scratch.
Millar has been very public about wanting to write a Superman comic for DC for a long time now, however it is believed that his continued working relationship with Marvel and controversial comments about DC may have stalled this possibility from happening.
According to Wikipedia, Mark Millar is one of the most popular writers in modern comics, though he remains a controversial figure. His fans praise him for clever, provocative and edgy plots, which often have a social undercurrent, while his detractors point to an overuse of shock tactics and a tendency towards polemicism. He has been praised for his ability to inject new life into pre-existing characters, such as The Avengers, although he has also been criticized for his habit of always cherry-picking high-profile, big money projects.
I’m a casual comic book fan, and have not read much of Millar’s work. However, I found Civil War to be a huge disappointment, but that might be attributed to writing a comic by committee. His 2003-2004 comic book mini-series Wanted is being adapted to the big screen with James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie. The movie is set to hit theaters on March 28, 2008.
Hat Tip to Mel V
Superman Returns screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris have opted not to come back and pen a sequel, according to Variety. What does this mean about the future of Superman? Will Bryan Singer soon depart from the project? The duo also worked with Singer on X2: X-Men United, and Trick ‘r Treat (which Brian produced). I wouldn’t be surprised to hear later this week/month that Singer has also left the project. The writing already seems to be on the walls.
Warner Bros is now taking story pitches for Man of Steel. This is very interesting since it was always assumed that script, or at least treatment had been laid out. Months before going into production on Valkyrie, Singer’s camp had made some public comments about how well the preproduction on a Man of Steel was going. But now things have dramatically changed. I wonder if the studio was unhappy with Dougherty and Harris’ take on Man of Steel? They clearly were not happy with Superman Returns. A lot of fans were unhappy with Singer’s film, primarily due to it’s lack of action, casting decisions and the Superkid storyline.
Many people around Hollywood believe that the studio would like to “start fresh with a new take on the Man of Steel, as if the previous pic never happened.” Some rumors claim that the studio is interesting in replacing Returns star Brandon Routh and pulling a reboot/remake, much like Universal are doing with The Incredible Hulk.
Update: Comic Book writer Mark Millar has announced that he will pitch for the Superman sequel.
I think this is a huge mistake. If one thing Superman Returns was good for, it was as a set-up for future films. I do agree with many fans that the “superkid” storyline should have never happened. But I believe clever storytelling could not only fix this, but could propell the series in a wonderful new direction. One problem I’ve always had with Superman is that he is invincible and unstoppable. If Superkid were to suffer a fatal injury (how? that isn’t for me to decide) early into Man of Steel, this could set up a new more vulnerable Superman and a story of revenge.
But Warner Bros is denying reboot plans despite the Hollywood rumors, and the studio insists that Brandon Routh will likely return as the Man of Steel.
So let’s hear your pitch! If you were going to write the Superman Sequel, what would happen?
It looks like Heroes is trying to collect some interesting writer/directors for the new spin-off series Heroes: Origins. Kevin Smith has already signed on to write/direct an episode. News circulated through the tabloid papers this past week that Quentin Tarantino was asked to pen and direct an episode (but he turned it down because he had never watched the series).
Now news comes out that Superman Returns co-writer Michael Dougherty and Hostel writer/director Eli Roth have both been tapped to write an episode of Heroes: Origins. Roth will also direct. It will be interesting to see what other writers/directors with geek-cred they can nail down for an episode.
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