Is Warner Really Looking for an African-American Superman to Replace Henry Cavill?

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Warner is apparently looking to shake up Superman for his next big-screen outing.

Last week marked the return of Superman to our television sets with The CW’s Superman and Lois, a well-received and interesting look at the Man of Steel and the world’s greatest reporter as they raise a family together on Clark’s family farm after the death of his mother Martha.

We’re all excited to see the Snyder Cut but everyone pretty much agrees that the DCEU has been, on the whole, disappointing. Sure, Shazam! was a high point, but it barely tied into the rest of the story, only having some cursory mentions. Wonder Woman and Aquaman were alright, too.

But Superman is special. Superman is the first comic book superhero. He’s the cornerstone of the modern comic book industry. So Warner is bringing in Ta-Nehisi Coates to revamp the big blue Boy Scout for his next big-screen outing.

Coates is no stranger to superheroes having written Black Panther and Captain America at Marvel, and his geek credentials are basically impeccable. I’m not actually a huge fan of Coates; he’s certainly talented, but he’s just not my cup of tea.

The interesting thing here is the rumors that Warner is looking to cast an African-American actor to play Superman and replace Henry Cavill.

Way back in 1985, DC Comics published Crisis on Infinite Earths, a big crossover created with the goal of revamping their continuity which had become a bit of a mess in the nearly 50 years since Action Comics 1 introduced Superman. In the end, DC didn’t change any of their characters all that much, but creators Mark Wolfman and George Perez had proposed a much more racially-diverse Post-Crisis DC Universe. We’d see glimpses of what this would have looked like in some of DC’s multiverse stories set on Earth-D and in Final Crisis where Grant Morrison created an alternate-universe version of Superman based on then-President Barack Obama.

It seems likely that Coates’ Superman film will not be replacing Henry Cavill but will in fact be more like Joker or The Batman and be in its own continuity.

And honestly, a black Superman could be an interesting story. Superman’s upbringing in Smallville is a big part of his character, and he would have grown up in different circumstances if he was black. He’d still be Superman, the icon of what we could be if we were the best person we could be, but it would actually be interesting to see how that looks different when that icon grows up as a black man.

But he won’t be replacing Henry Cavill’s Superman. It’ll be a different story, the way Joker didn’t replace Jared Leto’s character. Unfortunately.

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