Creed and Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan’s dream of bringing a black Superman to live-action is now one step closer to realization.
Through Collider, we have learned that Jordan is making a project for HBO Max centered on Val-Zod, the Superman of Earth-2, as seen in DC’s New 52 series of the same name. A writer has been hired who has not been identified as of yet.
It’s noted that the project, set to be produced as a miniseries for the Warner Bros. backed-streaming platform, will be produced by Jordan’s banner, Outlier Society, but whether he will star in the project remains to be seen. Collider sources say the actor hasn’t made a commitment to that degree.
Elsewhere, Warner Bros. is still moving ahead with its previously announced J.J. Abrams-produced, Ta-Nehisi Coates written black Superman movie, which will be entirely separate from Jordan’s series.
It’s unknown if Jordan’s pitch for a Val-Zod series will be the same one he tried to sell Warner on back in April, but either way, as noted in a previous interview given to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor’s goal with a black Superman project is clear.
“It’s important for people to see themselves in roles that they normally wouldn’t see,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in April. “What that does to the next generation, to a kid or somebody that didn’t think that is something that they could achieve — now they’re thinking about it and daydreaming about it.”
However, he has also stated in the past that he wants to stick with continuity and keep his spin on DC’s Man of Steel “authentic” by adapting a Superman of color who already exists in comics – like Val-Zod or Earth-32’s Calvin Ellis.
Regarding the Abrams film, when his name came up as a potential candidate for the project’s starring role, Jordan made it clear, “I’m just watching on this one” – possibly to avoid the push back against Bad Report’s reportedly race-bent Clark Kent.
As Jamie Broadnax notes in a Black Girl Nerds editorial, according to sources, Jordan has not “wanted to engage in conversations about racebending Kal-El for the same reasons many of the fans are pushing back on the current Warner Bros. re-imagined version of Clark Kent,” but has publicly maintained “that he would be interested in engaging on a Black Superman project centering on the Val-Zod storyline.”
Broadnax added Warner risks looking tone-deaf by race-bending “a white character and [erasing] Black characters that already exist in the DC universe under the Superman banner — Calvin Ellis and Val-Zod.”
By wishing to produce his own project, Jordan is possibly possibly signaling that he may have come to the same conclusion, similarly opting to avoid drawing fire to his brand – which is also developing a Static Shock movie.
When they’ll get to Icon – the real forgotten man in all this – is anybody’s guess.