Report Suggests Warner Bros. Still Developing J.J. Abrams’ And Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Superman Movie With Henry Cavill Gone

Infinite President Superman
"President Superman" in Infinite Frontier #5 from DC Comics, art by Bryan Hitch

A project at DC Studios that was left over from the WarnerMedia and DC Films authority that was thought to be dead – or just equal parts “cold turkey” – still has life. According to a recent report about co-DC Studio head James Gunn’s plan for Superman, the standalone film about a Man of Steel of Color remains in “active development.”

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel (2013), Warner Bros. Pictures

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The report by Variety notes this piece of information amid coverage of Gunn’s proposed Superman movie he is writing and Henry Cavill’s sudden exit from the iconic hero role that came two months after his eagerly anticipated return. The trade’s “sources said the new Gunn project will not replace the previously announced J.J. Abrams-Ta-Nehisi Coates Superman concept (which is still in active development).”

As noted, the project comes from producer-director J.J. Abrams and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates who is still trying to perfect the script. It was announced in February 2021 but wasn’t getting far internally at Warner during the course of the entire year. This is mainly due to Coates reportedly not delivering on a first draft until the following April.

Ta-Nehisi Coates at the University of Virginia during the MLK Celebration 2015 Photo Credit: Eduardo Montes-Bradley, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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There is again little in the way of updates to report about his progress after nearly another year has passed, but Warner must still see potential in the idea under David Zaslav. The old regime reportedly looked at the “concept” as Oscar bait and inspiration for children – even if it goes over their heads or no one wants to see it.

That’s a problem and a sign of the same old mistakes by the studio when their BIPOC Kryptonian Oscar contender might cost them $300 million. Zaslav, who’s akin to Jason Voorhees when it comes to budget slashing, signing off on that is inconceivable. He has lots of debt left to trim and the Abrams project may yet wind up on the chopping block.

The Multiversity v1 Issue #2 (2015), DC Comics. Words by Grant Morrison, Art by Ivan Reis.

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It’s important too to remember these two things: one, Variety called it a concept which is a bad sign for where it is at this stage of development. The term hints that they still don’t have a story after all this time. Two, the trades reported earlier that a “joyful” Man Of Steel 2 starring Henry Cavill was happening and we know that’s not the case.

Those caveats may soothe the fears of those not looking forward to this project, primarily people who haven’t forgotten Coates’ remarks about first responders who rushed into the crumbling twin towers on 9/11. 

Superman Returns: “The Prequels” (2006). Words by Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, and Bryan Singer. Cover art by Adam Hughes.

But we want to leave it up to you to determine that. Keep the conversation going below and tell us your reaction to this news.

NEXT: Petition Launched To Have David Zaslav Keep Henry Cavill As Superman And Remove James Gunn As DC Studios Head

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