James Gunn Says Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Superman Could Still Happen

Before Warner Bros. merged with Discovery last year, the studio had begun moving away from the Snyderverse in favor of greenlighting any DC projects they felt had potential, continuity be damned. But under the new regime, the shared universe model is back on, with co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran serving as its primary architects. With Gunn directing his own Superman movie to kick things off in 2025, this seemingly pulled the plug on other Kryptonian-led stories that were already in development. However, Gunn now says that one such concept from Ta-Nehisi Coates could still see the light of day.

In 2021, Coates confirmed that he was writing his own Superman film with J.J. Abrams onboard as a producer. Early reports described the script as a 20th century period piece featuring a Black actor in the lead role. Given his standing as an important voice on U.S. race relations—along with his stints writing Black Panther and Captain America comics for Marvel—there was a lot of interest in what Coates had to say about the Man of Steel. But even with Superman: Legacy in pre-production, Gunn sounds willing to share the character with other filmmakers. Of course, they would have to set up camp in a different universe.

“Those two things are totally unrelated,” said Gunn in a new interview with io9. “I know that Chantal Nong, who is the executive on that project, is extremely excited about it. So if it comes in and it’s great, which I haven’t read the script, and if the timing is right, that could absolutely happen…It would be an Elseworlds tale like Joker.”

While unveiling their first wave of DC films and TV shows earlier this year, Gunn and Safran confirmed that the “Elseworlds” banner would encompass all projects that don’t align with their vision for the DCU. This covers anything related to Matt Reeves’ The Batman — namely, its upcoming sequel and Penguin spinoff series — and Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux. Theoretically, it would also include the Constantine sequel announced by WB last fall. But Keanu Reeves himself recently cast doubt on whether that film will actually move forward.

Coates’ film wasn’t the only alternate Superman project in the works at DC before the Discovery merger. Later in 2021, word surfaced that Michael B. Jordan was also developing an HBO Max series focusing on Val-Zod, another Black incarnation of Superman who inhabited Earth-2. Fans never got a straight answer as to whether Jordan intended to play the character himself. But during press rounds for Creed III earlier this year, a PR rep for Jordan shot down CinemaBlend’s attempt to learn more info about the series, effectively keeping the rest of us in the dark for the foreseeable future.

Are you interested in seeing Coates’ take on Superman make it to screens? Let us know in the comment section below!

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