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DC will have two competing Black Superman projects, one of which is produced by Michael B. Jordan for HBO Max. Moreover, he might star in it.
The multiverse of DC movies is entering a traffic jam.
On February 26, we reported that J.J. Abrams was developing a Black Superman movie.
In fact, Michael B. Jordan was eyed for the title role. At the time, the Black Superman was going to be Calvin Ellis.
Ellis is the Black Superman of Earth-23. Co-created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Doug Mahnke, Ellis debuted in Final Crisis No. 7 in 2009.
However, Abrams and screenwriter Ta-Nehisi Coates decided to use Clark Kent instead. More specifically, a Black version of Kent.
Michael B. Jordan wasn’t interested.
According to Jamie Broadnax at Black Girl Nerds:
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 that he would be interested in engaging on a Black Superman project centering on the Val-Zod storyline.
Michael B. Jordan confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he is not part of Abrams’ Superman.
I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation. It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.
HBO Max recognized Michael B. Jordan’s interest in representing a comic-accurate Black Superman.
They approached Michael B. Jordan to rework his concept into a series for the streaming service.
In addition, instead of using Ellis, they will instead have Earth-2’s Superman Val-Zod.Why does Michael B. Jordan want to make the Black Superman?
It’s important for people to see themselves in roles that they normally wouldn’t see. 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.
Fans praised Michael B. Jordan for his decision to make plans on making faithful adaptation of Val-Zod.
But Abrams’ plan of Clark Kent’s race bending hasn’t sat well with comic-book readers.
It’s not unusual for DC’s own comics to mix up things, especially if you read the Elseworlds brand. It’s like DC’s own version of Marvel’s What If…?
But why change the race while there are good Black Supermen that have been in DC’s own comics.
Seeing a comic-book accurate Black Superman is what makes seeing Michael B. Jordan’s take on the hero exciting.
Michael B. Jordan Will Be HBO Max’s New Superman
There are actually three known versions of Black Supermen.
The first version only showed up once in Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was released in 1999.
This Superman named Kal-El existed in Earth-D.
This version of Superman was also featured on Crisis of Infinite Earths Giant which was released in December 2019.
What made Earth-D interesting is that the heroes were more ethnically diverse.
It had the Asian Flash, and a Native American Green Arrow.
Earth-D Superman was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist Paul Ryan.
The second version is Calvin Ellis, also known as Kalel (yes, without the dash).
Ellis had a more refined story.
He was first introduced in Final Crisis No. 7 in March 2009, but had a more focused comic which centered around his character in Action Comics No. 9 in 2012.
Ellis existed in Earth-23 and he’s more involved in politics than the Superman we know of.
He is the President of the United States.
The character was inspired from the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama.
The third version of a Black Superman is named Val-Zod.
He existed in Earth 2. Val-Zod first appeared in Earth 2 No. 19 in March 2014.
He was created by writer Tom Taylor and artists Nicola Scott and Robson Rocha.
Of all the Black Supermen, Val-Zod is the more established character because he had a prominent appearance in DC’s Earth 2 comics.
Val-Zod is the adopted son of Jor-El and Lara, and step-brother of Kal-El.
Both Val-Zod and Kal-El survived the escape from the destruction of the planet Krypton, but lived separate lives. Kal-El generally lived the same life as the Superman we know who exists in Earth Prime (also known as Earth-0).
Val-Zod, though, mostly lived in isolation, and only learned about Kal-El Superman later on.
In Earth 2, Kal-El died and Val-Zod took over the title of Superman.
Michael B. Jordan’s Superman project for HBO Max is still in early development.
Jordan may be gone, but Abrams expects that he will get a Black director for his project.