By Edward Gross
The good news for fans of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns is that the sequel is still in the works, and that while the sequel has to be more Wrath of Khan than Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Superman Returns was significant to both Warner Bros and DC for a specific reason.
"I think what Superman Returns did was that, at the very least, it brought the character back to the forefront and got people talking about him," offers Gregory Noveck, Senior Vice President Creative Affairs for DC Comics. "The thing with Batman is that Batman will always be cool because he’s an iteration of your Id. He a cool, dark character who has the cool toys, has no remorse and yet there’s a moral line that he won’t cross. Plus he’s got a great, tragic back story. You never have to worry about Batman going out of style because of those elements. With Superman, there’s always that thing that he’s not cool anymore, he’s got the blue suit and the red cape and he’s such a product of his era. How do you update it?"
He continues: "But I think one of the things that Bryan was really successful at conveying in the movie, is that you don’t need to update that. It’s iconography that’s so universal at this point, that you just have to maintain it. Now does that mean you can have a more action-packed story and play up the relationships? Of course, but it doesn’t mean let’s have Versace design the cape. We’re scripting and it’s going to happen. We’re not going to make it until the script is great, but we’ll get there one way or the other and it’s not going to take nine years."
One concern on the part of fans is that the speed at which Justice League is moving into production is indicative of the fact that Man of Steel is on indefinite hold. "The reason that Justice League is powering forward first is because the script came in and it was phenomenal. That very rarely happens in Hollywood on a movie of this scale, and when it does you have no choice but to stay, 'We’d better catch lightning in a bottle and go!'"
As to the power of the screenplay written by Kiernan and Michele Molroney, he adds, "They came in – Kiernan was a comic reader as a kid, but hadn’t followed it for a long time – and approached it with an understanding that the characters are characters that deserve some reverence. They are very much character writers. All of the conflict and everything else has to come from a place of character, and the action is second. The movie is action-packed, there’s a ton of stuff, but it’s not like the typical Hollywood blockbuster where it’s, like, ‘Oh, big action sequence. And why do we care?’ I think part of the reason that so many responded so strongly to the script is because you just have these wonderful interactions between the characters."
"And the plot is strong and makes sense and tracks," he continues, "and people, when they see the movie, will be able to say, 'Okay, I totally understand how all this can happen within this world.' I think part of the reason you go is that you want to see Superman and Batman have a conversation. And what is that conversation? The Mulroneys really understood that each one of these characters automatically changes the dynamic of the room as soon as they walk in, because they all have such different powers and back stories. They approached each one of these characters as an individual and as a unique character that influences everything else around them."
For more of this interview, as well as part one of the conversation, visit Edward "SFX New York editor" Gross’s personal site www.voicesfromkrypton.com .