Are we looking at two Black Superman projects developing at the same time? It sure looks that way. From the very beginning, Michael B. Jordan has been rumored for a Man of Steel film that would team him up with JJ Abrams. But since then, Abrams has begun working with writer Ta Nehisi Coates on a film that would reimagine Clark Kent. Well, apparently that’s not something Jordan wanted to do because reports are that he’s developing a separate Black Superman project for HBO Max.
Collider reports that Jordan and his Outlier Society brand are developing a Superman miniseries for HBO Max. That’s right, a series rather than a feature film. And this won’t be a reimagining of Clark Kent as a Black man, either. Instead, it will center on Val-Zod, the Earth-2 Superman and one of the last remaining Kryptonians. The character was introduced in 2014 and took over the mantle of Superman when his universe’s version was killed by Darkseid.
I’ve been using the image of Val-Zod as the centerpiece graphic on these Black Superman stories for months, but only now does it actually fit.
According to Black Girl Nerds editorial, 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.” It looks like that idea turned out to be true.
Furthermore, THR adds that there may have been creative friction between Jordan and Abrams, hearing from sources “it fell apart because Jordan wanted too much control over the project or Warner Bros. was shifting away from actors having control as producers, which sounds like different sides of the same coin to us…“The HBO Max side of the business then approached Jordan and asked him if he’d like to try his project for them. It was either synergy or, at the time, a surprise, depending on who you talk to. No overlap is seen, however, as Jordan’s is considered to be early development and on a different time track.”
All of this must have happened around the same time Jordan was openly denying involvement with the Coates/Abrams film.
There’s still a lot to figure out about what Jordan has in the works, like will his series fit into the larger DCEU or be separate? We still don’t know the fate of Henry Cavill’s Superman, plus there’s a Supergirl film with Sasha Calle after she appears in The Flash. We could be seeing a lot of Kryptonians in a lot of different places, after going quite a long time with no Superman projects at all.