Acclaimed essayist and novelist Ta-Nehisi Coates has been hired to pen the script for a feature reboot of Superman that will be produced by J.J. Abrams.
“To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor,” said Coates in a statement to Shadow and Act, a website dedicated to the African diaspora in the arts. “I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America’s most iconic mythic hero.”
“There is a new, powerful and moving Superman story yet to be told. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen, and we’re beyond thankful to the team at Warner Bros. for the opportunity,” said J.J. Abrams in the statement to S&A.
According to sources, the project is being set up as a Black Superman story. This is something that the studio has been trying to wrap its head around for months, if not a year or two. Michael B. Jordan tried to develop a Black Superman project when he first arrived at the studio with his deal in 2019, but that did not go very far at the time, according to sources. It is possible that the studio could return to him to star down the line.
Coates is a superstar author whose books include We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, The Beautiful Struggle, The Water Dancer and Between the World and Me, the latter of which was adapted by HBO. In the comic book space, he has worked on Captain America and Black Panther, with Disney’s Bob Iger crediting his influential run on the latter in the decision to greenlight the groundbreaking film starring Chadwick Boseman.
Superman first flew onto the big screen with filmmaker Richard Donner’s 1978 film Superman: The Motion Picture, which starred Christopher Reeve. The actor appeared in three subsequent films, with Brandon Routh donning the cape for 2006’s Superman Returns and Henry Cavill stepping into the role for 2013’s Man of Steel, 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League.
This is the first DC feature known to be in development under Abrams’ expansive WarnerMedia deal, but he has several DC series in the works for streaming service HBO Max, including Justice League Dark and Constantine.