Mark Millar had previously written the excellent Elseworlds title Superman: Red Son in 2003 and has publicly stated how much of a Superman fan he is; he even owns Christopher Reeve’s cape from the Superman films. Unfortunately for the project Millar was at the time working for Marvel and Warner Brothers/DC weren’t too keen on hiring the competition.
Cut forward a year or so and Millar is no longer under contract with DC and Matthew Vaughn approaches him and asks him if he’s still interested in writing Superman for the big screen. Millar, is of course very interested and Vaughn starts arranging meetings. Sadly though, again nothing comes of all this and the two move on to other projects. The next project that they come together to work on is the much anticipated Kick Ass, a very different kind of superhero story.
Now this may be considered as perhaps just another of the many stories that have surrounded Superman feature films over the years (remember that whole Nicholas Cage debacle?) but it is one rumour that I though might actually come to something and I had always hoped it would. Why is a Mark Millar scripted Superman such an appealing prospect though? There are two main reasons why this could be a dream Superman project.
First off Millar is a damn good writer and his work on the Superman: Red Son three issue comic is fantastic. It tells the story of what would have happened if Superman had landed in Ukraine rather than America. In this alternative world Superman fights the socialist cause and begins life as a superhero working alongside Stalin. The story is not just simply a What If? Superman comic though, as the writing transcends the Elseworld trappings and unravels the complexities of Superman as a character with depth and complicated motivations. The quality of the story and the writing is probably why the Red Son comic is so fondly remembered by many comic fans and why it has even become part of the DC Multiverse (Earth-30), with the Soviet Superman making a recent appearance in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis. Mark Millar really understands Superman and he has a proven track record writing the character.
The second reason why a Millar scripted Superman could be the reboot the franchise really needs is that even the sparse details of the pitch that have leaked out sound absolutely fantastic. Millar pitched it as follows – “I want to start on Krypton, a thousand years ago, and end with Superman alone on Planet Earth, the last being left on the planet, as the yellow sun turns red and starts to supernova, and he loses his powers.” This epic story would be told across a 7-8 hour trilogy, with a new film released each year. These are films that I, and I’m sure many others, would be looking forward to each year, a truly epic retelling of Superman.
Sadly though these are three films that I doubt we will ever see. In a recent interview with IGN (see the clip embedded below) Mark Millar talks about the experience with Warner Brothers and comments that Superman is currently “a little bit toxic” and that it needs to lie for a bit before another reboot is attempted. He also talks of how successful the process of bringing Kick Ass to the screen has been and in particular how the creative process wasn’t interfered with by studio executives. If Kick Ass is the success that all the hype would have us believe it will be, surely Millar won’t want to work with executives again but could the draw of Superman be too great?
If Millar was to become involved again with a Superman reboot, with the recent announcement that Christopher Nolan would be involved in the reboot, could Millar, and potentially Vaughn find help from Nolan in deflecting the execs from interfering? Would Millar and Vaughn’s style work with Nolan’s? Does Millar’s concept for Superman excite you as much as it does me? What are your thoughts?
Read his chat with Empire here.