We’ve all heard the news. Warner Bros has enlisted Ta-Nehisi Coates to write a Superman movie starring a black Kryptonian for the next phase of its DC universe. Whether this character will be Kal-El or Calvin Ellis or Val Zod remains to be seen. What we do know, however, is that the studio is looking for a black male lead and a black director to headline their Man of Steel feature.
And while many have suggested that Michael B. Jordan, the actor has suggested that he won’t be collaborating on the project.
“I’m flattered that people have me in that conversation,” Jordan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s definitely a compliment, but I’m just watching on this one.”
Does this news disqualify his long time collaborator Ryan Coogler too? The director, who made something very special with Marvel’s Black Panther, would certainly be a good fit for the project. But so would Barry Jenkins, Steven Caple Jr. and J.D. Dillard. Don’t be quick to dismiss Ava DuVernay either. After all, Warner Bros. kind of owes her after cancelling her New Gods film.
With all that in mind, fans have begun guessing who could possibly be cast in the first cinematic incarnation of Superman to feature a Black actor. Here are our casting choices for the upcoming film.
John David Washington as Superman
After starring in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, 36-year-old John David Washington has proven that he has what it takes to be a strong lead in a feature film. The former American football running back certainly has the charm, the boldness, the good looks and the acting chops (he’s Denzel Washington’s son after all) to deliver an iconic Superman.
In fact, the actor has been high on many fan lists as a favourite to play The Last Son of Krypton. This is a guy who was built to be a superhero.
Zendaya or Lupita Nyong’o as Lois Lane
Lois Lane has always been depicted as someone who is motivated, persistent, fast-talking, bold and independent.
If you’ve seen Malcolm & Marie, you know that there’s great chemistry between John David Washington and Zendaya. But beyond that, the Spider-Man actress also has the feistiness to pull off a modern-day Lois Lane. She embodies all the characteristics of the character and could easily pull off a great version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Daily Planet reporter.
Of course, another great choice would be Lupita Nyong’o. Her exceptional body of work should definitely put her in the running to play Mrs Superman.
Morris Chestnut or Daniel Kaluuya as Lex Luthor
I’ve said it multiple times over the years, Morris Chestnut is highly underrated. The 52-year-old actor has had a long and impressive filmography. All he really needs is a breakthrough role that highlights his many talents. Aside from having the look, we can expect Chestnut to deliver a thunderous performance.
The other good option for Lex would be Daniel Kaluuya, who recently founded success with Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah. Those menacing eyes and his vibrant voice would make him a really good Lex Luthor.
Forest Whitaker as Perry White or Jor-El
Forest Whitaker doesn’t need an introduction. The actor has been great in just about every film he has ever been in. The Oscar-winning actor would make the perfect Perry White or Jor-El. But in order to secure him for the film, the character would need to have a bigger significance to the story. Honestly, he’d be really great in either role.
Donald Glover as Jimmy Olsen
While Jimmy Olsen hasn’t played a significant part in the DCEU, in the comic books he has been an important friend to Clark Kent. If the filmmakers were smart, they wouldn’t just use his character as comic relief. He is more than just an office boy. Jimmy is a big part of Superman’s journey to becoming the hero he is meant to be. Let’s hope they finally do the character justice on the big screen.
Man of Steel director Zack Snyder recently shared his thoughts on DC’s black Superman movie reboot, calling it bold and overdue. “My feeling is that I love JJ [Abrams], I love what he’s done in the past. I’m interested to see what happens, it’s a bold and cool and probably long overdue move. But I love Henry [Cavill] as Superman, of course, I do. He’s my Superman.
Is the world ready for a black Superman movie? I’m not sure. But I’m interested to find out.