Matthew Vaughn, director of "Argylle" and "Kingsman," is interested in directing a film adaptation of the classic Elseworlds comic book storyline, "Superman Red Son."
Vaughn is a fan of Henry Cavill and wants him to reprise his role as Superman in the film.
"Superman Red Son" reimagines Superman as a Russian agent working for the state under Joseph Stalin, promoting communism and prioritizing the powers of the state over personal freedoms.
Argylle and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn is interested in a film adaption of the classic Elseworlds comics book storyline, Superman Red Son. Vaughn is a big Cavill fan and said he wants the British actor back in the blue and red.
Talking on BroBible’s Post Credits Podcast, Vaughn was asked about possibly directing an Elseworlds project like Superman Red Son for DC. Vaughn was intrigued by the possibility of directing the film. He replied,
“I thought Red Son was one of the cleverest comics I’d ever read, and the current world we’re living in, it’s certainly become a lot more relevant because ignorance causes more issues, and I think the more we learn about Russia and the Russian history.” Vaughn said before having the epiphany of casting his Argylle lead, Henry Cavill, in the role.
“Wow, could you imagine remaking Red Son with Henry Cavill? That would be an interesting movie…”
The famous comic book reimagines Superman as a Russian agent instead of an all-American farmboy from Kansas. Instead of capitalism and individual freedom, Superman works for the state under Joseph Stalin, where he promotes communism and the collective good of society, prioritizing the powers of the state over the individual’s personal freedoms.
X-Men, Kick-Ass, Red Son
Matthew Vaughn is a self-confessed Superman fan. Years before Man of Steel was released in 2013, Vaughn and his friend, Superman Red Son writer Mark Millar, pitched a trilogy of Superman films to Warner Bros. The studio passed on the pitch; Vaughn has never said what he and Millar had in store for film audiences with his treatment for the films. We can only speculate. The filmmaker is no stranger to adapting comic book movies. He rose to fame directing the fan favourite Kick-Ass (2010), which starred Aaron-Taylor Johnson in the lead role.
The success of Kick-Ass gave Vaughn the credibility to move on and direct his subsequent comic book adaptation, X-Men: First Class in 2011, one of the best X-Men films and comic book movies in the genre. With his reputation as an excellent comic book film director, Vaughn looked to his next project, adapting Mark Millar’s Kingsman comics. Kingsman: The Secret Service was another smash hit, and Vaughn was on a roll, becoming one of the most talked about comic book directors in the business.
James Gunn and his co-CEO at DC studios announced that alongside the general batch of movies featuring Superman, Batman and other characters, there would be ancillary releases which feature Elseworld storylines with Batman and Superman in alternative worlds and adventures like Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Todd Phillips’ Joker. These movies are not connected to the DCU and can branch off and be free to explore different stories.
Vaughn can see how this opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Instead of saying goodbye to Henry Cavill, fans can rejoice in the knowledge that Cavill can return again. Suppose James Gunn and Warner were genuinely invested in their vision to free up DC studios and allow for alternative storylines. In that case, they should happily allow Cavill to return and appear again as Superman. Whether it should be Superman Red Son is up for debate, but at least tap into Cavill’s magnetism and fans’ love for his portrayal as Superman.
A Red Son adaptation would be interesting. Such a film would mix politics and deep social issues. At the same time, viewers would follow Superman as they discover an unfamiliar character, someone they are not used to. Instead of Clark, champion of the oppressed, they would be confronted with a Superman raised in Russia; his familiar personality and fair-minded worldview are altered to reflect the values of the East.
Vaughn could have fun telling this story, but today’s hot political climate would make the film a hot-button issue. Cavill would be Superman, but this alternate Man of Steel might be too radically different for his loyal fanbase to accept. Russian Superman has the same desire to save lives, but he does so at the expense of personal freedom. He decides what is right and wrong and, in his communist worldview, might make right.
Matthew Vaughn would have to do a great job and successfully show how Red Son Superman becomes less dictatorial and realizes that he should not meddle with individual freedoms. Democracy, communism, and individual freedoms are topical in today’s news. Vaughn would be jumping into the frying pan, tackling these issues, especially considering that the US has been accused of becoming more like the old Soviet Union.
Superman Red Son would also be a great vehicle to showcase the Green Lantern Corp, who, in the comic, do battle with Superman. If done correctly, such an onscreen battle would be a feast for the eyes, and that’s not even including Wonder Woman and her Amazon warriors, who also challenge Superman in battle.
Kingsman, Argylle, Red Son
As exciting as a film about Superman Red Son seems, having Matthew Vaughn attached to the project should raise some ‘red’ flags. His latest release, Argylle, has been a complete disaster at the box office. Critics hate the movie, tearing it apart in their reviews. It’s hard to believe that the same director who made X-Men: First Class and Kingsman: The Secret Service could release a mess like Argylle.
However, it shouldn’t be such a big surprise that Vaughn made a poor film. The director has been on a downward trajectory since the first Kingsman release. The second film in the series, Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), received mixed to poor reviews and more problematic was the last film, The King’s Man (2021), which received even worse reviews than the previous movie. With two poorly reviewed films in the bag, Vaughn directed another poorly written spy comedy in Argylle. Vaughn is a talented director, but lately, it’s hard to tell if he still has the X factor which made him such a hot director a decade ago.
Placing an Elseworlds story starring Henry Cavill as a Russian Superman is a gamble that could blow up in the faces of everyone involved in the project. Fans would love to see Superman Red Son adapted for live-action, but Vaughn needs to lick his wounds and direct another smash hit before being considered first choice director for Superman Red Son.
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