Jeffrey Taylor is a staff writer/moderator at The Superman Homepage, co-host of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast, available at the Superman Homepage, iTunes and The Superman PodcastNetwork.You can find his new Man of Steel Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Tuesday.
The following should be considered RUMOR only. It’s from a scan of a page in Production Weekly, which is an entertainment industry publication, with information about the plot and production schedule for Superman: The Man of Steel (aka “Autumn Frost"). The subtitle most likely refers to the production title for the film, which often happens with highly anticipated film franchises to safeguard materials from theft.
The snippet reads:
Clark Kent is a freelance reporter in his early 20’s, traveling all around the world covering various news stories. However, Kent is forced to fly back into action to attain a fleeing assassin instead of covering an ethnic conflict between the Ghuri and Turaaba clans in West Africa. Upon his return to form, Kent returns to Smallville to learn more about his origins and become the hero he was born to be.
The description is amazingly close to the first several issues of the 12-part origin story “Superman: Birthright” by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu from 2003-2004. Although, even if correct, it’s unlikely that the entire story will fit into the plot of the film, especially since Lex Luthor is the primary villain and there is no mention of General Zod, who has already been officially cast.
In the first issue of Birthright, it is explained that ancient Krypton was much like Earth and that warring factions continuously eradicated each other until the whole planet eventually united in peace and devoted itself to science. In contrast, we meet 24-year-old Clark Kent covering a news story in West Africa, where he meets Kobe Asuru, favored leader of the Ghuri tribe, which is at war with the Turaaba tribe. Kobe explains that even though both tribes are the same race, humankind always finds some way or another to discriminate.
Kobe also tells Clark how the Ghuri Tribe, which has been subservient to the Turaaba for generations, still dons the colors and symbols of its heritage, which later becomes part of why Clark takes on the colors and symbol of his Kryptonian family when he and his mother design his Superman uniform.
Most importantly, Clark learns that he and Kobe have the same aspirations. They don’t wish to be heroes. They simply want to make a difference. And in the end, those are usually the best heroes of mythology and folklore, anyway. Becoming Superman was not something Clark chose to do because he wanted become fame and admiration. In fact, quite the opposite was true, he chose to disguise himself this way because he felt obligated to use his abilities to help people, but still wished to lead a normal life. By becoming a reporter, he would have to find ways to do his work that had more to do with the content of his character than with his strange powers.
Clark also became a reporter because it kept him close to the action, where he could be useful. But he was a world traveler for several reasons, chiefly that whenever he had to use his abilities in front of people, he would have to leave that area because his friends quickly distrusted him. His powers and abilities were certainly gifts, but they also kept him isolated wherever he went. What made this Superman considerably different from other versions was that citizens naturally feared the ways in which he was unlike them. That conflict became a major part of the comic’s plot as it unfolded. So Superman had to earn the trust of the people of the world. Perhaps that will be another difference the Man of Steel has from other Superman movies.
In Africa, Clark and Kobe also discussed masks. Clark came to realize that for people to trust him, he would have to show them his face. His mother later suggested that he would also have to disguise Clark Kent in his everyday life by raising the tenor of his voice, slouching his frame, wearing only clothes that completely covered his muscles and of course, wearing a pair of glasses that would not only change the shape of his features, but also mute the color of his unearthly blue eyes.
If the production sheet is correct, at least the first act of the film is already mapped out for the fans. It also goes on to describe four scenes that will take place in Smallville. They are:
“Homecoming” and “Future Discussion” sound like scenes where Clark returns from his world travels and maps out his plans with Jonathan and Martha Kent about becoming Superman. Traditionally Martha sewed the suit for him and I sincerely hope that remains part of the film
“Ship Discovery” could be a flashback scene showing when Clark’s ship fell out of the sky and was found by the Kents. Or it could be the moment when his parents finally tell him the truth about where he came from. In “Superman: Birthright,” Clark already knew of the ship when he returned home, and even created his uniform from the material he was wrapped in when he came to Earth. So that could be where he finally decides what Superman should look like.
“Funeral” could be a number of things, but my best guess is that Jonathan Kent will die at this point. In many incarnations of Superman’s continuity, Pa died at one point or another, usually before Clark became Superman. There is also a chance that they’ll throw the audience for a loop and kill off Martha. Or perhaps it’s an ending scene -- but only if they try to kill off Superman to do a return story in the sequel.
Principal photography is set to begin August 22, 2011 and will run until April, 2012. The film’s release is still planned for some time in December, 2012.
What do you think of the plot synopsis. Is it real, and if it is, why does or doesn't it appeal to you?