On Wednesday, superhero fans were left lost and confused when The Hollywood Reporter revealed Henry Cavill might not reprise his role as Superman.
Sources told the publication that Warner Bros. is shifting its focus to a Supergirl movie and if the studio were to make another solo Superman movie, it wouldn’t be until another couple years.
This leaves the door wide open for another star to sport the red cape. Deadline reports that Michael B. Jordan is in consideration, so obviously the Internet went nuts.
Of course, you had your usual racists…
Then of course, there were a large group of people who loved the idea…
But there’s also a growing group on Twitter that’s not excited about Michael B. playing the Man of Steel — and they’re not your typical White racists either.
It’s a group of Black people.
I have some theories as to why some Black people don’t want Michael B. Jordan — and it’s not necessarily because they don’t want a Black man in the role. There’s a whole list of roles Michael B. could take from White actors that you can check out here.
Race is not the issue.
The argument comes down to acting ability, public persona, and reinventing a character that most people have known since childhood.
Let’s start with acting ability.
A fair share of Black people go through life not liking Michael B. Jordan’s acting. While I definitely think he shined in shows like The Wire and movies like Fruitvale Station, his recent work has drawn criticism from a few.
His role as Killmonger in Black Panther and as Adonis Creed in Creed definitely brought the macho bravado that was necessary for the roles. But Superman has a history of being a little more subtle with his emotions. Can Michael B. go from the raw rage of Killmonger to the quiet storm of Kal-El?
Then there’s the issue of public persona. Superman flicks are famous for turning relatively unknown actors into stars. Christopher Reeve only had one movie under his belt before he took on The Man of Steel in 1978. Now his interpretation of the character is iconic. Henry Cavill was also relatively unknown before he starred in 2013’s Man of Steel, and now many people are crying because he won’t return to the character in the future.
Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan’s star status has been solidified for a while. He’s a bonafide sex symbol, movie star, and he even does work behind the scenes. The mystique of Superman could be lost if a major figure like him takes on the role.
Finally, let’s talk about reinvention.
Michael B. could very well be perfect for Superman, or he can train himself to fit the role just right. But will he bring anything new to the character?
Of course, being a Black man alone would bring something new, but how so? Do we want a mini-dreads, angry Black man Superman, similar to Michael B.’s character in Black Panther? Do we want a calm, diplomatic, “everyday man” kind of superhero? Or do we want a Black straight Superman at all? Why not a Black Superwoman or a Black queer Super-person? Some of the most interesting Superman stories were the ones that flip the character’s world on its head. I’m thinking of series like All Star Superman or Superman: Red Son.
With the next Superman movie, we can cast another Black person completely to play The Man of Steel — someone we might not expect, like Jovan Adepo or Trevante Rhodes. Or we can stick with Michael B. and he’ll give us a Man of Steel, and a Michael B. we’ve never witnessed before. The idea could be scary and radical, but one thing’s for certain.
All of the world will be on the edge of their seats waiting.
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