Could the savior of Gotham City also come to the rescue of Metropolis? The inside word, according to a Deadline Hollywood report, is that "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan has been conscripted to oversee development of a revamped "Superman" series.
"Our insiders say that the brains behind rebooted 'Batman' has been asked to play a 'godfather' role and ensure the Man of Steel gets off the ground after a three-and-a-half-year hiatus," the blog reported. Reps for DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Nolan had not returned MTV News' requests for comment at press time.
Deadline goes on to say that plans for "Superman" are in the early stages of development and that it's highly unlikely Nolan, who is finishing off work on the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring "Inception" and gearing up for a third "Batman" title, will direct any "Superman" project.
If the news is true, the move to jumpstart work on a new "Superman" would represent a significant shift in thinking at DC and Warner. As late as last fall, DC Entertainment chief Diane Nelson told MTV News, "We actually don't have any current plans for Superman."
But complicating the whole situation is the legal battle between heirs of the Superman creators and Warner and DC. Last July, a judge ruled that if production on a new "Superman" doesn't begin by 2011, the heirs will be eligible to sue for damages, since they will own the entire Superman copyright by 2013.
So how did we get here? Director Bryan Singer already attempted to reboot "Superman" once, following the four films of the Christopher Reeve-era. Singer's 2006 film, "Superman Returns," opened with a relatively disappointing $52.5 million gross on its way toward $391.1 million in worldwide box-office sales. Yet by the time the film arrived in theaters, a year after the release of the gritty "Batman Begins," Singer's more straightforward take on the Man of Steel already seemed out-of-date. While the film garnered respectful reviews, fanboys and -girls reacted to its release with a collective shrug of indifference. For years afterward, Warner dithered about plans to green-light a second "Superman" with Brandon Routh in the title role.
Now, according to the Deadline report, Warner might be looking to Nolan to bring some of that "Dark Knight"-style edginess to Clark Kent. This time around, a big-screen Superman might indulge his darker comic book roots more so than the family-friendly persona audiences have seen at the theaters since the late '70s.
As an unnamed source told Deadline, "It would definitely not be a follow-up to "Superman Returns.' "