Superman is the quintessential all-American superhero, but what if instead of fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, he was the champion of “Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact?” Fans might soon find out, as Warner Bros. and DC have been allegedly courting directors for a film based on Mark Millar’s Eisner Award-nominated comic book Superman: Red Son, which tells a reimagined story of the Last Son of Krypton landing in Soviet Ukraine instead of Kansas.
Early Tuesday morning on Twitter, Millar (@mrmarkmillar) and Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) were engaged in a casual (and public) conversation when Vogt-Roberts commented on how he pitched a “version of Red Son” that “will sadly never get made.” Millar replied in another tweet: “Did you hear WB pitching directors Red Son? Two diff pals in last 2 months. This truly is Putin’s America.”
Vogt-Roberts, apparently stunned, replied back: “Wait, really? Because I pitched it to them months ago and was told no. It’s the most punk rock thing the DCEU could do in my mind.”
Vogt-Roberts isn’t wrong; a film that upends the public image of Superman — in a way Zack Snyder failed to do in his 2013 picture Man of Steel — would be very compelling, given the proper treatment. It might also be an unwelcome interpretation, given the ongoing investigation of possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Upon its release in 2003, Millar’s Superman: Red Son was well-received precisely because it was a clever thought experiment safely set in an alternate reality (Earth-30, in nerdspeak). Kal-L wasn’t made to replace the Superman fans have loved for 75-plus years, but Millar wished to explore an idea he’s had since his childhood, during the Cold War.
“Red Son is based on a thought that flitted through my head when I read Superman #300 as a six year old,” Millar wrote in a blog from 2003. “It was an imaginary story where Superman’s rocket landed in neutral waters between the USA and the USSR and both sides were rushing to claim the baby. As a kid growing up in the shadow of the Cold War, the notion of what might have happened if the Soviets had reached him first just seemed fascinating to me.”
See the Twitter thread between Millar and Vogt-Roberts below.
Meanwhile, fans will get to see Superman return in Justice League, which hits theaters on November 17.