Michael B. Jordan has made a huge name for himself over the past decade with several incredibly prominent roles. However, landing the role of the first black Superman to be featured on screen would certainly be the biggest, overshadowing even his biggest roles, such as Adonis Creed in the Creed franchise. So, is Michael B. Jordan really playing the first black Superman?
While rumors have been circulating since 2021 about Michael B. Jordan producing a black Superman series for HBO Max, neither he nor HBO has confirmed that any such project is in development. Even if he is producing, it doesn’t mean he’ll actually star as the titular hero.
That being said, there are rumors coming from reliable sources suggesting the project might already be underway and the script is being written. Even Jordan recently gave vague responses when asked about the rumors, giving fans the impression that he’s trying not to reveal too much. Here’s everything we know about the potential project.
Rumors began back in 2021
If you’re a DC fan, a Michael B. Jordan fan, a Superman fan, or simply a superhero movie lover, you probably heard the same rumors almost two years ago. If I’m not mistaken, Collider was the first to report the rumors about a black Superman project being developed for HBO Max.
The report stated that Michael B. Jordan’s production company, Outlier Society, was responsible for developing a limited series that may or may not be a part of the DCEU.
The limited series would revolve around Val-Zod, a DC character that was the second ever to don the Superman mantle. He came from a different universe and had a similar backstory as Clark Kent, aka Kal-El, although one could argue that his powers are even more advanced.
The rumors continued throughout 2021 and 2022, and Deadline even reported that the series will be named Val Zod and that Darnell Metayer and Josh Peters are already working on a script for the show. That’s only the beginning of the rumors, but enough for you to get the picture – everything is pointing towards the project actually happening somewhere in the future.
That being said, rumors are rumors, and facts are facts. Nothing about the project has been confirmed by either DC or HBO Max, which may just be the case of not wanting to announce the project until everything is set.
As for the rumors about Michael B. Jordan starring as the titular character, it was never actually reported that he would be cast as Val-Zod – only that his production company, Outlier Society, would be responsible for the show’s development.
Naturally, fans cast Jordan in the role themselves, and one can’t argue against it – I think he’d be perfect for the role, but it’s all up in the air now.
There are other things we know for certain, though.
Black Superman exists in DC Comics
Old-school DC Comics fans might not be as acquainted with the character as newer readers, but a black version of Superman actually exists in DC Comics. And it’s an incredibly well-written character with awesome powers and an even better backstory.
Val-Zod first appeared in Earth-2 #19 in 2014 and is a version of Superman from the Earth 2 universe of DC Comics. His origin story is actually quite similar to Clark Kent, only he wasn’t an infant when his Krypton was destroyed.
In the pod on his trip to Earth, Val-Zod traveled with Kara Zor-El, Kal-El, and another kid, and his parents left him educational materials for the trip down to Earth. They taught Val-Zod that violence was never the answer, which led to Val becoming a pacifist as he descended to Earth.
Eventually, he obtained similar powers to the original Superman, but the difference is he had more knowledge on how to use them from the start. Eventually, Val-Zod had to fight Kal-El, who lost his mind, but he mostly used his powers to do good and help others in non-violent ways.
This version of Superman would be the one to be adapted in the rumored series.
The DCU is developing a Clark Kent-based story
James Gunn recently shared a whole lot of information about the future of DCEU, or DCU, as it is now called. He shared which projects are planned, in development, or already in production, but of course, he did not giving away every single project that they have in mind for the future.
That being said, he did share that there will be another Clark Kent-based story set in the DCU – Superman: Legacy. No, guys, it won’t be Henry Cavill, but another actor who’ll portray the most well-known superhero in history. So, what does that mean for a potential black Superman storyline?
Well, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it means it likely won’t happen within the new DCU. After all, Val-Zod is from Earth 2, a different universe within DC Comics, so perhaps the rumored Val-Zod series could happen as a part of DC Elseworlds (where, for instance, Robert Pattinson’s The Batman belongs).
That doesn’t mean it would have to be connected to The Batman storyline, though. That’s the whole point of DC Elseworlds – they can develop stand-alone stories without having to worry about them fitting into the overall narrative or future plans for the ‘bigger-picture’ DCU.
Michael B. Jordan neither confirmed nor denied rumors
The part that interests most fans, it seems, is not only if the show is being developed or not. They want to know if Michael B. Jordan is playing Val-Zod. While there’s no confirmation, the most recent pieces of information might be encouraging for those fans. Or discouraging, I guess, depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person.
At a Red Carpet event for Jordan’s new movie, Creed III, Entertainment Tonight asked Jordan about the potential black Superman role. Well, the reporter didn’t actually phrase it as a question but rather as a statement, which Jordan was left to confirm or deny.
If you hoped he did that, I have sad news for you – he neither confirmed nor denied the rumors:
“Who said that? Who said that? You said that. I didn’t say that. I don’t even know about no rumors about that one. Wow.”
Obviously, it’s a super vague answer for us, which might feel discouraging. Still, the fact that we know for a fact Michael has been aware of the rumors for years now leaves us wondering if the answer was simply him trying not to reveal anything important.
When he spoke to CinePOP in a 2021 interview, he said this about the rumors:
“I mean, I don’t know. I think you know there’s a…I don’t really know what is going on with that in particular, but I think everybody’s want and desire to see Black leads and heroic roles I think is really important. Representation is important.”
Again, he didn’t confirm the rumors, but it’s obvious he knew about them. So, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, you might take his newest comments as discouraging. If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, though, you might believe that Jordan is well aware of the rumors – he just doesn’t want to say anything at the moment.
We see right through you, Michael.
Even if the project happens, Jordan might not star
Last but not least, this piece of information might be the biggest downer to all those fans who hope and pray to see MBJ in that Black Superman role.
Through all the rumors, Michael B. Jordan was never actually rumored to portray the titular character in the potential series by any of the reliable sources. His production company, Outlier Society, and Jordan himself were said to spearhead the production and development of the series.
However, it was never said that Jordan would be cast as the lead in the series – fans jumped to that assumption themselves. Therefore, even if the rumors are true, and Val Zod does get developed at some point in the future, it still doesn’t mean that Michael B. Jordan will star as the first Black Superman ever. He could, but not necessarily just because he’s producing.
And, seeing that he already has four other announced projects currently in development, it would probably be very hard for him to squeeze such a big project into his schedule as well.
Well, we can still hope, right?