Variety reported last week that Superman Returns writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris have decided not to return for director Bryan Singer’s sequel, tentatively titled The Man of Steel. Both are choosing instead to concentrate on expanding their directing careers. Dougherty recently finished directing Trick ‘R Treat, while Harris is starting work on I, Lucifer, starring Daniel Craig.
Variety also noted that Warner Brothers denied recent rumors of a decision to reboot the Superman franchise and indicated that the “next pic would be a sequel with Brandon Routh likely to wear the ‘S’ on his chest again.”
The exodus of Dougherty and Harris opens the doors for new writers. Former DC Comics writer Mark Millar (Superman: Red Son) pitched a concept that apparently would have re-imagined the character. “This would be my dream gig and, as a fan, I know exactly what this project needs to work. This has to be Superman for the 21st Century, keeping everything we adore, but starting from scratch and making the kids love it as much as the 30-somethings. I would honestly write this thing for free,” he said on his website.
Millar was later turned down, with at least part of the reason being that he currently works at Marvel. In a follow-up post, he wrote, “They were incredibly nice and superbly apologetic about it, but when they discussed the matter seriously DC explained just how associated I am with Marvel Comics at the moment and it’s against company policy to hire the competition. It’s absolutely nothing personal.”
As a fan of Superman Returns, I’m disappointed that Dougherty and Harris are out. That being said, I think going with comic book writers on the sequel would be a great idea. The ideal team would be Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns, if they would be able to find time for scripting between their comic book duties. Their work on Superman: Up, Up And Away was incredible and could have made an even better movie than Superman Returns, and that’s just one example of their fine work.