On Wednesday, August 12, Judge Stephen Larson ruled that the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel now owns the rights to the character’s origins, Variety reports. The Siegels now control depictions of Superman’s home planet of Krypton, his parents Jor-El and Lara, Krypton’s destruction and baby Kal-El’s crash-landing on Earth. DC Comics retains the rights to Superman’s flying ability and other powers, the term kryptonite, Superman’s expanded origins and the characters Jimmy Olsen and Lex Luthor.
In addition, the estates of Siegel and Superman co-creator Joe Shuster will own the entire copyright to Action Comics #1 as of 2013, giving them the option of shopping Superman film and television ideas to a studio other than Warner Bros., of which DC is a subsidiary. In order to release a new film featuring the character, Warner Bros. would need to get it into production by 2011.
So, basically, we’re going to be getting a new Superman film in the near future that will need to sidestep the character’s origin. I think that’s doable. Superman’s such a well known character that I doubt anyone really needs to see where he came from and how he discovers his powers again, so this sticky legal business might actually result in a more entertaining film.
Personally, I think we need a more “out there” Superman movie, pitting him against space monsters and giant robots. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns ultimately disappointed a lot of people in 2006 because it really didn’t do anything new with the character aside from saddling him with a child. We need to see Superman take on credible threats like Brainiac, Metallo, Darkseid, Bizarro or even Doomsday—hell, anyone besides Lex Luthor. Superman should be all about spectacle. Let’s see some more of that on screen.