When J.J. Abrams was handed the reigns from Paramount to reboot the Star Trek universe the news was met with subtle hesitation. After all, Stuart Baird, a well respected producer and director worldwide who’d worked on such films as Superman, the Die Hard series, the Lethal Weapon series, and who’d won an Oscar for his work on Gorillas In The Mist was recruited to direct of Star Trek: Nemesis a few year prior. Even better, John Logan – who’d been nominated for an Academy Award for writing Gladiator – was tapped to write it! Awesome! And the final result? Meh.
But fans were pleasantly surprised by Abrams’ effort.
And, as if the God of Geeks were smiling down on J.J., Disney hired him to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the film that reintroduced the original characters to the franchise. After tepid critical and fan reactions to episodes I, II, and III, Abram’s energized the series and garnerd near universal acclaim.
That’s why DC fans have reason to be optimistic about the rumors the next theatrical incarnation of Superman will come by the hand of Abrams. Variety’s Justin Kroll recently appeared on the podcast ‘My Mom’s Basement’ and spoke to Robbie Fox about the ins and outs of Hollywood. Of course, J.J. Abrams’ new deal with WarnerMedia came up and Kroll implied it might lead to the director taking on a Superman, or as he termed it, ‘someone with a cape.’ With Batman currently being produced by Matt Reeves and Superman in limbo, it’s a fair bet Warners would choose a successful director already in their stable: J.J. Abrams.
Many will point out both the Trek and Wars franchises faltered after their initial entries by Abrams. Not coincidently, Abrams had less involvement in the followups to both. And that may very well be the key. Whether DC makes another attempt at a connected universe or not, the DCEU worked best when solo movies were helmed by different directors. James Wan was perfect for Aquaman. No one can imagine Wonder Woman without Patty Jenkins. DC doesn’t need another godfather à la Zach Snyder. It needs talented directors for each of it’s properties. Superman would be a perfect fit for J.J. Abrams.
And, yes, Abrams did have a shot in the early 2000s to bring the Man of Steel to the silver screen and his script was universally panned. But some of you may recall Warners was determined to get a weird take on the character during that time. They spent millions on the Tim Burton/Nicholas Cage vehicle because they believed in that approach. Fans were aghast, though. Abram’s script was definitely a step back from that but was still a radical departure from the Christopher Reeve films held in such reverance by fans. And when that script from Abrams is compared to his other works it’s likely that at least some of the bizarre elements in it were ordered by the studio.