Thursday, August 13, 2009
Last Of The Last Son Of Krypton...
What a strange turn of events the court case of Kal-El is taking...
Warner Bros. lost a big one today. The rights to the Superman character slipped away a bit more. The family of Jerry Siegel won additional rights to the famed visitor from another planet. What rights you may wonder?
Well, the rights to the character almost seem to have been split in half with the Judge in the case acting like Solomon.
The Siegel family gets:
The depictions of Superman's origins from the planet Krypton.
Superman's parents Jor-El and Lara.
Superman as the infant Kal-El.
The launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents toward Earth.
Krypton exploding, the landing on Earth in a fiery crash.
Daily Planet Reporter/Superman's love, Lois Lane.
The Daily Planet newspaper.
The love triangle relationship between Clark/Superman and Lois.
Warner/DC Comics get:
Superman's ability to fly.
The term Kryptonite.
The arch-villain Lex Luthor.
Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen.
Clark Kent's Daily Planet Editor Perry White.
All of Superman's vision powers and the expanded origins.
Strange, but it follows a long fight and an evolving copyright code that have resulted in the creators' of Superman being in a more powerful position than in any case filed before. Both creators have long passed, but Siegel has heirs, Joe Schuster didn't. The expiration of the copyright on Superman only applies to the publication of Action Comics No. 1, all work after it is considered work for hire and therefore owned by the Warner.
The big announcement is that full ownership of Superman will go back to the Seigels in 2013 and Warner will have to be in production of a new film by 2011 if they are going to be able to retain film rights to the character. Otherwise the family will be able to set up a deal for comics, television and films at other studios. Of course, without several of his powers, friends and abilities.
What does this all mean? I'm not a lawyer, but I can tell you that the plans for going forward with a new Superman film just got put on the front burner. All those pitches that Warner was taking just received added importance. The Warner Suits are probably going to have a meeting very soon to decide what direction to go.
Will they go with Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn's take? The three picture, nine hour epic tale of the Man of Steel from his Kryptonian origins to his last days on a dying Earth in the far off future? Doubtful because it's doesn't set the character on a continuing road of adventures; it's too finite.
Or the other rumor about the Wachowski Brothers rebooting the franchise as writer/producers and James McTeigue directing. I personally would have them direct it, not McTeigue. Neo is essentially a Superman variant in "The Matrix" anyway.
Not that Warner would listen to me, but again... Brad Bird. Get Brad Bird to write and direct it. That would create a Superman film with heart, emotion and set him up for a wonderful series of adventures in the 21st century.
Or it could possibly go with one of many other screenwriters and directors who have been meeting with Suits for the job. Either way, Warner had better get things going quickly or the rights to this famed character will go up,up and away.
Truth, Justice and the American Way...