Warner Bros. is indeed forging ahead with plans to finally make a Man of Steel sequel, and they’ve got a mighty exciting filmmaker in their sights to take the helm. While Man of Steel was originated by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer as an idea for how to reconceive Superman for modern audiences, the film has since become the starting point for Warner Bros.’ entire DC Extended Universe. Its follow-up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was more a Justice League prequel than a true Man of Steel sequel, and it’s being followed in the DCEU by Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, the aforementioned Justice League, Aquaman, and who knows how many other DC superhero movies. But as we learned last August, Warner Bros. is also keen on adding a genuine Man of Steel sequel to its DC slate, and we now know who they want to direct it.
Sources tell us that Kingsman: The Secret Service filmmaker Matthew Vaughn is Warner Bros.’ top choice to direct Man of Steel 2, and preliminary conversations about the prospect have taken place. This isn’t yet in the deal-making stage, and Vaughn could very well end up not directing the film, but he’s who Warner Bros. wants at this point in time. Moreover, sources tell us that if Vaughn for some reason doesn’t direct Man of Steel 2, Warner Bros. still wants him to helm another superhero movie in the DCEU.
This wouldn’t be Vaughn’s first foray into the superhero realm as he successfully rebooted/prequelized Fox’s X-Men universe with the delightful X-Men: First Class and also helmed the darkly funny R-rated comic book adaptation Kick-Ass. He’s currently in post-production on his spy sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, but now it appears he’s considering making the jump to Warner Bros. to make another superhero film.
Back in 2010, reports surfaced that Vaughn and Kick-Ass comic writer Mark Millar had pitched their take on a Superman movie to Warner Bros. only for the studio to (unsurprisingly) go with Nolan and Goyer’s take. Vaughn subsequently clarified he only had a brief chat with WB about making a Superman movie, but he did offer his thoughts on what a Superman film should be, which may give us a hint of what kind of tone Man of Steel 2 would strike if Vaughn takes the helm:
“I think that’s the one thing not to do with Superman, trying to do the serious The Dark Knight version. Superman is about color and fun, or it should be, for me.”
These comments were obviously made before Man of Steel had entered production, but if Vaughn has the same take on the character today, it could signal that Warner Bros. is keen on livening up the DCEU with one of its cornerstone characters. Indeed, this past December WB head Greg Silverman exited the studio as New Line COO Toby Emmerich was promoted to Warner Bros. president and chief content officer. We’re hearing that Emmerich was key in the hiring of Matt Reeves to helm The Batman and similarly tapped Vaughn as a possibility for Man of Steel 2, as the executive wants to make known that Warner Bros. isn’t messing around when it comes to landing quality filmmakers for its big DCEU movies.
It’s no secret the DCEU slate has struggled to get off the ground, as a miscalculation of tone made Batman v Superman a sizable hit but not quite the sky-high phenomenon the studio was hoping for. Suicide Squad subsequently went through some post-production retooling to alter the film’s tone, and director Zack Snyder has promised a Justice League movie that’s not all doom and gloom. The filmmakers Warner Bros. has hired thus far—Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman, James Wan for Aquaman—are talented but also serious directors, but Vaughn’s resume is by far the lightest and most colorful of the bunch.
If Vaughn does indeed sign on to direct Man of Steel 2, odds are we’re in for a pretty significant contrast to Man of Steel—although it’s not like all of a sudden Superman will become a jolly ol’ jokester. Of course these films still have to fit as pieces of a whole, but Vaughn’s filmography shows that he has a knack for stylish and cool set pieces while also taking his characters seriously. He balanced emotion and romp in equal measure with X-Men: First Class, so who’s to say he wouldn’t do the same thing with Superman?
Again, Vaughn isn’t yet in talks and may not be the person to direct Man of Steel 2 in the end, but sources tell us Warner Bros. very much wants him in the DCEU fold.