It seems that all of a sudden the interweb is bursting at the seams with spoilerific rumours aplenty, all relating to Superman: Man of Steel. Although Christopher Nolan (on producer/shepherd/godfather duties here) is a member of the JJ Abrams “tight-lipped is best” school of secrecy, there suddenly seems to be an awful lot of information out there. Whether this is because someone has taken it upon themselves to blabber a bit too much, or because negative reviews for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Gangoolie have created some anxiety about his work on Superman, even 18 months in advance of the intended release date, or because Nolan is trying to spread seeds of misinformation as a diversionary tactic, we do not know.
As always, a generous pinch of salt is required, lest we find ourselves posting an item in 48 hours’ time that essentially reads, “sorry, we got that all wrong, the baddie is really going to be Nuclear Man”, or something. Be warned, if the following rumours do turn out to be true, we have some fairly significant spoilers ahead. Feel free to look away now…
Latino Review have spoken to an informed source of theirs, who was bang on the money with the casting of Kevin Costner as Pa Kent and the inclusion of Zod on villain duties, so perhaps some heed should be paid here. There will apparently be scenes set on Krypton, including Jor-El and Lara, with a deliberate departure from the Donner-era sparkly, crystal city. The villainess for the Kryptonian scenes will be one “Faora”. Who she? Well, Ursa from Supes I and II is based on her. Latino Review have given the following rather helpful cheat-sheet on her:-
Faora Hu-Ul was a serial killer born on the planet Krypton. A self-professed “man-hater”, she targeted only male Kryptonians and ran a concentration camp where she kept other Kryptonians as slaves. Faora Hu-Ul claimed over twenty-three lives before she was arrested. Faora was sentenced to over three-hundred years of incarceration inside the Phantom Zone – the longest sentence ever handed to a female prisoner, and the second-longest sentence over all. As Faora was trapped inside the Phantom Zone, she, along with many others, survived the destruction of Krypton.
Faora was an expert at the Kryptonian martial art of Horo-Kanu, which utilized the pressure points on the Kryptonian body. This made her an extremely dangerous foe for Superman to face in hand-to-hand combat—he was forced to flee from their first encounter.
So there you go. A bit of a bad-ass and a formidable foe for Kal-El, presuming that she finds her way to Earth at some point. Since Diane Lane (Martha Kent) has told E! Online that she has seen the script and it covers Kal-El from infancy onwards, it looks like we are set for a full-on retelling of the origin story. Superman Returns gave us only the most slender of childhood flashbacks, so it has been 30+ years since the origin story was last told in full. Given that Spider-man is retelling its origin story after less than a decade, I don’t this needs to be seen as especially negative news.
Collider have also joined the party, with a report of a leaked synopsis summary, which although brief seems to tally with earlier rumours of roughly where the plot was headed. Collider, referencing a report from Bleeding Cool who found the synopsis in the Baseline Studio System (try to keep up at the back!) say that the story will find Clark Kent travelling the world as a journalist, getting caught up in a crisis in West Africa, using his powers to intervene and then returning to Smallville to discover more about his origins.
The whole “getting caught up in a tribal dispute in Africa” element was referenced a while back when casting for Supes was still underway, so that seems to ring true. What remains of some concern is that the idea of a return to Smallville to discover who he was born to be has been done to death by Smallville over the course of 10 seasons and therefore some 150+ hours of television. Is there anything new to be said on that period of Clark/Superman’s/Kal-El’s life? One further item in support of the reliability of this synopsis is that it contains all of the main beats from the “Birthright” graphic novel/comic book title and so it is at least a story that has been thought and carried through before.
So, where does this leave us? Maybe the story has credibility, maybe it doesn’t. I suspect that from time to time we will need to step back and evaluate all of the news, hints, stories and rumours and see how it all stacks up. For the time being, perhaps we have ourselves the overall story arc? We will see.