Black 'Superman' Comics: Calvin Ellis or Val-Zod Could Feature in New Movie

The next Superman film will feature a Black actor in the lead role for the first time, as well as a Black director at the helm.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, acclaimed author and journalist, is penning the screenplay while J.J. Abrams is on board as a producer.

Barry Jenkins, Steven Caple Jr., and Regina King are among the names circulating for the director job, while Michael B. Jordan has been rumored to be linked to the project.

In a detailed report on the news by The Hollywood Reporter, the publication says that Warner Bros and DC are "committed to hiring a Black director to tackle what will be the first cinematic incarnation of Superman featuring a Black actor."

But what of the character of the new Superman? He may be based on Calvin Ellis or Val-Zod rather than Clark Kent.

Black Superman
L-R - Kalel (aka Calvin Ellis) and Val-Zod. DC Comics

Calvin Ellis is the Superman from Earth 23 in DC lore and is a Kryptonian president of the U.S.

The character comes from a different version of Earth in the DC Comics Multiverse and is actually based on former President Barack Obama. He defeated Doomsday in the comics. His Kryptonian name is Kalel.

Per the DC Fandom site, Calvin Ellis was found by the "poor but kind Ellis family, who christened him Calvin, he was raised to stand up for himself no matter the odds, and to fight for what's right. When his star-spanning Kryptonian powers emerged under Earth's yellow sun, he became Superman, champion of the oppressed and defender of peace around the world."

Meanwhile, Val-Zod is the Superman from Earth 2 in the Multiverse. Another Kryptonian, he is one of the last surviving of his kind.

According to the DC Fandom site, Val-Zod "was found by the new Wonders who were looking for the mysterious alien to fight a brainwashed Superman and they discovered that he too was a Kryptonian."

It has yet to be revealed if Coates has chosen either of these characters for the film.

"To be invited into the DC Extended Universe by Warner Bros., DC Films and Bad Robot is an honor," Coates said in a statement. "I look forward to meaningfully adding to the legacy of America's most iconic mythic hero."

Some of Coates' books include Between the World and Me, The Beautiful Struggle and We Were Eight Years in Power. He also expanded the world of Wakanda for Marvel's Black Panther.

"There is a new, powerful and moving Superman story yet to be told. We couldn't be more thrilled to be working with the brilliant Mr. Coates to help bring that story to the big screen, and we're beyond thankful to the team at Warner Bros. for the opportunity," J.J. Abrams said in a statement to Shadow and Act.