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David Goyer Reveals What Character DC Comics Blocked From 'Man Of Steel,' Early Draft Details & More

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by Kevin Jagernauth
June 19, 2013 9:01 AM
1 Comment
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Well, a week hasn't even passed from "Man Of Steel" hitting theaters, and the movie continues to be broken down and studied over. We've already gone into our Best & Worst Of 'Man of Steel', and lots more information has arrived about the approach to the movie from Christopher Nolan's initial resistance to the ending, the tally of just how much damage was done in the wake of the big 9/11-esque action scenes, and the six DC Comics characters teased in the movie. But had it gone writer David S. Goyer's way, there would have been yet another. In case it isn't obvious yet, spoilers ahead

The Empire podcast continues to deliver all kinds of nerdy goodness, and the magazine has wrapped up all the highlights so be sure to jump over there to check it out. Here are the ones that stood out to us, starting with a character that DC actually prevented Goyer and company from using. In the film, you'll recall that Amy Adams' Lois Lane leaks her story about Superman to a rogue, random blogger named Glen Woodburn. But as Goyer shares, he actually wanted to use someone from the DC-verse.

"[Glen's name is an] 'All The President's Men' reference for sure. I wanted that character to be Jack Ryder, but DC comics wouldn't let us do it," the screenwriter explained. "I don't remember the issue that stopped it from happening, I think it was a rights thing, but we only found out three weeks before production started so we had to think quick. I wasn't going to go for [sometime Batman love interest] Vicki Vale, but I was desperate to come up with a new character that would work. In the end, this is how it happened, and we got to have fun with the Wikileaks thing too." 

In case you wondering, Jack Ryder is also known as The Creeper, a Gotham City reporter turned superhero, who fights in the same masquerade party costume he wore the night he was injected, against his will, with a serum giving him the powers he now possesses. In one stretch of comics, he actually used to date Vicki Vale, and more intriguingly, in another run of stories, Lex Luthor runs a public campaign to convince citizens that people with powers are alien invaders, leading to Ryder's imprisonment. But generally, The Creeper is a villain for Superman and it's yet another doorway left open for future films. But as Goyer notes, most of what he wrote wound up in the film.

"Amazingly, not that much was cut from the original script. We refined things but the film is 75 per cent what was the first draft. There weren’t any characters that were different or things like that," he explains (though he also admits there was a lot more Krypton action early on). However, all that stuff at the Daily Planet at the end of the movie? Well, we might have found out about that a lot sooner.


"Calling 'Man Of Steel' ‘Clark Kent Origins’ is a really a nice way of putting it, because for me that’s what it was all about," he continued. "We could have started this movie with that final Daily Planet scene. You literally could start the movie with him getting off his bike and getting in an elevator, putting his glasses on and coming up, and having Perry White go, ‘Guys this is our new stringer, Clark Kent.’ Then having Lois say, ‘Welcome to the Planet.’ It’s a great line and the movie really could have started that way. The first draft had more of a flashback element."

Speaking of Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), while Lois Lane breaks from canon and knows the true identity of Superman, it seems he too has put the evidence together. "I think that Perry’s not an idiot either – Perry knows they have a connection, he saw that they kissed – and at the end of the film we are very aware of that," Goyer said. "So one would presume that moving forward Perry would say, ‘What’s the deal here?’ If the film is embraced over the next few weeks and we formalise things, that’s something we plan to follow up on."

"Obviously we sidestepped the alter ego problem in this movie. We were conscious of that. Obviously it’s not an issue with Lois. Moving forward she’s his secret keeper, and part of the fun for us if we do move forward is they will be involved in a real relationship and she will be part of that, maintaining that fiction," Goyer said, addressing the challenge of how to take on Superman's identity in the sequel. "Part of the fun of doing this though, and Chris has always said this, is that sometimes you write yourself into a corner, but you have to follow it to its logical conclusion and see if you can figure a way out of it."

One of the most discussed elements of "Man Of Steel" have been the very strong parallels to Christianity and Jesus, and thus it's likely no shock to learn, that Goyer intentionally put all of those hints in the script. And it's not just Jesus he's drawing on from the Bible to create his hero for the entire world. "I want to be quick to point out that Superman was created by two Jews, and so as much there are parallels to the Christ story there are also parallels to the Moses story. They literally put their son in a basinet and send him to another world. It’s the ultimate immigrant story. I think that it’s a saviour story and it’s got Old Testament and New Testament aspects," he shared.

"But it was very deliberate: I wrote it in the script that he was 33 years old, he surrenders himself to humanity and humanity turns him over to the bad guys," Goyer continues, talking about Superman's sacrifice. "We just thought that for decades people have made those parallels and though I myself am Jewish, we just thought, ‘Why ignore it? Why not lean into it?’ We are presuming that Clark grew up Methodist or Lutheran or something like that, so it would make sense that in this moment of doubt he’d turn to God. After his mother there are very few people he can talk about it, so he might well go into a church for solace."

Much more to chew on for sure -- any thoughts? Be sure to listen to the entire Empire podcast below.

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1 Comment

  • ska-triumph | June 19, 2013 11:32 AMReply

    I listened to this podcast - in double time - so I missed this part: "the film is 75 per cent what was the first draft". This makes sense to me when I cringed at the dialogue, and joke beats, through two IMAX 3D screenings. And the whole Jesus/Moses symbolic origins were ham-fisted, not truly laid out in the narrative spine of the story. Which explains why this Superman would allow that much collateral damage while essentially flying a la torpedo into every other Kryptonian.

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