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A New Hero Takes Flight in Superman: Man of Tomorrow

A New Hero Takes Flight in Superman: Man of Tomorrow

By George Taylor Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Yes, DC’s newest animated movie is a Superman story. But it’s not like any one you’ve ever seen…

New.

What a wonderful word, brimming with possibility and hope.

The upcoming release of Superman: Man of Tomorrow has oodles of new—balanced with a healthy dose of the familiar.

For forty films over the past thirteen years, Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have rallied behind the stellar creative vision of producers Bruce Timm and James Tucker to bring forth tales of heroism and villainy in their own stylish manner.

For Superman: Man of Tomorrow, trusted animation veteran Butch Lukic (Constantine: City of Demons, Justice League Action) puts his personal stamp on the popular DC Universe Movies series with an offering overflowing with new character designs, art direction, and voices. It’s a contemporary sensibility to complement the long-running success of this popular line of films and offer a fresh take on the world’s most beloved superhero.

It’s still Superman, albeit at a stage we’ve rarely seen—as an intern at The Daily Planet, confronting his own insecurities as he strives to ascertain exactly who he is and what he might mean to this confusing world.

Screenwriter Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen) has drawn inspiration from a variety of DC sources—Superman: American Alien and Superman: Birthright, with a touch of several others—as well as his own fertile imagination to deliver a story focusing on Clark Kent’s rise from Kansas farm boy to full-fledged DC Super Hero. It’s Clark’s search for identity as he encounters a learning curve in every aspect of his life—not only in terms of his evolution as the Man of Steel, but for his journalistic career and in the complicated transition of a small town kid trying to find his way in the big city. The film focuses mostly on his post-Smallville life, but before his romance with Lois Lane really begins. It’s far more a tale of Clark Kent than Superman. But as with most origin stories, the fun is watching the inevitability of the hero rising.

Creating such a departure from past films gave the crew a new canvas on which to paint, and they reacted with the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for children dashing to open presents on Christmas morning.

Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Darren Criss is one of those amazing gifts. DC Universe Movies have had a wide array of talent giving voice to the Man of Steel, from Tim Daly, Jerry O’Connell and Mark Harmon to George Newbern, Kyle MacLachlan and Jason Isaacs, to name a few. But Criss is the most geek-centric actor to step behind the microphone to date, an absolute comic nerd who revels in the role. He was so excited, we thought he might show up wearing a cape.

There was even a very sweet moment during recording where you could see Criss get caught up in the iconic grandeur of it all. “It warmed my heart to even see it on the page,” he said. “And to know, at the moment, I was the one who got to say it. It was so classic, I felt unworthy. And all the line said was, ‘Are you alright, Miss Lane?’ It really gave me pause.”

Criss leads a cast that is perfectly suited for their roles. Zachary Quinto brings a cool, calculated, oozing-with-arrogant-intellect attitude to the role of Lex Luthor, a casting selection we’ve been aching to secure for years. Anyone who knows Alexandra Daddario’s unbridled enthusiasm, overt sense of curiosity, and knack for being direct will hear all of that in this young Lois Lane. Brett Dalton doesn’t let his nice-guy persona conflict with the transition from sweet janitor to power-hungry lifeforce, taking the Joker’s “one bad day” to another extreme in becoming one of Superman’s greatest foes.

And then there’s Ryan Hurst. That voice, so full of gravel and grit—he’s simply traded his Sons of Anarchy motorcycle for a space chopper as intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo. It’s an organic evolution, and one that Hurst eats with a fork and knife—chomping heartily on Lobo’s trademark cigars while dolling out advice and physical punishment to anyone in his path. Who doesn’t love Lobo? Or, as Darren Criss dubbed him, “Space Meat Loaf.”

And please know that we’ve seen your comments. Your criticisms. Your questions.

We’ve also seen your excitement and your anticipation. So yes, in this world, the “S” stands for “Superman.” And the trunks are back. Just wait. There’s more.

You’re ready for a new journey, one of unexpected delights and vision. Buckle up.

You’ll see it all soon enough.
 

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, Superman: Man of Tomorrow will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting August 23, 2020, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on September 8, 2020. Be sure to check out the trailer if you haven’t yet seen it, and keep your eye on the Daily Star for news on Superman: Man of Tomorrow and DC FanDome.