Superman is a superhero that appears in comic books published by DC Comics, and is considered an American cultural icon. The Superman character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in 1933, and the character was sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (later DC Comics) in 1938. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book. Superman's appearance is distinctive and iconic. He usually wears a blue costume, red cape, and stylized red-and-yellow "S" shield on his chest. This shield is used in a myriad of media to symbolize the character.
The origin story of Superman relates that he was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton's destruction. Discovered and adopted by a Kansas farmer and his wife, the child is raised as Clark Kent and imbued with a strong moral compass. Very early on he started to display superhuman abilities, which, upon reaching maturity, he resolved to use for the benefit of humanity. Superman resides and operates in the fictional American city of Metropolis. As Clark Kent, he is a journalist for the Daily Planet, a Metropolis newspaper. Superman's primary love interest is Lois Lane and his archenemy is supervillain Lex Luthor.
Superman (1948 Serial)
Superman (1948) is a 15-part black-and-white Columbia film serial based on the comic book character Superman starring an uncredited Kirk Alyn (billed only by his character name, Superman; but credited on the promotional posters) and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. Like Batman, it is notable as the first live-action appearance of Superman on film and for the longevity of its distribution. The serial was directed by Thomas Carr, who later directed many early episodes of the Adventures of Superman television show, and Spencer Gordon Bennet, produced by Sam Katzman and shot in and around Los Angeles, California. It was originally screened at movie matinées and after the first three scene-setting chapters, every episode ends in a cliffhanger. The Superman-in-flight scenes are animations, in part due to the small production budget.
Atom Man vs. Superman (1950 Serial)
Atom Man vs. Superman (1950), Columbia's 43rd serial and the second live-action Superman screen appearance, both featuring Kirk Alyn as Superman, finds Lex Luthor (Lyle Talbot), secretly the Atom Man, blackmailing the city of Metropolis by threatening to destroy the entire community. Perry White (Pierre Watkin), editor of the Daily Planet, assigns Lois Lane (Noel Neill), Jimmy Olsen (Tommy Bond) and Clark Kent (Kirk Alyn) to cover the story.
Superman and the Mole Men (1951)
Superman and the Mole Men is a 1951 superhero film starring George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. The motion picture is the first theatrical feature film based on the DC Comics character Superman; although two live-action Superman films starring Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill had already been shown in cinemas, they had appeared in a serial format. The film was produced by Barney Sarecky and directed by Lee Sholem with the original screenplay by Richard Fielding (a pseudonym for Robert Maxwell and Whitney Ellsworth), and was shot in black and white over 12 days on a studio backlot. 58 minutes long, it served as a trial run for the syndicated TV series Adventures of Superman, for which it became the only 2-part episode, entitled "The Unknown People".
The film was released on VHS by Warner Home Video on July 22, 1987 (coinciding with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Superman character that year). The film was also released on LaserDisc. Both the 2-part episode and the full motion picture are featured on the first season DVD release for Adventures of Superman in 2005. In 2006, the film was released as a bonus feature on the 4-Disc Collector's Edition of Superman: The Movie. Subsequently, it was included in a similar Blu-Ray edition.
Stamp Day for Superman (1954)
Stamp Day for Superman is a 1954 black-and-white short film starring George Reeves as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It was produced by Superman Inc. for the United States Department of the Treasury to promote the purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds. Never shown theatrically, it was distributed to schools as a means of educating children about the program.
Due to its nature as a government film, Stamp Day for Superman is in the public domain and can often be found on inexpensive DVD sets. Warner Bros. also released the film as part of the Adventures of Superman Season 2 DVD set.
The Batman/Superman Hour (1968)
The Batman/Superman Hour is a Filmation animated series that was broadcast on CBS from 1968 to 1969. Premiering on September 14, 1968, this 60-minute program featured new adventures of the DC Comics superheroes Batman, Robin and Batgirl alongside shorts from The New Adventures of Superman and The Adventures of Superboy. A similar animated television series aired from 1997 to 2000 as The New Batman / Superman Adventures.
Superman: The Movie (1978)
Superman (also known as Superman: The Movie) is a 1978 British-American superhero film directed by Richard Donner. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and stars Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Jackie Cooper, Trevor Howard, Marc McClure, Terence Stamp, Valerie Perrine, and Ned Beatty. The film depicts Superman's origin, including his infancy as Kal-El of Krypton and his youthful years in the rural town of Smallville. Disguised as reporter Clark Kent, he adopts a mild-mannered disposition in Metropolis and develops a romance with Lois Lane, while battling the villainous Lex Luthor.
Superman II (1980)
Superman II is a 1980 British-American superhero film directed by Richard Lester. It is a sequel to the 1978 film Superman and stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, and Jack O'Halloran. The film was released in Australia and mainland Europe on December 4, 1980, and in other countries throughout 1981. Selected premiere engagements of Superman II were presented in Megasound, a high-impact surround sound system similar to Sensurround.
Superman III (1983)
Superman III is a 1983 British-American superhero film directed by Richard Lester. It is the third film in the Superman film series based upon the long-running DC Comics superhero. The film is the last Superman film to be produced by Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind and stars Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Annette O'Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, and Robert Vaughn. This film is followed by Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, released on July 23, 1987.
Supergirl is a 1984 British superhero film directed by Jeannot Szwarc. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and is a spin-off to Alexander and Ilya Salkind's Superman film series. The film stars Faye Dunaway, Helen Slater as Supergirl, and Peter O'Toole, with Marc McClure reprising his role as Jimmy Olsen from the Superman films (he was the only returning actor).
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is a 1987 American superhero film directed by Sidney J. Furie. It is the fourth and final film in the original Superman film series.
This is the first film in this series not to be produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind, but by Golan-Globus's Cannon Films, in association with Warner Bros. Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luthor, who creates an evil Solar-powered Superman clone called Nuclear Man. Superman IV was neither a critical nor a box-office success and critics have put it in the category of worst films ever made. The film was the first American film in the series, the first being a UK/US co-production and the two sequels being entirely British.
The series went on hiatus until 2006, when Superman Returns was released, which uses the first two films as backstory while ignoring the events of this film and its predecessor.
Superman Returns (2006)
Superman Returns is a 2006 superhero film directed and produced by Bryan Singer. Based on the DC Comics character Superman, the film uses the events of the motion pictures Superman (1978) and, to less of a degree, Superman II (1980) as backstory, while completely ignoring the events of Superman III (1983) and Superman IV (1987). It stars Brandon Routh as Superman / Clark Kent, as well as Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Frank Langella, and Parker Posey, and tells the story of the title character returning to Earth after a 5-year absence. He finds that his love interest Lois Lane has moved on with her life and that his archenemy Lex Luthor is plotting a scheme that will destroy him and the world.
Man of Steel (2013)
Man of Steel is a 2013 superhero film based on the DC Comics character Superman, co-produced by Legendary Pictures and Syncopy Films, distributed by Warner Bros. It is the first installment in the DC shared film universe. Directed by Zack Snyder and written by David S. Goyer, the film stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Russell Crowe. Man of Steel is a reboot of the Superman film series that portrays the character's origin story.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Gotham City-based vigilante Batman travels to Metropolis to preemptively combat Superman, fearing what would happen if the latter is kept unchecked, while another threat endangers humankind. The film introduces Batman, Wonder Woman, Alfred Pennyworth, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday to the DCEU.
In June 2013, it was announced that Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer would both be returning for a Man of Steel sequel, which was being fast tracked by Warner Bros. Christopher Nolan is involved in an advisory role as executive producer. In July 2013, Warner Bros. announced that Superman and Batman will meet for the first time in a cinematic format in the film which will be the follow-up to Man of Steel and a reboot of the Batman film series, set for release in 2015. Goyer and Snyder will co-write the story, with Goyer writing the script. Cavill, Adams, Lane, and Fishburne will reprise their roles. According to Snyder and Goyer, the film will take inspiration from the comic The Dark Knight Returns. However, later, Snyder clarified that the film would not be a strict adaptation of the story and instead be original. Goyer stated that Superman and Batman would face off. On August 22, 2013, it was announced that Ben Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne / Batman. On December 4, 2013, it was reported that Gal Gadot was cast as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, marking the first appearance of Wonder Woman in a live-action theatrical film.
It was announced that Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons were joining the cast as Lex Luthor and Alfred Pennyworth, respectively. Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa were cast as Victor Stone / Cyborg, Barry Allen / The Flash, and Arthur Curry / Aquaman respectively; appearing briefly in roles which will be expanded upon in future DC Extended Universe films.
In January 2014, it was announced that the film had been delayed from its original July 17, 2015 release date to May 6, 2016, to give the filmmakers "time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story". It got moved again to March 25, 2016. In May 2014, the film's title was revealed to be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
"The Justice League" Part One
In Theaters November 17th, 2017
Motivated by Superman's selfless sacrifice, Batman and Wonder Woman assemble a team of metahumans to face a new catastrophic threat. The film introduces Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, James Gordon, Mera, Nudis Vulko, and Iris West to the DCEU.
The new Justice League film will be starring: Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry / Aquaman), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), and Ray Fisher (Victor Stone / Cyborg).
In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced the film would be released in two parts as the fifth and ninth installments of the DC Comics' shared universe films, with Part One releasing in 2017, and Part Two in 2019. Snyder will direct both films. It is expected that Fisher will appear as Cyborg, and Jason Momoa will appear as Aquaman.
On January 19, 2016, concept art was released for the film confirming Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash as the official lineup, though Geoff Johns hinted that a Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps will eventually join the roster and appear in the movie. Snyder later discussed that Doomsday, and his mythological origins will be more greatly detailed within the Justice League films after his debut appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In March 2016, it was announced J. K. Simmons would play Commissioner Gordon in the series. That same month, Heard confirmed with Entertainment Tonight that she will indeed be portraying Mera. According to writer Chris Terrio, the film will not be as dark as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will instead feature a lighter tone. Filming for the movie started on April 11. In April 2016, Willem Dafoe was cast as Nuidis Vulko, an advisor to Aquaman. That same month, Eisenberg confirmed that he would reprise his role as Lex Luthor. In June 2016, Johns revealed the title for the film would be Justice League.
"Justice League" Part 2
in Theaters June 14th, 2019
The Justice League sequel will be starring: Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent / Superman), Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry / Aquaman), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince / Wonder Woman), and Ray Fisher (Victor Stone / Cyborg).
In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced the film would be released in 2 parts as the 5th and 9th installments of the DC Comics' shared universe films, with Part One releasing in 2017, and Part Two in 2019. Snyder will direct both films. A Justice League movie sequel was scheduled to be released on June 14, 2019, but has since been delayed to accommodate the release for a standalone Batman movie that will be directed by Ben Affleck.
Man of Steel 2 (2020?)
In October 2014, a Man of Steel sequel was reported to be in development. In June 2016, Russell Crowe confirmed that a Superman trilogy was originally planned before it was scrapped due the announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In August 2016, The Wrap reported that the studio announced that the sequel is now in development as a top priority for the studio and getting the character right for audiences is of tantamount importance. In September 2016, Cavill's manager Dany Garcia (who will be producer of Shazam) announced that Henry Cavill would be taking a more active role as a producer for the film, through his company Promethean Productions. While promoting Arrival, Amy Adams confirmed work has begun on the screenplay.