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Why are people talking about a 2019 article about Superman movies, anyway?

Social media is abuzz about a story concerning Warner Bros' plans for Superman - but it's three years old.
Henry Cavill stars as Superman in 2013's Man of Steel
Warner Bros.

Since this weekend, a story from Forbes.com has been shared repeatedly on social media. The official tweet from the @Forbes account connected to the story is suitably eye-catching, reading, "DC Films still doesn't know what to do with Superman, the studio reportedly is unsure how to make the character 'relevant to modern audiences.'" So far, so sticky, as demonstrated by the number of retweets and quote tweets arguing about what DC and parent company Warner Bros. Discovery should be doing with the character. There's only one complication: the story is from November 2019.

That fact has, if anything, made the story even more widely shared as people screenshot or quote tweet the original tweet to ask just why people are talking about something that someone wrote in a more innocent time, pre-Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, pre-Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Empancipation of One Harley Quinn, and pre-COVID. It's a good question, and one with a relatively straightforward likely answer - one that is connected to something that didn't happen at this weekend's San Diego Comic-Con.

Ahead of Saturday's Warner Bros Theatrical panel in Hall H, rumors were rampant online that the studio would be showcasing more than the advertised Shazam: Fury of the Gods and Black Adam. Specifically, the rumor went, Warner Bros would announce a new Superman movie starring Henry Cavill, in an unexpected sequel to 2013's Man of Steel. As those who followed along with our coverage are already aware, that didn't happen.

There could be many reasons why that turned out to be the case, not least of which being that Warner Bros already has a Superman project in the works from J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates that's expected to introduce an entirely new Man of Steel to the big screen, just as Matt Reeves' The Batman stepped away from the Ben Affleck version of the character.

Henry Cavill as Superman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Warner Bros
Why Cavill didn't appear to announce a new Superman movie isn't as important in this situation as the indisputable fact that he didn't, however; the simple fact that the (unsourced, seemingly entirely spurious) rumor that it was going to be happen turned out to be incorrect was treated by many on social media as proof that Warner Bros has somehow screwed up and was mistreating both Superman and his fans by failing to announce a Man of Steel sequel. That, if you will, it didn't know what to do with Superman.

In that light, it's not entirely surprising that someone thought to retweet the 2019 Forbes story, just as it's not entirely surprising that others would respond to the story being reshared as if it was new, instead of... well, three years old. Think of the whole thing as a very online game of Telephone, using existing biases and the brief attention span of social media to best advantage.

The upshot of the whole thing is twofold. Firstly, since the studio has at least one project in the works featuring Superman, it's safe to say that Warner Bros believes that it knows what it's doing with the character, even if that's not what a particularly vocal fanbase would do given the chance. Secondly, more people should look at the timestamp on tweets before replying to them or responding to them, probably.

There is one more thing worth noting about this story, though. Dwayne Johnson and Zachary Levi both played it particularly coy when asked about potential cameo appearances from other DC heroes in their respective movies, meaning that Cavill could yet return as the Last Son of Krypton somewhere other than his own movie, and sooner than we might expect. Keep your eyes on the skies, just in case.


Revisit all the news, interviews, and notes of things that did happen from this past weekend with Popverse's San Diego Comic-Con coverage round-up.

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About the Author

Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Wired, Polygon, Inverse, Time Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, and he also co-hosts the Wait What podcast three times a month and writes the Comics, FYI newsletter. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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