Men of Steel: Black Actors Who Could Be the New Superman

Photo:  Leon Bennett, JC Olivera, Mike Coppola (Getty Images)
Photo: Leon Bennett, JC Olivera, Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

The ongoing writers’ strike may have brought Hollywood to an unexpected halt, but that doesn’t mean casting the new Superman isn’t still a high priority. There’s more to being the Man of Steel than just looking good in the suit. The right actor will be able to embody all aspects of the character. That means carrying Kal-El’s loss, Clark Kent’s loneliness and Superman’s optimism. With James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy reportedly set to be a “Year One” style story about Superman’s early days as a hero, we have some suggestions for Black actors who could be the new Superman.

John Boyega

Photo:  Gareth Cattermole (Getty Images)
Photo: Gareth Cattermole (Getty Images)

The Star Wars actor may be franchise shy, but let’s be honest: he’s the perfect Superman. He’s got the star quality, charm, likability, and underlying toughness that have made previous Superman actors like Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill unforgettable.

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Jay Ellis

Photo:  Mike Coppola (Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

From his work on Insecure to his appearance in Top Gun: Maverick, Jay Ellis has shown that he has the screen presence and emotional depth to give us a Superman we can’t stop thinking about.

Caleb Castille

Photo:  Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)
Photo: Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

You may not know Caleb Castille, but NCIS: LA fans will tell you that he has the ideal balance of optimism and awkwardness that leads to a great Man of Steel.

Regé-Jean Page

Photo:  Jesse Grant (Getty Images)
Photo: Jesse Grant (Getty Images)

Leading roles in Bridgerton and Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes Among Thieves have set Regé-Jean Page on a path to a breakout moment. He has the look and the duality that can make him believable as both Clark Kent and Superman.

Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Photo:  Arturo Holmes (Getty Images)
Photo: Arturo Holmes (Getty Images)

From The Trial of the Chicago 7, to Elvis, to Chevalier, Kelvin Harrison Jr., has a habit of finding unique roles. Superman may not be new, but he would definitely put a new spin on the hero we know so well.

Charles Michael Davis

Photo:  Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

People don’t talk enough about the charm underneath Superman’s aura. He’s able to make something like “truth, justice and the American way” work because he uses that charm to make it sound authentic. Charles Michael Davis can deliver that in a sexier Superman.

Caleb McLaughlin

Photo:  Leon Bennett (Getty Images)
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

If Legacy is truly highlighting Clark’s early years as a hero, the Stranger Things star can bring an infectious enthusiasm to the character. Plus, he also has the acting chops to explore Kal-El’s tragic past.

Jordan Calloway

Photo:  Michael Loccisano (Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Loccisano (Getty Images)

Having played Black Lightning’s Painkiller, Jordan Calloway is no stranger to the comic book world. Combining the best aspects of Painkiller and Fire Country’s Jake could equal a really interesting Man of Steel.

Algee Smith

Photo:  Phillip Faraone (Getty Images)
Photo: Phillip Faraone (Getty Images)

Sometimes fans can forget that there’s a deep sadness behind Clark Kent’s life. In addition to losing his parents and Krypton, he often has to make heartbreaking life or death choices. It would be fascinating to see an actor bring that aspect of his personality to the big screen.

Jharrel Jerome

Photo:  Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

So many people forget how important Clark Kent is to Superman’s hero equation. Jharrel Jerome will add the everyman factor that’s crucial to his story.

Tyler James Williams

Photo:  Jon Kopaloff (Getty Images)
Photo: Jon Kopaloff (Getty Images)

It’s no secret that James Gunn likes to blend comedy into his comic book stories. Before he was Star-Lord, Chris Pratt was mainly known as a comedic actor. It feels like Tyler James Williams could do the same thing with Superman.

Tosin Cole

Photo:  Paras Griffin (Getty Images)
Photo: Paras Griffin (Getty Images)

No matter how serious the story is, there’s always an underlying absurdity to comic books. His work in Doctor Who and 61st Street showcases how Tosin Cole could offer a fresh take on Superman.

Justice Smith

Photo:  Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

Justice Smith has a very likable quality that makes audiences want to root for him. It feels like Superman: Legacy would be a great way to follow up Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes Among Thieves and Jurassic World: Dominion.

Keiynan Lonsdale

Photo:  Brendon Thorne (Getty Images)
Photo: Brendon Thorne (Getty Images)

As the Arrowverse’s Kid Flash, Keiynan Lonsdale has brilliantly portrayed the arc from overconfident, impulsive kid with new powers to thoughtful, grounded hero. Would love to see him bring a more introspective Man of Steel to the big screen.

Brian Michael Smith

Photo:  Kevin Winter (Getty Images)
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Brian Michael Smith’s work on 9-1-1: Lone Star translates perfectly to Superman’s “everyman, I’m not a God” personality.

Jeremy Pope

Photo:  Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

If you’ve seen The Inspection, you know Jeremy Pope has the acting bonafides. Now it’s time for him to find the breakout franchise role that rockets him to stardom.

Shameik Moore

Photo:  Ethan Miller (Getty Images)
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

While I’m still holding out hope that we get to see Shameik bring Miles Morales to the MCU, we know how good he is at introducing a hero’s origin story and making it work.

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