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This is really one of those articles that just has the writer sharing their opinion rather than sharing mostly facts. I'm curious about the opinions of others.  Personally, I wouldn't want to see Will play Superman, but I'd totally be willing to let a screen test change my mind. 

I'm actually a big Superman fan and have been since I was old enough to understand anything.  While not a perfectly film, I personally love Superman Returns.  I never understood how it came out with positive reviews, love from fans, and success....then a few years later it turned to some people saying it was boring and that it's huge success wasn't huge enough. I don't know if it would have been much more successful like the writer thinks. 


What DC (& Hollywood) Would Look Like If Will Smith Did Superman Returns

Will Smith came close to playing the lead in Superman Returns, and here's what might've happened to DC and Hollywood if he had taken the role.


Will Smith came close to playing the lead in Superman Returns, and here's what might've happened to DC and Hollywood if he had taken the role. While some still try to argue Smith has limited acting range, some of his performances heavily argue to the contrary. It's not impossible to imagine him playing the Man of Steel, although he'd probably need to tamp down some of his more over the top mannerisms present in roles like Men in Black's Agent Jay or Bad Boys' Mike Lowrey.

That's only because Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent tend to be much more soft-spoken, sometimes reserved characters, outside of when Superman is busting up bad guys. With roles like Dr. Robert Neville in I Am Legend though, Smith proved that he can indeed hold back on some of the signature phrases and physicality that have come to be associated with a lot of his work. Smith is indeed an A-lister, but that doesn't mean he's not really talented.

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In interviews done years ago, Smith revealed that he had been offered the role of Superman in Superman Returns, but turned it down. If he had decided to become Superman though, it well could've had a substantial butterfly effect on both DC films and Hollywood at large.

Why Will Smith Turned Down Superman Returns


In that aforementioned interview, Will Smith laid out his reasoning for turning down the chance to star in Superman Returns, although it's a bit unclear how serious he was being. Smith said that he refused the Superman role due to worries about a backlash from white people over a black man taking over a famous character who had always been played by white actors previously. He cited that he had already done something similar by playing the previously white character Jim West in Wild Wild West, for which he presumably experienced some type of backlash.

Smith went on to express, again seemingly not being entirely serious, a concern that such a white backlash against him playing Superman might effect his ability to get future work in Hollywood. While it's sadly likely there would've indeed been some type of backlash against his casting, as happened when Michael B. Jordan played Human Torch, it's doubtful it would've effected Smith's career, as he was a massive box office draw at the time.

Will Smith's Superman Would've Been Very Different


There's no doubt that a Superman played by Will Smith would've indeed been unlike any version before or since, and not just for the obvious reason of the character being black. Every other movie Superman, - Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavill - have done their best to live up to the standard portrayal of the Man of Steel, in both look and physicality.


Smith is a very expressive actor, both facially and via body language, and also brings in with him an A-list established personality that none of the others had. As mentioned above, he could certainly try to tamp down some of his trademark traits - it's hard to imagine Superman busting out the famous "OH HELL NO!" Smith has said in multiple movies - but at the end of the day it might be a bit hard not to see Smith playing Superman instead of just Superman.

Superman Returns Would've Been A Bigger Hit With Will Smith


While Smith isn't quite the guaranteed box office record breaker today that he used to be - although he still does star in big hits from time to time - back in the mid-2000s, he was still firmly on top of the Hollywood mountain. Superman Returns, while earning predominantly positive reviews from critics, was a minor box office flop, failing to even double its massive $200 million budget in theaters, and likely not seeing much of a return on investment until home video.

Smith starring in the film instead of newcomer Brandon Routh would've instantly made Superman Returns into a bigger deal, and likely ensured a much larger box office haul. However, as suggested above, with a star as big as Smith in the lead, Superman Returns could've ended up very different. It's possible the script would've been tailored to fit him, and not ended up telling the same story ultimately told onscreen.

What Will Smith's Superman Would Mean For DC Movies


It was the failure of Superman Returns that led DC to go back to the drawing board and try to reinvent Superman movies, eventually leading to Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, and the subsequent creation of the DCEU. Only seven years separated the release of Superman Returns and Man of Steel, and if Smith's Superman Returns would've made bank, the logical choice would be to make a sequel also starring him. Had that occurred, the current DC movie landscape could be entirely different.


Had Superman Returns been a hit, and Smith starred in a sequel, it's possible the DCEU wouldn't exist at all, at least not in anything close to its current form. Perhaps Batman and Superman still could've shared the screen, but in a crossover starring Smith and Christian Bale. Superman may never have had been subject to Snyder's trademark darkness, and stayed in line with the more upbeat Reeve films. Smith obviously wouldn't have gone on to play Deadshot either, assuming the Suicide Squad still made their way to the big screen. The potential timeline implications of Smith having been Superman are mind-boggling.

How Hollywood Would Be Different With Will Smith's Superman


Beginning in 2008, Will Smith took a years-long hiatus from acting. Had Smith been a successful Superman, and DC been ready to back up the money truck to his house for further films, it's highly doubtful Smith would've taken that break, or he at least would've taken a much shorter one. That alone would have implications for the blockbuster scene. A strong Superman franchise, or even an earlier variation on a shared DC movie universe, could've also potentially competed with Marvel Studios' MCU much earlier, and not been forced to rush things so much.

Making Superman black also would've broken down barriers when it comes to representation in superhero films much earlier than those barriers started being blasted through in reality. A black Superman in Superman Returns could've meant just as much to the black community as the late Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther, but twelve years earlier. Until the ability to travel the multiverse is invented though, we'll never get to know for sure.

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