In a recent ruling handed down by the courts, the Estates of Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster, co-creators of the Man of Steel, that’s right Superman, have been awarded additional rights to his origins. Warner Bros. and the “red blue blur’s” publisher DC Comics, no longer own the Kryptonian beginnings of the world’s greatest superhero. They can no longer consider his parents Lara and Jor-El, the details of his childhood in Smallville Kansas, nor that of even his arrival on Earth part of their property.
The judge’s decision has been granted in the wake of Siegel and Shuster’s court victory last year. What came from it was a return of control over Superman’s costume, his alter-ego Clark Kent, the use of star reporter Lois Lane and most of what makes up the Daily Planet, Metropolis’s top newspaper.
So where does that leave Warner Bros. and DC? Well, they still hold title to Superman’s arch villain Lex Luthor, The Planet’s photographer Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s powers and amazingly the concept of Kryptonite, the hero’s one weakness.
This reversal of fortune for the corporate powerhouses, to the family’s estate (The Shuster Estate isn’t even run by any descendants, as Joel Shuster left no heirs) means that in order for there to be another movie in the franchise, resurrected by Bryan Singer, (Superman Returns), the studio must begin production by 2011. If projects have not been initiated by then, all future Super-projects may then be in peril as all elements will return to the hands of the Estates’ in 2013.