New plot details for the upcoming Superman reboot movie show that it’s likely tied very closely to the current origin canon from the comics.
Over the last decade, DC Comics has been revamping the origin stories of their most popular heroes. Green Lantern got updated in Rebirth, which told of his return from his transformation into Paralax/Spectre, combined with a retelling of his long-past origin story; Batman got a whole new, darker origin treatment in the novel Year One; and Superman was retold with a more ‘human’ slant in Birthright.
Years ago, we were all happy to learn that the Batman reboot was going to be loosely based on Year One, and We’ve seen from the previews that Hal Jordan’s story in the new Green Lantern movie will resemble the origin told in Rebirth - not that it’s all that much different from the previous canon, so we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Superman: Man of Steel is going to be, at least loosely, based on Birthright.
Perhaps it’s a bit surprising because a lot of the details we’ve gotten so far have made the movie sould like it will be relying most heavily upon the original Christopher Reeves’ Superman film, and it has almost been sounding as if this film would be a remake of the 1978 film.
Today, however, we’ got this update to the movie’s plotline from the New York Times:
A young reporter named Clark Kent roams the world covering various news stories. When he is compelled to use his secret powers to intervene in a crisis in West Africa, he returns to Smallville to learn more about his origins and the hero he was born to be.
This sounds very similar to Birthright, while also showcasing some differences. In the graphic novel Clark does have his epiphany in West Africa, while witnessing a tribal war, but he does not get directly involved, as described in the film synopsis. Instead he goes immediately home to Smallville, where he and his adoptive mother use his old space craft to research his past, and decide what he should do about his gifts.
It’s from this discussion that he finally decides to don the costume, and become a secret hero. Then again, if we really pick apart the language, this snippit doesn't actually say that he does use his powers, only that he is compelled, so it could be even closer.
Of course, this all just makes it that much more mystifying that the upcoming Justice League movie is not going to use the actors or characters from these other new DC films, but perhaps there is still time to change minds about that.