Workshop Wednesday

Back before the DC Extended UniverseStarted as DC Comics' answer to the MCU, the early films in the franchise stumbled out of the gates, often mired in grim-dark storytelling and the rushed need to get this franchise started. Eventually, though, the films began to even out, becoming better as they went along. Still, this franchise has a long way to go before it's true completion for Marvel's universe. SupermanThe first big superhero from DC Comics, Superman has survived any number of pretenders to the throne, besting not only other comic titans but even Wolrd War II to remain one of only three comics to continue publishing since the 1940s. film, Man of Steel, came out, there was a lot of prognosticating about who should play the new Superman. Who could step into the shoes of Clark Kent and embody that All-American attitude while still, at the same time, conveying the necessary vulnerability and pathos the character required. While a lot of names were bandied about (the usual list of up-and-coming Hollywood hunks), a name occurred to me: Jon Hamm. Best known (even now) for his starring role as Don Draper in Man Men, Hamm managed to seem like the perfect 1960s ideal of a "man". Of course, he's also an unconventional choice since Don Draper isn't exactly a nice character by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, there's something perfect about the actor for the role. As we've seen in later movies and shows (such as Baby Driver and Good Omens), the man can play goofy as well as cold-blooded serious. He has the necessary emotional range to play all facets of Clark Kent/Superman. Plus, of course, Don Draper was a man with a secret, a person who wasn't at all who he said he was. Is that really that far off from Supes?

Considering that DC eventually cast Ben Affleck for the role of Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice clearly we didn't need every hero to be a 20-something superhunk. I would have much rather watched an experienced Superman than one who, once again, was going through the throes of his origin story. He came from a dying planet, he works as a reporter. We know this shit. Just get us to the story.

The idea of Jon Hamm as Superman was good enough that it's stuck with me all this time. So, late as it may be, I really want to get this idea out of my head. As such, here's the Superman/Mad Men crossover you didn't ask for:

Superman and Jimmy: "A Tour of the Fortress of Solitude"

INT: FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MAIN ATRIUM, DAY

FADE IN.

We see SUPERMAN lead JIMMY into the fortress. SUPERMAN walks in with the assured confidence of a man coming home after a day of work, ready to settle into a couch with his feet up, knowing that he's right where he should be. JIMMY, meanwhile, stares wide-eyed at the spectacle before him, like a kid in the world's largest candy store.

SUPERMAN:

Here we are, Jimmy. My home away from home. A fortress just for me so I can spend some time away from the hustle and bustle and just be myself.

JIMMY:

Golly gee, Mr. Superman. This really is something!

SUPERMAN:

Jimmy, you know I'm Clark Kent. I've shown you my secret identity-

JIMMY:

When you took off your glasses, Mr. Superman, I was so shocked. Who knew?!

SUPERMAN:

(chuckles) Yes, Jimmy, and that's my point. You don't have to call me "Superman." We're friends.

JIMMY:

Yes, Mr. Kent.

SUPERMAN:

(sigh) So, you see anything around here you like?

JIMMY wanders the hall, looking at the computers, the statues, and animals in big glass pens. Meanwhile, Superman walks over to a wall, pushes a button, and opens up a fully-stocked bar. He starts making a drink.

JIMMY:

It's all so amazing. What does it all do?

SUPERMAN:

Well, that station you're standing in front of controls my robot butlers.

JIMMY:

You have robot butlers?

SUPERMAN:

Sure. Push the big button.

JIMMY obediently pushes the big red button.

SFX: Warning klaxons

As the alarms blare, SUPERMAN's robotic security drones swing in.

DRONES:

Alert! Alert! Unauthorized life form detected. Delete with extreme prejudice.

The robots take am and fire a flurry of lasers at JIMMY. SUPERMAN, though, immediately rushes in at supersonic speeds and blocks all the lasers from killing his friend. We also see that he still has his drink in his hand, and he does all this without spilling a drop.

SUPERMAN:

The other button, JIMMY.

SUPERMAN pushes a blue button right next to the red one, and the drones immediately go from hostile mode to passive mode. Then he takes a sip of his Old Fashioned, smacking his lips afterwards.

DRONE:

Ah, Master Kal, how may we be of service today?

SUPERMAN:

My friend is here visiting the fortress. Make him feel comfortable.

DRONE:

At once, sir.

The drone flies off and then, second later, comes back with a terrycloth robe and a pair of slippers. JIMMY is still visibly shaking at the drone hands over the goods.

DRONE:

Would Master Jimmy like anything else? Popcorn, a cigarette perhaps?

JIMMY:

Buh... buh... buh...

SUPERMAN:

(chuckles) How about a drink, Jimmy?

JIMMY nods furiously.

JIMMY:

Please!

JIMMY immediately makes a bee-line for the bar.

SUPERMAN:

No, JIMMY! Not those! That alcohol is made for my metabolism. One sip would instantly dissolve your internal organs.

JIMMY:

Oh...

SUPERMAN:

Butler, get my friend here a...

JIMMY:

Strawberry daiquiri.

SUPERMAN gives him a look.

SUPERMAN:

Really? Well, okay...

DRONE:

Yes, sir.

SUPERMAN strolls over to his couch, sitting down on it, one leg propped casually over the other, one arm along the back of the couch while he gently swirls his drink with his free hand.

SUPERMAN:

So, JIMMY, I brought you here because I wanted to talk to you.

JIMMY:

About what, Mr. Kent?

SUPERMAN:

Life. Love. What it means to really be alive.

JIMMY:

Uh, okay...

SUPERMAN:

I look at you, JIMMY, and I see potential. You remind me a little of myself.

JIMMY:

Golly.

The DRONE flies back with a tall strawberry daiquiri. Jimmy takes a long pull right from the rim.

SUPERMAN:

But there comes a day when a man has to grow up, to figure out what it is that he wants and then sets himself towards that goal. Take me, for instance. What do you think of when you see me?

JIMMY looks up from his drink, a great big, wet, daiquiri mustache on his face.

JIMMY:

A hero!

SUPERMAN:

Right, but why do you think that?

JIMMY:

Well-

SUPERMAN:

Because I control the narrative. I don't let others define me. Think about it: I'm a powerful being, one that, day-to-day, has to make life and death decisions that could affect millions. If I act, thousands could die. If I don't, it could be millions. But you don't think about that when you see me, do you?

JIMMY:

Well, no...

SUPERMAN:

That's because of the way I act, the way I dress, the image I convey to the world. With a different attitude, a different style of dress, you'd view me as a malevolent force, a dark god stalking the night.

JIMMY:

Like Batman.

SUPERMAN:

It's all how I convey my message. And that's what I want for you.

JIMMY:

You want me to be a god?

SUPERMAN:

I want you to be a man, JIMMY! You need to grow up, put on suits, drink real drinks, and find a version of yourself that appeals to the world. Instead of junior cub reporter Jimmy Olsen you should tell the world you want to be James Olsen, Editor. Dress for the job you want.

The DRONE, still hanging around the two men, lights up.

DRONE:

Will there be anything else, Master Kal?

SUPERMAN:

No, thanks.

The DRONE flies off.

SUPEPRMAN:

But your dress is only the first step-

JIMMY:

Cal?

SUPERMAN:

What?

JIMMY:

Why does the butler keep calling you Cal?

SUPERMAN:

Oh... that's my nickname. So, let's talk about your attitude-

JIMMY:

That doesn't make any sense.

SUPERMAN:

Attitude is everything. Didn't you hear my speech just now?

JIMMY:

No, Cal doesn't make sense as a nickname. Your name is Clark, not Calvin or Callum.

SUPERMAN:

It's, uhm, still the same letters.

JIMMY stares at him.

JIMMY:

What are you hiding?

SUPERMAN suddenly gets up.

SUPERMAN:

Me? Nothing! Hey, you wanna check out my zoo?

JIMMY:

Who are you really, SUPERMAN?

SUPERMAN:

I... I mean...

JIMMY:

You're not really Clark Kent, are you? Did you steal that identity?

SUPERMAN:

No. I'm... My name is Kal-El. I'm from and alien world!

JIMMY:

WHAT!?

SUPERMAN:

Don't freak out, but, well, I've always hidden this from the world. Only a few people know, and most of the ones that do hate me for it. I just... I didn't want you to hate me.

JIMMY:

How could you lie? You're an idol! A symbol of hope!

SUPERMAN:

Well, I mean, I hid my other identity. I'm not just Superman, I'm also Clark Kent.

JIMMY:

And now someone else as well? How many identities do you have?

SUPERMAN:

Uhm... (thinks) Twelve.

JIMMY:

How deep do these lies go?!

SUPERMAN:

I mean, I do work undercover to get stories.

JIMMY:

And hold yourself up as a false god!

SUPERMAN:

Seriously, I don't think you were listening to-

JIMMY:

I can't believe this!

JIMMY starts stalking towards SUPERMAN as the hero backs away.

SUPERMAN:

I mean, how did you think I got my powers?

JIMMY:

I don't know! Genetic experiment? Nuclear radiation? Spider bite? I just always assumed you were from Earth. But now I learn you're the first step of an alien invasion?

SUPERMAN:

What?! No! I'm the last of my people! My planet blew up.

JIMMY:

You destroyed a planet?

SUPERMAN:

No! My people did it to themselves.

JIMMY:

So now you've come here to do it to Earth too!

SUPERMAN:

JIMMY, no! You're taking everything way out of context.

By this point Jimmy has backed SUPERMAN into a corner, hurling his accusations at the hero.

JIMMY:

And so, what? You brought me here to brainwash me, make me into the first of your willing accomplices so that I can tell the world about your greatness!

SUPERMAN, feeling pressured, starts to let his control slip. His eyes begin to light up.

SUPERMAN:

Why are you acting like this?

JIMMY:

I'm defending my planet from an assassin!

The eyes get brighter and brighter.

SUPERMAN:

I'm not-

JIMMY:

We don't want you here! You freak! You alien!

SUPERMAN:

No, JIMMY, I-

JIMMY:

Get out! Go find some other planet to ruin!

SUPERMAN:

No, please-

JIMMY:

GO AWAY!

The rage unleashed finally, SUPERMAN fires off his eye beams at the sky, blasting a hole through the roof.

JIMMY:

MY GOD! WHAT ARE YOU?! YOU MONSTER!

Freaking out, SUPERMAN grabs JIMMY and snaps his neck. The body falls to the floor while SUPERMAN stands there, hunched over, breathing heavily. Finally, when the glow in his eyes fades, he looks down and see the body. He falls to his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. This goes on for a few seconds before, finally, Superman pulls himself together. He wipes his eyes and nose on his sleeve, and then just stares, sadly, at his friend.

SUPERMAN:

Oh, JIMMY... (sigh) Butler, get the cloning bath ready. Looks like we'll have to revive my friend. Again.

FADE OUT.

CREDIT ROLL.

FADE IN.

INT: DAILY PLANET OFFICES, MEETING ROOM, DAY.

We see all the reporters gathered in the room for the daily briefing. Notably, JIMMY is there, but SUPERMAN (as Clark) is not. PERRY WHITE stalks in, all editorial rage contained in human form.

PERRY WHITE:

All right, people, we have a lot of business to go over so I want you all the shut up and take the stories I give you. LOIS-

LOIS LANE looks up from her notes, giving Perry a smile.

LOIS:

Yes, Perry?

PERRY:

The Bat is causing havoc in Bludhaven again. I want you to cover it.

LOIS:

The Batman is Clark's beat.

PERRY:

Clark is on sabbatical. Said he'd had something personal happen, needed time off.

EXT: CALIFORNIA RETREAT, OPEN LAWN, DAY.

We see a bunch of people at a new age-y retreat, sitting on yoga mats, meditating. One of them is SUPERMAN (as Clark), sitting calm and serene. The camera starts wide, at an upward angle, taking in the whole scene before dipping down and slowly zooming in towards SUPERMAN. As it gets close we see a smile play across his face as he gently hums the "Superman Theme" to himself.

FADE TO BLACK.