DC Films Exec Reportedly Vetoed Making Superman’s Grandfather Black, Regé-Jean Page Auditioned

The creators of the short-lived "Krypton" series wanted nontraditional casting, but Geoff Johns was reportedly not keen on the idea.
Henry Cavill as Superman and Regé-Jean Page
Everett Collection

Before Regé-Jean Page became a global superstar with his breakout performance in Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” he reportedly auditioned for the role of Superman’s grandfather on David S. Goyer’s Syfy comic book series “Krypton.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “Krypton” creative team was “passionate about doing some nontraditional casting,” but then-DC Films chairman Geoff Johns rejected the idea and “said Superman could not have a Black grandfather.” Per THR: “The creators also wanted to make one superhero character, Adam Strange, gay or bisexual. But sources say Johns vetoed the idea.”

In a statement to THR, Johns’ representative explained the executive “believed fans expected the character [of Superman’s grandfather] to look like a young Henry Cavill,” thus a Black actor could not be cast as Superman’s grandfather on the show. Cavill appears as Superman in “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Justice League.”

On the issue of Adam Strange, Johns’ rep said, “Geoff celebrates and supports LGTBQ characters, including Batwoman, who in 2006 was re-introduced as LGBTQ in a comic-book series co-written by Johns.” The rep added that Johns once pitched Warner Bros. on developing the first LGBTQ lead DC superhero television series.

“Krypton” writer Nadria Tucker told THR about an incident during the making of the show in which Johns “objected when a Black female character’s hairstyle was changed in scenes that took place on different days.” Tucker said, “I said Black women, we tend to change our hair frequently. It’s not weird, it’s a Black thing. And he said, ‘No, it’s not.'”

Johns’ spokesperson reacted to the story by telling THR: “What were standard continuity notes for a scene are being spun in a way that are not only personally offensive to Geoff, but to the people that know who he is, know the work he’s done and know the life he lives, as Geoff has personally seen firsthand the painful effects of racial stereotypes concerning hair and other cultural stereotypes, having been married to a Black woman who he was with for a decade and with his second wife, who is Asian American, as well as his son who is mixed race.”

“Krypton” ran for two seasons and 20 episodes on Syfy. The series was canceled in August 2019.

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