I think the reason for the change is simply balance. Trying to avoid having the movie be a sausage-fest featuring Lois Lane as 'The Girl'. Newsrooms are relatively diverse environments and they've chosen to not just sprinkle a couple of women and black guys among the extras.
Not sure if I'm okay with this. I like what Morrison is doing with him in Action Comics. I like him being the same age as Superman and the close friend of Clark Kent. Clark needs a friend who is a guy and not a superhero, someone he can be normal with.
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I think most people never liked Jimmy anyhow. It's like having a book starring Peter Parker, who is friends with a guy named Spider-Man.
The examples you listed are not the same as gender swapping (J.A.R.V.I.S. still has the voice of a male British butler and functions in a similar way, the Mary Jane/Gwen examples, etc.) but the highlighted ones show that creating all new characters does work out well. Chloe ended up being very popular and crossed over like Coulson, Quinn, etc.
Last edited by C-Dot; 01-24-2013 at 06:20 PM.
Last edited by C-Dot; 01-24-2013 at 04:06 PM.
Now, if the deal was that Jimmy Olsen was turned into Jenny Olsen by a voodoo witch doctor on behalf of an angry Lucy Lane because Jimmy had made some comment about her getting out of the stewardess job and into the kitchen...then we'd have a movie.
Over and over, the crow cries uncover the cornfield.
Chloe was created for Smallville. And outside of one short running backup series that was actually about Jimmy, and not her, she has not branched out anywhere else. Unless you count the Smallville season 11 digital comic. Still, she remains a fringe character to the extreme who has no real weight in the mythology.
But now that Barbara Gordon is out in the streets again as Batgirl, I wish they'd bring Chloe in as the new Oracle.
The entire reason why Chloe was even in Superman comics was because of her popularity in Smallville (to this day, is still popular like other well-received successful shows). She ended up being a valid part of the formula for that show's success and a legitimate presence in Smallville media from web series to comics to other forms. Is Chloe as success in the regard of "popular character in other media showing up in comics" like the examples of Coulson, Harley, Livewire, X-23, etc? Very much so. We're not talking length of her appearances. The fact that she was there at all is a example of the character's popularity. Is she still here via Smallville media? Yes. Is she still popular? Yes. And that includes people whose only exposure to Superman is TV or that show in particular. I'm sorry but I'm not going to act like Chloe or even the show itself didn't have any significant impact.
Creating and designing original characters from the ground up does work. I rather see that or see other female characters in any established Superman media being used than just changing a male character who has been in media since the 1940s with his established look, personality, and character as Superman's young male buddy who sees him as a bit of a role model.
Last edited by C-Dot; 01-24-2013 at 06:09 PM.
Let's start with your example: Clark bonds with Jenny Olsen and Lois doesn't like it. Maybe she thinks Clark's a creep perving on Jenny, or she thinks Jenny's got designs on Clark. Either way, she doesn't like it. She might also think they're sharing a secret she's not in on, and she doesn't like that, either. Maybe she's wrong and Clark and Jenny are just good working buddies. Or maybe she's right -- Clark might trust Jenny enough to tell her he's Superman. (We saw something like this happen with Jimmy in "3-2-1 Action," so it's not unheard of.)
Or, for another example, Lois and Jenny are the ones who've bonded and have a big sister/little sister relationship, and neither of them will give Clark the time of day. You could use this to emphasize Clark's sense of feeling like an outsider, and Jenny could be Lois go-to support system whenever she gets on Perry's bad side or gets herself in way over her head.
Or, for another example, if Jenny doesn't know Clark is Superman, how she feels about Superman could be something to toy with. Is she starstruck and in awe of him, as Jimmy is in the old setup? Is she afraid of him? Does she dislike him? Does she have a crush on him? Is she completely indifferent to him? Any number of ways you could go here, all of them with their own possibilities.
Or, for another example, assuming Jenny likes Superman, she could ultimately be Supergirl's best friend/confidante should she ever show up. The old "Superman's pal" motif could be transplanted to Supergirl, with Jenny being a sounding board and/or a contemporary Kara could lean on when she needs someone to talk to.
Or, for another example, Perry treats Jenny almost as a surrogate daughter...to the point of being as overprotective as any father could be. Basically the flip side of the "Everything Jimmy does makes Perry furious" motif, but in this case he'd be fearing for this young woman's life and, in turn, making her that much hungrier to prove herself.
Or, perhaps, we could do something completely different...make Jenny the love interest and use the opportunity to completely reinvent the Lois/Clark dynamic. Back during the "Lois Lane: Superb****" and Russian General Zod controversies and the lead-up to Birthright, the DC message boards at the time had discussions on whether or not Lois has to be Superman's lover, and if perhaps she could assume a different role in some iteration of the mythos. This could be a chance to try something like that. Maybe Lois and Clark are just really close friends, but nothing more. Maybe they can't stand each other at all and are constantly butting heads, with Perry and Jenny both trying to maintain order. Maybe they're just co-workers who get along in the workplace but go their separate ways at the end of the day, with Lois having a life outside of the Planet and company. You could try something like this with Jenny assuming the girlfriend role and see where a brand-new Lois/Clark relationship could go.
You know what? The more we muse on the possibilities of what could be done with a Jenny Olsen, the more ravenous I am to see the Superman mythos try something like this somewhere down the line. Even if we don't get a Jenny Olsen in Man of Steel, the idea of such is out there. It's on the table and can be implemented eventually. Or if not Jenny Olsen, another, similar change-up can be done and we can see what new twists, turns, and creative directions that takes. The avenues you could go down are limitless, and I'd love to see the mythos walk down as many of them as possible.
JJ Abrams, Jon Peters, and McG's script for Superman Returns had a gay (or implied to be gay) Jimmy in it...described as "somewhat effeminate" and being the butt of Lois and Perry's jokes. Which was bad enough. But it was also packaged with a flurry of changes that would truly have destroyed the very core of the mythos: Krypton never exploded, Superman was a Neo-like messiah destined to liberate Krypton from his evil uncle and cousin, Lara got beheaded by said evil uncle and cousin, Jor-El committed suicide in order to go to heaven and talk Superman out of dying from kryptonite poisoning, Lex Luthor was a Kryptonian spy pretending to be human, the Supersuit was a living thing stored in a can...basically, it was Superman in Name Only. Not only was Jimmy put at risk of being a bad stereotype, but the entire point of Superman -- an orphaned survivor of a lost planet finding a new home on Earth -- got trashed. (The sad part of all this? Only Jon Peters -- who had been cheerleading this and similarly bad pitches by the likes of Tim Burton -- admitted years later that this was wrong. Abrams, like Burton before him, didn't see any problems with what he did and thought the backlash he got was unjustified.)As for changing things up within the relationship dynamics, if it suits the story, sure. As far as I am concerned, Jimmy could be written as a woman, gay, straight, comical, serious, whatever role needs to be filled for the purposes of a good story.
I mean, if you want to make Jimmy gay, that's fine. Do it with dignity and taste. Don't try to make him a joke. And don't destroy Superman himself while you're at it!!!
Actually, the Abrams/Peters/McG script was originally written with Will Smith in mind. David Williams talked about it on his DA page and how he balked at drawing concept art of Smith in the suit. And Smith himself thought he'd be miscast and turned it down. While that doesn't mean you'll ever actually see a black actor as Superman, the idea has certainly been considered.That's because Hollywood is never going to make a movie about a black Superman. Period.
Well, that and outside of DC Direct merchandise aimed at hardcore comic book fans and maybe the occasional bonus piece in an action figure pack, you don't see Lois Lane, Perry White, or Jimmy Olsen on T-shirts, posters, decorations, mass-market toys, or the like. Their comic book looks really aren't that important. Superman is quite literally a branded image with a set look, and as such the most you can do with him is costume tweaks and updates. (Again, that didn't stop WB from courting Will Smith at one point, but still....) With the supporting cast, you've got more flexibility in how you can portray them.So they diversify the supporting cast because they're lesser known and the movie doesn't hinge on them. And even then you still have people whining about them making Perry White or Nick Fury black but obviously that's really just the internet.
It can also be used as a strength, I think, as you do different versions of the mythos. The world and the people around Superman are fluid and ever-changing, but Superman himself is the constant, the steady in it all who binds everything together. How Superman deals with the change and chaos surrounding him is where you can really go to town with it all.
Last edited by King Krypton; 01-24-2013 at 06:33 PM.
Since we seem to be talking about character relationships and how they will or won't be changed by a potential Jenny Olsen, I'd like to go back to Dracula for a moment and take a look at how that story's relationships change from version to version. I'll specifically be looking at the book vs. some of the movies.
In the Bram Stoker novel, Jonathan Harker is engaged to Mina Murray. Lucy Westenra, Mina' friend, has three young suitors: John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, and Quincey Morris. Before the events of the story, Vlad the Impaler/Dracula has never met any of these people.
The Bela Lugosi movie? Seward is an old man, Lucy is his houseguest, and Mina is his daughter. Arthur and Quincey are AWOL. Dracula: Dead and Loving It uses the same setup.
Horror of Dracula? Arthur Holmwood is married to Mina, and Lucy is his sister and is engaged to Jonathan Harker. Jonathan and Lucy both get vampirized and killed. An aging Seward has a brief role in the proceedings. Quincey's still AWOL.
The Frank Langella movie? Lucy is Seward's daughter and Jonathan's fiancee. Mina is Van Helsing's daughter, and he's forced to kill her when she becomes a vampire. Lucy also gets romantically involved with Dracula. Arthur and Quincey? Still AWOL.
The Dan Curtis and Francis Ford Coppola versions? Lucy/Mina is the reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler's lost love, and Dracula embarks on a doomed romance with her in both. Jonathan is vampirized and killed in the Curtis version, Arthur and Quincey actually show up in the Coppola film.
Wow. That's a LOT of shuffling things around, isn't it? And that's just...what five, six films I rattled off? And oddly enough, with the possible exception of the Coppola film, these reworkings, reshufflings, these new combinations...they all work. They all make sense in the context of the films in which they take place, and some of the movies really push them to their biggest advantage. And yet these are major, major changes from the original. Lesson learned? You can change and reorganize character relationships and interactions to great success so long as you do it with smarts and creativity.
So if we apply this to Superman, reworking the character dynamics in the event of gender-switching members of the supporting cast or even changing their sexual orientation isn't the overwhelming problem some fear it is. It can be done successfully. It's all about how it's done and what you do with it.