Man of Steel 2 doesn't have a director, or an officially announced production team or a release date. In fact, we shouldn't expect any of that to be announced by WB until after the release of Justice League and Superman as a character is officially declared "alive and well" in the DC Extended Universe.
None of that has stopped people from talking to director Matthew Vaughn about it during his press tour for Kingsman: The Golden Circle releasing on September 22. Vaughn is a name that has been suggested as a director for Man of Steel for some time now and that idea took another turn when he revealed that he had talked to people about directing the movie, which is already something that DC fans can't completely agree on in the first place. Despite Vaughn's track record with Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class and now the Kingsman series, a lot of DCEU fans, notably the Zack Snyder devotees are having a tough time seeing Vaughn as the next helmer of a Superman movie.
This most recent quote from the director on the subject didn't exactly put their minds at ease either:
The reaction on social media has been somewhat......hyperbolic:
Okay, on the one hand I get it. If you are someone that has vehemently defended Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice from all of the vultures and critics that continue to torch them today, the last thing you want to see is a Superman sequel that harkens back to exactly what those ravenous and largely unfair critics want: a Richard Donner-style Superman. MoS and BvS established a very different Superman mythos, style and tone than the 1978 Donner film did with Christopher Reeve in the costume and you don't want to go back to that. I don't either, not exactly that at all.
On the other hand, let's pump the brakes on exactly what is being said here and how it could possibly be applied to an MoS sequel, starting with the fact that Vaughn hasn't been hired to do it yet. Even though he's talking about it like he's got the job or has at least been talked to about it, we won't know who is in that chair for at least another two months until Kal-El is resurrected for the DCEU in Justice League. Everything he is saying right now could be null and void pretty quick, especially if what he's saying isn't what Geoff Johns necessarily wants to hear about his Superman sequel.
Let's say Vaughn gets the job though and Johns likes what he is saying, especially since we know that he is a huge fan of Donner's Superman movie. What exactly should worry us about what Vaughn is saying here? Would we be in danger of truly seeing a complete reset and regression of the build-up and development done for the character already to this point in the DCEU? I seriously doubt that a lot.
For one thing, it's literally impossible to turn back the Earth to Donner's 1978 version. Visually speaking with VFX and camera work, MoS 2 is going to look and feel like MoS, not Superman or Superman Returns. The story won't be quite as heavy-handed and serious with its tone, but that was going to be the case anyway in this post-BvS world of the DCEU. We all know from Chris Terrio that BvS was the "Empire Strikes Back" of the franchise and that everything from that point would be lighter in tone and story beats. This is nothing new. We've already seen it with Wonder Woman and we are going to see it further with Justice League in November, Aquaman next December and Shazam after that.
So then just what COULD Vaughn do with MoS 2 based on what he said? Well, that depends greatly on where Superman is at by the end of Justice League because no matter who directs MoS 2, it has to continue Superman's "rebirth" arc from Justice League and he is expected to be closer to the "classic" version of the character that we are all familiar with, having now made his ultimate sacrifice for Earth and coming out on the other side of it an evolved superhero. What's interesting is that Vaughn says Superman is "feel good, heroic" and that he's a "beacon in a light of darkness," which to me sounds like he's been watching the most recent Justice League trailer a few times.
What has a lot of DCEU fans freaked out is his comments about making a modern version of the Donner film and that it was "going back to the source material." Okay, Superman (1978) isn't THE source material for Superman, we know that. It IS the first notable Superman feature film though, and since we are dealing with movies here, there is something to be said for that. What is a modern day version of the Donner movie, though? Is it really the bumbling bumpkin that trips over himself all the time and waxes stoically at everything like Reeve did? Or it is just a version that is more sure of himself and every now and then does save a cat out of a tree while still fighting the likes of Lex Luthor, Darkseid and with any luck Braniac? I'm betting on the latter and that's not a bad thing because frankly, a full regression back to the Donner movie just isn't possible at this point unless you made it an "Elseworlds" movie that completely ignored everything that has happened in the DCEU up to this point. MoS 2 has to connect to that Superman in terms of character and story development, no matter what any director wants to do differently and uniquely from what Snyder has done to this point.
It's clear that Vaughn is a fan of Donner's Superman take and if he were to be hired for MoS 2, he'd join Patty Jenkins in that company as she has been very vocal about her love for that movie and how it influenced her making Wonder Woman. If that's what Vaughn wants do with Superman, essentially making an MoS 2 with a similar tone and feeling to Wonder Woman, how is that a bad thing? It's not in my opinion and again, it's where we know the DCEU is headed as a franchise.
Ultimately, this could all be rendered moot once a different director is hired for MoS 2 and it is announced to us officially, but for those who are now vehemently against the idea of Matthew Vaughn directing a Superman movie in the DCEU, I suggest that it's not nearly the catastrophically bad idea that you may now consider it to be.