Superman in the age of Disclosure
|By Robbie Graham|
Superman is, of course, an alien – his origin story has been presented at length in literary form, and the superhero’s small screen outings (Lois and Clark and Smallville) took time to explore his extraterrestrial heritage. However, no movie has attempted to distil the Superman narrative to its conceptual essence: first contact with extraterrestrials. No movie, that is, until Man of Steel – the upcoming Superman reboot from 300 director, Zack Snyder.
“He’s an alien,” the film’s writer David S. Goyer, told Empire magazine recently. “If the world found out he existed it would be the biggest thing to happen in human history.” When tackling the iconic character of Superman, then, it seemed only natural to Goyer that “if Superman really existed in this world, first of all this story would be a story about alien contact.”
The idea of extraterrestrial Disclosure being central to the new Superman story is also hinted at in the latest trailer for Man of Steel, which includes dialogue like “You’re the answer to ‘are we alone in the universe?’”, as well as references to humanity being unprepared for the revelation of Superman’s existence. Add to this flashes of the alien Kal-El himself in the custody of the US military and apocalyptic shots of what appear to be extraterrestrial spacecraft attacking American cities, and it’s clear that Superman’s latest incarnation owes at least a few strands of its DNA to UFOlogy and Exopolitics.
Indeed, as was pointed out recently by Red Pill Junkie (RPJ) over at the Daily Grail, a new viral video for Man of Steel calls to mind (perhaps intentionally) a bizarre UFOlogical happening from the 1970s.
The video shows Superman’s alien nemesis, General Zod —played by Michael Shannon— delivering a message to mankind... “You are not alone”:
“To any seasoned UFO buff, this should immediately [remind] you of the infamous Vrillon transmission, broadcast on the Hannington transmitter of Southern Television in the United Kingdom for six minutes at 5:10 PM on Saturday November 26, 1977. Vrillon claimed to be a representative of the Ashtar Command, and his message is consistent with the typical 'space-brotherly' tone of peace & a call to disarmament.”
Although many people have dismissed the Vrillon transmission as a hoax, the identinty of the alleged hoaxer has yet to be discovered. It is generally agreed that successfully hijacking the signal of a major TV station (ITV’s Southern Television) would have required considerable technical know-how.
It is notable that, while Superman traditionally has come to us wearing the bright cloak of fantasy, Snyder and Goyer’s vision of the Kal-El story is grounded much more firmly in our own reality. Speaking to Bleeding Cool recently, Man of Steel’s visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri said the film is a “re-envisioning of the story of Superman leaving his homeworld and coming to this new one,” and that Snyder had “abandoned a lot of the pretence that was in the comics.”
“They’re sticking to realism as much as possible,” says Letteri. “Fantastic elements are still there but a lot of it that been trimmed back to make it feel as though this actually happened.”
Just how far the ‘realistic’ Man of Steel takes its Disclosure theme remains to be seen. Keep an eye on its continuing viral marketing campaign and catch the Man of Steel himself when he lands in theaters on June 14.
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