In case you ever wrote off geography as unimportant, then Superman: Purple Son would possibly change your thoughts. The most recent DC animated film, primarily based on Mark Millar’s critically acclaimed Elseworlds story, explores how completely different the world could be if Superman had landed in Soviet Russia as an alternative of Smallville, Kansas. The animated film places a brand new spin on a few of your favourite DC characters and explores themes of morality, nationalism and violence. We not too long ago had an opportunity to speak with director Sam Liu, voice actor Diedrich Bader (Lex Luthor) and voice actress Vanessa Marshall (Surprise Lady), and so they gave us some unbelievable perception on the film.
Warning, there are spoilers forward!
Some of the fascinating elements of the film is that we’re coping with a Superman who feels extra like a villain than a hero at occasions. Though he closes down Russia’s gulags, the Man of Metal’s regime is simply as authoritarian as Stalin’s.
“He’s doing issues in a much less egregious form of method,” director Sam Liu tells us. “He’s not placing his folks in gulags or killing them. He’s attempting to do the suitable factor. He thinks it’s higher than the way it was.”
Looking for the suitable ethical stability with out making Superman irredeemable was a problem for the movie, as Liu defined. “The road was troublesome, however we had been attempting to make him comprehensible, and present the burden of his selections.”
Surprise Lady, who’s brilliantly voiced by actress Vanessa Marshall, makes an attempt to function an ethical compass for Superman, however finds herself getting drawn right into a violent battle.
“The Surprise Lady character is somebody who’s attempting to resolve what aspect she needs to be on,” Liu says. “What she finally needs is peace.”
“I feel it is the Surprise Lady that everyone knows and love for probably the most half,” says Marshall, whereas acknowledging some key variations. “A number of particulars are maybe extra distinctive, however I feel on this story, she’s thought of an equal by Superman and he or she has a singular skill to affect and work with him to assist him obtain his benevolent imaginative and prescient. As a result of she’s unaffiliated with both USA or Russia, she’s definitely robust sufficient to go toe-to-toe with any superhero, however she’s additionally fairly an impartial thinker.”
Liu and Marshall spoke about Surprise Lady’s resolution to take away herself from the battle, and have the Amazons abandon Man’s World.
“She very a lot implores that they stop combating, and when she breaks the lasso of reality, her bond is damaged with Superman,” Marshall shares. “And on condition that they do not heed her request to cease combating, I feel that is the one plan of action she’s left to take.”
“She had hope that Superman would deliver peace, however the longer she stayed and the extra she witnessed, it was clear that males all the time select violence—or the leaders of those folks, which occur to be males,” Liu added.
With reference to ethical compasses, Diedrich Bader spoke in regards to the affect the ladies of the story had on the boys.
“Simply as Surprise Lady is the ethical arbiter for Superman, Lois is the ethical arbiter for Lex,” he says. “She all the time provides him perspective. She is keen to level out when he is fallacious the place everybody else is a bit of bit intimidated or afraid of him. Lois and Lex’s marriage goes from being irritating and form of shallow to rising to be a a lot deeper one.”
That evolution was one thing of a shock, and Bader revealed that some strains had been re-recorded when it turned clear that Lex was taking place a extra redemptive path. “That monologue on the finish was brilliantly written by Bruce Timm,” he reveals. “It actually knowledgeable the remainder of it. We went again and re-recorded stuff as soon as we had nailed the place Lex was going. The general arc led to that. It’s a ethical journey. He comes from destroying Superman in a really amoral method, to realizing the preciousness of life and discovering his soul. It’s extremely stunning.”
In actual fact, Bader isn’t certain if this model of Luthor might be thought of a villain. “What’s fascinating about Lex on this context is that he is truly not a foul man,” he says. “He does what he can to defend the nation and defend the world from what he thinks is an extraterrestrial aggressor.”
Liu agrees that the villain of the story isn’t Lex Luthor. “It must be Brainiac,” he suggests. “I feel Luthor and Superman begin from completely different locations, however they’ve the identical targets. They’re like two opposing sides on the chessboard. Their aim is to win for various causes.”
Bader provides, “It is a morally complicated story. That is what’s so fascinating about it. Usually, we all know who the great guys and dangerous guys are, however in the actual world it is way more complicated than that. Everyone has their very own pursuits, and their very own perspective. This can be a journey in animation into the ethical complexity of actual life. It is form of fascinating, I used to be actually blown away once I noticed it.”
At its coronary heart, Superman: Purple Son is an alt-history story that occurs to contain among the world’s most well-known superheroes and villains. That’s a conceit that Liu specifically appeared to relish.
“I’ve all the time loved tales which can be grounded in actual historical past, like Watchmen or The New Frontier,” he shares. “This story covers two completely different cultural types, Soviet Russia and america. We went by means of completely different architectural types throughout completely different eras.”
In the long run, a distinct world meant a distinct ending for Luthor and Superman.
“They’re each modified by all this,” Liu concludes. “Lex was form of influenced by Superman’s sacrifice on the finish. It leads Lex to a bit of bit extra of a peaceable form of method. Superman, as an alternative of main, decides to mix into the background and simply observe. Luthor sees what Superman has carried out and he chooses to let go a bit of bit as properly. We needed to finish on a hopeful ending, as an alternative of 1 the place somebody is definitively the villain, somebody is the winner, and there’s a loser.”
Superman: Purple Son is now out there on 4K Extremely HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD.