The fate of Superman won’t be decided in the hands of Lex Luthor, but instead with a federal judge in Los Angeles who has removed a barrier delaying a high-profile case between Warner Bros. and the families of Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel.
The move will allow Warner Bros. attorneys to start questioning the heirs of Shuster and Siegel in its efforts to retain the copyrights its held on the television and movie rights to the comic book superhero for decades.
A judge has previously warned that the studio could lose some of its key copyrights, which it uses for the popular The CW series “Smallville” as well as the upcoming reboot movie from “The Dark Knight’s” Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder.
The case had been delayed on what is being described as a “procedural ruling” by The Hollywood Reporter, much of it stemming from an additional suit Warner Bros. filed against the Superman heirs attorney, Marc Toberoff.
That suit claimed he unlawfully advised Joanne Siegel, Laura Siegel Larson, Jean Peavy and Mark Peavy to cancel some of its existing copyrights that had been in place with Warner Bros.
When the delay was announced last month, many didn’t expect the case to restart again until late next year. But with the judge modifying his ruling, both sides can continue the discovery stage as they prepare for a showdown in the courtroom.
However, since it takes time to get depositions scheduled, the group that had been scheduled for this past week before last month’s delay, likely will be delayed until December at the earliest. However, it’s more expected those depositions will take place after the holidays, in January.
For now, Warner Bros. is moving forward as if the licenses will remain in place, and have fast-tracked another Superman movie. However, it will eventually be up to a judge on whether that movie will see the light of day in a theater.