Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey Director Wants to Make Evil Superman Movie Next

When Superman enters the public domain in 2033, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey director Rhys Frake-Waterfield may be ready to put his own dark spin on the Man of Steel.

Henry Cavill as Superman with heat vision eyes in Zack Snyder's Justice League
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Regardless of your interest in a movie about Pooh Bear and Piglet slaughtering scantily-clad hot tub enjoyers, there’s no denying that Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey offers a compelling look at the future of storytelling. For decades, the Walt Disney Corporation has controlled stories about Pooh and the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood, overtaking in the public consciousness even depictions by the characters’ creators A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. 

But when their 1926 book Winnie-the-Pooh entered the public domain in 2022, creatives like Blood and Honey director Rhys Frake-Waterfield got the chance to put their own spin on the willy nilly silly ol’ bear. Frake-Waterfield has already indicated that he plans to keep working with public domain characters, including not only Pooh but also Bambi and Peter Pan. 

Each year, new characters join in the public domain, including Mickey Mouse next year. And in 10 years, one of the most important characters from Disney’s biggest competitor become public domain, the Man of Steel himself. And as you might expect, that possibility excites Frake-Waterfield. 

“I would love to do Superman and Batman!” the director admits to Den of Geek. “They would be so interesting. There is something about seeing these characters turned dark. Maybe they don’t want to be heroes, maybe the want to be supervillains.” As Frake-Waterfield continue, one senses the he is almost almost pitching a new movie to you on the spot. 

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Of course evil Superman stories have been done before. Ultraman of Earth-3 is a longtime figure within the DC Universe, and stories such as Injustice and the New 52 Earth 2 have showed us what happens when Kal-El goes bad. And, of course, Zack Snyder couldn’t resist making Superman bad, first when he was resurrected and then in the “Knightmare” epilogue to Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Even more common are the evil homages to Superman, such as Homelander in The Boys, Omni-Man in Invincible, and Brandon Breyer in the James Gunn-produced movie Brightburn

But all of these stories happen through the control of DC Comics and its parent-company Warner Bros., which either approves official versions of bad Superman or forces competitors to create their own legally-distinct imitators. Once Superman becomes public property, then Frake-Waterfield, Marvel Comics, heck even you and me, can do whatever we want with him. Sort of. 

It’s not so much Superman who enters the public domain as it is 1938’s Action Comics #1, which introduced Superman to the world. Anything that was part of that original story by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster is fair game. Anything that wasn’t in the story is still property of Warner Bros. Discovery, and thus cannot be used. And if you haven’t read Action #1 in a while, you might not recall how few Superman mythos elements are there. Yes, Lois Lane is present, and yes, Superman comes from a destroyed planet, but there’s no Krypton, no Kryptonite, and no Lex Luthor. 

Should he get the chance to do his evil Superman story in 2033, Frake-Waterfield won’t be deterred by those restrictions. As he told Den of Geek, Blood and Honey already had to stick to just the 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh book, which meant that he couldn’t use a number of key elements: “The red shirt, saying ‘Oh, bother,’ Tigger.” But if early reactions to Blood and Honey are any indication, he was able to make a memorable movie without those elements. There’s no doubt he could do the same with a nasty Superman story, whether or not Warner Bros.—or anyone else—likes it.