Deadline reports that 12 Years a Slave writer John Ridley will write and direct a feature film adaptation of his comic book series The American Way: Those Above and Those Below for Blumhouse.
Those Above is a 2017 sequel to the 2007 The American Way series published by Wildstorm via their Signature imprint. In the first series, Ridley and artist Georges Jeanty chronicled the strife unleashed when an American superhero program from the 1940s debuted the first African-American superhero in an alternate 1962. Dubbed “The New American,” Jason Fischer’s identity and skin color was initially withheld from the public. When he is accidentally unmasked, half of the superhero program leaves for racist reasons while the others are critical injured or killed fighting a manufactured supervillain.
The sequel series — and eventual film — picks up ten years later and sees Jason attempt to be a crimefighter in Baltimore even as the system conspires against him and former members of the superhero program become terrorists or gubernatorial candidates on a racist platform.
According to the report, the project is being fasttracked, suggesting Ridley will be in production sooner rather than later; which puts more doubt on the Marvel project he was attached to previously. Though he was excited as recently as last April to work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a proposed-but-never announced project many believed would focus on Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan, the excitement dissipated by August with ABC President Channing Dungey saying inquiries about the project’s future were “a question for Marvel.” This past January, Ridley offered a muted “perhaps” on the likelihood of the project coming together.
But it seems the fast-track nature of The American Way will push those plans, if they still exist, further away from completion. Instead, Ridley will focus on a tale all his own.