James Gunn’s announcement of what to expect from the upcoming DC Universe (DCU) slate had everything you’d expect.
We can expect fresh big screen takes on legendary figures like Batman and Superman, whilst further exploring the new look of the universe through various TV shows. But one movie announcement had many asking the same question: who on Earth are The Authority?
Adapted from a nineties comic satirising superheroes, The Authority officially entered the main DC Comics universe in 2011, whilst remaining completely unconventional.
Not much is currently known about the film – it’s one of the projects earliest in development at DC Studios – which gives us plenty of time to delve into The Authority’s history and what we can expect from the upcoming adaptation.
History Of The Authority
The first thing to know is that The Authority comic book saga is a spin-off from the series Stormwatch, which publisher Wildstorm began printing in 1993.
The initial iteration was a typical superhero team-up narrative, but once sales began to slow down, writer Warren Ellis was brought in to rejuvenate it – this led to him scrapping most of the characters and starting afresh.
The new Stormwatch were complex heroes, more obsessed with power than anything else, even overthrowing governments if it meant achieving their goals – although they did have a more clear moral compass than say, The Boys, another superhero parody.
It’s hard to imagine Homelander eagerly housing refugees at his home after his team’s destructive actions left them displaced.
However, with sales declining further, Ellis co-created The Authority, which featured many members from Stormwatch, as a continuation of their story for a wider audience. It was immediately acclaimed as a gritty new series, one that only got bolder once Mark Millar took over the reigns.
In the wake of 9/11, DC Comics became hesitant about Millar’s violent storylines, frequently attempting to censor the more controversial ones. Apparently, the world wasn’t ready for a scene in which a world leader was shown committing necrophilia.
Despite starting out as a superhero parody, The Authority were eventually welcomed into the central DC roster after the New 52 shake-up in 2011, albeit only via cameos.
Ten years later, miniseries Superman And The Authority pitched Kal-El as the leader of the group, ensuring they remain part of the DC furniture for some time to come.
Who Are The Members?
The two oldest central members of The Authority are Jenny Sparks and Jack Hawksmoor. Jenny – a foul-mouthed Brit always wearing a Union Jack tee – is able to manipulate electricity, something likely linked to her godfather being Albert Einstein.
However, Jenny’s main power is the fact she’s the human embodiment of the 20th century: born on 1st January 1900 and dying on 31st December 1999, even though she didn’t physically age past being 19 years old.
During her life, Jenny influenced various famous figures Forrest Gump-style, with her own moods having effects on the world around her – giddiness followed by sadness triggered the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression back-to-back.
Hawksmoor, on the other hand, is the ‘king of cities’ – a man who gets his powers through connecting to whichever city he’s in at the time. The bigger the city, the more powerful he becomes. Oh, and he also became the US President at one point.
The line-up of The Authority has changed several times over the years, with initial members including Midnighter and Apollo (Batman and Superman parodies, who were also a gay couple), and the Doctor Strange-aping Doctor.
In the most recent line-up, Doctor and Hawksmoor remain alongside another long-running figure: the Engineer, a character notable for replacing her blood with machines capable of building anything.
It’s not clear which members will appear in the movie – if they stick to the original line-up, Jenny Sparks’ backstory is going to need one hell of a makeover.
When Is The Release Date For The Movie?
No release date has yet been given, but this is one of the DC projects earliest in development.
However, with Superman: Legacy slotted in for 2025 and Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow expected to debut two years later in 2027, we might have quite a wait until we get The Authority on our screens.