This is unexpected news. Warner Bros.' Comic-Con panel isn't until later today, but apparently some major news is about to be announced. The L.A. Times' Hero Complex blog is reporting that the studio has decided what their follow-up film to "Man Of Steel" is going to be, and not it's not a Superman sequel or a "Justice League" film. According to the newspaper's blog, WB intends to announce a film that features Superman and Batman together; a team-up movie as it were. A 2015 release is being eyed. Update: A "Flash" movie is being eyed for 2016, and a "Justice League" movie for 2017.
"Man Of Steel" director Zack Snyder is expected to reunite with his writer David S. Goyer, who also co-wrote many of "The Dark Knight" movies with Christopher Nolan (though in some cases he only received a "story by" credit). Henry Cavill, signed on for the franchise, is expected to return as Superman, but don't expect Christian Bale to return as Batman as he has stated several times over now. Nolan's involvement is said to be unclear at this time. This is obviously massive news, and perhaps a perfect bit of synergy for DC Comics. At the end of June, they dropped the first issue of "Batman/Superman" penned by Greg Pak and illustrated by Jae Lee, but again, it's not certain if that new series will play any part of the movie (something tells us, probably not).
2nd Update: The Official press release went out with further details. Snyder will co-write the story with Goyer who will pen the script. They are in pre-production now. Chris Nolan will executive produce, not produce, the Batman & Superman movie. Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are all returning. “I’m so excited to begin working again with Henry Cavill in the world we created, and I can’t wait to expand the DC Universe in this next chapter. Let’s face it, it’s beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest Super Heroes in the world," Snyder said in the press release statement.
At Comic-Con itself, actor Henry Lennix read a line from Frank Miller’s "The Dark Knight Returns" that Zack Snyder said would influence the story (though he stressed they weren't adapting that graphic novel). Batman: “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.” The context of that quote comes from a Batman versus Superman fight set far far into the future, but the cast reading from the film suggests that Superman and Batman will at least be at odds in the beginning. A teaser logo was unveiled a well which you can see below.
But if this does indeed shake out, it looks like Warner Bros. are again changing their approach to building to a "Justice League" movie. Previous reports suggested that they would make "Justice League," and then spinoff standalone character movies from there. And even last month it looked like Warner Bros. were going toward "Man Of Steel 2" first, but it looks like they are now changing gears. "Man Of Steel" --> "Superman & Batman" --> "Justice League"? That would certainly be a a way to go. And while we'd prefer exploring the new world of "Man Of Steel" a bit more, this approach doesn't betray the groundwork they've laid down.
"In our world, the 'Man of Steel' world, Zack has gone on record saying that we’re implying there are other superheroes in this world. But I don’t know that they’ve come forward yet. The idea is that Superman is the first one," Goyer said last month. "There might be people helping people, but not in costumes, and that Superman comes forward and announces himself to the world. In him announcing himself, he’s the one that changes things."
It's a great, fascinating idea and we already know that Bruce Wayne is teased within "Man Of Steel," so it would be a decent bit of worldbuilding. And it would get two massive superheroes together on the big screen for the first time in history, with the pair arguably as exciting as the entirety of "The Avengers" (which is probably no surprise why WB is aiming to have this out the same year as "The Avengers 2" -- they've been playing catch-up to Marvel for years).
But what do you think? Is this the right way to go? More news when it arrives, presumably in a few hours, but share your thoughts below. Here's the official press release below if you want to read it in full.
On the heels of the worldwide success of “Man of Steel,” director Zack Snyder is bringing together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time—Batman and Superman—for the first time on the big screen. The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
The current hit, “Man of Steel,” has taken in more than $630 million at the worldwide box office to date, and climbing. Along with its star, Henry Cavill, the upcoming film brings back Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane. The new Batman has yet to be cast. Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who will then pen the screenplay. Production is expected to begin in 2014, with an anticipated release date in Summer 2015.
Silverman stated, “Zack Snyder is an incredibly talented filmmaker, but beyond that, he’s a fan first and he utterly gets this genre. We could not think of anyone better suited to the task of bringing these iconic Super Heroes to the screen in his own way.” Kroll added, “We are thrilled to be back in business with Zack and his team on this next movie. The success of ‘Man of Steel’ is a wonderful testament to the love and support that both fans and new audiences, worldwide, have for these characters. We are very excited to see what Zack has in store for all of us.”
Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment, noted, “Superman and Batman together on the big screen is a dream come true for DC fans everywhere. All of us at DC Entertainment could not be more excited for Zack’s continuing vision for the DC Universe.”
Zack Snyder, who made a surprise appearance at Comic-Con today, breaking the news to audiences there, later said, “I’m so excited to begin working again with Henry Cavill in the world we created, and I can’t wait to expand the DC Universe in this next chapter. Let’s face it, it’s beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest Super Heroes in the world.”
The new film brings back Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder as producers. This time, Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers, along with Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan. Thomas offered, “Whilst our ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy is complete, we have every confidence that Zack’s fresh interpretation will take the character in a new and exciting direction. His vision for Superman opened the door to a whole new universe and we can’t wait to see what Zack does with these characters.” The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.