Well, this is interesting. At their Comic-Con panel earlier today in San Diego, Warner Bros. confirmed what had been rumored for the past 2 days: they are going to team up Batman and Superman together on-screen.
Here is what we know:
- This is technically the sequel to Man of Steel.
- Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer are returning. Snyder and Goyer are currently writing the story together, which Goyer will then adapt into a screenplay.
- Christopher Nolan, who produced and co-wrote the story for Man of Steel, will return only as an executive producer as will his producer wife Emma Thomas. Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan will also serve as executive producers, a credit they’ve both received for just about every Batman-related film (live-action or animated) Warner Bros. has released since 1989. The Man of Steel‘s other producers, Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, will return to produce the sequel.
- The primary cast from Man of Steel will be reprising their roles, meaning Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishbourne, and Diane Lane will be back as Clark Kent/Superman, Lois Lane, Perry White, and Martha Kent respectively.
- The film goes into production in 2014 with a targeted release date of Summer 2015.
- In introducing the film at the panel, Zack Snyder quoted Frank Miller’s iconic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, “I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.” This is what Batman says to Superman in the story’s climax. Snyder clarified they were not adapting The Dark Knight Returns, but that antagonistic sentiment between the two characters will inform the direction they go with their story.
Here is what we don’t know:
- Who’s playing Batman? The announcement confirmed that the new Batman has not been cast.
- Will this be connected to the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy in any way? Or will this be a re-booted version of Batman?
- The exact release date. We know Summer 2015 is the target.
- What will the film be called? Man of Steel 2 is likely out at this point as would be any other title exclusive to Superman, such as Man of Tomorrow.
Screenwriter David S. Goyer previously told Empire Magazine in a podcast interview that Man of Steel is meant to establish a new continuity from which all future Warner Bros/D.C. films would spring. If so, this new Batman will be a re-booted version of the character. It’s worth nothing that only 3 years will have passed between Batman’s last cinematic appearance (The Dark Knight Rises in 2012) and his re-booted appearance (Man of Steel 2 or whatever they want to call it in 2015). 5 years passed between Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man, and remember how upset everyone was about that?
Less official is speculation that beyond this Superman-Batman team-up Warner Bros. has tentative plans for a solo Flash movie in 2016 and a Justice League movie in 2017, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Batman and Superman have been teaming up in the comics since 1940, and they even anchored a team-up series called World’s Finest from 1941 to 1986. They’ve been co-starring in each other’s cartoons since Super Friends, a trend which has continued into the present with recent shows such as Young Justice and direct to video films like The Dark Knight Returns.
Such history is to be expected from the godfathers of all comic book heroes. However, the two have never teamed up together in a live action film. It came close to happening 11 years ago, but now it is actually happening…and it’s coming to us from Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer. Your reaction to that reality likely dictates your reaction to this news.
For Warner Bros., this is a preferable option to previous rumors of a fast-tracked Man of Steel sequel in 2014 leading up to a Justice League film in 2015. They’re desperate to compete with Marvel’s The Avengers sequel (now named The Avengers: Age of Ultron) and its 2015 release date, but they looked headed toward a colossal mistake. With this decision, they can still do a team-up to compete with Marvel, just on a smaller scale.
However, even with its $630+ million worldwide gross Man of Steel fell off alarmingly fast after its first weekend. World of mouth appears at least mixed if not mostly negative. So, to some with this announcement coming so close to Man of Steel their only reaction is to make jokes about how much they hated Man of Steel. For example, NPR writer/editor and Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist Stephen Thompson joked on Twitter, “Wow, they’re combining the grim, self-important joylessness of Dark Knight Rises with the grim, self-important joylessness of Man of Steel.” Come 2015, will Warner Bros. have won the Stephen Thompsons of the world back? If not, will it matter?
What about you? Which side do you find yourself on – is this good news, bad news, or both (good it’s happening, bad Zack Snyder is making it)? Or, at this point, are you too superhero’ed out to care?