Hey, have you lost track of all the behind the scenes changes at Warner Bros. in the wake of Batman v Superman‘s, um, let’s say disappointing returns? Well, here’s a quick rundown:
It all started with those rumored Suicide Squad re-shoots, reportedly to up the comedy. Then the film’s director, David Ayer, shot that down on Twitter, and WB’s marketing department quickly dropped a new trailer which revealed far more footage of Harley Quinn being funny, Jaret Leto’s Joker being weird and the Ben Affleck Batman kicking ass and saving victims. Yet the rumors persist that WB is still tinkering with Suicide Squad‘s third act.
Before BvS‘s financial shortcomings had become apparent, though, WB staked a claim to two new releases for untitled DC movies. A short week after that, the studio used its presentation to North American theater owners at CinemaCon to announce a solo Batman movie to be written and directed by Ben Affleck, although follow-up reports argued the studio screwed up by announcing the news before a deal with Affleck had been finalized. HeroicHollywood argued Affleck and Geoff Johns are being granted complete creative control over this solo Batman movie, regardless of who directs it.
That certainly jibes with what has happened with both Affleck and Johns since then:
- On May 6th, Deadline revealed WB upped Affleck’s role on the currently-filming Justice League-Part 1 to Executive Producer for the purpose of allowing the star to have a more active role in the writing, editing and general creative formation of the film. BirthMoviesDeath said this move was necessary because Affleck felt humiliated by the negative critical response to Batman v Superman. If true, the sad Affleck meme wasn’t just a funny, flash-in-the-pan internet moment; it was an accurate reflection of how Affleck actually felt.
- On May 17th, WB announced a creative re-alignment behind the scenes, placing key executives exclusively in charge of the studio’s most cherished brands – LEGO, Harry Potter, DC. As part of this move, WB created DC Films, which will be run by DC COO Geoff Johns and Warners Executive VP John Berg. Johns is essentially their Kevin Feige, and Berg stands in for the MCU’s various money men you never hear about.
In-between those developments:
- James Wan was rumored to be close to walking away from his gig as Aquaman director, mostly because he doesn’t need the frustration. He quickly shot that rumor down on Twitter.
- Seth Grahame-Smith, on the other hand, did leave the Ezra Miller Flash movie, which was to be his directorial debut. No replacement has been announced, but they will apparently still use the script he wrote.
- Greg Berlanti casually confirmed in a THR interview that he is at the very least producing, hopefully directing, a Booster Gold movie to be written by Zack Stentz.
- THR exclusively broke the news that Margot Robbie and an unidentified female writer have been given the greenlight to script a Harley Quinn/DC female character team-up movie. Not much more is known officially, but the Joker’s crazy ex-girlfriend could potentially be paired with the Birds of Prey.
Then this past week, Charles Roven, who was an active producer on The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and will be a credited producer on Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, was demoted. He will no longer be allowed to work as a day-to-day manager and producer on Justice League-Part 1, reduced instead to a more passive, ceremonial Executive Producer. The door is not officially closed on him producing any of the other DC movies, but in the wake of BvS Affleck and Johns have been given way more to say and the amount of sway Roven had has been significantly lessened.
There have also been plenty of plot rumors for Justice League (mostly about the villain), and continued whispers of George Miller being courted to direct Green Lantern Corps and Will Smith and David Ayer clearing space in their schedule for a potential Suicide Squad 2.
So, in the time since Batman v Superman came out we’ve had rumors of defecting directors, serious executive shake-ups (several promotions, one big demotion) and a couple of left-of-center projects put into development while several of the officially announced movies don’t appear to be making any progress. If you’d missed any of that, hopefully this has helped to catch you up.