We might have an idea of which characters will feature in the upcoming Justice League movie but it seems as though the project’s fate rests entirely on the success of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. This announcement speaks volumes for Warner Bros’ lack of confidence in the D.C. universe aside from flagship characters Batman and Superman.
Further out, the studio’s planning a “Justice League” tentpole — encompassing DC Comics mainstays Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and the Green Lantern — on the order of Marvel’s “The Avengers.” Will Beall is scripting but no director has been attached yet.
Stakes are high for “Man of Steel.” Other than Nolan’s Batpics, Warners has not been able to effectively exploit the DC library. Its 2011 “Green Lantern” underperformed, and a “Justice League” film wouldn’t likely be in theaters before 2015, as Warner’s top brass has indicated that they are awaiting the results of “Man of Steel,” which opens June 14, before moving further ahead.
This very sceptical stance will do very little to reassure D.C. fans that their favorite superheroes are in safe hands; in fact, it suggests that unlike Marvel, they have no definite long-term plans whatsoever.
Man of Steel is already under immense pressure to deliver on astronomical levels, and this will only increase expectations to the point of it being unfathomable. This is no longer a statement of future intent; this is all or nothing and a sign of weakness. Aside from Batman, Superman is the most popular character in the D.C. universe, but that is not to say that the other characters are any less important.
Marvel achieved their monumental success because they carefully planned each movie and showed an equal amount of respect to every member of The Avengers, highlighting how each had their own vital role to play within the narrative.
How will Batman fit into a Justice League universe? Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has already ended and was completely self-contained, meaning that the supernatural elements of the Justice League will contradict his character. Also, the Batman franchise is scheduled for a reboot in 2017, which would indicate that the character would likely have to be re-imagined for this movie, but to do this would ultimately negate the need for a reboot.
It seems as though a Justice League movie will be largely focused on Batman and Superman, meaning that all other characters are inconsequential. The biggest challenge for Marvel was the introduction of Thor, as his mystical powers were vastly different to characters such as Iron Man or Captain America. They addressed his origins in a Thor movie and succeeded in integrating the character with relative ease.
The Justice League is faced with a similar problem, but D.C. does not have the luxury of time. Each character has so far appeared in stand-alone movies that are in no way linked, meaning they currently function in independent universes. This is a major issue that must be addressed if D.C. hopes to achieve a fraction of the success enjoyed by Marvel.
Placing the entire fate of future franchises in the hands of one movie demonstrates a severe lack of confidence and respect to all other characters. Only time will tell as to the success of a Justice League movie but with so much on-going confusion as to the film’s status and no confirmed director, it’s not looking good.
Man of Steel is due for release in the US and UK on 14th June 2013