After so much speculation, the casting of new characters, and a great deal of educated guessing by fans and audiences (as well as some double-talk from the storytellers themselves), we now have confirmation of what so many of us have suspected: DC Comics’ premiere superhero team, the Justice League, will be hitting the big screen in a team-up film sometime after the release of the Man of Steel sequel, currently known colloquially as Batman vs. Superman.
The news, confirmed through an exclusive story at The Wall Street Journal, lists the pertinent and expected details. Regarding casting, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot are all expected to return to their BvS roles of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, respectively. Since the detail surrounding the recent casting of Cyborg specified that role as smaller in scale in the forthcoming Man of Steel sequel, it seems likely that Ray Fisher will also be joining the cast as Victor Stone. Also rather unsurprisingly, Zack Snyder has been named as the director of the upcoming team-up film, which will signify a concerted effort by Warner Bros. to create more films based on DC Comics properties, featuring more of their characters.
While the WSJ article states that neither a screenplay nor a release date have been finalized, the studio conceivably has a lot of time to sort the creative and logistical details out, since the BvS project isn’t slated to hit theaters until May of 2016.
The inclusion of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and likely Cyborg account for 4 of the 7 members of the “New 52” iteration of the Justice League team, introduced when DC relaunched their entire superhero comics line in August of 2011. While nothing is confirmed, particularly as to the final size of the team for the film, the other three members of that particular iteration are Green Lantern, the Flash, and Aquaman. Currently, the status of Green Lantern’s next film appearance is unknown, Aquaman has never been significantly adapted in live-action (save for a 2006 TV pilot that was not picked up by the then-WB Network), and the Flash will be hitting television in his own new TV series expected to debut during the Fall 2014 season on the CW Network.
Clearly, this is excellent news for any fan of characters based on DC Comics, and should go a long way in assuring those fans that more new cinematic material with the characters is forthcoming. Fans shouldn’t, however, try to equate the efforts of WB and DC Entertainment with the multimedia efforts of Marvel Studios and their cinematic universe. While this is undoubtedly excellent news for League fans, this is still far from a plan of multiple films focusing on many different characters, and it looks as though many of the decisions about certain spin-offs may wait until reports on box office returns for BvS come into the WB offices in Burbank.
Greg Silverman, the studio’s president of worldwide production, stated that, “[Justice League] will be a further expansion of this universe. Superman vs. Batman will lead into Justice League.” While other DC properties are named as currently in-development, most of them are based on works from DC Comics’ mature readers imprint Vertigo, with only one, Shazam, sharing any ties to the mainline DC Universe or the Justice League team. Even so, Shazam is singled out along with the Vertigo properties as “unconnected” to the Justice League (then again, this is the Wall Street Journal and not a geek-oriented outlet, so they may simply not know that Shazam does have connections to the Justice League in the source material).
The original report also singles out the character of Wonder Woman, taking the time to tell readers that there are currently no plans for a spin-off featuring perhaps the most iconic superheroine of them all. Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing at WB, had encouraging words for the idea when she said, “[An eventual Wonder Woman film] is our hope. With the right script, that could be viable. The world is ready for her.”
Meanwhile, Marvel Studios is prepping a film for release this August that features a talking raccoon firing a machine gun at aliens in outer space on the shoulder of a talking tree, while WB wonders if people can “get” one of the most iconic pillars of superhero fiction.
Justice League will likely be released by 2018 at the earliest. Keep your browser ready to hit GeekNation for more news and op-eds related to this much-anticipated announcement in the days and weeks to come!
UPDATE: According to a new article at The Hollywood Reporter, sources are saying that the current plan is for Justice League to shoot back-to-back with Batman vs. Superman, with the team-up film arriving one year after the release of the Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman and Wonder Woman. Warner Bros. declined to comment on these release plans so that may change, so keep your eyes peeled here and elsewhere for further confirmation of the release timetable. Either way, the Justice League is coming…and it’s about time.
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