New DC movie news and rumours: Sandman, Batman & more

News Simon Brew 18 Jul 2013 - 10:29
The iconic Batman logo...

Hints of Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Sandman, Metal Men movies, plus a new Batman movie rumour...

Whilst it's all pretty clear what Marvel Studios is up to as it heads into Comic-Con, the current DC slate of movies is still very much up in the air. The box office success of Man Of Steel has ensured a Man Of Steel 2, and has presumably set the wheels of Justice League turning again. Furthermore, a movie of Fables was revealed a month or two back, to be directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair).

But what else? Well, a new interview has popped up at The Hollywood Reporter with DC Entertainment's president, Diane Nelson. She's been chatting about the comic book properties that she's keen to see made into films, and admitted that "Sandman is right on top". She added that "I think it coul dbe as ruch as the Harry Potter universe". She also added "Fables, Metal Men, Justice League. And yes, I'm going to say it: Aquaman".

That's an intriguing list, not least if Neil Gaiman gets heavily involved in a film of Sandman. How active development on any of those projects is remains to be seen, of course.

Nelson also touched on Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. Of the former, she said that "we have to get her right, we have to". She continued, saying that "I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen". She admitted that Wonder Woman has been, "since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she's tricky".

Further on in the interview, she admitted that the Green Lantern movie didn't work out quite how everyone had hoped, but confirmed that "we will find some other way to bring that character to the screen". Justice League, then.

Aside from Nelson's interview, a new rumour as to the direction of the big screen Batman franchise has appeared at Batman On Film. A pinch of salt probably wouldn't hurt here, but the site has "heard some whispers" that the Batman Beyond animated TV series is being looked at as possible inspiration for the next full Batman movie. This would mean a clean break from the Christopher Nolan films, not least because Batman Beyond is set in 2039, with an aged Bruce Wayne and the torch being handed over to teenager Terry McGinnis.

It would solve, were Warner Bros to go this way, the issue of how to make the next Batman film distinct from the last three. But we'd still suspect that this is unlikely to be the direction the studio ultimately goes in. Stranger things have happened, though...

Batman On Film.
The Hollywood Reporter.

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I think warners should look to the Markham games for inspiration for the next bats film, especially as the first is basically die hard with batman being locked in arkham :)

"I think it coul dbe as ruch as the Harry Potter universe"

Did she actually say that or did she say could be as rich? ;)

Batman Beyond is a great idea. A way to make a new continuity (thus appeasing fans who didn't like Nolan's work) but keep the previous trilogy as a loose backstory (thus getting fans in who see it as a loose sequel to an awesome trilogy).

An Aquaman movie could be awesome but I have no idea how it could be marketed to a general audience who only think of him as a joke.

The world has been crying out for a 'Metal Men' movie. :p

I'm dying to see a Wonder Woman. But I want someone spectacular and really feminine and not too young to portray her. Like Lucy Lawless with the Xena style, maybe Demi Moore (although I think she is too 'posh' for the role), Olivia Wilde (she has the face). Even Christina Hendricks, with her huge curvy body, even though she's not the action muscular kind, I think she would give a new edge to the character. I don't know, I just want her to be striking, not the usual pretty face - hot slender body hottie.

What do you think about Gina Carano as Wonder Woman?

Maybe she's a Kiwi?

I'm unsure how I feel about Sandman getting the movie treatment. It's been on the cards for years now. I'm a huge fan of the graphic novels (and Neil Gaiman's work in general - his involvement would be a must for me). But I'm not sure who they could cast or attach as a director that would do it justice beyond the obvious Burton/Depp partnership, which is TOO obvious, and likely expensive. It'd need someone who's a real visionary, that's for sure. A Guillermo del Toro or the like. It's a big, complex story and I think the medium of film would just try to condense it too much.

But I'd rather be wrong about the whole thing. Comic book adaptations have been pretty healthy lately. Don't see Sandman as being a huge box office hit, but attaining the same level of popularity as the likes of Watchmen instead. I'd be happy if the film was of good enough quality to garner that.

Yes yes yes! I swither over having someone beautiful or someone built to fight - as you never seem to get both. In the comics Wonder Woman is the definition of a perfect woman, beautiful, strong, independent etc Which is why she is always so hard to cast.
Gina, while not stunningly beautiful is quite pretty and definitely built to fight. I suppose in an ideal world it would be the body of Gina Carano but with say the face of Megan Fox but as that isn't possible I vote Gina.

Also, sorry to disagree but the 3 mentioned by Marie are not right for Wonder Woman at all. Demi Moore, not even 20 years ago, gorgeous though. I don't think Hendricks right for it, she doesn't project fierce to me. Olivia Wilde (love her -she's very funny irl) is definitely a "hot slender body hottie"

A hint of Aquaman he he is that a faint whiff of fish in the air?

The problem with that is, if its set in 2039, it won't tie in with the Justice League movie, which I thought was the main point of rebooting the franchise so soon

A few Sandman movies could be excellent. There is plenty of mileage to be had in the character, but I have serious concerns about the "rich as the Harry Potter universe" quote. Sandman does not have anything in common with Harry Potter, and this sounds like a marketing person saying "There's a successful movie, lets mangle our new franchise beyond all recognition to try and tap into that market"

Mark Hamill as Joker on film would be fantastic to see (even though he's said he's not doing it any more I think!)

Maybe DC/Warner will then use The Dark Knight trilogy in the MCU. Blake could be the Batman Beyond in some way. If this is going to happen is something else of course.

Well it was originally set in 2039 in the 90s, so I guess at this point you'd set it closer to 2060. And it doesn't have to tie in, it'd be post-Justice League.

(The alternative being have a Batman film that does tie in with the Justice League, but any Batman film in the next few years would obviously be in the shadow of the Dark Knight trilogy, whereas Batman Beyond would be well out of it. My opinion is that they should forgo a modern Batman franchise for a little while, until the trilogy is well out of mind for the audience... but they probably won't do that. Dang.)

Maybe, and I'd be fine with that (I like JGL, and he has a ready made but different backstory to Bruce, and it'd leave open the possibility for Bruce cameos further down the line). However, the indication from all involved seems to be that it's done. 'Tis pity, though.

(NB, it'd be DCCU rather than MCU. Or JLCU? JLU? The Nolanverse?)

Um... am I the only one who thinks their ideas sound terrible?
Give The Hood a chance on screen! He's epic and would work a lot better than Wonder Woman or bloody Aquaman.

I am pretty sure that you are in fact the only one who thinks these ideas sound anything other than great. Or at least in the minority.

That's cause he's a joke

Get Jim Cameron to direct and VIncent Chase to star in it ;)

Yeah, I tend to agree. Leave Batman on the back burner for a couple of years, maybe put a couple of other references about him in the other films, then maybe do a movie just before JLA.
It's gonna be a brave director who decides to take it on though

The problem is, you can't really do a future Batman, and have him in JLA at the same time (yeah, I know you CAN, but Hollywood thinks we are idiots, so they won't)

DC and WB have basically shut down the Batman franchise for years by pandering to Nolan and his 'realistic' Dark Knight trilogy. No one is going to accept a Batman reboot for the foreseeable future which really grinds my gears to be honest. They have essentially not only stopped any further Batman films but also stopped Justice League because the cinema audience will only see Bale as Batman and won't accept a more comic book universe Batman.

It was such a successful trilogy that Bale is, for the moment, the definitive Batman. That's why I think rebooting Batman again would be a mistake. IMO It wouldn't be as big a problem in Justice League, as he could be a smaller player in it (Cap, Thor and Hulk were hardly defined in their roles in Avengers, and you could keep Bats the same, he's been defined, now he just needs to act). And leaping forward to Batman Beyond would invite far fewer comparisons to Bale and the trilogy. But, in the eyes of the producers, it's also a bigger gamble, because audiences are idiots and want what they've had thousands of times before, not something new. They're not going to risk giving us something we'll enjoy when they can give us something they think we'll watch regardless.

The Sandman will but nothing but a disappointment to fans of the comic (even if Gaiman is involved). Even if they get someone like Guilermo Del Toro on board (and lets face it Pan's Labyrinth is as close to a Sandman film as we've ever gotten) there's no way it could recreate the beauty, horror and sheer brilliance of the comics. Plus are they going to do the whole story or cherry pick stories from the comic. You couldn't do Preludes and Nocturnes in one film and then you have to hope that the film is successful enough to warrant sequels. I don't know, Constantine was so bad and I didn't rate Watchmen, the material is too adult to transfer to the screen in a PG format which is what they would be aiming for to get maximum revenue.

In my ideal universe (well, it's a bit late, since in my ideal universe Man of Steel wouldn't be the starting point of a joined JL Movie Universe) we'd see Justice League, in which Batman (played by JGL or someone else) appears, but carries very little of the story, and it's left to the other heroes. Much as Hulk was in The Avengers; Everyone knew the character, so he needed so setup, no explanation, he could just do his thing and be awesome.

Meanwhile, we'd get Batman Beyond movies, ostensibly unrelated but could be seen as in the JLMU's future. The point is, it doesn't have to be seen either way, but the audience can look at in whichever way enriches the experience. Modern Batman films are on hold for a few years, even until after a JL movie, or even after a second JL movie. Put bags of distance between them and the Nolan movies (if they've recast Batman), and then, once they've quietly reestablished his character, take him back to Gotham for his own movie(s).

Why not just give Batman the Nick Fury roll, but keep him in the shadows all the time in case they can't decide on an actor.

I agree with a lot of what you said but the problem is that Batman is one the Holy Trinity of characters that DC have and they would have to push him in the Justice League (as they would Superman) because he is the most recognisable character they have. The other characters are just too obscure and they apparently don't have the ability to showcase their characters in the way Marvel did. Marvel took characters that were virtually unknown in the 'real' world with The Avengers (apart from The Hulk) and turned them into household names. DC seem to be almost embarrassed by their characters and won't show them the light of day so it's just constant rehashes of Superman and Batman. The only reason Green Arrow got his own show is cause he was so big in Smallville.

DC as you said are more willing to feed us more of the same rather than take a risk which is what Marvel did with The Avengers. Until they actually get their characters out there and do it well all we will have is the same old stuff from them which is sad because their heroes are more than capable of being huge.

Give Gemma Arterton time to get into "fighting" shape and I think she could be a great WW. Although I've been lobbying for her to be the new Lara Croft since they re-booted the game series...

Coul dbe.

That's another good shout. Agree about Lara Croft too :)
Hated Tomb Raider before the reboot but would be interested in a film done in the style of the new game and Arterton would be a good fit I reckon

They need a Kevin Feige, someone who's a great business man but also an affirmed geek. Someone who knows not what characters are popular, but what characters can and should be popular. Back in 2007, who'd have pegged Iron Man and Thor as outselling X-Men?

Aquaman should have been a badguy. Namor has been good and bad. The only good marine fishfaced nautically themed heroes are Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy.

I agree with jokerpentrick, use the tone of the Arkham games as inspiration for the next film. I loved the first two Nolan films, but there's no point trying to do that again because it will be compared too heavily and someone will probably think it's better to go darker still and get it all wrong. However, don't take that thinking and go the other way and make it camp like what happened with the first lot of Batman films. Don't do the origin again and allow his villains to have super powers and stuff. Have the outlandish elements but make them cool and the threats legitimate like the best comic writers do.

As for Wonder Woman, I'd look to the Thor adaptation for your tone of meshing a fantastical society beyond the normal western world and the Brian Azzarello run as your basis of plot. Get some Greek god stuff going on in the DC cinema universe. You've already got aliens with Superman and Green Lantern (who she states they're looking for a way to bring back to the big screen). Also, get the casting right. Don't go for a super big name like Angelina Jolie to play wonder woman, get someone who'll really convince as a warrior. I know Angelina can do tough, but it's always tinged with a knowing bit of glamour (Wanted, Tomb Raider, Salt. All tough women but they still do plenty of pouting and posing. I think Wonder Woman works best as a warrior before anything else).

In fact I'd get an Arkham movie in the going, that interpretation of Wonder Woman and consider relaunching Green Lanter or doing The Flash before a Justice League movie.

If you're doing Aquaman at all, I'd take some serious liberties with the character. Have him be a noble warrior of Atlantis who is incredibly strong and durable in order to survive under water. Forget the talking to fish stuff and ecological message. Have him be a highly skilled fighter, with cool tridenty weapons and blades and military commander who comes to land as an ambassador of Atlantis or to warn the land of a threat that is relevant to both societies. He should be fast and powerful in combat on land seeing as he doesn't have the water resistance and no orange scaly top and green gloves.

Why the obsession with a Justice League film? The Dark Knight and Man of Steel were awesome in their own right, more so than Avengers. Haven't you heard the expression 'less is more'?

I'd still really like to see a Batman film where no one (including the audience) knows just who's behind the mask this time. It would be incredibly difficult to pull off in a film, and it's probably a bit too risky for the studio to green light, but I'd still love to see them try!

You're so right. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America solo outings bigger and better than Wolverine??? They really need someone with the vision of Feige and they need to have the courage to put more of their characters out there. I mean Marvel are touting Ant-Man as one of their big movies. Bloody ANT-MAN!!!!! DC have this amazingly rich untapped universe which could be awesome to watch. In Smallville they brought in the JSA, The Legion of Super Heroes and multiple heroes from the DC Universe (Michael Shanks as Hawkman was awesome!!!). I am the world's biggest Batman fan but I would love to see them back burner Bats and Superman and push their lesser known heroes.

Feige and his team have done an incredible job over the last few years, but their biggest risks are still coming up. Guardians of the Galaxy is almost completely unknown to the general public (Iron Man was the least known of the crop so far), and Ant-Man doesn't have the best reputation. Both will be hard sells, harder than any of the ones to date. I hope they can make them work, and I am so happy that they're taking these risks.

Exactly!!! They're expanding the universe and yeah it is a big risk but they've got a lot of love behind them and a bit of star power with Guardians (Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan). Further expansion with Dr Strange apparently in Phase 3. I think Ant-Man is going to be the hardest sell as he doesn't even have a good rep with comic geeks (esp after they made him a wife beater in the Ultimate universe). He's changed his name about 50 times but we'll see. DC need to sit back, look at Marvel and then basically try to copy the success.

I think the problem is that they're trying to get the same figures but (in a very cheesy way) they're not as interested in how the movies feel, and that's kinda been their downfall. They're trying to make popular movies, whereas Feige and his lot are trying to make good movies. It always strikes me as the important difference between their approaches; Feige isn't just looking at the established characters (if he were we'd have had a couple more Hulk films by now), he's looking at the ones that he can make work. Part of that's come from simply not having access to the higher league Marvel heroes, but a lot of it comes from knowing what characters he loves, and knowing what characters he can make an audience love.

I've never got the impression that anyone at WB cares about the DC characters, all they care about is getting the money in, hence their approach of 'Nolan+Superman=$', and what we wound up with was Man of Steel. Which had its moments, but was not a good Superman movie, and didn't give the impression that either the writer or director cared about the characters or the mythology.

Like I have commented before on other articles, a more Dark Knight like serious tone could make the DCU feel a lot different to the MCU which is far more lighthearted. Also the use of Nolan's Blake as the Batman Beyond could make for a more easy transition for the 'normal' cinemagoer.

(Sorry for the MCU typo, DCU is a bit new.)

Does DC have a Kevin Feige in Bruce Timm? I mean, his animated movies are pretty awesome!

Warners publicity would have us believe that Geoff Johns is closely involved in strategising the translation of their comic book properties into major movies but i think there are so many people involved at an executive studio production level because of money that things frequently collapse during development and they lose directors and writers.Ultimately,i think Warners need to be more committed to being faithfull to the concepts they're adapting rather than being carefull about updating them because these characters have appealed to generations of people.There is just too much development and talk rather than actual production.

Damn right, and one of the reasons the DCAU is so highly regarded (also, he was a noted comic book lover, and started out wanting to be a comic book artist. He loves the characters, the way Feige and Whedon do). If they could bring him into the live action movies, maybe they'd be able to make something real and substantial.

True, and it could make it work. Maybe they should be going for a more serious tone (although I still wish Man of Steel weren't the springboard... it's not very true to Superman at all). I certainly see the value in the idea of bringing Blake in as Batman to the Justice League (although he wouldn't really be able to be Batman Beyond, it'd need to be a new character as it's set 50 years in the future). Plus, JGL is a very talented actor, he could certainly bring a lot to Blake, Batman and the whole team. Yes, I'd go to see Henry Cavill and JGL in a superhero team.

(And no probs. It is all new, and I'm not sure they've come up with a name yet. Again, Marvel has always seemed reassuringly gung-ho about labelling it, with Marvel Cinematic Universe a very early description, and 'Phase One' and 'Phase Two' being applied well before Avengers came out. They don't care if it sounds twee, or cheesy, or overly plotted out, because it's a good plan. And, more importantly, it's a plan! Where's DC's plan? No-one knows.)

This would be a great idea, and might even get everyone enthused about the new actor. Maybe they'd be so keen to learn his identity that they'd forget how much they loved Bale. Have the character in the shadows most of the time, so you'd be dubbing the actor's voice in anyway - this would prevent people spotting the actor on set/location...

Well, they wouldn't necessarily have to hide the actor who would be playing him - that would be practically impossible in the modern world, although I do like the idea in principle. But they wouldn't have to reveal his identity either. They could cast several possible suspects as 'red herrings', for instance.

He's a joke to people because of the Family Guy skit that became lodged in public consciousness, those that think of him as a joke are simply displaying their ignorance of the character. A member of the JLA for over 60 years, superstrength and telepathy in and out of water and able to go head to head with any of the greats, he's one of DC's powerhouses and a rich, complex character. I have friends that know zilch about the DCU that snort in derision at the mention of Aquaman, and that says it all.

He's a joke because they've made him a joke character. Not only Family Guy but Robot Chicken and even Batman The Brave and The Bold. You raised the main problem in your reply, people who don't know comics see him as a joke and unfortunately the vast majority of movie goers aren't comic book readers thus when people think of Aquaman they think of him as the posturing idiot he is in Batman TBATB or as the jokey things they've seen him in, that is their only experience of the character. It doesn't matter how great he is in the comics (and I'll be honest I'm taking your word for it as I've never read anything with him in as I've never had the slightest interest in him).

Time to beg Joss Whedon to dig out the script he wrote for Wonder Woman and get Drew Goddard to direct.

Disagree with the rest of the comment for the most part but a The Hood film would be great! DC really made him in to a great villain a few years ago

I had never read Aquaman before, but decided to get the New 52 Aquaman #1 graphic novel as I thought I would give it a chance, and I did enjoy it.

One of the things I liked most about it was that it dealt with ordinary people viewing Aquaman as a joke, and then witnessing first hand just how powerful he is.
People shouldn't judge the character based on the jokes made about him.

If its Aquaman, that gold armor has to go. And he should be an older character. My take would be a 60s Aquaman becoming king of Atlantis, emerging 40 years later with an invasion army. Justice league will try to stop him but is faced with kaiju like monsters under Aquaman.

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