Justice League movie back to the drawing board

News Simon Brew 8 Feb 2013 - 08:40

It looks as if the Justice League film is back to square one, as the search begins for a new writer...

Warner Bros might yet, it seems, be facing an uphill struggle to meet its planned summer 2015 release date for its Justice League movie. The project is in active development at the studio, and it had hired Will Beall to pen a screenplay for the feature. According to a new report though, that screenplay hasn’t been well received, and it sounds as if Justice League has gone back to square one.

Obviously this is all unconfirmed, but BadAss Digest reports that heroes “have been cut and added from the proceedings seemingly at studio will”. That whilst the main five characters have been locked down, Warner Bros has been changing its mind on who else it wants included. The result was apparently a screenplay that didn’t work, and the search is on for a new writer, we’d assume.

The problem the studio faces is that it won’t be able to get a director of the calibre it’s after for the project until it’s got a good script in place. And as such, you’d have to say that the planned 2015 release is looking a little bit shaky, unless Warner Bros can get a screenplay in place that it’s happy with.

Of course, none of this has been formally confirmed. But Warner Bros will need to move quickly one way or the other in the months ahead if it still wants Justice League on schedule. Don’t be surprise if it ducks out of the summer 2015 scrum though (which includes Star Wars and The Avengers 2) and opts for a 2016 release instead. Time is decreasingly on its side.

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The best thing that could happen to this movie is a delay. If it comes out in the same year as Avengers 2, with a very similar looking villain, it is going to look like one of those mockbuster films like transmorphers

I'm starting to think they should put in a new rating clarification along side the existing 'contains scenes if mild...." type which states "developed with No/minor or major studio interference".

I wish DC would just stick to doing the best possible trilogy for each of it's characters instead of copying the Marvel template.
They could still exist in the same universe but rushing to team them up is a bad idea.

Agreed. They also need a plan in place where they can decide where they can go after the movie is complete. I just hope that this delay doesn't affect Del Toro's Dark Universe, which looks like it could be awesome.

Get Nolan & Goyer in to knock out the story and some ideas before passing it to another director like they did with superman, you have the benefit of knowing they are good and that it will fit thematically with the DC universe that is very different to Marvels. Even if Nolan doesn't want even a small evolvement get Goyer to firm up the story

Gotta say, after initially being annoyed with the fact that Goyer and Nolan were doing Superman, from what I've seen so far of Man of Steel they should definitely do this. It would fit right in with Man of Steel and we'd get a serious complex JLA movie to boot!

And when I say serious, I don't mean lacking in fun.... "He's in a black....tank!"

This has got disaster written all over it.


Surely they have to look at Marvel and how they went about setting up The Avengers? They had a plan from day one. Everything tied in together. They are able to have the Avengers film due to some SERIOUS planning and well written films and plots.

DC are just the jealous kid who wants what Marvel have.

Why? Why do they NEED to have this film out so soon? They have the Dark Knight Triolgy under their belt, a new Superman franchise on the way. Concentrate on Man of Steel, then have something in that to tie into Justice League. THEN have another stand alone film for one of the other characters a yr or so later and build up the DC world.

They cant just lump all of these characters into one film without leading up to it and expecting us to all go, "ah yeah, the justice league!". Wont happen.

As a longtime DC fan, it's so disappointing to see Marvel besting them at every turn, to the point where I'm now looking forward far more to Phases 2 and 3 of the Marvel Universe than Superman, Green Lantern, Justice League etc.

I also believe that Marvel did it the right way round, building up each character and consequently getting an amazing response for the Avengers.

As much as I want to see a live-action Justice League, the timing isn't right. I would much rather prefer the following; after a (hopefully) successful Man Of Steel, they should concentrate on a 'World's Finest' film, with Superman meeting Batman, and establishing a relationship between the two, with the 2 heroes clashing during the film, then coming together at the end to defeat a common enemy. This could a) create a strong box office with the 2 most recognisable DC heroes, and b) be used as a starting point for a rebooted Batman, taking them away from the Nolanverse and into a more 'superhero' environment.

At that point the next Superman and Batman films would be set up to continue their own stories, where they would then have time to also create solo films for Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern. Failing that, if they still haven't established the characters for a Justice League film at that point, then they could stick with Batman and Superman, and add Wonder Woman to the mix to complete the 'Trinity'.

Anyway, usual fanboy dreaming I guess, although I'd rather look forward to this than to a botched Justice League film! :)


Most people (i.e not us geeks) do not know much about the other characters. So using their most popular 2 at their disposal to make one film is a great idea. It would make a small fortune at the box office as well no doubt. Especially if they could get Nolan/Snyder on board again.

See how I have already decided Man of Steel is going to be amazing? Haha.

Couldn't agree more. Marvel's series leading up to Avengers wasn't perfect, but it set a solid foundation for the future of the franchise. DC look like they are about to undo all of the goodwill the dark knight trilogy afforded them.

Blessing in disguise. There's no way this can compete with Avengers 2 and the new Star Wars.

In this respect even iron man 2 was integral, I daresay even the Incredible Hulk (which I like). And that started in brazil, playing off of the other hulk. But darkside? Same year as thanos? Mockbuster in deed. Might as well call it Revengers: a kame to dill for

Batman: "We meet again, Bane. Last time I forgot that I'm a ninja and just went all 3 yr playing as Balrog against the computer, and you promptly broke my back, but I am very clever. This time I shall do the EXACT SAME THING, but it is YOU who shall lose". Bane "that makes no sense but whatever, sucks I die the same way as I did in Batman and Robin, I.e. as a sniveling wimp, but at least that batman gave me his codpiece as a souvenir. Which I wear on my face. And why are you still doing that stupid voice? I know you're Bruce Wayne, remember? Literally everybody but commissioner Gordon does"


I am not a comic book fan at all so don't actually know but you said at the beginning that you are a DC fan and that you are disappointed to see Marvel beating them. Is comic book fandom like when I was kid and we had the Nintendo kids on one side of the playground and the Sega kids on the other?

Haha, I guess it is like that, at least for me, although I certainly consider it more of a friendly rivalry as opposed to getting upset about it :)

Probably the fact that DC and Marvel characters never interact with each other (except for a very few rare instances) lends itself to the debate of 'who would win between x and y' (FYI Batman would beat Iron Man, Superman would beat Captain America, Wonder Woman would beat Thor, and Green Lantern would beat Hulk ;) ). So personally seeing as I grew up more reading DC Comics (Justice League), I find it frustrating that they have rarely been able to realise the film potential that Marvel (Avengers) are currently enjoying, as I want to see my childhood heroes on the big screen too.

Having said that, I perfectly understand that if somebody has no knowledge of the DC and Marvel 'sides' to take, and simply judges each film on its own merits, then it really makes no difference which films are made, as long as they're good!

Oh, and I was on the Nintendo side of the playground ;)

This is why DC cant have nice things. Perhaps Aquaman may now make it into the final team!

Absolutely well-put. DC needs to work on good stand-alone movies other than the Batman franchise before worrying about a JL movie.

WB Executive: We have the best script for Justice League and the baddest villain anyone can ever imagine- DARKSEID! Nothing can go wrong.

Assistant: Sir, they showed THANOS at the Avengers after credit scenes.

WB Executive: Damn. hurry find someone to rewrite the scripts.

I too was on the Nintendo side :)

Yes I hated DKR too, but we'll worry about Justice League 3 when we get there....

Nintendo. It's funny cuz now sonic and Mario face each other all the time... And we don't give a crap. N my son just happily plays it not knowing they were the bloods n crips of the gaming industry.

See guys? DC or Marvel, Nintendo or Sega, we're all the same deep down, why can't we all just get along, lol (having said that, I hope you set your son straight, Sonic's for losers, haha) ;)

Hahahahaha gotta admit the black sonic looks cool, shadow. All the kids fight over picking him

It's a tricky one isn't it? We all would love a Justice League film done right. To see Bats, Supes, WW, Flash, MM, GL, Aquaman and Cyborg on the big screen. But, and it's the biggest but EVER in cinema, if they rush it and get it wrong it will just look like they've ripped off Marvel.
I really do think that stand alone movies are the way forward. Put out some unbelievably good films of the trinity of characters. Yet tie them together. I'm not saying have after credits scenes or anything like that, nor even tiny cameos. Just easter eggs. References to various other heroes in order to make the viewer aware that there is a larger universe out there. Little snippets regarding other cities or the activities of other characters.
However, I do think that Man of Steel SHOULD have a scene, maybe at the end (but not post credits), that gives us a short scene of Clark Kent, in a crowd of reporters, being approached by a well dressed businessman who offers his hand and says something like, "Mr Kent, I'm Bruce Wayne. I've been watching you. We need to talk Kal-El."

DC should have started this the moment they heard about Marvel's plan in 2008. They already look like also-rans and an obvious rip-off is going to accentuate that. Most cinema fans have never heard of Justice League and will just think they've made it all up after watching The Avengers.

The Avengers was successful because it was great film first and had a great set-up second.

People like to think the individual lead-ins were most responsible for the Avengers success but the fact is, all they really did was get it green-lighted in the first place and show Whedon and the producers some of the potential missteps.

The JLA can be successful without lead-ins, it'll just be harder to do. I think it'll be the Avengers success and inevitable comparisons that are most difficult for DC to overcome, not putting up a quality product.

Superman vs. Cap isn't fair. Put him up against Hulk and it'd be a different story. I think Wonder Woman vs. Thor would be coin flip. And for the record, Batman would beat anyone from either universe...

DC does not have the film rights. Stop accusing them for doing things WB is doing.

Sorry folks, this is some serious comment. DC comics came first, then Marvel. I much preferred the Marvel ones. In very general terms, I felt the DC superheros were too much "the Toffs" - Kal El, son of a leading Krypton politician-cum-scientific genius; Wonder Woman, a Royal Princess of the Amazons - and their characters never seemed to be coping with real life issues as I saw them in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But the Marvel superheros seemed to (mostly, anyway) be ordinary people with personal issues I could relate to, but who had been elevated to superhero status in some way (often accidental) yet carrying their baggage of issues with them. OK, Thor was a god, but he still had certain weaknesses. Marvel heros weren't so "squeaky-clean" as DC heros, and to me this made them much more realistic, attractive, exciting and enjoyable. NOW - my point being, the film versions of the Marvel characters seem to me to have succeeded in capturing this slightly "grungy" or "imperfect personality" (or "normal human being with issues") aspect in a skilfully written and acted rendition, whereas the DC films - especially the Batman franchise - fell very flat until they realised their mistake and started changing their formula with "Batman Begins" and the follow-ups. Therefore, I think the studio making the Justice League movie ought to have a long, hard look at the Marvel series of screenplays, and try to grab hold of a Marvel screenplay writer! A Justice League movie of squeaky-clean heros will fall flat on its face, and yet you cannot simply transform them into grungy reality in this upcoming film - the way must be carefully prepared, which is what the Marvel studios did by defining the characters first in their own indicidual movies, before bringing them together in Avengers, which I thought was a triumph of movie-making. Thus, we need several really good "introductory" feature films for Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and whoever else (accepting that Batman has already accomplished this) before a decent Justice Leage film is made. Instead (Bat excepted) the earlier movies have been ridiculous (i.e. Green Lantern) and too poor to successfully provide supporting pillars for a Justice League movie. There - end of reality lecture. I'm sure many will disagree; this is simply how I feel.

PS. For "indicidual" read "individual" - my finger hit the wrong key!

Yeah, Cap is a bit out of place to be fair... and of course Batman would beat anyone, only a maniac would think otherwise ;)

I totally agree that whereas the Marvel characters were more relatable, usually thanks to the 'ordinary man given a blessing / curse, and overcoming adversity'-type origin story, that is actually the reason why for me I preferred the DC Comics characters; by and large, to me the DC characters were people who CHOSE to make the world a better place, and didn't have that responsibility thrust upon them. They felt more like true heroes, and although it makes them less relatable, they felt more like people I wanted to aspire to be.

The fact that DC Comics did come first, and most of their characters have been around a long time (as noted by Mark Millar in an interview the other day), definitely shows in the type of comics that were created, as they were made for a different era; squeaky-clean do-gooders. Now, whether those qualities transfer well to film is another story...!

As much as it seems an easy option to try and mimic the Marvel template and create flawed, more 'human' characters, it then runs the risk of becoming a cheap 'Transmorphers' knock-off film as mentioned by Bakhesh in another post. Everyone points to Batman being dark and flawed, but I've always seen him as the extreme, the cynical loner who balances out the good found in Superman, and to a point also WW, GL, Flash and even Martian Manhunter. I think if WB and DC had a good grip on their character's core beliefs, the films are there to be made. Unfortunately whereas Marvel were at a point in the comics where the characters had found their rhythm, DC are now playing around with New 52, and trying to reinvent the wheel; I don't think they can expect to do that and honestly pretend to know how best to present their characters on the silver screen.

it seems to me that the studio is desperate to just get a justice league film made at all costs. which to me is a recipe for disaster. if you haven't got a good idea on story, then don't bother, or risk ending up with indy 4 or the phantom menace all over again. if you can't do these iconic characters justice (no pun intended!) then leave it alone, please!!

Why they just forget about The Justice Leage and make a Superman/Batman movie? Would be easier, bolder and something different from The Avengers thing!

I think the best way DC could go with the setup for a JL movie would be to look at the Bruce Timm DCAU setup for the JL cartoon series.

Batman and Superman are probably the most well know DC supers, at least to those people who might not be visitors to this and similar websites, so start with those two getting new franchises. Then add one off films for perhaps Wonder Woman and Flash. Followed up by an Aquaman and a Green Lantern reboot. Or perhaps intros to some of those characters in sequels a la Black Widow and Hawkeye. After all, the DCAU introduced Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter as well as the John Stewart Green Lantern in the intro episode to the JL cartoon. (For those of you who've not seen it, Flash and the Kyle Rayner GL appeared in the Superman cartoon).

If DC go for a 2016 instead of 2015 then that gives you 3 years to get the foundations laid with 2/3 films a year. More than enough time. Marvel have already shown that people are willing to accept the idea of an expanded universe over a several film franchises so there's really no need to rush to try and cobble something sub-par together just to jump on a bandwagon. A bandwagon that isn't likely to be missed given Marvel's phase 2 will be drawing crowds and interest at the same time.

GAH! Hurry up!!! I don't care how long the Justice League will come out, but you can't make a Justice League without having Wonder Woman! So how about we work on that please!! I'm DYING to see my idol on the big screen!!! It's so unfair that both Batman AND Superman are catching up to date, but not even an attempt to get the ball rolling for Wonder Woman. GR!

FYI, Warners own DC ..... just sayin'.

I know it's been said before but going stand alone to team up first is the right way to go. I'm sure avengers fans will say its copying but its the right way. Having time to see the birth of the characters even though we already know their story is what makes us wanna know their later adventures. I don't think avengers would have worked if they had done the team up then solo films first.
DC/WB needs to do the same, even if you only do a few like Superman,Wonder woman, the flash and that's it. While Green Lantern wasn't the best it could have been you can bring another actor to take the role Nathan Fillion most likely and then move onto the Justice League Movie with them and Batman then after that give Batman a new film and have the reboot concentrate on introducing Robin or Nightwing and go from there. At least give us a few solo films to wet the whistle rather than force them Down Our throat.

I'm just looking forward to the day when X-Men meets Fantastic Four who meet the Avengers. Marvel-fest!

There's also the issue that Marvel made it very clear in each of the Avenger-connected films that they were in a shared universe, with Nick Fury and SHIELD playing minor roles in each (it's also why we're not likely to see Spiderman taking up his 'part-time Avenger member' status from the comics - there's nothing in either the Maguire series or the new series that ties it to the other films, so it would seem rather random to suddenly have him turn up in an Avengers film).

DC hasn't done that groundwork. Nolan's Batman films operated in a universe that was quite explicitly NOT one in which Superman and Green Lantern are plausible characters (for a start, they might have done something about a nuke about to go off in one of the world's largest cities...). And that's fine - those films were great, and I'm of the view that in film form Batman works best in a more grounded noirish setting (the comics avoid that problem by handwaiving differences in style between issues, simultaneously running series where Gotham operates as though the Bat-family are the only heroes around and villains don't have superpowers, alongside series where Batman and Superman regularly pal around). Similarly, Superman has always been the sole hero of his films - in film format it's always been too difficult to make room for other heroes when you've got a guy who is, well, Superman.

DC shouldn't even be thinking about making a Justice League film unless it first discovers how to make these characters work in a shared universe, in film format. Keep in mind that Marvel had to change the character powers significantly, while keeping their personalities, in order to make a setting that would be plausible on film - it might be fine in a comic to have Thor with all his godlike power as part of a team with tech-based heroes like Iron Man, and non-super-powered heroes like Hawkeye, but if they hadn't toned the character down significantly for the film franchise the audience would be wondering whether it wouldn't be more effective for the rest of the team to make the tea and biscuits while Thor and Banner did all the work.

But there's a further factor at play which makes the prospect of a JL film even less enticing. A good film needs to be based on character interaction above Michael Bay style effects extravaganzas. Marvel's character personalities lent themselves towards creating enough intra-team conflict to keep the characters interesting - it's not just that Steve Rogers doesn't get on with Tony Stark, it's that you can see WHY they're not going to like each other in a way that's grounded in their worldviews as presented in their own films. Of course a WW2 soldier who's still heavily traumatised, having woken up in a completely alien future where the kinds of weapon he went on a suicide mission to stop have become widespread despite his efforts (the film uses the Tesseract as it's mcguffin, but the way it was referred to as a source of WMDs gave a clear feeling that it was also a stand-in for nukes, at least in Rogers' eyes) isn't going to hold a smart-ass billionaire who got rich from arms dealing.

I just don't see that potential for grounded character conflict in DC's core characters, at least in how they've been adapted to screen. Batman stands out because he's the only one who ISN'T an archetypal 'heroic noble guy/girl', and even then, despite the undertone that the character is psychologically rather unhealthy, there's no natural lead-in for character conflict with the other characters.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to see a good JL film. But DC are trying to fly when they haven't even learnt to crawl yet - show us that they can make the characters work in a shared universe, and that they can be reimagined in ways that make their teaming up dramatically interesting in ways other than 'oh noes, this bad guy has a REALLY big special effects budget, we'll need FIVE heroes this time around!' and THEN let's talk about a JL film.

I don't know where all the scepticism for a JL film comes from, as if the Avengers set up should be the template for everything, despite howlers like Iron Man 2. X-Men was a big hit with no invididual characters introduced before it. I pretty much only knew of Wolverine and Nightcrawler; on the other hand I'm much more familiar with Batman, Superman and even Wonder Woman. I loved The Watchmen too, and literally knew nothing about any of them, hadn't even read the comic book, but the strong story and skilled film-making made it perfectly enjoyable.

True, the same with Flash. Wondy is an amazing story as well, but why don´t they get a move on.

call me a maniac wonder woman and hulk would both kick batmans ass.

Hahaha.... crazy talk :)

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