What do we know about the Justice League movie so far?

Feature Simon Brew 17 Jun 2013 - 06:20

With Warner Bros likely to press ahead with Justice League now that Man Of Steel has hit big, what do we know about the current state of it?

Now that Man Of Steel has proved itself a massive box office hit, Warner Bros might just be about to press ahead with its long-planned Justice League project. It's little secret that that the studio has tried several times to get Justice League moving in one form or another, but with Warner Bros now buoyed by the rejuvenation of big screen Superman, the odds of it happening have  considerably shortened. That's what a $100m+ opening weekend at the US box office does for you.

So what do we actually know about this current attempt to get Justice League going? Here are the clues thus far...

Superman and Batman will be in it

We'll start with something so basic, so assumed, that nobody even asks the question. Justice League will feature Superman and Batman, the two biggest box office draws in the DC library. It's long been a problem for DC that it doesn't have any character anywhere close to the popularity of those two, and unlike Marvel, it's found it nigh-on impossible to introduce fresh characters through big blockbusters. Ask any Warner Bros accountant, and they'll tell you that Green Lantern still stings.

The inclusion of Superman and Batman does present a problem of sorts for Warner Bros. Unlike Marvel, it's never had two of its comic book franchises on fire at the same time. So, whilst Marvel went into The Avengers with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor all established firmly at the box office at the right moment, Warner Bros now has an active Superman franchise, and a recently retired Batman one. To get the latter up and running, there's got to be a risky reboot of the character done there. Which leads us to...

It'll be a different Batman/Bruce Wayne

David S Goyer confirmed to us last week that it'll be a different Bruce Wayne in the world of Man Of Steel and Justice League. That he does exist in that world, but not in the shape of Christian Bale.

Warner Bros' presumed route is that it'll reintroduce Batman in a less risky way, as part of a Justice League ensemble, before pressing ahead with a full reboot. That's not definitely the case though: it may yet opt for the reboot first, but it it gets that wrong, then Justice League may be back to square one. One thing is certain: rebooting Batman for the big screen is arguably the biggest challenge facing DC and Warner Bros right now. Bigger even than the Justice League project itself.

Zack Snyder and David S Goyer are in pole position to make it

Now that Man Of Steel has hit cinemas with the biggest June opening of all time in the US, Warner Bros can breathe out. And it puts director Zack Snyder and writer David S Goyer in a position of strength.

Again, Goyer told us that he and Snyder had discussed Justice League while making Man Of Steel. In his words, "it would be disingenuous to say that Zack and I haven't had various conversations on set, around 'what if' and 'moving forward'", when we specifically asked him about Justice League.

He added that "it's all going to depend on the next few weeks", indicating that the box office returns for Man Of Steel would determine where Warner Bros went next, and who it involved. Barring a massive collapse in box office takings over the next week, it now firmly seems as though Justice League is Snyder's and Goyer's project, should they want it.

Will Beall's script has been abandoned

Not much of a surprise this, but it's now been fully confirmed. Will Beall had been penning a screenplay for Justice League, but that script has now been fully abandoned. As Goyer, again, told us, "it would be a blank slate" were he to take on the project, as is widely expected.

Announcements on further characters are expected shortly

This came from an interview earlier in the summer. Back in April, Warner Bros president Jeff Robinov, who bet heavily on Zack Snyder for the Superman reboot, told Entertainment Weekly that "we’ll announce something in the next several weeks that will hopefully position the DC characters and the movies we’re going to be making".

Assuming that he was hedging his bets until Man Of Steel was released (and notwithstanding rumours about just how cemented Jeff Robinov is in his job at Warner Bros), it would be likely that those announcements are coming very soon now. As such, the likely bets are that a formal Justice League and Man Of Steel 2 announcement is coming. But might this also be the moment where we get the first hints of the next standalone DC movie too? Surely The Flash in particular and Wonder Woman have to be somewhere near the front of the queue...

There are clues in the Man Of Steel Easter eggs

Going through Man Of Steel, there are some clues for the eagle-eyed that may point towards what Zack Snyder and David S Goyer have planned for Justice League. The LexCorp vans at the least suggest that Lex Luthor is arriving for Man Of Steel 2, but we wouldn't rule him out of being a Justice League foe either. There was also, we're told, a very brief mention of Wayne Enterprises in Man Of Steel (in the form of a satellite). Furthermore, S.T.A.R. Labs gets a mention, which suggests a link to Cyborg appearing in the Justice League ensemble.

It has little chance of being ready for 2015

If we go with the idea that David S Goyer is to get the job of penning Justice League, even if he secretly started writing it months ago, there's little chance of turning round the movie Warner Bros needs by the originally planned 2015 release date. After all, Warner Bros has to first and foremost decide when it wants Man Of Steel 2, which may prove to be top priority. If it does order that first, then Goyer and Snyder are the incumbents there, and likely to make that first. That would push Justice League back even further.

But even if it wants Justice League first, this is a major, major challenge for the studio. It would need to be shooting the film at the start of 2014 to get a summer 2015 release, and with only Henry Cavill known of the cast, and with no finished screenplay that we know of, that's a tough ask. It'd be a tough ask if they started today. To leave it much longer would be damn near impossible, given the scale of what Warner Bros would want to turn around.

Our guess is that the quickest you'll see a Justice League movie now will be 2016.

And finally...

We should also note that there are two other DC projects in the works right now (that we know of) that may or may not end up having a Justice League link. Nikolaj Arcel is making Fables for Warner Bros, and Guillermo del Toro is circling Justice League Dark. Our feeling at the moment is that these are independent projects, but don't be surprised if there's a crossover with at least one of them.

Inevitably, there's not much more than that known about Justice League at the moment. But there is a sense that it's moved a step closer this past weekend. As we hear more, we'll keep you posted.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

The sheer size of the Justice League charaters make me worried about a stand-alone film without any reboots to link into it like Marvel did with Avengers. But I am also worried about rebooting Batman after the phenomenal sucess of the Nolan trilogy. Basically, I am worried.
Conversely enough, I'm much more excited by Justice League Dark for two reasons: del Toro is awesome and the Dark characters have some leeway as most of them are unknown/unfamiliar and therefore have scope to be imagined sort of how del Toro wishes.
By the way: wasn't such a great fan of Man of Steel so...... in a word, worried!

I think there should be a Batman/Superman film instead of Justice League. I think audiences might be annoyed at the inclusion of (to them) unfamiliar characters.

My problem with the DC comic characters in gengeral is their lack of character itself, they are very 2D in print nevermind on screen. Batmans and Supermans back story has been rammed home time and time again. I cant wait to see MoS this said.

It's too soon after Nolan's Batman to successfully reboot the character.

The horror of the Green Lantern film is still too near so a reboot of that probably wouldn't do very well.

I can't say I'd rush to see a Wonder Woman film and as stated in the Big Bang Theory.. Aquaman sucks.

I think the major problem with a JLA movie is the scale and potential lack of sequels once you have 'shot your load' on a earth conquering bad guy. Essentially the JLA are hugely powerful with characters significantly more powerful than Marvels Avengers (they are all Thor level) as compared with Hawkeye, Black Widow etc and they would need somebody to fight on their level with the obvious answer to this being Darkseid. While it would be awesome to see the ruler of Apokolpis going one on one with Superman you cant really get any bigger than that - he is the biggest bad guy in the DC-U and the only credible threat that would need the combined power of Superman, Wonder Woman and such. You cannot really top that - unless of course you go for something like the Legion of Doom or the Tower of Babel story (which is essentially Batman taking out everyone) - and while these stories would be great they would be s a step down from an invading army of parademons.

Man of Steel definitely had its moments, but I really hope they don't give a JLA movie to Snyder. He is great at action, but struggles at building believable characters and relationships. If he attempted to juggle a film with so many characters, I think it would be a huge failure (I wasn't a huge fan of his Watchmen).

The problem with the classic JLA line up is there are too many lame characters. I can't see DC managing to pull off a successful Wonder Woman (particularly not in the gritty DC movieverse that they seem to be creating), and you can forget about Aquaman. Personally, I was always more of a fan of the late 80's-early 90's run, where the emphasis was on comedy. They should use this as their template, as the lame characters wouldn't stand out so much, and you can use the ultra serious Batman and Superman as foils for the comedy. I really can't see that happening though

Everyone keeps saying aquaman sucks... n yeah he kinda does.. talking to fish isn't really what people want to see... BUT. . they could change the basis of the character so he can manipulate water instead?? A bit xmenish but i could imagine some pretty cool scenes! Wonderwomans a bit tricky.. would probably end up looking like xena worrier princess >.< and the flash is just cool...
so i can't see any problems with a JSA movie!! Would just need a bit of reimagining which so far they've already done quite a bit of! :P

One character not mentioned much to date is Green Arrow. The re-boot of that character, in the TV series Arrow worked, albeit without setting the world on fire.

Perhaps he could be part of the answer to the whole 'all the superheros being way too super' question.

Superman and, say, Green Lantern are pretty world dominating in terms of their powers but Batman, Green Arrow and, say, The Flash could counter that.

The lack of a credible female lead might be a problem. Maybe the real challenge is doing for Wonder Woman one the big screen what has been done for Batman and Superman.

Then the likes of Arrow and The Flash could join from small screen outings. Or is there a licencing issue with the Arrow TV show?

There's always Doomsday, Brainiac.

Doomsday could work quite nicely as Man of Steel 2 rather than re-tread the Lex route.

People are also saying there were easter eggs linking to Aquaman, Supergirl, Booster Gold...

Would love to see Justice Leagu Dark happen - and be linked in to the DCCU.

The Justice League cartoon handled it pretty well. Batman was sneaky. He always kept abit of kryptonite stashed in his utility belt... just in case.

And the Flash was always the un-official most powerful character of them all on the grounds that he would occasionally break time.

But also Green Arrow was great in the cartoon. He was the Tony Stark persona that JL needed. Bats was always moody. Flash was always joking, Superman was the cant we all get along kind of bloke.

Best episodes had to be Starcrossed. Invasion of Hawk-people.

And I preferred the cartoon version of John Stewart.

Why not reign it in a bit. Forget JLA for now. A superman v. Batman movie will do just fine - and would be an original concept. Any JLA movie would inevitably be seen as "trying to be like The Avengers". And there is absolutely no need to reboot the Batman franchise. In fact doing so would be a very, very big mistake.

They said they weren't doing the reboots like Marvel did until AFTER JLA. Batman and Wonder woman would be intro'd in JL and THEN spun into films.

I saw the dumped WW pilot, it was horrible BUT the Wonder woman was absolutley amazingly perfect. If they can capture even close to what Adrianne did for the Amazon actor wise, it can work.

They proved in the animated recent series that the ensemble characters especially the trinity of Supes, Bats, and Ww, that it can work; they as characters really make a great team.

But they aren't "unfamiliar" just because they didn't have a film series yet. Audiences know who Wonder woman is, they know who Aquaman and Green Lantern are and the Flash. And anyone else they include will "become" familiar by the film.

To all the people saying that Aquaman sucks - there is more to the character than "the guy that talks to fish". He actually is a badass character (see the New 52 for proof). If a JL movie ever gets made I think most people would be surprised at how powerful he is.

Maybe they don't have to have all the JL characters in the first film? If they do MoS 2 first, they could introduce 1 or 2 of the characters (a high powered one and 'street level') which could lead into JL film and introduce a few more characters then - keep the film to about 5 characters?
Most people (myself included) hold Nolan's Batman films in very high regard, but too be honest, if the next film film keeps the core aspects of the character (the realism, his pursuit to protect Gotham), it would barely seem like a reboot at all.

just saying :)

Everyone's worried about Superman and Batman co-existing on screen.... how come no one ever talks about The Flash? He had a pretty good origin story and I remember when I was in high school, there was a "Flash" TV show for a bit that had a better than average pilot.

Dude, read New 52 Aquaman. Aquaman is awesome.

Yeah why have the flash if superman is pretty much equally as fast as him?

You must have hated all the other Superman movies since they were horrible compared to this one!

Any iteration of Batman done well will do well. That's a given.

Dude, in a footrace Flash beats Superman. Flash can go so fast he crosses dimensions and travels through time. Superman can go places he can't go because he can fly, but if you're purely measuring speed, Flash wins.

I totally agree with you here. Even though Man of Steel had a lot going for it, I think Warner are going to mess this up, rushing to get everything in place. A Batman reboot right now is a bad idea, because of the inevitable comparisons it will draw to Nolans take on it (particularly if Nolan is still exec producer).

The lesson that DC should have learned from Marvel is to come up with a plan, and take your time with it.

Why have anyone if you have Superman?

Sometimes you need a team to pull stuff off, Supes might be ridiculously over-powered but he can't be in more than two places at once.

It's not even going to happen. It's too late; DC and Warner Bros are too far behind in the game to start a new Justice League story arc. By comparison, The Avengers arc spanned years and multiple blockbuster movies, and has already released the final ensemble piece.

DC/Warner Bros hasn't even started.

They had their chance with the Batman movies, and they had their chance with Man of Steel and Green Lantern. There were no easter eggs, and there were no little allusions to an overall story arc. In short, it's obvious that DC/WB has decided to go another route altogether: separate continuities for each character.

There's not going to be a Justice League movie, not now, not ever. Marvel beat them to the punch, and WB/DC knows it. End of story.

So just because Marvel released The Avengers before DC/WB released Justice League means that a Justice League movie will never get made.

Cool logic bro.

As for your separate continuities theory; Snyder, Goyer and Robinov have all stated that Man of Steel will be the starting point for the DC Cinematic Universe. In fact, Snyder stated that it was Nolan who kept WB at bay and prevented them from forcing Snyder to put in obvious references or cameos from other characters in the DC Universe.

Nice attempt though.

Yes, lets listen to a guy who use The Big Bang Theory as a reference point for comic book characters.

Idiot.

couldn't catwoman be used as a less powerful character? i think that could work well seeing as her cameo in TDKR was pretty cool.

You must not know a lot about Aquaman...

WB should begin the franchise with a worlds finest crossover movie first. they could probably do something similar to what byrne did on his superman run as a jumping off point in an arc where a certain amazon get involved. then follow it up with a trinity where they could probably cameo (as a test ground for) aquaman. all leading to a league film where they ask the help of other "metas"of earth to fight darkseid(?).

i don't think a batman reboot is needed. just set these films in the man of steel universe, where the filmmakers could use bale still and regard the nolan trilogy as just one of the "legends" of the dark knight. but if WB uses man of steel's universe, they're going to have to disregard the green lantern movie. kal el and the kryptonians were after all the first known aliens we've encountered.

Sponsored Links