Thursday, October 18, 2012

Warner Bros. sets "JUSTICE LEAGUE" for 2015

Two days ago, Warner Bros. won the most-recent (and most precarious) case brought against them by the heirs of "Superman's" creators seeking 50% control of certain aspects of the character's mythology said to have been created "apart" from what he was when their (crummy) original deal was struck (it's complicated.) Meaning that WB can now proceed to greenlight and start pre-production on any further "Superman"-related movie projects they choose. And they've wasted no time in making it official that they plan to have the "Justice League" movie out for a 2015 release date. That's one year after "Avengers 2," for those keeping track.


It makes sense for them to have been waiting for this case to shake out to make it official - I maintain that the people running these projects for Warners have very little idea of why these characters can and should work in movies, but they're at least correct that Batman and Superman are both needed to make the thing work (Wonder Woman, too, but they're in no danger of losing her rights and they still haven't launched a successful modern franchise off of her.)

One imagines that this means we can expect some sort of worldbuilding to be going on or teased at in "Man of Steel," but beyond that their plan is apparently to debut their new shared-universe versions of the other characters in "Justice League" and then spin them off from their (based on audience response and merchandise numbers, most likely.) If true, that move surprises me because it's a really, really, really good idea: Unlike The Avengers, nobody needs to be introduced to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman as characters or the basic "ideas" behind them; while most of the other likely prospects are self-explanatory - The Flash runs fast, Aquaman is a "boy mermaid," Hawkman has wings, Martian Manhunter is a more overtly-alien Superman, Green Lantern is toxic as a live-action brand and probably won't be in the movie, etc.

The biggest immediate change of this announcement, of course, is that - with apologies to Marvel - the three biggest questions in superhero movie speculation are now as follows (in order):

Who replaces Christian Bale as Batman? 
He's said he's done, and even if they could net him he's proven much too volatile an actor for the long-term planning this is going to require (see: Norton, Edward.)

Who plays Wonder Woman?
She'll have to be in there, since the Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman "trinity" is integral to the iconography as far as the mainstream culture (read: people who'll wonder why this isn't called "SuperFriends") and because she's the only female DC hero whose not the distaff-counterpart of a male hero that most people have heard of, and the pressure will be on this production to do better than "Avengers" did in terms of team diversity.

Who else is on the team?
As mentioned, diversity will be (and ought to be) a concern for this production. So while I'd lay money that, say, classic-Leaguers like The Flash are virtual "locks" (and I'm not kidding about Green Lantern - I'll be surprised if they bother with him) expect to see a push for minority characters like Static, Black Lightning or Cyborg (who was part of the "New 52" JLA recently) to get in there as well.

19 comments:

MerelyAFan said...

I think the only way I can imagine Green Lantern being there is if its John Stewart to completely distance themselves from the 2011 film and effectively reboot without having to resort to an individual GL film.

Paladin said...

So what if "Man of Steel" tanks too? Do they throw that out and start over yet again or just ignore it?

MerelyAFan said...

Oh, and Bob, 2015 isn't the year after Avengers, its the same year. A direct DC vs. Marvel showdown at the box office. Gonna be interesting.

Lido said...

So this is the big throw down between Marvel and DC round 2, after being trounced this year with DKR suffering a stunning defeat at the hands of the Avengers DC is back for more with a hastily assembled (pun intended) team flick most likely to be directed by Brett Ratner of McG, here we go i guess

David (The Pants) said...

I totally agree on that point with Green Lantern, MerelyAFan; John Stewart will fix everything (just like Jon Stewart) AND count as diversification. I loved the Static Shock animated series but He, Black Lightning, and Cyborg just aren't as big in the names department as GL. (Cyborg is part of the Teen Titans to me, anyway, but I'd love to see him, BL, or Static in this.)

Chris said...

Question is, who do they choose as the big bad? Would have to be someone that even Superman needs help against.

MerelyAFan said...

@Chris

A powerful, deity-like figure, perhaps hailing from Apokolips, who's fearsome appearance and personality would intimidate both characters and fans alike. The answer is obvious.




Granny Goodness as played by Ed Asner.

Chris said...

Heh. Is bea arthur still alive?

that being said, Darkseid would be my first choice. But is he the only one? One major negative against him is that that could necessitate a lot of exposition/back story.

Jwillx70 said...

Just my imediat e thoughts:

If they want more diversity, then Martian Manhunter is a godsend. He can be whatever demographic they want him to be on account of his shapeshifting abilities. I'd personaly love to see John Stewert in this thing, but the Green Lantern brand took a real beating after the last movie, and DC has been pushing Hal as the Green Lantern of choice in most of their spinoff media. Auqaman is the most troublesome choice to me, because despite the rehabilitation he's undergone recently in animation, he's had a long history as joke to more mainstraem audiances thanks to skits on "Family Guy," and "Robot Chicken." Bob's probably right in saying that Wonder Woman dosen't really need a solo movie to introduce her, but it's kinda frustrating that she once agian has to share the spotlight of her debuet with the boys instead of getting her own thing separate from them. Intorducing Cyborg would also be a good way for them to re-intrduce Robin to the Batman franchise. Those have a long publication history together, and it could help them gloss over audiance question of why the ostensibly reponcible adults are putting children in harms way.

Anonymous said...

i have to say although wonder woman is a pretty big name not as many casual movie audiences probobly know her background other than the T.V. show

lemonvampire said...

There is now way this will be good. I mean, it could be. It has the potential to be. But there is absolutely no way it will be.

Aiddon said...

yeesh, by the time we get to Avengers 3 we'll have 20 characters who only have five lines apiece

Spook said...

Wow. I wonder if this means that Wonder Woman is finally going to get pants and/or a shirt she's not in danger of popping out of? Probably unlikely, but just in case, I think I'll buy an umbrella to ward off the potential monsoon of virginal fanboy tears...

Also, can't be Darkseid. The Avengers putting Thanos in the credits scene was basically one big taunt to DC. Marvel knows damn well that DC only really has one villain that's a legitimate threat to the JL on his own, and they took him off the table. Presumably just to watch DC squirm.

The Saarai'ari said...

I'm against the idea of Darkseid or anyone from Apokolips of being the main villain in the first Justice League film. True they're big villains in the comics who are even formidable to Superman himself, but to use them would look like trying to outright copy off Marvel for placing Thanos are perhaps the main villian of Avengers 2 to the average person who isn't well versed with comics. If I were to choose a villain or something, it would be the Secret Society of Supervillians/Legion of Doom or whatever name they'd give to a rival team up of villains. It's either that, or have them fight the White Martians, Libra, or Brainiac.

Lord Slithor said...

Yep. I figured that DC would do the reverse of what Marvel did; introduce all their heroes together in one movie, then spin them off into their own separate projects. I actually like that approach better. And while it doesn't have the payoff that The Avengers did, you have to admit, waiting for the Avengers while sitting through each hero's separate movie, knowing we'd have to wait to see them all together, felt like one long cocktease. It's easy to forget now that it could have all gone so horribly wrong at any point, and we would have never gotten The Avengers. That's something at least that I won't forget, and won't take the existence of the success of this movie for granted like I know a lot of others (including maybe Bob at times) do.

And I will disagree with you, Bob about not including Green Lantern. Didn't you even say at one point that despite the failure of the movie, that Warners wasn't about to give up on the property and was determined to give it a do-over like Marvel did with Hulk/The Incredible Hulk? They can always recast the role, and have someone else play Hal Jordan (which would incidentally free Ryan Reynolds up to do Deadpool, which everyone would rather see him doing).

For that matter, I also doubt the Man of Steel is going to tie in any way into the JLA movie. From what I understand, it's the last DC comics-based movie Warners is doing before their moratorium. And that JLA will be their "reboot." So that means clean slate. Starting from scratch. Maybe they'll keep Henry Cavill if he proves popular, but it'll be a brand new continuity otherwise. So it's also for that reason that I can see the possibility of including GL.

Cyrus said...

I'm not sure I like the idea of DC rushing out a big "we too!" team-up movie with my favorite superheroes. Sure, they might release another two movies in 2014 in order to set up more characters, but would it be enough to make audiences care about the whole (ideally seven-strong) roster?

It would have been great to see DC try something creative, like a shared universe of theatrical releases and TV shows, e.g. (Green) Arrow - or how about introducing the new Batman in a series with HBO-esque production values?

Then there's Joss Whedon's unproduced Wonder Woman flick ... which could still happen and absolutely would if anyone at Warner had two brain cells to rub together. After that they could take the slow and all the more memorable route of a crossover movie that only features the Big Three, leading to the Justice League in a sequel.

Ah well, if they flunk on proper world building maybe they'll at least do well in "obnoxious comic relief": CG Jim Carrey Plastic Man!

Dominic said...

Matthew Fox for Batman.

Nope, don't wanna hear it, shaddup. It'd be AMAZING to watch either way.

Anonymous said...

Why ought diversity be a concern? That the type of thinking that will mess the movie up.

Viredae said...

For better or worse, people know who Green Lantern is now, so they could easily separate themselves from the stand-alone movie by using a different GL like John Stewart.