As someone who is supposed to relay information to you in a calm and informative manner, I can tell you that the news coming out of Comic-Con is that DC/WB are planning a Man of Steel sequel to be released in 2015 that will see Superman and Batman team up, a la World’s Finest, with a Flash film hitting screens in 2016 and a Justice League film to follow in 2017.
As a fanboy who has been pushing for a Man of Steel: World’s Finest and hoping beyond hope that the movie gods would listen, all I can really say is, “Holy awesome, Batman!” In my eyes, this is the absolute best way for DC/WB to move forward. Any standalone Batman film released right now would likely be completely crushed beneath the weight of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy (the only possible exception would be a Batman Beyond adaptation, which had also been rumored), but the Batman character has to be reintroduced somehow, if we’re going to see him in Justice League (which of course we are), so what better way to debut the new Batman without giving him the pressure of carrying his own, standalone film? It’s the perfect storm. Speaking of Nolan, he’s back to produce the World’s Finest film, with David Goyer writing and Zack Snyder, of course, directing. Henry Cavill will be Superman/Clark Kent, and with Christian Bale presumably turning in his cape, there’s nothing solid on who will be the new Batman.
Some may think it’s a bit of a cop out for DC/WB to have Superman and Batman team up. I’ve read a few people who think putting Batman in the Man of Steel sequel somehow proves that Man of Steel was somehow a failure (a “failure” that has grossed north of $600 million) with a Superman who can’t stand on his own, or that this weakens or dilutes the potential DC Cinematic Universe in someway by rushing the Batman character to screens. To anyone who may feel that way, all I can do is point you to the World’s Finest comic, which ran from 1941 to January 1986 with 323 issues; nearly all of those issues prominently feature both Superman and Batman teaming together. Then, in June 1986, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knights Returns saw the dynamic between the two characters change, when they found themselves on opposite sides of a political impasse. Since then, the two have crossed paths several times, sometimes as friends and sometimes as enemies. The point? Having Superman and Batman together is nothing new and not some kind of gimmick; it’s a smart move and brings a completely different aspect to the Man of Steel sequel.
Yes, that’s the big news, but let’s not forget the announcement of Flash and Justice League. For months, it has been rumored the Justice League team-up would see a 2015 release date and face Marvel’s team-up sequel The Avengers 2. In recent days, there had even been rumors that a standalone Batman film would hit theaters in 2015, along with the Justice League film. As much as I’d like to see as many films as possible, as quickly as possible, the prospect of a Man of Steel film in 2014, followed by a 2015 full of Batman and Justice League, seemed quite daunting–and I’m not even the guy making the damn things. This new timeline makes more sense and will allow DC/WB plenty of time to turn out quality films. Even though I would personally rather see a John Stewart Green Lantern film and a Wonder Woman film prior to Justice League, the fact that DC/WB have opted to go with Flash is not surprising, considering the fact that the Flashpoint crossover in 2011 led directly into “The New 52“; that’s likely how they will use the character here to lead into the Justice League film (and, hopefully, following film series). On the other side of that is where we will likely get Wonder Woman, a new Green Lantern (hopefully John Stewart), and the most intriguing prospect: Martian Manhunter.
To be clear, the news is the Batman/Superman World’s Finest team-up in 2015, Flash in 2016, and Justice League in 2017. The films following that are purely speculation/hope on my part.
io9 posted the following photograph and is reporting that Snyder says the Man of Steel sequel, while not a direct adaptation, will be “inspired by” The Dark Knight Returns.
photo source: io9