Welcome to Issue #30 of The Marvelous Da7e!
Well well, I’m so used to this time of year being an endless discussion of Academy Award nominees and Sundance movies that I bought my comics re-read list for Captain America; The Winter Soldier (starting with the 2 Winter Soldier TPBs and Nick Fury VS. S.H.I.E.L.D.) way too soon. Quietly, Warner Bros moves Man of Steel 2/Batman Vs. Superman/Superman Vs. Batman to May 2016. When I say “quietly,” I mean they dumped it late afternoon Friday the day Sundance started, so: when there weren’t a lot of news sites watching.
But, they hadn’t counted on the reporting sphere they’ve created. The Marvel/DC/Star Wars sphere that is never-sleeping and always hungry. The sphere I now live in full time. The place where people talk about what they’ve heard and then some asshats yell about it like there’s some sort of Scoop Olympics and everyone needs to get the gold or be called out as a hater and everything wrong with entertainment journalism.
I guess if one gives the appearance of lowering the bar for what constitutes a printable rumor, the first thing that happens is one gets flooded with rumors. Some of them are crazy, like the thought that Affleck or Snyder is going to walk off Man of Steel 2, and some of them aren’t so crazy. Some of them even come from sources that seem reputable.
With that in mind, let’s digest the news together that Man of Steel 2: Batman Vs. Superman has been migrated to 2016 while the DC/WB team re-orients and comes up with a suitable plan for how to compete in a Post-Man of Steel/Post-Avengers franchise media landscape.
The reasons for this move are probably simple, though there are many suspicions floating around. The most likely version I’ve heard is that Warner Bros is willing to have the next DC Comics movie be the kick-off point for the Universe, immediately branching out into Justice League films and offshoot films for the popular heroes. Gal Godot has revealed that her Wonder Woman has been signed on for three films, which would be Man of Steel 2, JLA and presumably either a solo film or another team-up like how Black Widow gets to play in Captain America: Winter Soldier this spring.
The problem with having this many huge movies up in the air at one time is that movies don’t usually fall together on their own, and rarely in the time-frame, budget or order that you expect them to, especially in the pre-production phase. It looks like Warners was so quick to bet on the future of Man of Steel that they knew Batman was going to feature in MOS2 before Snyder’s vision of Superman ever hit theaters. Man of Steel making the money it did, the idea grew: take on Marvel by flooding the universe early and diversifying as they went (much like the ever-evolving Star Wars model we keep discovering more pieces of). As Batman Vs. Superman put together a photo-shoot with it’s Jim Lee-inspired Batsuit and everyone got the crazy idea this could work out, the plan to hitch JLA to the back of MOS2’s production gained some steam.
The move was a result of the chaining of the movies and the consequences that has. First, both the JLA and MOS2 scripts need to be finished and they need to interlock to put up with DC’s planned idea of a cliff-hanger structure to counter-act Marvel’s “post-credits scene” linking. That means that the end of Man of Steel 2 has to include the Justice League, which means the Justice League members must be cast and organically introduced in MOS2. So as the Universe evolves, the demand for a fully-formed interconnected franchise becomes a juggling act of business and creative.
If Man of Steel 2 starts shooting in May like Gal Godot has said, then the production of the movie wasn’t moved as much as the delayed release date would make it seem. Or, if you consider some football game B-roll having already been shot, then Snyder has already started his never-ending production schedule, shooting MOS2 while phone-conferencing with Goyer on the JLA script. These things take time to put together, as Kevin Feige and his nebulous “we have decades of plans” hinting would probably tell you.
Now, onto the rumors (as in things from a single source or from multiple sources that I can't prove aren't hearing it from each other in a mad, mad echo chamber), and my mental attempts to grapple with them.
First, and one that’s been coming from several people: Joaquin Phoenix is going to be Lex Luthor. Seems entirely possible. Mostly because people like money and it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Phoenix to be Lex Luthor in this Universe and do other films that might be more important to him. Either this is something that Warner Bros really wants to happen or it is already happening for a five-picture deal. That’s the spectrum of this rumor.
Second, Kevin Smith has seen a Jim Lee-inspired Batsuit. It’s hard to tell who is parrotting Smith and who is an independent source confirming a rumor, but it seems likely to me that Batman will don the Grey-and-Blue on screen for the first time since Adam West. That means tiny ears on the cowl and a big black bat across the chest. This seems like it’s happening. The more interesting thing I’ve heard is that Batman will actually wear 2 batsuits in the film, but where as Grey-and-Blue has already been designed and Affleck has worn it, the second Batsuit is more armored like the one in the Dark Knight Returns and Kingdom Come comics. I bring this up, because this rumor seems a bit more expected in a movie where Batman fights Superman, because: of course, Batman would die without an armored suit. However, this suit is still being designed, so Kevin Smith and Jennifer Garner can’t tell you about it yet. This also made me think better about that time I heard Superman’s design is being tweaked to look more Kingdom-Come-ish as well (S-curl, ho?)
Third, Josh Holloway: they want him to be Aquaman. Go back to the rumor post I put up this week, sharp-eyed viewers will notice I cut one of the spoilers from the forum post. I did that because it speculated on who WB wants for Aquaman and it looked like old news. The new news that seems the most likely is WB is talking to CBS to reach a deal with Holloway and his series Intelligence. They seem to like Josh Holloway enough that one of our sources believes it will dictate Aquaman’s involvement. I haven’t heard great things about Intelligence and I’d prefer Sawyer wipe out Vincent Chase’s hold on the Aquaman spot in my brain. Man, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t watched so much Entourage.
Fourth, since why-the-hell-not, it sounds like Batman and Robin’s rumored conflict in Man of Steel 2 is going to lead to some Affleck solo bat-films. Those films might be looking for both Red Hoods and Nightwings (thoroughly skipping over years in the Batman mythology) and I guess they like Jensen Ackles from the CW’s Supernatural for one of those parts. Supernatural fans, welcome to Batman world.
The bottom line is: this could all be in flux, everything about the DC Film Universe is at the moment as Snyder and Goyer wrestle to provide a direction (and if any of the rumors from earlier in the week are true, a direction that builds off the consequences of Superman’s actions in Man of Steel) for several upcoming films. This only looks like disorganization when compared to Marvel, who have totally met to decide what’s going to happen on May 6th, 2016.
If I had to guess what is going to happen with Marvel’s May 6th 2016 release, I’d say Dr. Strange gets announced as going into that spot in the next couple of months, then - after Captain America: The Winter Soldier does good business in April - they’ll push the Phase Three movie into April 2016 to give Man of Steel 2 some space.
If I got my WISH, Marvel would put a solo Hulk movie on May 6th 2016. They’d let Mark Ruffalo do his “green” Hulk movie on, say a Planet Hulk, and leave it sitting there like a Green Behemoth on May 6th. Hulk movies usually don’t do well, so there’s little chance of it winning the weekend, but I’d nab #2 easily and the weight of those two movies landing on the same day would punish anything that dared to come out later in the month. The message from Marvel would be: we’re not scared of your two flagship characters.
Most of that seems unlikely to happen, but it’d make me so happy to roll from one theater to the next and see dueling comic book movies.
Anyway, DC plopping a movie down on a Marvel date was bound to happen sooner or later. I just can’t imagine there’s anything to be gained from either perspective knowing that putting Man of Steel 2 in Phase 3 could plop JLA up against Avengers’ Infinity Gauntlet trilogy capper. And THAT day would be the day to die happy.
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