Marvel’s shared movie universe gamble has worked out well, thanks to “The Avengers” raking in well over $1 billion at the global box office. Over the past week, stories have been flying fast and furious, revealing that Warner Bros. and DC are now pressing ahead full-steam with plans to usher in a new era of film featuring their own stable of superheroes. Although “The Dark Knight Rises” will undoubtedly make a bundle this summer, it’s next year’s Superman reboot, “Man of Steel,” which is expected to truly launch the new wave of DC movies.
Earlier this week, we learned that DC film’s slate will definitely include both a Wonder Woman movie and the long-gestating Justice League film. Today, we have news that both a Green Lantern reboot and Suicide Squad movie could also be on the menu.
The Green Lantern news comes as little surprise, given the film’s financial under-performance. However, Variety says that Warner Bros. and DC are currently trying to decide whether it would be better to bring back Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, and make a sequel (a la “The Incredible Hulk”)—or just start from scratch with a new actor, so as to “relaunch the character in a completely new way.”
Part of the reason there are so many questions right now about what, exactly, Warner Bros./DC’s future plans are with respect to live-action superhero movies has to do with “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan. As Variety points out in its report: the filmmaker not only rejuvenated the flailing Batman franchise into both a critical darling and a box office behemoth, he also oversaw “Man of Steel” during its early stages of development. Indeed, it’s been speculated that Nolan’s tendency to play things close to the vest is part of the reason why only one official image of Henry Cavill as the new Superman has been released to date.
Whether or not Nolan agrees to serve as a “guide” and to determine which direction the DC movie universe takes, is the question right now. The filmmaker’s decision could impact such issues as the decision to reboot/relaunch the Batman and/or Green Lantern series; whether or not there will be a shared continuity between movies like the impending Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman solo ventures (or if each film will be primarily stand-alone)—and whether the Justice League movie will emulate the grounded and mature tone struck by Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
That Warner Bros./DC would take so great a risk as to rely heavily on Nolan to supervise the creative territory for their coveted comic book properties is a direct response to how Marvel pulled off “The Avengers” so well—by hiring on a filmmaker (Joss Whedon) who’d already demonstrated a real passion and understanding of what makes good superhero stories tick.
Furthermore, the news that an adaptation of the Suicide Squad comic book is in the works likewise points to Warner Bros./DC taking a decidedly different approach to their superhero movie universe than the one taken by Marvel. Suicide Squad (in its more recent comic incarnation) revolves around a team of incarcerated super-villains who take on dangerous missions for the U.S. government in exchange for reduced prison terms.
In summary: Marvel has made its move, and Warner Bros./DC is rushing like mad to retaliate (or something like that). The studios aren’t expected to make any public announcements about their plans until “Dark Knight Rises” opens in theaters next month.
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