The San Diego Comic Con is historically renowned for delivering bombshells to the fan community but you’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger story than this! Emerging from the Warner Bros panel today, DC Comics have announced that they are making a stand against Marvel and hitting them head on. Their angle… Batman is confirmed to appear in the Man Of Steel sequel.
This is massive news, confirmed by Zack Snyder himself earlier today. During the panel, he thanked the crowd for getting behind Man Of Steel and then wanted to set the record straight for the proposed sequel. With rumours flying around about what direction the next Superman movie will take, Snyder admitted that nothing has been written yet, however he confirmed that one character will definitely make an appearance. He then brought out someone to read an iconic passage from the seminal graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ by Frank Miller. The crowd went crazy and then the giant SDCC video screens displayed a Superman shield with a Batman symbol superimposed on top of it.
BOOM! We have a Superman/Batman movie coming!
This is a massive bombshell that no one expected (despite the subtle Wayne Enterprises nods in Man Of Steel). They have truly taken the fight to Marvel after their biggest rivals have enjoyed billion dollar success with their movie properties.
DC and Warner have taken a very bold and potentially fatal step here. Whilst it’s the film everyone wants to see, the timing is off slightly. Marvel did it right by establishing their properties slowly and built up to a massive pay-off (with The Avengers). If DC and Warners rush this or half-bake the project, they could effectively kill off all their Superhero franchises in one go.
DC have had many problems. Their ground-breaking and critically-acclaimed Batman franchise has drawn to a natural conclusion. Christian Bale has confirmed that he will no longer play the Batman and Christopher Nolan doesn’t seem interested in directing another Gotham adventure given that his story tied up nicely in The Dark Knight trilogy.
Then we have the mess that was Green Lantern and the failed start-ups for Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman movies. We need all of these characters on the big screen before a Justice League movie could hold weight but time is against them. Their competition have effectively had 5 movies to get to the point of The Avengers, and will have at least another 4 before Avengers 2 hits cinemas. That’s a lot of back-story. DC have 1 movie – Man Of Steel. It’s unclear whether Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern or Bale’s Batman feature in this proposed timeline at all.
So maybe the paring up of the two biggest superheroes of all time (sorry Spider-Man) will be enough to see this through? I certainly hope so. However the decision to go with Zack Snyder is also a curious one as it’s his influence and stylistic choices that made parts of Man Of Steel feel like a very average affair.
Then there’s the casting… Armie Hammer was touted awhile back and would certainly suit the cowl. Then there’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt who took over the mantle of the Bat at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. Whatever happens, this is the biggest casting news since since Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond so expect the internet to explode with rumours over the next few months.
For Marvel, Phase 2 is well under way and with Phase 3 mapped out alongside a second and third Avengers movie, they have plenty to whet the appetite. With Hugh Jackman recently admitting during a Wolverine junket that he’d love to fight alongside The Avengers with both Spider-Man and The X-Men (both Wolverine and The X-Men are Fox properties whilst Sony are handling Spider-Man), it seems Marvel still has a big trump card to play. But that’s a legal nightmare that won’t be easy to navigate given that three studios would need to agree on a merger.
For now, DC and Warner Bros have drawn first blood from out of nowhere and laid a huge statement of intent down. I can’t wait to see how this one plays out. But one thing is for sure, there is already one guaranteed winner in all this – the fans. We are finally getting the comic book team up we’ve all dreamt of. Let’s just hope it lives up to our expectations.
Production is expected to begin in 2014, with an anticipated release date for Superman/Batman in Summer 2015.
Let the battle commence!