Readers may recall that when I first started this blog back in 2007 there was a glut of comic book movie news. Chief amongst those rumors was a live action film based on DC Comics’ flagship superteam The Justice of America utilizing state of the art CGi animation similar to what was used on Beowulf. Happy Feet and Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome producer George Miller was set to helm the project, a casting call was made to fill the parts of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash (rumored at the time to be played by Ryan Reynolds) and two unknowns cast as Batman and Superman. The movie was gearing up for production in Australia, but the WGA writer’s strike killed the project.
Fast forward to 2010 when the newly formed DC Entertainment has stated that they had no plans to produce a movie based on the JLA and seemed miffed that reporters were comparing the project to Marvel’s Avengers franchise.
Just this week, all of that changed. Apparently the JLA movie is back in the works along with a reboot of Superman and Batman (post Batman The Dark Knight Rises).
There is currently a tentative 2013 release date.
Erasing doubts about the Justice League movie mentioned in its profile of incoming Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov, the Los Angeles Times reports a new script is the works, with the aim to have DC Comics’ top characters together onscreen in 2013.
That film would potentially serve as a launching point for other superhero movies — an approach mentioned in 2007, before director George Miller’s Justice League was shelved — including The Flash and Wonder Woman, a character whose NBC television pilot is being shot at this moment. Robinov doesn’t see the David E. Kelley revival as a conflict, though, pointing out that Superman Returns coexisted with Smallville.
But perhaps even bigger than the Justice League is Robinov’s acknowledgment that Warner Bros. will “reinvent” the Batman franchise following the release next year of The Dark Knight Rises — with Christopher Nolan and wife Emma Thomas remaining involved as producers.
It sets Nolan up as the architect, or godfather, of DC’s big-screen “universe” — he’s already producing Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot — a role that stands to benefit everyone involved.
As we noted earlier, Warner Bros. pulled the plug on Justice League even as it neared production in early 2008 because of a confluence of issues: the writers strike, Australian tax-credit uncertainties, the possibility of an actors strike and, the LA Times adds, concerns that another version of Batman might conflict with Nolan’s films. Some of the central cast was already in place, including Adam Brody as The Flash, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman and a then-relatively unknown Armie Hammer as Batman.
Additionally, there’s this missive from MTV’s Splash Page confirming that Warner Bros. is thinking of a complete reboot of Batman after the next Chris Nolan film:
“We have the third Batman, but then we’ll have to reinvent Batman,” Jeff Robinov (president of the Warner Bros. motion picture group) told the L.A. Times. “Chris Nolan and [producing partner and wife] Emma Thomas will be producing it, so it will be a conversation with them about what the next phase is.”
Could Batman be headed for yet another reboot? It certainly seems that way.Nolan has made it clear on various occasions that “The Dark Knight Rises” will be his last Batman film behind the camera, but the filmmaker doesn’t appear to be done with Gotham’s vigilante. Robinov’s comment would seem to indicate that Nolan will replicate his role in the upcoming “Superman” reboot, and serve as a producer and shepherd to whatever big-screen incarnation of Batman follows his blockbuster three-film franchise.
Still, it’s worth noting that this timeline doesn’t leave much room for a new Batman to be introduced to audiences ahead of the “Justice League” team-up in 2013. While current “Superman: Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill might be persuaded to return for “Justice League,” it’s unlikely that Ryan Reynolds’ schedule will allow for another turn as Green Lantern — especially if “Green Lantern 2” gets the (*ahem*) green light.
All things considered, it looks like one fact is abundantly clear: fans should probably prepare themselves for a new Batman in a few years.