UPDATE I: Zack Snyder takes the stage at SDCC, officially announces Batman joining “Man of Steel” sequel. Says will be “informed” by “Dark Knight Returns” but NOT an adaptation. Bat/Shield-fusion logo shown a’la the Batman/Superman comic, Bat-symbol is NOT the one from the previous Nolan-trilogy.
ORIGINAL POST: Actual news is starting to hit from ComicCon (Legendary supposedly just now surprised everyone who showed up for the “Godzilla” trailer with a teaser for Duncan Jones’ “World of Warcraft” movie); and now we’ve evidently got the first actual word from Warner Bros. about how they plan to handle their DC line going into the future. This is the panel I’d most want to have seen had I been there, because the business/politics of it are intriguing: Warners was expecting to roll into San Diego as conqueror’s post-“Man of Steel,” which they’d presumed would be a “Dark Knight”-level Summer-crushing juggernaut. Instead, their position is closer to “Well… we made a shitload of money but not as much as we were expecting to, the reviews were pretty bad and it’s biggest presence in the dialogue right now is as a punchline about inappropriately-grim adaptations.”
Given that, I’d say it’s a surprise but not a BIG surprise that Warner Bros. seems to be going right back to the eternally-reliable Batman-brand rather than given “Man of Steel” it’s own solo sequel: The report is that the film’s follow-up will instead be “Superman Meets Batman” (not the final title, obviously – though I can’t imagine they’ll actually CALL it “World’s Finest”) in 2015, with Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder returning to executive produce and direct (wouldn’t be my first choices, but okay – we all have our bad days) and David Goyer once again writing (ugh.) The current plan is for “The Flash” to follow in 2016 and “Justice League” in 2017.
Hm. Somebody’s missing – and it ain’t The Martian Manhunter.
It seems kind of inconceivable that “League” will happen without at least one female character (worth noting: Marvel’s continuity-experiment put War Machine and Black Widow in front of audiences before getting to Thor or even Captain America); and apparently WB is still trying to get Wonder Woman onto The CW as “Amazon” (an “Arrow” companion-piece with a teenaged Diana in an American high-school. Really.) A lot of people are still thinking the “empty pod” cutaway in “Man of Steel” was supposed to be a tease for Supergirl – confirmed, at least in-part, by a tie-in comic – so maybe her? One of the bigger recent Batman/Superman comic arcs (it also got an animated movie) intro’d a new-ish version of her (basically Golden/Silver-age Kara, but “for today”) so maybe she’ll get the spot? Dunno. Right now, the only “safe bet” I can imagine is that if they bother with a Green Lantern at all it’ll be John Stewart, and if not him Cyborg will get the “We Need At Least One Black Guy” call.
Still not mentioned: Whether or not they’ve picked a Batman yet, and if they’re shooting for 2015 they kinda need to do that pretty soon. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were still trying to get Christian Bale back (maybe that’s Nolan’s role here, since everyone was expecting him to bail at this point.)