Nolan’s New-New Batman and the DC Comics Movie Multiverse
It’s been a Wimbledon-level week of neck snapping for film industry observers curious about Warner Bros.’ DC Comics franchise. One day it seemed like the studio would be following Marvel’s strategy of a shared cinematic superhero universe, the next day it seemed like the opposite. And what the hell is going on with Christopher Nolan and the Batman franchise?
With the game paused for now, it appears that Warner Bros. plans to develop a Justice League project whose characters and stars will not be culled from other DC-based films like Green Lantern or Zack Snyder’s new Superman movie; The Dark Knight Rises will be the last Batman film of the current cycle, but the Batman franchise will be reinvented once again by… Christopher Nolan; and the Wonder Woman television series does not necessarily preclude development of an unrelated Wonder Woman film.Warner Bros. Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov ignited the DC movie discussion when he gave an interview to The Los Angeles Times in which he said a Justice League movie was his first priority. The executive wishes to see the film in cinemas by 2013.
It seemed reasonable to some pundits that such a film would be populated by Henry Cavil’s Superman and Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern, as well as whatever other DC properties fall in line in advance of or around a Justice League movie (a Flash-based script is currently in development).
In the same interview, Robinov dropped what’s easily the most curious piece of information in the entire Warner Bros./DC Comics behind-the-scenes saga: the Batman franchise will indeed be rebooted once again following the release of The Dark Knight Rises, but that new take on the Batman mythos will come relatively quickly and courtesy of current Gotham City architect Christopher Nolan. One has to wonder how many different visions of Batman Nolan is prepared to deploy, but given his stellar Bat-track record and the studio’s apparent delight with his work as a producer and co-writer of Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, we suppose it’s not all that surprising.
However, Nolan’s new version of Batman will not appear in the planned Justice League movie, nor will Henry Cavil’s Superman, as was previously assumed. At least, that according to Zack Snyder, who spoke to film site HeyYouGuys about where his Superman film fit in with Robinov’s Justice League plans.
“It doesn’t [fit in with Justice League]. Like what Chris Nolan is doing and what I’m doing with Superman, what they’ll do with Justice League will be it’s own thing with it’s own Batman and own Superman. We’ll be over here with our movie and they’ll kinda get to do it twice which is kinda cool”
Snyder would be in a position to know, of course, but it certainly does seem confusing to have multiple versions of the same heroes running around in different films with their own continuities. Then again, just that sort of scenario has brought DC Comics great success over the years, Indeed, Robinov indicated to the LA Times that such a multiversal landscape is fine with him, even with a new Wonder Woman television series currently filming. “Wonder Woman could be a film as well, the same way that ‘Superman Returns’ came out while ‘Smallville’ was on,” he said. Along those lines, it seems likely that Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern will also remain in his own cinematic universe, and that a new version of the ringed space cop will be created for Justice League.
Warner Bros.’ approach to bringing the DC superheroes to screen stands in stark contrast to that of the principal competition at Marvel, whose filmmakers have gone through extra effort to make their movies fit together in a neat and synergistic fashion, all building towards The Avengers in 2012. It will be interesting to see how WB’s strategy falls into place and what might happen should Justice League’s versions of Superman and Batman prove exceptionally popular. Would they generate new films based on Superman and Batman while Nolan and Snyder are working on wholly separate franchises with the same characters?