A Justice League movie has been announced as being in the works, they’ve even signed on a writer for the project. With the incredible success of Marvel’s The Avengers movie, DC Comics and Warner Bros. have no choice but to make a Justice League movie, focusing on the superhero team the Justice League composed of such popular DC heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and more. For the first time in years a superhero team movie can be a money machine. Up until The Avengers movie made a billion dollars, doing a movie about a team of superheroes was widely thought to be cost-prohibitive at a time when a movie about an individual Superhero was already expensive. Marvel Studios proved otherwise.
What Marvel Studios did, was do superhero movies based on B-level characters such as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Instead of making them epic budget films of $200 million plus, they kept them smaller in scale – around the $80 million mark and used them as “feeder” films into the much bigger project of The Avengers. Each of the individual films acted as a prequel to a huge “shared” superhero universe event that became The Avengers movie. Instead of grabbing big name actors for the role, they tended to grab dependable “up and comers” ready for a big break and happy to sign onto several films of guaranteed work. Some of the bigger names, such as Robert Downey Jr., didn’t get paid much initially, but had deals on the “back end” that with the success of the Avengers movie have been very lucrative (Downey ended up getting over $50 million due to the success of The Avengers movie).
With the Justice League movie, Warner Bros. plans to do the exact opposite of what Marvel Studios did. Instead of using movies of individual superheroes to feed into a big Justice League movie, they’re going to use a Justice League movie to be a “springboard” for several movies of solo-adventures of their characters. New movies will spin-out of the Justice League movie instead of the other way around.
So which superheroes are likely to be a part of the Justice League movie?
We all loved Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in the 1970’s as Wonder Woman. Speaking from personal experience, it was a good time to be a 12 year old boy when her show was on, even as an older guy I still try and catch the show in reruns today. There’s been talk about a Wonder Woman movie being in the works for years. At one point, Joss Whedon of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Avengers fame, was set to direct, but it never came to fruition. A tv show was in the works last year directed by David E. Kelly and starring Friday Night Lights‘ Adrian Palicki, but was quickly shut down after people realized that it would come off as Ally McBeal in star-spangled panties.
They’ve been wanting to bring a Wonder Woman movie to the big screen for years now. She’s well known in popular culture, especially due to the success of the 70’s tv show. Also, they need a female character, if for no other reason than to attempt to balance out the amount of male characters on the team. Helps out that she can kick ass with the best of them and looks hot in her uniform, and T&A always sells!
Director Christopher Nolan is finished with Batman with Dark Knight Rises, the third and final installment in his Batman trilogy. After that, who knows what’ll happen with the Batman franchise. Certainly if they follow the “Marvel method”, they’ll want their “shared universe” to include Batman, so using the Justice League movie as a vehicle to spin off the next Batman franchise of movies seems a natural fit. Then again, even in the comics, Batman has always worked better when he’s left alone in his own corner of the DC Universe. It’s entirely possible that the Justice League movie will focus on more B-list characters instead of major ones like Batman and Superman who have traditionally held their own in movies and elsewhere.
Warner Bros. are releasing their RE-reboot of Superman Man of Steel in the summer of 2013 with Henry Cavill from The Tudors as Superman/Clark Kent. At present, like Batman – it’s unknown whether or not they’ll be leaving him on his own or including him as part of the Justice League franchise of films. If he is to be included, expect some kind of after the credits epilogue like the Marvel films did where they hinted at other movies to come. If we don’t see that in Man of Steel, don’t expect either Batman or Superman to be included in the Justice League movies.
Yeah, we know that the Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds didn’t do great at the box-office or with fans, but that works for including him in this movie. Warner Bros. put a lot of time and energy into creating a Green Lantern franchise and while it didn’t do great at the box office, it still made $200 million (as opposed to the $220 million spent on it), there may still be some life in the project given a little work. Including the character as part of the Justice League cast, could be a great way to do a soft-reboot of the character and fix the rough edges that were left with the first movie. It could be a way to put Green Lantern back on the tracks, but properly this time. Whether Ryan Reynolds would want to do that is unknown. Then again, there’s several Green Lanterns they could use, including John Stewart (who was used on the Justice League Unlimited cartoon) or Guy Gardner. There’s also the possibility, that they could use the film to reboot the Green Lantern movies completely, with someone new in the role of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern.
The Flash has been a character that’s been around since the 40’s. A character that can run super-fast is a dream character that any young kid can identify with. What kid hasn’t wanted to run faster than everybody else? The Flash is also a character that they’ve been talking about doing a live-action movie for decades. At one point, they even had a live-action Flash tv show that ran for a season. A Justice League movie would be the perfect springboard to launch this character into his movies. Consider The Flash as a Justice League member a sure thing.
With the success of Marvel’s superhero archer Hawkeye in the Avengers movie, they almost have to include DC’s archer Green Arrow in their superteam movie. There has been rumors of a Green Arrow movie in the works called Super Max, where a trapped Green Arrow must escape from a maximum security prison filled with super villains. Including Green Arrow in a Justice League movie, would be a great set-up for the Super Max movie. If there’s a problem, it’s that the CW will be launching Arrow (about Green Arrow) as a regular series in the fall, it’s unlikely that WB will launch a Green Arrow character in the movies while he’s still on tv with a different actor.
Hmmmmmmm.. a hot-blonde kick-ass martial artist.. in fishnet stockings. There’s too many men on the Justice League team, they need another female character besides Wonder Woman, almost a sure thing.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl
If nothing else, visually – they’re just too cool looking not to include. The one problem, it’s that their wings make them a bit clumsy to work in enclosed spaces, so film makers might want to exclude them for that reason alone. It’s unlikely that they’d want to deal with 2 characters essentially with the same exact powers, so at best they’ll include one of them, not both. Michael Shanks from Stargate SG-1 played a convincing Hawkman on Smallville recently, so that’s one in his favor. On the other hand, Hawkgirl was extremely popular on the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, so based on that and the low female to male ratio of the team, she could be the one to watch for.
Aquaman has been an essential part of the Justice League almost from day one. That being said, even in the comics, they have a rough time including Aquaman in a team book. With his powers of being able to breathe and fight underwater, as well as the ability to speak with underwater life – it doesn’t exactly make him a great guy to fight beside (unless it’s a pool fight of course). And somehow, I don’t see them spinning the character into his own underwater adventures on film, so count him being included as unlikely.