WB Fast-Tracking JUSTICE LEAGUE?
Author: Bill Ramey
Monday, August 20, 2007
According to my friends over at IESB.NET, the oft-rumored JUSTICE LEAGUE film is now on the fast-track at Warner Bros. In fact, the track is so fast, the film could go into production in early 2008 for a summer 2009 release.
“Wasn’t THE MAN OF STEEL -- the sequel to SUPERMAN RETURNS -- supposed to be Warner’s tent pole film that summer,” you are probably asking yourself. Well, yes, that was what was going to happen. Remember, not long ago BOF and other websites heard and reported that Warner Bros. was considering postponing TMOS and doing JL -- with Superman -- instead. Naturally, WB and the Bryan Singer camp called BS on those reports. Hell, there was even a story in VARIETY poo-pooing those “rumors.”
A few months later, all I can say is “Oh REALLY?”
Let me upfront with you all: While I’m all for a JUSTICE LEAGUE film, I’m not keen on Batman being in it. Hell, I'm not going to lie, I don’t want Batman in it at all -- at least not right now. I WROTE A BIG OP-ED spelling out exactly why I do not want to see The Dark Knight in this film, and I stand by that article. I said I’d lobby against it, and that’s what I’m doing right now.
Allegedly, the studio envisions JUSTICE LEAGUE as a lunching pad for other DC Comics-based superhero films such as The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Aquaman -- as well as giving a boost to the SUPERMAN series. It seems that some of the folks at Warners were disappointed with SUPERMAN RETURNS and are leery of greenlighting a sequel.
But here’s the deal: There are no negative issues with the BATMAN franchise. BATMAN BEGINS was a hit with both fans and critics and did well at the box office. Right now, its sequel -- THE DARK KNIGHT -- is filming and set to hit theaters in July of 2008. TDK is also one of the most anticipated films of 2008 and is looking to be HUGE -- especially with The Joker (played by Heath Ledger) as the film’s main villain. Plus, it’s no secret that there are plans for a third BATMAN installment that will continue (or finish?) the story established by BEGINS and TDK -- most likely bowing in 2011.
So why in the hell would you want to stick Batman in a JL right in the middle of a very successful solo franchise? Plus, the Batman of the BEGINS universe is just starting out -- why would he join up with a league of super powered and costumed characters so early in his career?
And who would play Batman, Christian Bale? Bale has a 3 picture deal with the studio for BATMAN and his contract purportedly includes a clause for an “ensamble” film -- in other words, a JL or Superman team-up movie. Bale has been coy in the past when asked if he would be interested in such a film. And frankly, I highly doubt that “Team Nolan” -- Chris Nolan, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven -- would want Christian to do such a film and jeopardize a third Bat-flick.
So if Warners is hell-bent on having Batman in this film (he doesn’t have to be in this first one anyway) and Bale doesn’t do it, do you just hire another actor to play Batman? And if so, is the JL Batman and the BEGINS/TDK Batman the same Batman?
If he is, wouldn’t it be goofy to have two different actors playing the same Batman virtually at the same time? And if he isn’t, wouldn’t that open up a continuity can or worms?
Hell, I guess the “Multiverse” will now be found amongst the various DC Comics-based movies!
If it were up to me -- and obviously it isn’t -- and a JUSTICE LEAGUE film HAS to be made, do it without Batman. There is no need to jack with the BATMAN movie series right now. Batman doesn’t need a movie to “springboard” the character into a solo film, nor does he need to be “reinvigorated” as many claim is now required for the SUPERMAN series. If JL is a hit -- and it should be, no doubt -- surely there are sequels to be made and future opportunities to include The Dark Knight in one.
As a “DC Guy,” I’m all for a JUSTICE LEAGUE film. I understand the desire by those at Warner Bros. ($$$) to make it. I appreciate why fans to see it.
The time is just not right to include Batman in it.
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