2013 was a particularly monumental year for DC Entertainment. A movie universe featuring its iconic characters is finally moving forward, while a number of new television shows were announced. As usual, animated adaptations for both film and TV were unveiled, and a slew of video games were released. The following is the first part of my review of all the DC news from this year. It will cover all the movie news from DC Entertainment that hit in 2013.
2013 saw the theatrical release of Man of Steel, the long-awaited Superman reboot from the creative team of director Zack Snyder, screenwriter David S. Goyer, and producer Christopher Nolan. Despite mixed reviews from critics, the movie became the most successful Superman film to date, grossing over $662M worldwide.
Warner Bros. had been developing a Justice League feature for some time, with Man of Steel eventually being confirmed to be the first movie in a shared DC Universe. In the months before that film came out, rumors surrounding the superhero ensemble swarmed the internet. At one point, the plan was apparently to hire Zack Snyder to direct Justice League if Man of Steel was a success. However, the director later confirmed that he wanted Superman to be “a little further down the road” first. Sure enough, the week Man of Steel came out, it was reported that Snyder and Goyer were set to reunite for a sequel.
Sure enough, Man of Steel‘s success confirmed the establishment of a DC Cinematic Universe. Within the next month, when San Diego Comic-Con was underway, fans speculated about which direction the franchise should go next. Will the next film be Man of Steel 2? Justice League? Something else entirely? On July 20th, Zack Snyder appeared on stage at SDCC. He confirmed that “another Superman movie” was in the works, and after talking about going through the DC Universe for inspiration, he brought Man of Steel actor Harry Lennix up on stage to read an excerpt. It turned out that the excerpt was from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and soon, a logo for a Batman vs. Superman film was on display. As expected, the audience was out of control. The story was worked on by Snyder and Goyer, with the latter reprising his script-writing duties. Argo‘s Chris Terrio was more recently hired to polish the script, before production begins in February in Detroit.
The initial announcement from Warner Bros. affirmed that Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane were set to reprise their Man of Steel roles for this new film, which will also deliver a new take on Batman (since Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan’s version is finished). After a month of rumors, which linked actors such as Josh Brolin, Orlando Bloom and Ryan Gosling to the role, Ben Affleck was cast as an older and seasoned Caped Crusader. This announcement sparked outrage among fans, mostly due to the actor-director’s prior comic book movie experience with Daredevil. The release date for the untitled film was then set for July 17th, 2015.
As pre-production moved forward, more rumors for Batman vs. Superman spread across the web. Actors Mark Strong and Bryan Cranston were reportedly up for the role of Lex Luthor (who is expected to be the main villain), with many believing the latter to have been cast thanks to a bogus “exclusive”. Other rumors mentioned the likes of Denzel Washington and an actor from Arrow. Rumors later turned to which other superheroes will appear in the movie. Wonder Woman was an obvious option; after a casting call for what many believed to be a love interest for Bruce Wayne went online, the role was speculated to be Diana Prince herself. Actress Olga Kurylenko, Gal Gadot and Elodie Yung auditioned for the part, while Jaimie Alexander said that she met with WB/DC about the film. After reportedly becoming the frontrunner, Gadot was confirmed to have been cast as Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman by Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder.
While DC’s trinity are finally set to appear in the same movie, there are still rumors of other heroes showing up. The Flash is said to be a lock for an appearance, and several other Justice League members are expected to feature. Understandably, this has led fans to worry that the film (which many expected to be just a Man of Steel sequel before Comic-Con) will be overstuffed.
Meanwhile, casting is moving forward for the villain(s) of Batman vs. Superman. Callan Mulvey was reported to be up for a villain role, while Jason Momoa has entered talks for an unspecified role (Doomsday? Martian Manhunter?!). Recent speculation suggests that Doomsday will be one of the villains, and a rumor claims that Metallo is the second antagonist alongside Lex Luthor. And what of Mr. Luthor? Well, the latest we heard on the villain side was that Joaquin Phoenix was wanted for a role, which is likely that of the main villain (probably Luthor). However, it’s possible that he may pass, due to his hesitance to star in such blockbusters.
Of course, many wonder which direction Warner Bros. and DC will go after Batman vs. Superman. On the day that movie was announced, it was tentatively reported that The Flash will be released in 2016, with Justice League following it in 2017. However, this has yet to be officially confirmed, especially with a Flash television pilot and potential series in development. Greg Berlanti is said to be on board to direct the Flash film, with a script written by Geoff Johns, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Chris Brancato. As many of these figures are also working on The CW’s series, it’s unsure how the two will be related (if at all). Additionally, David S. Goyer is contracted to write Justice League.
Meanwhile, it’s unconfirmed which other characters will get their own movies before or after Justice League. There are apparently no plans for Green Lantern after the 2011 movie failed, and Wonder Woman has been a priority for DC Entertainment for a while. Additionally, there is interest in making Aquaman a more popular character, possibly ahead of a big screen debut. Movies for Lobo and Shazam appear to be inactive as well.
However, a slew of lesser-known DC characters may be getting their own movies. A report earlier this month claimed that DC Entertainment is planning to release two low budget films – one in the spring, and one in the fall. Titles such as Deathstroke, Suicide Squad and Booster Gold were specifically mentioned, and David S. Goyer appears to be involved with these projects in some way. Suicide Squad is one that can be made for $40M, while others can have a budget as low as $20M. This has yet to be officially confirmed, but it is said to be DC’s “big news” for 2014.
Last year, it was reported that Guillermo del Toro was working on a Justice League Dark movie, featuring DC characters such as Constantine, Zatanna and Deadman. The Pacific Rim director later confirmed this, and that he was waiting on a writer for the script. Originally titled Heaven Sent, the film was more recently referred to as Dark Universe. Last we heard from del Toro, the lineup consists of Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, and Madame Xanadu, with other characters in the mix. He later said that he would be open to having Dark Universe set in the same universe as Man of Steel, as well as the planned Constantine television series at NBC. Del Toro has also revealed that Warner Bros. has plans for the entire DC Universe on both the big and small screens.
The rest of the 2013 updates on DC movies are for various Vertigo adaptations. The biggest of these is Sandman, which will be produced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Goyer. The former is also finalizing a deal to star as protagonist Morpheus, and may even direct the project. A writer has yet to be hired. Additionally, an adaptation of Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper is in development, with writing duo Shawn Ryan and David Wiener attached. Frequent collaborators Ben Affleck (aka Batman) and Matt Damon are on board as producers. The long-in-the-works Y: The Last Man film secured a director earlier this year, and Goyer (who is producing this movie as well) suggested that production could begin in 2014. Director D.J. Caruso said in August that he was still attached to a film adaptation of Preacher, but more recently, a television series based on the comic book series went into development at AMC. Finally, Warner Bros. is moving forward with a Fables film. Nikolaj Arcel is directing the fantasy adaptation, while Jeremy Slater is writing the script. David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford are producing.
Which upcoming DC Entertainment movie are you looking forward to the most? Stay tuned for the next part in my “Year in Review”, which will cover the various television announcements from DC.