Marvel Studios

Is 'Justice League' Headed For An 'Avengers' Showdown?

With no release dates set, the crossover movies could collide.

Whenever there's a big announcement in the world of cinematic superheroes, attention quickly turns to how it affects the other side of the equation.

Like when Warner Bros. reveals that Zack Snyder is signed on to direct a "Justice League" movie, the question becomes "How does this affect Marvel's plans?"

The place to start is the release date. The initial Wall Street Journal article announcing the director choice wagered that 2018 would be the earliest that a "Justice League" movie could grace the big screen.

But there are less conservative estimations out there. Both Latino Review and the Hollywood Reporter suggest Warner Bros. and Snyder are looking to quickly turn around the team-up movie for a 2017 release date, possibly even less than a year after "Batman Vs. Superman."

That would require the next two DC Comics movies to shoot back to back, something that's been rumored before.

So now the big question is which summer Marvel plans to land its third crossover movie. "The Avengers 3," if it follows the timeline set by the first two, would hit in 2018, but that's not a sure bet either.

In an interview with Variety ahead of the release of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Chris Evans guessed that he would be done with his six-movie contract by 2017. With a third solo Cap movie already set for a face-off with "Batman Vs. Superman" in 2016, placing "Avengers 3" in the following year would make sense based on Evans' comments.

A one-year turnaround on a superhero follow-up would be tough for anyone to pull off, but especially for a studio that has had trouble sticking to release dates. Both "Man of Steel" and "Batman Vs. Superman" were delayed a full year before settling on a final release date.

But until Warner Bros. and Marvel decide to put some more titles down on the calendar, this is only a potential throwdown between the competing hero franchises. And that's not even taking the "Amazing Spider-Man" series into consideration.

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" opens in theaters on May 1, 2015, and "Batman Vs. Superman" is scheduled for May 6, 2016.