The most curious aspect of Warner Bros’ surprise announcement of a “Justice League” movie following “Superman vs. Batman” wasn’t that Zack Snyder was directing, rumors over the release date, or the lack of a firm statement about a possible “Wonder Woman” movie.
No, it was the complete lack of mention as to what DC’s Batman plans are.
As we’ve reported a few times before, 2014 is the 75th Anniversary of the Dark Knight, and plans are well underway on the comics, animated and video game sides of the DC Universe. There’s even a TV show hitting FOX in the Fall that will tangentially involve a young Batman at the beginning of his journey.
But on the silver screen, where Batman has raked in box office cash for decades: nothing.
Yes, we have Ben Affleck filming his role in “Superman vs. Batman” starting in May; and presumably, he’ll also have a role in “Justice League.”
But given Christopher Nolan’s two most recent Batman movies are number seven and number four on the domestic box office list for all time, you’d think Warner Bros. would have a little more fire to spin out a Batman solo film.
There are a few possibilities here as to why we don’t have a comprehensive Batfleck plan, all of which are entirely plausible and completely uninformed (other than by history):
1. These Are All Batman Movies
With relative unknowns like Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill filling out the Justice League roster, Ben Affleck stands out as easily the most well-known and most bankable star on the cast. It’s possible other stars may join him, like The Rock — as rumored — but for now, Batfleck is the anchor.
If Warner Bros. has any doubt whatsoever about the possible success of either “Superman vs. Batman” or “Justice League,” the plan is clearly to make them Batman movies first, and other heroes’ movies second.
In all honesty, that’s not that much different from “The Avengers,” which was Iron Man’s show with a few other heroes thrown in for good measure. Prove me wrong, reader. Prove me wrong.
2. They’re Announcing At San Diego Comic-Con
This year’s San Diego Comic-Con should be huge, and not just because most pundits expect Marvel will announce their Phase 3 films, and Disney will bring out the “Star Wars” cast. It’s also Warner Bros. big chance to steal their thunder after last year’s surprise “Batman vs. Superman” announcement.
This year, we expect good looks at that film, plus news on “Justice League” — the entire cast assembled, perhaps? But what if they also use the opportunity of SDCC during Batman’s anniversary year to also announce a new Bat-trilogy?
Or just, you know, one film. Regardless, chances are that Warner Bros. will officially announce a whole slew of product, and we’d be shocked if a new Batman film wasn’t a piece of that pie.
3. Ben Affleck Needs To Clear His Schedule
Zack Snyder directing “Justice League” was a surprise, and for no bigger reason than most experts expected that Affleck signed on to play Batman in order to… direct “Justice League.”
But Affleck isn’t just a director, he’s an auteur. Nolan brought his signature to the Batman series, and Affleck may want to do the same thing. It would not be shocking at all if Warner Bros. is just waiting for Affleck to get the right vision — and time — to do a Batman film justice. Pun intended.
4. Calm Down Already
The Batman series originally had three years between films, then took an eight-year break until the Nolan trilogy — which itself took four years between the second and third installments.
Point being, give it time. We’ll get a Batman film, and we’ll be getting at least two films with Batman in the next few years. But given the cultural impact of Nolan’s films, it may be a while until someone truly comes up with something new and worthwhile.
What do you think? When will we next see Batman solo on screen?