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Will WB Use Justice League to Introduce Its New Batman?

In case that Wachowskis rumor isn’t enough to pacify DC Comics fans anxious for news about Warner Bros.’ long-delayed Justice League movie, this morning brings another potential development: that the ensemble film will serve as an introduction to the studio’s rebooted Batman franchise.

The nugget comes from fansite Batman On Film, which cites an industry source as indicating that the move would ensure that the new take on the Caped Crusader is part of a “DC Cinematic Universe,” one patterned after Marvel’s wildly successful approach to connecting all of its superhero films.

It certainly wouldn’t come as a surprise, as Warner Bros. has long indicated a desire to pursue a path that’s essentially the reverse of Marvel’s: Instead of introducing characters in solo films and then bringing them together in one ensemble blockbuster, the studio views Justice League as a stage on which to trot out superheroes like The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, who would then spin off into their separate projects.

What’s more, Warner Bros. is reportedly targeting Justice League for a 2015 release, putting it in theaters ahead of whatever comes after director Christopher Nolan’s exit from the Batman franchise with this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. That means the studio essentially has two choices when it comes to the character: Use Justice League to unveil the new actor in the cape and cowl (even if the story doesn’t directly relate to the reboot), or use different actors in each film, undercutting the concept of a “cinematic universe” and creating a split between the “real” Batman and the “other” Batman in the minds of audiences.

Mind you, as awkward and unappealing as the latter seems, it’s the tactic Warner Bros. was taking before it shelved director George Miller’s Justice League in 2008 — his version was to star D.J. Cotrona instead of Brandon Routh as Superman, and Armie Hammer instead of Christian Bale as Batman. Of course, Routh and Bale already had contracts, and it’s difficult to imagine Nolan’s vision for the Dark Knight existing alongside characters with super-speed, super-strength and magic rings.

But even if Justice League is our first exposure to the new Batman, we’re left wondering about Superman (and possibly Green Lantern). Just last year, Man of Steel director Zack Snyder indicated that any ensemble film would exist separately from his upcoming reboot, saying, “what they’ll do with Justice League will be its own thing with its own Batman and own Superman. We’ll be over here with our movie and they’ll kinda get to do it twice, which is kinda cool.”

Cool, maybe, but definitely problematic to any hopes for a cohesive big-screen universe.


  • James MacQuarrie

    Given that Snyder’s Superman will probably be as successful as his Watchmen, what he thinks is irrelevant. If people didn’t like Superman Returns, they’re really not going to like his slo-mo cgi version.

  • SageShinigami

    Separate?   If DC Entertainment lets that happen then the people in charge of that decision should be fired.  Avengers made the money it did because it built a fan base from three OTHER movies, and the only cast member they replaced was Hulk, which few people (comparatively) saw anyway.  The new guy shouldn’t even be ABLE to opt out of this–it should’ve been written into his contract from day one.  “If there’s a Justice League film before your trilogy is over, you’re in it.” 

  • Darren MacDonald

    Who’s to say they can’t have a movie franchise like Superman lead into the justice league movie and have a Batman movie come after Justice league?  it doesn’t always have to be so black and white.  I think that having a justice league movie with one actor and then a batman movie with a different actor and different story line would just ruin  the whole experience of it, it’s like with the Burton Series of the Batman movies (and that other director) like the actor kept changing and it was hard to get into the story when i’m like “that’s George Clooney… it wasn’t him the last time… but it’s him now….”    If they do reboot the series do it right… Make the background stories the same as the comics (well… roughly the same) and not make it a campy film, it can be done, look at the animated series… 

  • Glenn Simpson

    I think it would be regrettable to not have the same actors, but as James Bond and Bewitched have proven, it’s not the end of the world.

  • Greg Phillips

     I was sure of it as soon as the Avengers came out — Warner Bros. is going to bungle this.

    I do have hopes for Snyder’s Superman flick. Nolan’s name is gold with me, even as a producer.

  • Lewis4510

    I’m begining to think that the chance of a JL movie happening fall somewhere between slim and none.

  • Tuğrul Şahin

    I hope they stick to the same universe. If Batman is so hard to include in the first ensemble, add him later when the time is right. I never found Batman an ensemble type any way.

  • Christopher Jones

    It is NOT A MAGIC RING! It’s ADVANCED ALIEN TECHNOLOGY! Sorry, forgot to take my meds.

  • Gene

    just use thes batman from dark knight, green lantern from the green latern and superman from the superman movies.

  • War0321ssu

    There is a train wreck coming.

  • Usmbark

    If they do it correctly, it wont matter. The movies just need to be good. I mean consider that most comic series are written by different writers and illustrated by different people (different arcs,side stories, and what not), and if they’re interesting and well done, then nobody really cares. That being said, it would be cool if they were all connected, but not a necessity.

  • Mark

    JL needs to be a smart film. You can’t have a dumbed down Batman. If audiences can handle the intelligence of TDK trilogy, they can handle a smart JL film. Sorry, Avengers was mass fun, but I’ll take great storytelling over that any day!

  • Tyson19992000

    WACK…To many different actors. Hollywood is forgetting what happened to the saga of the different Batmans (Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, now Bael, who else THE ROCK)? People will not like to see a different character to be played as their favorite Hero every single time there’s a reboot. Why do you think Christopher Reeve’s is INFAMOUS as SUPERMAN!!! Hollywood your loosing your touch…DC you need to learn how Marvel has the upper hand over you. Imagine if Wolverine was a different actor for every movie and not Jackman…they (Marvel) would have plummet!!! Hollywood your ruin it for everyone to identify with the actors sequels, trilogies, or sagas, etc… YOU GET THE POINT; ENOUGH SAID!!!

  • Fliguypa

    Justice League won’t ever come close to the success of Avengers because 1) they won’t budget for great actors, 2) their corny characters trump the good ones unlike Avengers’ characters (Hawkeye & Black Widow)…and 3) combining the first two examples I gave will guarantee a film as generic looking and as pathetically written as one of those stupid paranormal series on WB. The only $$ it will make will be because of the hype to finally see what they created.

  • BlueShroud12

    If this movie will come then let Ryan Raymond and Henry Cavill reprise their roles as Supes and GL, also what next movie will come in 2014 or 2016 I hope Green Lantern 2 cause first ended with a cliffhanger and its worse than sad end, and finale I’m not sure about new Batman reboot.
    P.S. they say that Martian Manhunter and Aquaman possibly won’t appear in the film.

  • Dr. Internet

    Not sure why a DC ensemble film has to have Batman and Superman. The most recognizable Marvel characters are the Hulk, Wolverine and Spider-Man and only one of them was in the Avengers movie. Why not do a Justice League film with just the original members: Flash, Wonder-Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern?

  • Michael J

    Warner Bros have absolutely zero clue, as to how to make this happen.The only characters they’ve been so dependent on has been Superman and Batman.Why should we have faith now that they’ll be able to pull this off successfully? How indeed will they introduce Batman on a team of super powered god like heroes? I would love to see this happen and be absolutely blown away by a Justice League film but my faith in Warner Bros is gone.

    Marvel comics and Disney ( their owners) will rule, while Dc comics and Warner Bros will continue to falter when it comes to getting a live action film of their comic book properties now and in the foreseeable future.

  • Zor-El of Argo

    The only reason why Ryan Reynalds should be in the Justice League movie is if he dies horrifically in the opening scene, resulting in John Stewart getting the ring and then gathering the JL to fight whatever threat Hal died fighting.

  • Drumanespic

    Warner’s, jaysus!

    I honestly think the “movie execs”, do not understand whatsoever, the DC properties they seem so desperate to exploit. Subsequently & sadly, a Justice League (2015) film is doomed.

    Marvel Studios have always had one fundamental strength; Autonomy. Disney are quite sensibly (and so far, very profitably) staying at arm’s length & letting Marvel crack on.

    If only DC’s Diane Nelson could address this key strategic advantage held by Marvel. Sadly, her appointment at DC, by those same Warners executives, is in itself, seen to be the solution.

    It isn’t. By miles.

  • Patxiao1

    well, Avengers had 6 members, and include Loki and Fury we have 8 major characters. It is hard to develop that many characters in a 2 and a half hour film. Trying to do so creates a way too long film. And the bad part is Avengers 2 is coming out in 2015. Justice League needs to come out way before Avengers or way after. Lets face it Avengers 2 is probably the most anticipated film

  • Kevin_mclellan

    Avengers was awesome y wouldn’t they want to keep up to par with the competition. The actors should get on board and not be a bunch of bitches.  Because it is the justice League and there not bitches!!!!!!!

  • Andrew Filipe

    Really hoping Nolan & Snyder’s Man of Steel is tied to The Justice League film, meaning Henry Cavill is still Superman in The Justice League. 

  • Mr. AXL

    Cause that’s lame. Having just those five, when one has had a bad movie and the others haven’t had their own? That’s terribly lame, and setting it up for a fall.

  • Zenstrive

    Magic Rings? WHAT MAGIC RINGS?

  • Patrick

    If they are going to reboot…why not just continue the use of Brandon Routh and Ryan Reynolds?  At least those films are established.  Superman Returns had its moments and Green Lantern was a little too comicky for me but it could somewhat fit in the same universe.  So you at least have two movies to work from.  Even the Avengers had several characters that did not have an origin story (even more if you consider the Hulk a reboot).  Brian Singer may have learned his lesson plus he once had the midas touch when it came superhero grouping of X-Men so that might just solve your directors problem as well.    

  • Joe Huber

    DC has had problems introducing everybody but Batman to the film world. We’ve seen it with Superman Returns, Green Lantern etc. In a way going from Man of Steel to Justice League and then spinning off from there might be their version of what Marvel did with the Avengers movie. Sure they miss out on the buildup that Marvel had, but the anticipation is there anyway. Also characters like Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern etc can use the rub from a Justice League movie to spin off into their own franchises. Green Lantern could be rescued because the faults of the first film were more story-based and villian-based. They had the perfect Sinestro to spin off into a 2nd film. It’s just the villain Paradox being a freaking spirit or whatever sucked in the same way as Galactus as a cloud sucked for Fantastic Four.

    Villains make the heroes. I wouldn’t come right out with Darkseid though as he’d be perfect for a sequel or the 3rd film. Do a combination of their individual villains as a villain group take (for example) Reverse Flash, Brainiac, Bane (or one of the more physical Batman villians like maybe Solomon Grundy who also has a thing against Superman), Sinestro (or someone else like Black Hand etc) a villian for Wonder Woman, Black Manta etc and form a group. Get Lex Luthor to tie things together cause he’d be the plot behind the whole thing with his hatred of superheroes. This is just a general idea. Think big though for the first film they can be more simple if one of the villians like a Brainiac type can be used to fight the whole league it’d be interesting or go Zod-Ursa-Non but Man of Steel seems to be going there already.

    I think part of Warner’s problem and DC’s as well is that the movie studio and the comic company have too many internal problems. With Marvel it’s one cohesive unit working together for the betterment of both the comics and movies. DC & Warner’s as it’s parent company needs to develop or form this type of cohesion. As great as Nolan was for the Batman films and might be as a producer of the Superman films he doesn’t seem to be the one who would guide a Justice League universe. DC/Warner’s needs someone within to be that connection between their comic books and movie universe like Whedon did for Avengers and Marvel. Geoff Johns? Jim Lee? Someone in that company who has the right vision and love for the characters to do them justice and bring them into the real world. Does that person exist for DC though?

  • FredII

    Genius move, Make Batman (a human level character) the audience surrogate in a JLA film.  Create the tension between Bats and Supes right away with Bruce’s purchase of Kryptonite, and perhaps even discussions with the film’s big bads Lex and Amanda Waller (trust me this is the way to go, Avengers goes cosmic, JLA needs to go human) but have Superman be the one to reach out to Batman to join the JLA, suggesting that these super humans need the kind of grounding in humanity that he had growing up in smallville, and feels that Batman is the guy who can keep the team grounded.  That is an awesome film, and you spin off the franchises from there.

    Not a genius move, having a bunch of variations on your characters running around at the same time.  Hopefully Warner’s is smart enough to get that.

  • FredII

    Well the difernce would be that you didn’t have Dick York playing Darren in another sitcom, while Dick Sargent was playing Darren in the primary sitcom.  You can certanly replace Bale, or anyone else between series, but you don’t want Pierce Bronson playing Bond in a film and have Daniel Craig show up at the same time in another film.

    Although that did happen with Bond, when an already too old Sean Connory made Thunderball while Roger Moore (who was no spring chicken himself) was I belive doing For Your Eyes Only.  It has been done, but usually when competeing studios claimed rights.  That’s not the case here, so no need to muddy your own brand in this way.

  • Some Guy

    Justice League sucks. I won’t go see a Batman movie that’s attached to “other superheroes”. The reason Batman makes sense is because there are no other superheroes (that could literally take out Joker or Scarecrow in 2 seconds)… I would rather watch a Power Rangers movie than see Batman team up with pansies… Didn’t the failure of the Green Lantern film teach DC anything?? What they need to do is focus on their characters that aren’t lame like Deathstroke and release that film before Marvel does Deadpool or they lose.

  • James Whitfield

    If they do Superman in 2 different universes, WB will do what I’ve been predicting they’ll do. And that’s jacking up the best opportunity to do a franchise of new movies with continuity and cohesion. Marvel’s movies are successful because the powers that be are comic geeks like us and they care how the characters are portrayed. The WB just has execs who know nothing but know how to just make money and not care about lineage 

  • A_Nominus

    forget watchmen, what about sucker punch?

  • Zor-El of Argo

    You do realize that Hawkeye is just a Green Arrow rip-off?