Is ‘Batman V Superman’ Still a ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel?

Published 11 months ago by , Updated May 27th, 2014 at 5:46 pm,

Man of Steel 2 Movie Batman Superman Dawn Justice League Is ‘Batman V Superman’ Still a ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel?

Despite its place as one of the most divisive comic book films of 2013, Man of Steel was a solid box office success for Warner Bros. and it didn’t take long for the studio to confirm that a sequel was already in development. Some considered Zack Snyder’s Superman movie to be an affront to the iconic character, while others believed that the filmmaker had successfully updated Kal-El and Clark Kent for modern moviegoing audiences - but whether you loved, hated, or were indifferent to Man of Steel, everyone stopped to take notice when it was announced that the film’s sequel would heavily feature another DC Comics do-gooder, Batman.

As more and more details have been revealed for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, fans have begun to question whether the 2016 film is truly going to be a Man of Steel sequel – building on the themes and story lines established in Snyder’s 2013 movie – or a prequel to the Justice League, focused on introducing a number of characters and story lines that will payoff in Snyder’s full-fledged Justice League movie (rumored to be targeting a 2017 release).

In a recent discussion on Hollywood Babble-On, filmmaker and Batfanatic, Kevin Smith, addressed the question that has been on the minds of DC fan boys and girls: is Warner Bros. depriving viewers of a full-fledged Man of Steel sequel just to get a shared Justice League movie universe off the ground? According to Smith, where Batman V Superman may have at one point been a more traditional sequel to Man of Steel, Warner Bros. is now in the business of building “one massive story” – a five or six film story that grew out of Man of Steel.

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Header Is ‘Batman V Superman’ Still a ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel?

Read the full quote from Smith below:

“They’re obviously beginning something, and there’s a stretch of these flicks. And so this is the beginning of the Justice League, as we all suspected as they were announcing that cast. We were like, ‘This is the beginning of a Justice League movie.’ From what I understand now, it’s no longer like, ‘This is Superman 2.’ They’re not doing these things. They’re doing like, ‘Here’s Man of Steel. Here’s Batman/Superman: Dawn of Justice.’ The next one is not like a sequel to one of the characters. They’re just going to keep building their universe for about five or six movies. But all of them, it’s supposed to tell one massive story, which is all Justice League oriented.”

Of course, Smith isn’t speaking for Snyder and the official Dawn of Justice production, so it’s entirely possible that his “understanding” might be not representative of the final movie or the studio’s current vision. Still, Smith has enjoyed an inside line on Dawn of Justice – as one of the first people outside of Warner Bros.’ camp to see Ben Affleck in costume as Batman. It’s unlikely that Snyder is directly keeping Smith in the loop but the filmmaker has enough connections to the film (not to mention, the larger comic book and movie industries), to get a relatively good idea of what fans can expect from Dawn of Justice, as well as the growing DC Comics movie universe.

While Smith’s comments are far from official confirmation, they add context to what many moviegoers have been suspecting for months – specifically, after the success of Man of Steel, Warner Bros. green lit an interconnected Justice League movie series. Many viewers have been using Justice League Lite to express their frustration with appearances by future Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), in addition to an aged Batman (Ben Affleck), in the Man of Steel follow-up; however, while the phrasing is denigrating and skeptical, it might still be an accurate way of describing Dawn of Justice and its place within the “massive” Justice League story line. After all, we will be getting a full-fledged Justice League a couple years later, so what’s wrong with setting such a high profile stage with a more intimate lead-in?

Batman vs Superman Movie Rumors Is ‘Batman V Superman’ Still a ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel?

Smith himself weighed-in on the recently announced title, suggesting (as we did on the latest Screen Rant Underground Podcast) that Warner Bros. could have easily captured the same pre-Justice League “feeling” with a title like Batman/Superman: World’s Finest:

“[Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice] is a bit of a mouthful. And also, I don’t know why Batman V. Superman. Why not just throw the “s” in there? Or spell it or something like that. Or honestly, every comic book fan on the planet, who is a DC comic book fan, I think we all wanted to see Batman/Superman: World’s Finest.”

While Marvel Studios has become the blueprint for shared cinematic universe storytelling (for good reason), DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. actually appear to be going back to the roots of serialized superhero storytelling – positioning their multi-picture Justice League story like an event comic book series. Some of the best superhero tales ever written were structured as isolated event narratives, including “Identity Crisis”, “Kingdom Come”, as well as “The Dark Knight Returns” – and writer David Goyer has hinted at this approach on multiple occasions, stating that DC would not be emulating Marvel and, instead, have set out to tell a cohesive DC story. In this case, Snyder would use the high-profile devastation of Metropolis to kick-off a multipart narrative – one that pulls-in existing outside characters (such as Batman) until a greater threat forces them (along with new heroes like Wonder Woman and Cyborg) into a Justice League team-up.

justice league movie release date Is ‘Batman V Superman’ Still a ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel?

Though, what comes after that team-up, assuming the studio really does have plans for five or six films (so far), is interesting to ponder. Does Snyder’s vision simply center on the assembled team of heroes first and will we have to wait until after Justice League for a standalone Man of Steel sequel – along with Wonder Woman and (new) Batman solo movies? That might be bad news for fans hoping to see Superman retain his place in the spotlight, though Henry Cavill is likely to remain a central figure, given that many are already familiar with his character. Still, a Superman-led Justice League movie series would prevent fans from asking (as they have with Marvel’s solo films) how to mesh standalone struggles with a hero’s super powered allies – who apparently choose not to lend a hand in select world-threatening situations.

Understandably, those hoping for a Superman-centric Man of Steel 2 might be disappointed but, with every new Dawn of Justice news item, it’s sounding as though it will be a long time before we see a more traditional Superman sequel - where the Man of Steel goes toe-to-toe with Brainiac or Lex Luthor (in a mech suit). Instead, the Batman V Superman film appears to be part two in Warner Bros. “massive” Justice League story line. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how much time is actually dedicated to expanding Man of Steel franchise staples like Lois Lane, Perry White, Jenny Olsen, and Martha Kent in Dawn of Justice.

Worst Lines Great Movies Man of Steel Kiss Is ‘Batman V Superman’ Still a ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel?

Given that the larger Justice League franchise is growing out of Metropolis wreckage from Man of Steel, it wouldn’t be hard to give each character a noticeable role in the follow-up but, at this point, there’s little doubt that Warner Bros. is focused on a much bigger picture – meaning that whatever Snyder might have originally had in mind for Man of Steel 2 (Batman V Superman wasn’t always the plan), building up to Justice League is now priority number one. Time will tell if that is a good thing – or not.


More: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Podcast Discussion


Batman vs. Superman is scheduled for May 6, 2016.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Hollywood Babble-On [via Comic Book]

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. To be honest this article really is moot.

    Everyone interested in this knows full well that once Batman was introduced, this stopped being a Superman sequel.

    I’ve posted it for months but will continue to reiterate.

    The reason Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice exists is because the studio has no faith in Superman as a character or a franchise which, is simply staggering to believe.

    Man of Steel’s box office take provided a sound base for a potentially great franchise. It was never going to gross a billion after a 7 year wait following the ill received Superman Returns, anyone who thought that was an idiot. Obviously quite a few exist at WB / DC.

    Man Of Steel divided a lot of people, yes. But at least it got people talking. Whether it be the level of destruction or the violent climax at least it’s made an impression. People were at least interested to see the story continue. A superior sequel to remedy the issues of the 1st film easily increases the box office. Just look at Winter Soldier as a prime example.

    Bale’s refusal to return scared WB, knowing any standalone Batman reboot would instantly be compared to Nolan’s, especially only a short time after TDKR. So they have him overshadow Superman as much as possible which will make him seem so much more ‘awesome’ than Bale’s version.

    Superman is the greatest superhero and he cannot get his own standalone sequel or top billing against Batman. That is simply a disgrace and is not right no matter how you argue.

    Wonder Woman is an amazing character with so much potential for epic storytelling. Yet she cannot get her own movie either. Yet Ant Man can. No one can tell me that this is right.

    Yes Batman is the bigger cinematic property, but it’s Bale’s Batman that the masses love and much of Affleck’s early movie CV still hasn’t be forgotten or forgiven. So it cannot be assumed that just because his costume is like Frank Miller’s one that everyone will take to his version.

    WB / DC just need to appreciate their other properties and show as much commitment to them as they do to Batman, who in truth is far less dynamic and exciting, when compared to Superman and Wonder Woman in particular.

    • I completely agree with you on this. I’ve been saying the same thing. It’s crazy to me.

    • Man of Steel should have it’s own trilogy. Name another Major super hero that hasn’t gotten their own trilogy. Superman was the greatest hero of them all and it’s a disgrace that he has to share the spotlight with other super hero’s. I think that is a great idea After the Superman trilogy plays out and his character has matured. If movies like Spiderman, Iron Man, X Men etc can all have trilogy’s- how is it possible that Superman doesn’t??? Wake up Snyder!

  2. I loved Man of Steel. And was really excited to see what they did next with this new and improved Superman franchise. I think it is far too soon for Batman vs Superman. Superman has not been given the chance to mature as a franchise. Just as the Avengers have each been given films that allow them to have full origin stories and grow I think Superman deserved the same. It just seems like greed on the part of both Marvel and the studio to do this film so quickly out of the gate after Man of Steel.

    • Yeah. Marvel should have focused on Avatar 2 or at least Terminator 5 before going forward with Batman v Superman.

      • How about simply focusing on a sequel to Man of Steel that actually centers around Superman??

        • @AM68
          You missed the sarcasm of the good doctor’s comment.

          • Thanks but I got the sarcasm. I merely didn’t appreciate it.

        • How do you know Batman v Superman won’t center around Superman?

          The title suggests that Batman has a problem with Superman… therefore… you are still getting a Superman sequel, only this time Batman is the antagonist.

          Pretty ground-breaking if you ask me. Hero vs. Hero. Ideal vs Ideal.

          BATMAN V SUPERMAN!!!!!!!!!

          • Everything we’ve learned about who will be in the film suggests that it is more of an ensemble piece in preparation for the Justice League franchise. I’m not stating that Superman’s story won’t be told or even advanced. But it will be quite a crowded playing field. And btw- this is a matter of OPINION. You have yours and I have mine. Neither are wrong.

          • @Mindbender,

            I agree with you about Batman V Superman being a neat concept. However, I agree with AM68, that it’s kinda early to introduce Batman, especially since we didn’t see enough of Clark as Superman(MOS struck me as more of a Clark/ Kal-El story). I think Superman at least deserves his own trilogy where he’s the sole superhero. Then introduce other heroes. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on this one.

            Mr. Glass

  3. Jesus

  4. Still think it stinks,, what they are doing to Henry Cavill… he signed for 3 pictures.. but hope he is allowed to make others in the mean time… He is too good to waste this way.. Money Making,, regardless of what the people want to see, they are targeting the kids.. boo!!! Hiss~~~

    • It is a business so yes their main goal is to make as much money as they can, this should not be an argument as every business model on earth follows this idea. And I think their target audience includes more than just kids as this would limit their potential return of investment.

      • That response sounds like a bunch of business terms you just threw together. Regardless of it being a business, and they are out to make money as a primary goal of purpose. There’s good business and bad business. Superman has been a specific superhero whose interpretations on screen has struggled to receive proper treatment. Besides the fanboy backlash and pointless hating, MOS was fantastic, especially compared to the previous attempts.

        Then for the sequel, which should have used the first film to set up a mythology within Superman’s own universe, they make him a co star within his own franchise (or sequel). Cavil did a fantastic job as Supes, and this is bad business. Yes DC has our attention, but all the news has been centered around Batman/Affleck and not Superman, when this is suppose to be his follow up. They should have worked to build Superman’s narratives, and then pursue team ups.

        These companies operate with the mindset of billions now. Its not about whats right, and thats bad business. The sad part is that, if he flops, Cavil suffers a lot of the damage.

        • I don’t work for DC, so this is all guesswork, but I’m thinking that DC isn’t just looking to score as much cash as they can, I think that they truly believe that they found an interesting way to tell their story that differs from what we’ve already seen.

          I’m positive there are some execs that are screaming, “Marvel is making money! I want that, give me blockbusters, stat!” However, I’m also positive that the people getting paid to write this are thinking to themselves, “What if we create a saga? Superman gets down and dirty w/ Zod. Next, Batman comes to investigate and other heroes start to emerge.. Then, crazy huge threat comes to Earth. Then…”

          I can’t even guess what comes after that (part of my complaint that the threats were too big, too fast) but I’m sure the plan is to let Marvel do things their way, and for DC to trailblaze their own path and give us options. BvS:DoJ isn’t a traditional sequel but it moves a larger story forward. I’m intrigued by this approach, we’ll see what happens

          • @SilverJaguar : Interesting thought :?

  5. What’s the difference between this and Thor and Cap getting one solo film before the team-up? It worked well for them, I think the same will apply to Superman

  6. They should be following the marvel formula

  7. In regards to Smith’s comments about the title. Watching an episode of AMC Movie News, John had shed some light on the title. Apparently when listing out legal disputes/court cases/etc. they always have it in the format of “Accusing-Party V Defending-Party.” So with that in mind i can understand the title. Because perhaps they’re trying to subtly hint at part of the plot, in that Batman is the one seeking out Supes to call him out on his actions.

    • Right, so it does lend more to the theory that their battle will be less physical confrontation and more “Batman is here to prosecute Superman” for his part in the destruction of the sprawling metropolis…. Metropolis.

      Or maybe he actually opens up a court case and the first hour and a half will be like the episode of Law & Order.

      The sad part is, I’d still line up to watch that..

      DUNN DUNN!

      • All they should be focusing on is bringing us a good story and making a great movie. Succeed and doing that, and they’ll always make a s***-ton of money. And especially with this one, cause literally, the whole frickin’ world is aware of this coming down the pipe, and we’re all checkin’ our watches, keepin’ an eye on the net, lookin’ for little signs, updates, snippets of progress. And it’s 2 years out!!. Sometimes I miss being a kid when maybe two weeks before hand you find out on tv some cool flick was coming out. I had no idea about Star Wars or Superman the movie before they came out when I was a kid. They just happened to me.

      • i think bruce will take superman as Bruce and as batman too. and supi will see him by thermal that he is bruce wayne. :-) like superman batman the world’s finest the movie.

  8. It would have been good to have a proper superman sequel to fully establish himself in the worlds conscience after revealing himself in Man of Steel which I thought was a great movie! However I’m really looking forward to seeing how they bring the two biggest superheroes in history together for the first time on screen.

  9. DC’s decision to make this into a multi-part movie serial is quite smart actually. It’s like a 6 part mini-series (Any of the Crisis series, Kingdom Come…etc) where the story evolves & along the way we’re introduced to more characters as the story calls for them. It’s refreshingly different than Marvel &, if successful which I believe it will be, prove that there’s more than one way to fleece moviegoers’ love for CBM!

    X-Men movies are a good example of being able to have many characters sharing the screen without needing solo movies to justify them.

    Still, my take on DoJ is it IS a Superman movie, but with Batman as a joint plot device & quasi-antagonist-turned-ally (it’ll be a bait & switch, Luthor revealed as the big bad midway thru the movie).

    What’s important is that DoJ’s POV will be via the lens of Superman/Clark/Kal-EL’s challenges, struggles & his character’s arc. That’s my guess anyway.

    In Snyder We Trust!

    Are we there yet?

    OH no, what? Another 23 months!?!! Please put it back to 2015! Please!!!!
    I’m scared of Cap 3…! NOT.

  10. their chould have anonced justice league in the begining saying man of steen was the first stape, now imagine at the end of men of steel as final scène their chow US Bruce Wayne watching the news about metropolis and turn to say to Alfred i have to go to metropolis , i assure you the would have made much more money

    • i think the idea has a lot of potential if they do it right. it could still be about superman, i think they are just using the title to bring more people into the theater. i would have been happy with supes by himself, but they can do some interesting things with a multiple character tie in. it also makes sense that more people would come out of the wood work after seeing superman reveal himself to the world. it reminds me of the dark knight, where commissioner gordon tells batman that the criminals get automatics when the cops us semi automatics, then says your flying around in a bat suit then hands him the joker card. superman revealing himself to the world naturally would bring out those that are like him.