[This article contains POTENTIAL SPOILERS for Batman V Superman.]
There is no longer any pretense that director Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t part setup for a Justice League movie (hence the subtitle), though at the same time the film will build on the plot developments in Man of Steel, as had been indicated by co-writer David S. Goyer. That includes addressing the fallout from the destruction inflicted upon Metropolis in the Superman movie reboot; as Goyer and Snyder have made perfectly clear, that was the plan from the very beginning.
Batman V Superman set videos, like the one that is linked below (or this one from a couple days ago), teases even more city destruction in the film, albeit with a key difference from similar material in Man of Steel – now Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is involved.
The below clip was filmed at the Batman V Superman set in Corktown, Detroit and shows what appears to be Affleck’s stunt double, clearly rescuing a young woman from danger. A related report by Batman on Film suggests this scene being filmed here takes place during “some sort of attack on Metropolis.” (Bruce is apparently in a Wayne Enterprise Building in the city, when this happens.)
That same report (per usual, take it with a grant of salt) indicates that Batman V Superman will indeed have “a very ‘anti-Superman’ theme,” with people marching in the streets to protest the Man of Steel. (For related, see these set images that show the statue unveiled in honor of Superman having been forcibly torn down.) Again, this is in keeping with the longtime expectation that Batman V Superman will take a Dark Knight-inspired approach and show the tide turning against Henry Cavill’s Kal-El – especially if it’s Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) who’s orchestrating the attacks on Metropolis and/or the public opinion campaign against Supe.
In addition, the BoF report asserts that Aquaman will indeed appear in Batman V Superman, as film tests were conducted on a “water set” very recently. The character’s role is described as being “very small”; according to the rumor mill, he will show up as a direct response to Superman “outing” himself to the world. It’s believed that this is also the reason that Jason Momoa playing Aquaman hasn’t been confirmed, as it’s meant to be a “surprise” – though, not a very well maintained one, if so (see these photos that appear to show Momoa working out in the same rock climbing area as Batman V Superman star Gal Gadot).
Likewise, the expectation is that Batman V Superman will establish that Aquaman has been operating under the radar (no pun intended) for quite some time, prior to Superman’s “noisy” emergence on the scene – as have Wonder Woman (Gadot) and Ben Affleck’s Batman, among other superheroes. (Ray Fisher as Cyborg is also expected to play a “very small” role in the proceedings, at most.) On paper, that reads as being a natural continuation of the themes and subtext introduced in Man of Steel, progressing the issue of how the modern world reacts to discovering that beings with extraordinary abilities exist.
Of course, this is also building towards the Justice League movie, which Snyder is lined up to direct and Chris Terrio (who rewrote Goyer’s original Batman V Superman script draft) is being courted to write. Still, assuming these rumors and speculatory claims are on the right track, it suggests that the building of a DC Movie Shared Universe doesn’t, per se, have to come at the expense of the meaningful storytelling that has characterized the best DC films made to date – and that is an encouraging thought.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is currently scheduled to hit theaters on May 6th, 2016.