2014, as far as the superhero cinema genre is concerned, will go down as the year of Marvel comic book movies, with new Captain America, Spider-Man, and X-Men films having been released, along with an intriguing newcomer to the big screen in Guardians of the Galaxy. Meanwhile, over at DC, there are big projects on the horizon; not only are multiple DC comic properties slated to become modern TV series by late 2014 (The Flash, Gotham, and Constantine chief among them), but director Zack Snyder is putting together his Man of Steel sequel, currently known by the public as Batman vs. Superman, for a theatrical release in 2016.
Those who’ve been following major casting announcements for the Man of Steel sequel – Oscar-winner Ben Affleck being set to play Batman, Fast & Furious alum Gal Gadot signing up to portray the new screen incarnation of Wonder Woman, and Oscar-nominee Jesse Eisenberg taking on the role of iconic Superman villain Lex Luthor – should understand one thing all too well by now: Snyder has a vision for this movie and he is going to see it through to its logical end, no matter how much concern, doubt and/or anger fans voice along the way. That means the filmmaker’s promise to “explode” the Superman and Batman film universes should definitely come true; whether that will be for good or bad, remains to be seen.
Then again, Snyder has never been one to shy away from projects that draw passionate responses and/or come attached with lofty expectations from onlookers, so in a way the Batman vs. Superman movie is really just business as usual for the director. Indeed, as has been pointed out before here at Screen Rant, much of the pressure on Snyder has long been self-applied, and that remains the case with the next Superman movie installment – in ways other than just the contentious casting decisions for the film that’ve been made, that is.
During a recent interview with Forbes, Snyder indicated that was an active player in the push for Batman to serve as, in essence, the antagonist opposite Henry Cavill’s Kal-El in the Man of Steel sequel, partly due to Snyder’s own love for the character – which, to no small degree, was strengthened by his admiration for how Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns comic book approaches the superhero and his world. However, Snyder also emphasized that the idea of bringing in the Caped Crusader to the Man of Steel universe only came about after the first movie was complete (e.g. Man of Steel wasn’t just an excuse to get to a Superman/Batman story):
I gotta be honest, it definitely was a thing that… after Man of Steel finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman. In the first meeting, it was like, “Maybe Batman?” Maybe at the end of the second movie, some Kryptonite gets delivered to Bruce Wayne’s house or something. Like in a cryptic way, that’s the first time we see him. But then, once you say it out loud, right? You’re in a story meeting talking about, like, who should [Superman] fight if he fought this giant alien threat Zod who was basically his equal physically, from his planet, fighting on our turf… You know, who to fight next? The problem is, once you say it out loud, then it’s kind of hard to go back, right? Once you say, “What about Batman?” then you realize, “Okay, that’s a cool idea. What else?” I mean, what do you say after that? …But I’m not gonna say at all that when I took the job to do Man of Steel that I did it in a subversive way to get to Batman. I really believe that only after contemplating who could face [Superman] did Batman come into the picture.
Snyder also spoke about the many relevant anniversary events connected to Batman vs. Superman – like how this year marks the 75th anniversary of the first Batman comic ever published – before quickly jumping to a topic that he seemed even more enthused about (and one that fans are equally interested in): the new superhero costumes that will be unveiled in the film:
… The thing also that’s really fascinating for me is that, even just in the tests we’ve been doing, the costumes, right? You basically have Batman and Superman — and this is without Ben [Affleck] and Henry [Cavill] in the costumes, but just like the stand-ins, just testing to see what the costumes look like. And you have them standing there and they’re standing in the same shot — and then we have Wonder Woman, you know, all three of them in the same shot. Even just for a test, you really have to go, “Wow, that’s crazy!” Not only is it the first time that I’m seeing them, it’s the first time they’ve ever existed together on screen in a movie. And that’s kind of a huge deal. Even just Batman and Superman standing next to each other… [I]t’s kind of epic. You do sort of sense the weight of the pop culture iconography jumping out of its skin when you’re standing there looking at the two of them and Wonder Woman. It’s crazy. But it’s fun. I mean, I have the first photo, I’ve got it in my archive because I was like, “Okay, I better keep this, it’s gonna be worth something,” [laughs]!
DC Comics’ New 52 designs for Batman and Wonder Woman could have an influence on their looks in Batman vs. Superman, much like Cavill’s outfit as Supes takes its cues from the New 52 iteration (see: no red trunks, more armor-like costume, etc.). Snyder, during the same Forbes interview, claimed he wasn’t sure when the official costume reveals will happen, but he expects them to be significant events (much like the initial unveiling of Cavill as Superman was a couple years back):
Unfortunately, I don’t even know the timeline… Because the movie takes place so far from now, it’s hard to know exactly. That all gets tied to marketing and strategies for the movie. It’s not just a free-for-all, which I’d love it to be. Because I take a picture of the suit with my camera– I’m actually staring at one right now in my office. And it’s just massive on my wall in my office and it’s epic, let me tell you! And I’m like, “God, I want to send this to the Internet immediately.” But I know I’m not allowed to [laughs]! I do value the sort of excitement of the way the film is [revealed]… the pieces that are released and sort of trickle out to everybody, and those reveals are exciting milestones for us.
Nothing concrete has been revealed about the Batman and Wonder Woman costumes in the Man of Steel sequel yet, beyond costume designer Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle) offering his assurances that Wonder Woman’s outfit will be “relevant” and Kevin Smith’s promise – based on what he’s gotten to see from the sidelines of pre-production – that Batfleck’s costume stands far apart from those worn by the previous flesh-and-blood Batmans before him. As such, you ought to feel free to speculate to your heart’s desire, with regard to how the DC icons will be dressed in Snyder’s latest ambitious venture.
For much, much more from Snyder – on topics ranging from interpretations of his previous work to his feelings about the “rivalry” between Marvel and DC – you ought to checkout the full interview with Forbes.
Batman vs. Superman is currently scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on May 6th, 2016.