It’s been a tedious road to travel, reporting on Warner Bros. attempting to launch a Justice League franchise in reponse to Marvel’s game-changing success with The Avengers. The studio hasn’t confirmed or denied anything, going back to the story about Will Beall (Gangster Squad) working on a script - meaning, all the analysis and discussions conducted over the past eight months were, ultimately, based on unverified reports and rumor, not fact.
The recent claim that WB is scrapping Beall’s screenplay renewed speculation about what the plan is (assuming there IS a firm plan in place), after director Zack Snyder reboots the Superman movie franchise this Summer with Man of Steel. We’re now hearing Beall is signing a two script deal with the studio, suggesting the situation with his Justice League movie isn’t as clear-cut as thought (hoped?).
Variety is reporting Beall’s freshly-inked deal with WB, which assures the writer is remaining in business with the studio in the foreseeable future. However, it raises a good question: If his Justice League script was never that impressive (even before meddling executives with conflicting interests weakened it further), then why go and hire Beall on for additional work? He’s already 0-for-1 at the studio, following Gangster Squad earning lukewarm box office and failing to inspire confidence in Beall’s screenwriting talents.
One possible explanation is that WB doesn’t consider either Gangster Squad or the Justice League script a proper measurement of Beall’s potential. The former was forced through reshoots and delayed until a January release after the Colorado theater massacre, which is partly to blame for the lackluster outcome. Similarly, the proposed Justice League story wasn’t sensible for jump-starting the movie franchise, given its scale even outranked The Avengers (without also having five movies of plot and character development to draw from).
The other explanation is that WB executives are still putting together a game plan for its DC universe, which includes tackling such issues as whether or not they should make Green Lantern 2, how long to wait before rebooting the Batman movie franchise, and waiting to see if Snyder’s Man of Steel reboot performs well enough financially and critically to justify moving forward with a new Superman movie trilogy. In other words, keeping Beall around could be partly motivated by the idea they might want him to revisit his Justice League script in the future.
It’s obvious WB isn’t alone in feeling Beall has not peaked as a screenwriter, seeing how the Variety report concludes by mentioning Universal approaching him about writing The Legend of Conan for Arnold Schwarzenegger (before his new WB deal was settled, of course). Unfortunately, as far as Justice League is concerned, this update essentially moves us back to the same place we were before those reports about Beall’s script being dumped – leaving us scratching out heads, in an effort to figure out exactly what WB’s playing at, anyway.
What do you make of WB’s decision to secure a two script deal with Beall? Should this be interpreted as relevant news, as far as Justice League is concerned? Let us know what you think in the comments section.