Man of Steel was just the beginning of the DC Extended Universe; since its release in 2013, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have announced a slate of a number of other superhero movies, each taking place within the world established in Man of Steel. Due up next is Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which besides introducing a new big screen version of Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck), will also debut the newest iterations of several other heroes – including Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa).
However, based on the Batman V Superman trailer, it seems Superman (Henry Cavill) will still be one of the main focuses of the movie. The aftermath of the Black Zero battle from the end of Man of Steel evidently played a prominent thematic role, with the public distrust towards Superman reflected by both Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Batman. In a way, Batman V Superman is not just a follow-up to Man of Steel, but a continuation of those events.
Canoe had the chance to speak to Man of Steel and Batman V Superman director Zack Snyder, where they talked about a multitude of things; some of them being what it means to take on Justice League, what to really expect from Batman V Superman, and the potential of a future standalone Superman movie. When asked if at the time of making his directorial debut (the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake) he ever entertained the idea of directing a Justice League movie, Snyder said:
At that point I was really into (Frank Miller’s comic) The Dark Knight Returns. I don’t know that I thought about it in those terms, but if you told me that I might make a Justice League movie, I wouldn’t think that that was weird. But I don’t think I would realize what it meant to pop culture the way it has struck pop culture right now.
Since the emergence of a number of superhero franchises like The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy over the past decade, the popularity of the genre has soared. As Snyder said, superhero movies have definitely struck a chord with the general public, one that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. That is, if filmmakers continue to make quality movies, according to Snyder:
The pressure’s on us, the filmmakers, to make the movies better. It’s about human stories; it’s not just about big explosions and stuff. What are these people feeling?
Without a grounded story and characters that feel real, the huge action sequences found in modern filmmaking all go the waste, as the audience has no real connection to what’s happening on-screen. As Snyder emphasizes, it’s important to focus on the stories and the characters rather than just focus on the huge set-pieces and fill in the rest later.
Snyder later went onto discuss Batman V Superman, and more specifically Superman’s role in said film, which Snyder says is somewhat of a direct sequel to Man of Steel:
I think in a way Batman v Superman is Man of Steel 2. Justice League is kind of the transcendent, knights-of-the-round-table of the story. It’d be interesting to think about what a standalone Superman movie might be.
One of the biggest questions regarding Batman V Superman lately has been who, out of the two titular characters, will have the more substantial role. As recent rumors (and even Snyder’s previous comments) would have you believe, it’s Batman. While Batman V Superman will have to spend some time introducing this new Batman – which is why Batman Affleck will get a lot of screen-time – the direction of the film will still have a lot to do with what happened in Man of Steel. After all, the reason why Batman distrusts Superman is because of the collateral damage caused by the latter’s fight with General Zod in Metropolis. Perhaps that’s what Snyder means when he says that Batman V Superman is like Man of Steel 2.
Going by recent reports, it seems Superman himself isn’t likely to get another solo film anytime soon. According to recent reports, another Superman standalone film (starring Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel, that is) is not a priority at WB right now. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but clearly projects like Wonder Woman and Justice League Part 1 (both of which start filming in the next year) are what WB/DC are truly focused on for the time being. Both planned Justice League films will no doubt feature Cavill’s Kal-El in a significant capacity, of course, but for those wanting to see a “proper” Man of Steel 2 – Batman V Superman will have to suffice for now.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.