Director Zack Snyder is perhaps the most instrumental figure currently working in the DC Extended Universe. His Man of Steel kicked the whole thing off in June 2013. His Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will serve as a true launching pad for the franchise, introducing new versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and others. Finally, Snyder is also tasked with directing both Justice League films, which are slated for release in November 2017 and June 2019, respectively.
It seems like a tall order for one man to handle, but Snyder has experience working in grand scale superhero epics. He was the one behind the adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen, which like Justice League, featured a full ensemble cast and many different characters. Snyder believes that working on the project many years ago helped him prepare for the Justice League job.
While on the Hall of Justice podcast, Snyder explained how the two movies are similar in a way, since they deal with the examination of superheroes and why they would form a team together:
“Watchmen, in a weird way, is Justice League anyway. It’s sort of coming to Justice League and understanding what it would be in the Watchmen universe… its kind of retirement, after it’s been destroyed. Sort of re-examining and putting together what had happened. The cool thing about is if you’ve really pored over Watchmen the way I clearly have, it’s kind of like this education that you can’t get any other way, as far as the ‘why’ of superheroes, and the ‘why’ of… a league of superheroes. It’s a primer in the most basic sense… of a Justice League type group.
I think that knowledge, and sort of dealing with those personalities has really prepared me to really go forward into this world with a keen awareness not only to the ‘why’ of a group like that, but also to the ‘why’ of their existence in pop culture.”
In that sense, Watchmen was the perfect film for Snyder to tackle well before the DCEU came into fruition. That story is noted for its complex themes and exploration of the superhero genre. It looked at what superheroes would be like in a real world context, which was a goal of Snyder’s when he made Man of Steel. The Superman reboot took place in a tangible setting and uncovered what the public’s reaction would be to an alien with superpowers. This angle will be explored further in Batman V Superman, which primarily deals with the fallout of the Battle of Metropolis and Kryptonian induced paranoia. The idea of superhero accountability will also be dealt with in Dawn of Justice, recalling the famous question, “Who watches the Watchmen?”
It also helps that Watchmen had a fascinating group of superheroes, each with their own unique personality. The cinematic version of the Justice League won’t be all that different. Marketing materials for the various DC films have established that characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all have their own set of principles, and they won’t always gel with each member of the group. The handling of character dynamics and relationships will be a huge factor in Justice League‘s success, as their interactions with one another should be just as interesting as any action set piece. For what it’s worth, Snyder should not be out of his element working with this material. He’s someone who is a fan of DC lore and has used similar concepts in his films before.
Time will tell if the DCEU can truly reign supreme and feature some landmark moments for the genre. Based on Snyder’s quotes, the stage is set for something captivating and compelling. Looking at not just why superheroes choose to protect the public, but also their place in society and popular culture has the potential to deliver thematically rich and deep subtexts that few superhero movies have attempted before. Snyder seems well-equipped to deal with the challenges and pressures of bringing DC’s finest to the big screen, so fans have reason to be hopeful.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit theaters on March 25th, 2016, followed by 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, and Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020.
Source: Hall of Justice