One of the trickiest issues standing in the way of DC Comics and Warner Bros.' Justice League movie universe is the question of what to do with characters that have already been established in independent film franchises - namely, Batman and Green Lantern.
With The Dark Knight Trilogy over and Green Lantern not really connecting with mainstream audiences, DC/WB has to figure out how they can introduce the characters in the 2015 Justice League movie - and then, spin those characters off into successful film franchises. Today we have word on the plan for Batman's future at the movies.
The succes of Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy has ironically enough created the biggest headache for WB. Those films redefined Batman for a new era, and the memory of that interpretation of the character is going to be long-lasting (permanent, in certain cases). So how do you make another film with your most successful franchise player without turning-off audiences - and without the resources that helped you win in the first place (Nolan, Batman actor Christian Bale)?
Not too surprisingly, the answer seems to be "Delay, delay, delay..."
Batman on Film reports that they have a source they trust who claims that - while a new Batman could indeed debut in Justice League (2015) - the earliest we'll see a new solo Batman film is 2017. For the mathematically impaired, that's five years after Dark Knight Rises and two years after Justice League.
The strategy is sound: respect the artistry of what Nolan did, and play things safe by gradually introducing a new Batman in the context of a team film. Even if Justice League bombs, there is still room to wait two years and start (sort of) fresh with a different version of Batman. (Pretty much the advice our own Andrew Dyce gave as part of his Justice League movie gameplan.)
However, what is somewhat curious is the notion that a new Batman movie would come so close on the heels of Justice League, when there are multiple other characters that could first be explored - characters we have never seen before on film. Unless they have those Aquaman, Flash, Wonder Woman, or other DC character films scheduled between 2014 - 2017 (which we have little-to-no evidence of), it would seem that Batman is going to be one of the first solo characters up to bat in this shared universe. Batman. Again.
The decision to jump into a team-up film so quickly (as opposed to going the 'Marvel way' of doing all solo character films first) has been controversial from the beginning, and the implications of this Batman reboot date will only fuel the DC naysayers. It's all speculation at this point (though we expect some big reveals from DC/WB in 2013), but it at the same time follows a certain "studio logic" to the letter: Keep playing the trump card, as much as fashionably possible.
What about you: Are you hungry for another Batman movie sooner before later? Or do you think the franchise needs time to breathe after Nolan? Which heroes do YOU think DC/WB should be lining up for solo films before Batman?
Justice League is set for Summer 2015. The future after that is anybody's guess.
You may be able to see this whole DC Movie Universe begin in Man of Steel, which hits theaters on June 14, 2013.