Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy finale The Dark Knight Rises may have been a great critical and financial success - but it also left the character of Batman stranded in a strange situation off-screen. With recent news that screenwriter Will Beall is working on a Justice League movie script - and continued rumors that next year's Superman reboot Man of Steel will also launch DC/Warner Bros.' shared movie universe - fans have been wondering where Batman fits in; especially since Chris Nolan made it very clear that his Batman is not a part of that equation.
We've said it before here at Screen Rant that one strategy DC/WB might take is forgoing any relaunch of Batman as a solo movie franchise - instead reintroducing the character as part of the Justice League team. Now, sources are rumbling that this is exactly what might be happening.
Batman on Film is pretty meticulous about what they report and who they believe, but the site claims to have a source who is asserting that Justice League is indeed the next step after Man of Steel. The article speculates on 2015 as a release year for Justice League - which makes sense, considering the necessary timeline for production (only now in the scripting stage); not to mention that it would compete with Marvel's release of Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.
DC/WB is also not likely to get anything out before 2015. Aside from Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld's upcoming adaptation of DC's Metal Men - which is not yet specified to even be part of the DC shared universe - there have been no real strides to put any solo character films into production. The same Flash, Wonder Woman or even Lobo rumors of yesteryear still persist today, while Disney/Marvel is launching headlong into sequels to blockbuster character properties - and introducing new properties like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man to the market. In short: At this point, DC/WB may need to go big and do a Justice League movie - with a skilled director like a Ben Affleck or Wachowskis at the helm.
Inevitably, there will be those who feel that launching into a team-up film so quickly cheapens the introduction of each respective character in the DC universe (Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, etc.). But after the disappointing returns on films like Green Lantern and Superman Returns and the still untested mettle of Man of Steel (of which only two brief teaser trailers have been seen)...
If Justice League fails to firmly establish the sort of brand that Marvel did with The Avengers (and make a lot of money, to boot), then at least the wound closes off there, and self-contained solo films (like Nolan's) are still possibilities down the line. If Justice League is a rousing success - in terms of box office earnings and introducing audiences to the heroes of the DCU - then the post-Justice League solo films will have an easier time launching themselves than they arguably do now.
While this BoF rumor is just that - a RUMOR - logic suggests that DC/WB, at some point in the next year, could (will) officially make it known that Justice League is up next. How Batman will be portrayed in that shared universe - young, angry, rookie crime fighter, cynical seasoned veteran (my vote), or something else entirely - remains to be seen. But it should probably be the main topic of fan concern, for the time being.
As always, we'll keep you updated on Batman, Justice League, and all other DC Superhero movie news and rumors.