[APRIL FOOLS!!!! This article is for joke purposes only.]
Initially planned to release six weeks after Marvel's second team-up film The Avengers: Age of Ultron in summer 2015, Warner Bros. announced in January that it was pushing back the untitled Man of Steel sequel - tentatively dubbed Batman vs. Superman - to May 2016 where it currently shares the summer opening weekend with an unannounced Marvel Studios production.
While promoting the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige made headlines when explaining that his production house has no intention of moving away from the date, begging fans to ponder whether or not Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment could actually try to compete at the box office on the same opening weekend. Realistically, it was never going to play out that way and while some thought Marvel Studios could try an earlier date for what's almost certainly going to be Captain America 3 (depending on how The Winter Soldier does this weekend with an April release), others could easily see Warner Bros. pushing back the long-awaited Batman vs. Superman onscreen introduction a little more, since they've already shown that its release date is flexible.
According to Variety, the latter is exactly the case, but not for reasons you'd expect. Batman vs. Superman is being pushed back a few months yet again to December 2016, four years after Man of Steel was initially scheduled to hit theaters (before it was also delayed six months to June 2013). Zack Snyder and company have even more time to deliver the studio's most ambitious project to date, one that's going to blow open their own cinematic universe. But the bigger news is that the delay gives time for a full introduction to one of DC's most iconic characters who's long overdue for a feature film debut: Wonder Woman.
That's right. Gal Gadot will be leading her own Wonder Woman film and it's being fast-tracked for a fall 2015 release, with writer David S. Goyer directing and Zack Snyder producing. Perhaps in a response to criticisms for lack of female superheroes from DC and Marvel - when franchises including The Hunger Games prove that powerful leading ladies can dominate at the box office - or perhaps in an effort to beat Marvel to the punch in putting a non-male character in as a headlining hero, Wonder Woman is going to get her own film before sharing the screen with Batman and Superman the following year. Gadot signed a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. and one of the options includes a potential solo film - That solo film is now going to come first before Batman vs. Superman and before the full-fledged Justice League film - which rumors have potentially shooting back-to-back with Batman vs. Superman.
That certainly explains all the casting rumors associated with additional supporting Batman vs. Superman characters - it's all part of a larger plan leading to Justice League and getting the DC shared cinematic universe off the ground. The timing couldn't be better with Sony and Fox both recently announced their own multi-film universe for Spider-Man and X-Men/Fantastic Four, respectively. Happy to see Wonder Woman get her own film before a team-up? Could this mean Warner Bros. will have DC movies coming three years in a row with Justice League coming in 2017?
[Update: Happy April Fools!]
Wonder Woman hits theaters fall 2015, Batman vs. Superman hits theaters on fall 2016.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.