When the Superman movie franchise reboot was officially dubbed Man of Steel, it was generally acknowledged that the title for director Zack Snyder's movie was in the same vein as The Dark Knight - the second chapter in Man of Steel producer Christopher Nolan's Batman movie trilogy - with regard to how the title has artistic implications for the film.
Pretty much all other superhero films that have been released to date have featured their protagonist's name in the title (or protagonists' names), but the degree of public awareness surrounding Kal-El and Bruce Wayne allows filmmakers room to be more creative with the titles for movies about them (i.e. deviate from the numeral and/or subtitle tradition). However, it was screenwriter David S. Goyer who originally suggested that the Man of Steel sequel will probably have a straightforward title such as Batman vs. Superman (or maybe Superman vs. Batman).
Fusible has broken the news that Warner Bros. went ahead and quietly registered several possible titles for the Man of Steel sequel this week, through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor. The list includes:
- Man of Steel: Battle the Knight
- Man of Steel: Beyond Darkness
- Man of Steel: Black of Knight
- Man of Steel: Darkness Falls
- Man of Steel: Knight Falls
- Man of Steel: Shadow of the Night
- Man of Steel: The Blackest Hour
- Man of Steel: The Darkness Within
We should mention that MarkMonitor is also the registrar for both the Superman vs. Batman and Batman vs. Superman domains that WB owns. As such, this news isn't at all tantamount to a confirmation that the Man of Steel sequel - featuring Henry Cavill as Kal-El and Ben Affleck playing an older/more experienced Bruce Wayne - is going to have a subtitle, rather than the Batman vs. Superman title that has started to look more and more like the real thing for a while now.
Possibly though, the actual title will be one of the 10 options presented here (until more options are registered, anyway), which probably comes as disappointing news for those who're hoping that the film could be called World's Finest (after the Superman/Batman animated feature).
Then again, Snyder and Goyer's new Superman movie appears to be taking inspiration from comic books such as Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and/or Alex Ross and Mark Weid's Kingdom Come, which both feature seasoned iterations of Bruce Wayne, who has grown increasingly unstable and seemingly lost his moral compass in his old(er) age. If so, then one of the more ominous titles registered by WB might be more befitting of Snyder's film, much in the same way that the Batman vs. Superman title alludes to the philosophical/physical skirmish between the two superhero titans (better than a more positive title like World's Finest does, anyway).
Marvel Studios has favored the subtitle option with its "Phase 2" sequels (save for Iron Man 3), which is something that 20th Century Fox has - for the most part - also done with sequel installments in the Marvel franchises that it owns (X-Men and Fantastic Four). Meanwhile, Sony may be going in that direction with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (as it's currently known), with rumors now pointing to The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro being a possibility (as opposed to The Spectacular Spider-Man, which had been floated earlier on).
However, there are significant differences between the Marvel and DC universes, which (arguably) ought to be further reflected in everything from the tone to titles of their respective comic book movies. Indeed, if the Man of Steel sequel is going to focus on how a more physically/emotionally-hardened Batman's views on superheroism don't align with a younger and more vulnerable Superman, then it's going to be quite serious.
And frankly, a title like Man of Steel: The Darkness Within (along with the other new possibilities) might be a little too close to more light-hearted (read: cartoony) superhero fare like Thor: The Dark World, to be an appropriate title for a clash of the (superhero) titans.
How about it - what do you think the Man of Steel sequel should/will be called?
Batman vs. Superman/Man of Steel 2 will open in theaters on July 17th, 2015.