Yesterday Disney and Marvel Studios happily announced that Joss Whedon, the man behind The Avengers, will be back to not only write and direct its sequel, but will be overseeing Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe (which will also include a live-action TV series) for the next three years.
The big headline-stealing, buzz-generating announcements keep coming from Marvel Studios, but for Warner Bros., it's been a challenging path to begin organizing live-action feature films for their DC Comics lineup into something that can compete at the same game. They're taking steps in the right direction to make that happen and their answer to Joss Whedon's signing may to bring in Ben Affleck to helm Justice League.
Now that Christopher Nolan has completed The Dark Knight trilogy (and is not interested in Justice League) and director Zack Snyder's Man of Steel is set to launch DC's response to Marvel's franchise, we're about to see what fans have patiently been waiting for: a shared universe where Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman can share a world with The Flash and Superman.
Variety has the scoop from several inside sources which inform them that Affleck is the only directorial candidate to have been sent Will Beall's Justice League screenplay and that he will be chatting with Warner Bros. over the next few days. Affleck, having only begun his major feature film directing career with 2007's Gone Baby Gone also wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated The Town (2010) for Warner Bros., along with the upcoming Argo which he also helmed.
Even with only a few features under his belt, Affleck has proven he can handle ensemble casts in action and drama, and his working relationship with Warner Bros. almost had him taking on Man of Steel previously. He may still get his chance to work with Superman and more interestingly, Affleck could be in front of the camera in this one as well since he's starred in the last two features he directed.
Have we found our new Bruce Wayne in the man who once played Daredevil? Funny enough, Affleck was rumored for the part 13 years ago.
From the Man of Steel panel at Comic-Con 2012, Zack Snyder finally dropped his guard about keeping his Superman story separate, much like Nolan's Batman, and he hinted that once they get "[Superman's] house in order," they will see where Henry Cavill's Clark Kent could appear next. With Green Lantern failing to earn critical acclaim, will Ryan Reynolds return as Hal Jordan for the team-up alongside Cavill?
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More importantly, when is Justice League planned for release and who will play Batman if it isn't Christian Bale? Will The Flash and Wonder Woman - both of which have scripts in development - get their introductions through solo movies before Justice League or will Warner Bros. rush Justice League first and use it as a launching pad for each hero's individual film?
There are so many questions but expect more news soon.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
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