It's strange to think that few knew how much the success of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy would change the future for Warner Bros. and DC Comics, given the financial and critical success of the series when it was released. But with only a few years having passed since then, it seems more and more like Christian Bale's Batman will usher in an entire age of DC Comic adaptations.
At present, David S. Goyer appears to be leading the charge, having worked on the scripts for Nolan's trilogy as well as Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. As WB gears up with Goyer's plans for a Constantine TV series, an adaptation of The Sandman and the anticipated Batman vs. Superman, Goyer reveals that yet another Justice League member would be of particular interest as well.
It should be obvious to anyone paying attention, but David S. Goyer is quickly holding claim to one of the most expansive and varied slate of 'in-development' projects. As the writer/director previously explained, his recent three-year deal with Warner Bros. merely formalized a working relationship that has spanned the past decade, but the writing on the wall is clear: where DC comic book properties are concerned, Goyer has become the gatekeeper.
While Goyer won't be supplying the script for Sandman, it was his initial pitch for the film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached that got it into motion, and it seems the writer has also pointed to several other projects on WB's short list. But as comic book fans look years into the future, it's important to remember that writers look backward just as often. Speaking with Collider regarding Season 2 of Da Vinci's Demons (another of his ongoing projects), Goyer addressed the question of whether there are elements of Man of Steel's story he looks back on with regret:
"Every creative person - whether it's TV, or a novel, or whatnot - you go back and look at things you've done and say 'Ah, I wish I would've changed that little thing.' Or you hope you do.
"There were some scenes we didn't end up doing because at some point, it was a long movie. The original draft of the script was like another 20 pages longer... That film was pretty close to my original conception, and vision and hope for what it would be. You can never get 100% accurate, but I think it was pretty damn close."
It's easier than usual to believe the screenwriter's words, given just how much time was spent prior to the film's release emphasizing its 'realistic' approach (similar to Batman Begins) to the Superman mythology, and the themes of fatherhood, adoption and contradiction - all on full display in the finished product. While those missing twenty pages will be sought after by many a Superman fan, the studio has already been convinced to hand the reins of their comic book universe over to Goyer; a universe that, according to all experts, must include a big screen take on the Justice League.
Depending on how you read the rumors, it's possible that Goyer is already hard at work on the finishing touches of DC and WB's first Justice League picture. The upcoming sequel to Man of Steel was confirmed to be introducing a brand new Batman, but with Wonder Woman confirmed as well, and rumors swirling of a potential appearance of Cyborg and others, Zack Snyder may already be putting the team-up film together.
Of course, there's one member of the League's roster that will prove problematic for reasons not tied to the comic book source material: Green Lantern. With the criticism of the original film pushing star Ryan Reynolds to claim he's in no rush to reprise his role, and every fan knowing GL is a must for a team-up film, what is the studio to do? For his part, Goyer didn't hesitate when asked about Man of Steel's depiction of an alien world when compared to that of Green Lantern:
"I would love to do 'Green Lantern.' I really wanted to showcase Krypton as a truly alien world. That was one of the things I wanted to do from the beginning when I got involved in the project. At his heart, Superman's always been a science fiction story. I wanted to lean into that, and so did Chris, and so did Zack, so I was just glad we were able to."
Obviously, Goyer's comments should be taken as a simple statement from the writer, not necessarily a hint at a potential reboot in the works. However, in a recent NY Times piece concerning WB's newest CEO Kevin Tsujihara, the boss confirmed that besides Arrow and The Flash on CW, and Fox's upcoming Gotham adding to the slate of DC Entertainment projects, "a film series will be announced in the near future." It seems more likely that the "series" in question would be tied to a secondary property, or a confirmation of Justice League, but fans have more than enough evidence to hope.
We've already given our view that saving the Green Lantern movie franchise is far from impossible, and given that the Krypton-focused portions of Man of Steel were some of the most praised among even disappointed fans, Goyer being given the job wouldn't be a worrying announcement in the least. While the studio focuses on launching new franchises, the task of rebooting or correcting one is likely not at the top of their list of priorities. But if Goyer's role continues to grow, he may get his opportunity before long.
What do you think of Green Lantern's chances of being rebooted along the lines of Man of Steel's notion of galactic society? Would you be happy to see Goyer tackle Oa and the Guardians, or stick with his current list of projects? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Batman vs. Superman hits theaters on May 6th, 2016.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.