Now that Man of Steel is Warner Bros.' first major cinematic superhero success since Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, the natural question for fans is - what's next? We know that Man of Steel 2 and Justice League are "in development" (the former apparently more so than the latter), but what else does the studio have in store for comic book movie fans the world over?
DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson recently chatted about all things superhero - including the five comic book properties she'd like to bring to the big screen, the importance of doing a Wonder Woman film right, and the reason Green Lantern crashed and burned at the box office.
With regard to the five properties - courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter - Diane Nelson said:
" 'Sandman' is right on top. I think it could be as rich as the 'Harry Potter' universe. 'Fables.' 'Metal Men.' 'Justice League.' And yes, I'm going to say it: 'Aquaman.' "
Well, what do we have here? Is it 5 Reasons Aquaman Could Be the Next Big DC Superhero Movie? I do believe it is.
Interestingly, all five properties either are or have been in development previously. Sandman, of course, has had a rather tumultuous history when it comes to live-action adaptations, the last of which was developed by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke and eventually abandoned. With Neil Gaiman returning to write a six-issue Sandman prequel called Sandman: Overture (the first issue hits in October), we wouldn't be surprised if Warner Bros. were renewing its push for a Sandman adaptation sometime soon.
Fables - a comic book about a world where all the famous fable and fairytale characters are real and live together in New York City - was once being worked on as a TV series at ABC. When development fell apart, a show about all the famous fable and fairytale characters living together in a small American town just happened to spring up in its place. Now a film adaptation of Fables is supposedly moving forward with director Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair).
As of a year ago, Metal Men was in development with Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld. We haven't heard anything about it since, but Nelson namedropping the property could be a hint that the adaptation is still alive.
And of course, we probably don't need to mention all the Justice League talk.
On the topic of a Wonder Woman adaptation, Diane Nelson said:
"We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now. I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen.
"The reasons why are probably pretty subjective: She doesn't have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes. There are lots of facets to 'Wonder Woman,' and I think the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium? What you do in TV has to be different than what you do in features. She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she's tricky."
There's no doubt that Wonder Woman is a bit trickier than, say, Batman or even Superman. She's not a character you can can easily describe in a single sentence, and that's true even after you've figured out precisely which version of the character you want to adapt. Was she made with clay or was she the offspring of Zeus? Is she a kindhearted ambassador to the world of man or an angry woman-warrior? Does she have an invisible plane or does she not have an invisible plane? Important questions all around.
We would suggest that one of the better places to look for ideas would be Brian Azzarello's take on the character for The New 52, which has been, by all accounts, the most successful take in years.
Lastly, Nelson also spoke about why Man of Steel worked when Green Lantern did not:
"That balance of what matters wasn't quite right on 'Green Lantern.' I know everyone involved with the project wanted it to work as much as everyone involved with 'Man of Steel' wanted it to work. In the debate of art versus science, sometimes the mix isn't just right. But we will find some other way to bring that character to the screen."
You'll note that she did not say "we'll find a way to bring that character to the big screen in his own movie." Green Lantern will almost certainly return to theaters again at some point - in the inevitable Justice League movie, that is. Short of Lantern stealing all his scenes in that tent-pole project - a la The Hulk in The Avengers - we probably won't be seeing another Green Lantern film for a very long time. Which is a shame, because it really could make for an amazing sci-fi buddy cop movie if handled well.
What do you think about what Diane Nelson had to say, Screen Ranters? Of the properties she mentioned, which would you prefer to see on the big screen first? Let us know in the comments.
Keep your eye on our Comic-Con 2013 page this week for what is sure to be more DC Entertainment news.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.