Further to recent news regarding a Justice League film, reports have now surfaced suggesting production may begin as soon as early 2008. Not only will this overlap with post-production on The Dark Knight - meaning Christian Bale's participation may be unlikely, given the short time since donning the batsuit - but it appears to have been confirmed the sequel to Superman Returns will go into principal photography at the same time. Needless to say, recasting of these pivotal roles may be a necessity.
Will audiences warm to a Justice League with new faces so close to the other films? While it's entirely possible the feature could work within a different 'reality' - so to speak - it sounds as though the studio is aiming for an intelligent take on the superhero team that can lead to multiple spinoffs and a contained reality, ala Fox's plans for the X-Men franchise. Rumor has it the storyline will feature Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (John Stewart) and Aquaman in a plot based on the recent OMAC storyline in the comics, with a view to expanding the film into spinoffs for the secondary characters.
For those who don't know, the OMAC storyline - in a nutshell - features Batman creating an intrusive worldwide surveillance network called Brother Eye, much to the chagrin of the other team members, that gains sentience and control of a network of modified human 'sleeper cells' (the OMACs). Following the worldwide broadcast of Wonder Woman murdering the OMAC creator, Maxwell Lord, a war begins between the world's superheroes and Lord's creations. Given the emotional potential of the story, it certainly lends itself well to an epic film and gives Batman a central role as team detective with a chip on his shoulder, not to mention a dark and intriguing role for Wonder Woman.
The problem for me lies in the fact that the whole thing has the distinct stench of a rush job. Rather than developing this idea over a number of years and luring 'serious actor' Bale to the project - which has camp potential written all over it if not done carefully - it sounds as though Warner Bros are fast-tracking production due to Hollywood politics, notably the pending strikes. For a film of this scale, this can only spell a creative disaster. Though I'm sure it will make a killing at the box office - perhaps that's all that matters.
Oh, and what of the fact Bryan Singer's Metropolis and Chris Nolan's Gotham City share the same geographical space? Maybe I'm just being picky... but it goes to show that many things need to be considered if Warner Bros are to successfully create a 'DC-world' of sorts for film.
And John Stewart? Really? Please tell me Hal Jordan will get the spinoff... I just couldn't handle the heartache.
Regardless of the details, the rumor remains strong: Justice League will go into production early 2008, likely with George Miller at the helm. I'll be following this one keenly...