A full-blown Justice League movie may have been the stuff of dreams for decades, but Warner Bros. and DC Comics are finally putting the wait to an end. Come Summer 2015, DC's greatest heroes will unite to fight a common threat (and skeptical moviegoers). But exactly who those heroes will be has, to this point, been unclear.
The newest batch of rumors apparently reveal the character roster for Justice League, as well as a few details on their onscreen personalities. We'd file these squarely under RUMOR for now, for a few reasons we'll get to in a minute.
With much of the Justice League attention of late centering around the apparent selection of Darkseid as the main villain, and a comic book storyline reportedly inspiring the script, not much thought has been given to who would be constituting the superhero team itself. Sure, Wonder Woman, Superman (fresh off of Man of Steel), The Flash and a brand new Batman will be on hand - but four people a 'league' do not make.
Even mainstays like Hal Jordan have had their future brought into question via films like the abysmal Green Lantern, and the jury is still out on which properties WB will see as packing the most potential for spin-off film franchises. Not to mention, which ones will help develop themes for the next round of installments and sequels.
The roster has changed much over the years, but we know WB and DC will likely choose their cast based on both present bankability and potential for the future. Will Beall (Gangster Squad) is still working away on the "dark and mature" Justice League script, but according to CosmicBookNews, their sources have the details on who will be appearing, and how they'll be behaving.
None of these details will come as a surprise to those either familiar with DC's history, their New 52 relaunch, or the latest news on the Justice League movie - which is only further reason to take this report with a grain of salt. But first, we'll focus on the rumored roster:
• Superman is essentially the same character from Man of Steel, and Zack Snyder is consulting regarding the writing of the character.
• Batman: The strategist of the group. Batman doesn't really want to be involved with these super powered beings he considers too powerful. Easily the most complex written.
• Wonder Woman: She has only been in man's world a few short months. The Wonder Woman script Michael Goldenberg is developing will be set before the Justice League movie.
• Green Lantern: Will be Ryan Reynold's character from the Green Lantern movie, but will be freshly written with a more serious tone.
• Flash: The most popular hero in civilian eyes who loves media attention, but when called upon is very serious.
• Martian Manhunter: Alien who has lived on Earth in secret for over a hundred years who has knowledge of Darkseid and his reign.
• Aquaman: Will be the King of Atlantis who has a key role in the film.
• There will also be a heavy military presence in the film which in future rewrites could include characters featured in Man of Steel or even Amanda Waller (Angela Bassett) of which neither are included in the first draft.
• Alfred Pennyworth is in the film in a minor appearance.
• Lois Lane is also in the film in a cameo.
• Darkseid's Elite will be featured who go up against the Justice League early on in the film.
Obviously, there aren't any bombshells in these latest reports, which (while potentially divisive) would constitute more of a "scoop." Superman will be Snyder's version of the character (we'll see how true that remains if Man of Steel fails to resonate with audiences) and Green Lantern will be, similarly, a continuation of what preceded. We, like many, are still curious about seeing at least the introduction of John Stewart or a new Hal Jordan, but there's no telling how massive an overhaul might be deemed a "freshly written" approach.
It stands to reason that Hal Jordan would be less of a joker than in Ryan Reynolds' previous stint, given the presence of The Flash. While Barry Allen wasn't traditionally the same wise-cracker as Wally West, the New 52 incarnation perfectly fits the "must love media attention" description; he's also the only hero with an actual museum built to his accomplishments.
Given DC's decision to show the members of the League becoming aware of one another's existence (and their potency when working together) first, then potentially showing how each of them got to that point in their own standalone films, the Wonder Woman details aren't shocking. While we assumed that these heroes would get origin stories eventually, hints that Michael Goldenberg's Wonder Woman will be filling in backstory could be a sign of what's to come in DC's second wave of superhero movies. A risky formula, but one we've hypothesized could end up working.
Since Superman will be the only hero with an introduction film come Justice League (and arguably Batman, since his origin story never changes) it also cements the fact that he'll be acting as the anchor for larger audiences - as if that was ever in doubt. That makes an appearance by Lois Lane far easier to understand, even if Amy Adams isn't confirming her involvement in sequels (and the Man of Steel trailer left their relationship somewhat in question).
As for Gotham's caped crusader, "strategist" is the role that we pitched as the best direction for a Batman reboot, and his being the most complex character of the group is as much a given as the cowl. The Alfred inclusion seems the most dubious and subject to change: Michael Caine has said he'd love to appear in the role again, but given his character's fate at the end of The Dark Knight Rises and the unclear Bruce Wayne/John Blake legacy (and casting) that's far from a sure thing. A clever way to incorporate Nolan's Batman into JL, yes, but such a move only raises more issues.
That being said, these rumored appearances raise some important questions about how 'grounded' Justice League will, or should be. If Darkseid is the villain, then our heroes will need someone to fight. Darkseid's Elite would fit the bill, but the more the door to the realms of New Genesis and Apokolips is opened, the more Warner Bros. leaves behind the world of Nolan's Batman and treads into Marvel's territory. Bringing in some outlandish characters could prove worthwhile, but is risky.
Of course, Man of Steel's time spent on Krypton and the battles between Kal-El and Zod could change everything we know about DC's live-action plans. Even Aquaman has earned his stripes in the rebooted "Justice League" and "Aquaman" comic books this year, so clearly anything's possible; count on a slow-burn introduction to Martian Manhunter, though.
We'd still recommend treating any and all Justice League rumors as just that, since there is plenty of source material to draw upon and almost no official details have been released so far. When the studio comments, we'll keep you up to date. Until then, we can only speculate.
Justice League could hit theaters as early as 2015, but Warner Bros. has yet to reveal a concrete release date.
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Image Credit: Justice League Art by Marcio Takara