While it may seem like news to some, anybody who has been tracking the progress of Marvel's The Avengers has already likely to deduced that new life would not-so-coincidentally get breathed into DC and Warner Bros. perennially-stalled Justice League movie. And that's just what happened.
Not only does the Justice League movie have a new writer, he's actually been at work on the script (in secret) for a little while. And, as has been speculated by superhero movie fans everywhere, there are growing signs that DC Comics' movies will start to emulate Marvel's shared universe approach.
Will Beall is the writer that DC/WB has currently at work on the Justice League script. Beall is a quickly-rising talent who has found a good nest over at Warner Bros: he is penning several big-budget films for the studio, including this fall's Gangster Squad, the Logan's Run remake (which Ryan Gosling is slated to star in) and the announced Lethal Weapon reboot. Those upcoming projects will mark Beall's first feature-film credits; clearly WB knows something the rest of us have yet to discover.
The Variety report describes further example of clairvoyant vision from the studio: Beall was reportedly set to work on Justice League before Avengers became a billion-dollar box office smash. The money is clearly on the table when it comes to these next-level superhero team-up films - question is, how will DC/WB go about getting theirs?
The Dark Knight Rises is coming out in a few weeks - but don't expect things to kick off there. Chris Nolan has long and famously maintained his trilogy's autonomy, wishing it to be free from any sort of shared universe; ironically enough, he was later approached by the studio to "godfather" their cinematic universe, starting with the story for the Superman reboot, Man of Steel and possibly extending to directing the Justice League movie. After Batman is done, there is no telling at this point if Nolan will hang around or move on to other work... bet safe bet is on the latter.
Speaking of Man of Steel: Zack Snyder's new vision of Superman arrives next summer - and with it, many savvy fans have expected to see the first few threads of the DC Movie Universe (DCMU) take shape. We here at Screen Rant have seconded that notion - and offered the further prediction that - should he prove successful at relaunching Superman - DC will likely position Zack Snyder as a DCMU architect.
Of course, Man of Steel still has a lot of people to win over, and the DCMU already took a blow with the underperformance of Green Lantern in 2011. The question of whether Green Lantern 2 is still in the cards - or whether the property should get a fresh start - remains unanswered for now. The G.I. Joe franchise attempted to make a sequel that was also a reboot - so hey, pretty much anything goes, these days.
Director George Miller is finally set to get to work on his long-delayed Mad Max 4 film, but he also suffered many starts and stops when he was set to direct the Justice League movie in the late 2000s. We wouldn't count on Miller coming back, necessarily - especially if DC/WB does form a small circle with guys like Nolan and Snyder. For what it's worth, I think small circle is the best way to steer this kind of ship.
DC Comics and Warner Bros. formed DC Entertainment back in 2009, in order to help expand the stable of DC superheroes owned by WB into a brand that could be as lucrative as the Harry Potter franchise had been. This game plan resulted in the DC Comics "New 52" reboot of their comic book properties, with changes to core characters in the Justice League presumably to make them more modern and multi-media friendly.
Man of Steel clearly has New 52 influences all over it, and it's likely that after Nolan, Batman will also get a movie reboot (probably in the vein of his New 52 counterpart) to establish a shared movie universe version of the character. Just don't hold your breath for Christian Bale to hang around.
As noted in the Variety piece, here are some currently in-development DC/WB films we've reported on, which could all conceivably be orchestrated to fit within a DC movie Universe:
We'll keep you updated about the status of the Justice League movie as more news comes to light.