While Man of Steel remains a source of passionate debate among superhero movie fans, there's no question that most moviegoers who were disappointed by Zack Snyder's Superman reboot are willing to set aside any lingering frustration - to get excited about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. In a year jam-packed with superhero adventures (X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, and Suicide Squad) Batman V Superman is, for many, still their most-anticipated forthcoming comic book adaptation. While DC hasn't spent nearly as much time crafting their shared universe as Marvel Studios, there's no question that seeing The Dark Knight and Man of Steel face-off and team-up (joined by Wonder Woman) is a long overdue dream for many viewers.
Still, a Batman V Superman wasn't always the plan for Man of Steel's follow-up - and, as we get closer to release, it's sounding as though the Caped Crusader is poised to steal the spotlight from the Big Blue Boy Scout. As a result, viewers who did appreciate Man of Steel have become increasingly worried that Kal-El is going to be relegated to supporting the introduction of one Justice League hero after another - rather than returning any time soon for a full solo-outing.
However, new rumors suggest that, even though the Superman sequel isn't at the front of Warner Bros.' announced film slate, the studio is actively developing Man of Steel 2 - and that, currently, Brainiac, Bizarro, and Kara Zor-El may all appear in the film. The latest bit of gossip comes from Heroic Hollywood, who rattled off a number of updates - based on what the outlet is "hearing."
Anyone who regularly follows superhero movie news knows that HH's editor-in-chief, Umberto Gonzalez, has a mixed but still respectable record with his scoops. Gonzalez has his haters, and his haters have legit reason to be cynical, but the scooper has on many occasions beat industry trades to the punch. That's all to say, take the following "updates" with a major grain of salt - but it would also be a mistake to outright dismiss them as made-up.
Here's a quick rundown of HH's latest Man of Steel 2 updates:
- Despite prior rumors, the Superman sequel isn't on permanent hold.
- If George Miller wants to direct the film, Warner Bros. would let him have it.
- Production will start in the next few years (with a release in 2019 or 2020).
- Brainiac will be the villain. He creates Bizarro out of incomplete Kryptonian records in order to steal the Codex from Kara Zor-El and Kal-El
Of course, Gonzalez also peppers in a lot of vague language to cover his bases but, since Man of Steel 2 is still several years out (and could be influenced by the success of upcoming DC films), very little would be set in stone at this point - even if the studio has a pretty clear idea of the core ideas. For example, if Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is embraced (or panned) by fans, the studio could make changes to the amount of Luthor viewers get in the Man of Steel sequel.
Most of the updates briefly address things we've heard before - and/or make sense given how this shared universe is developing. Though, it's been a while since we've heard much about Brainiac, and Bizarro, much less Kara Zor-El - since most industry journos have been focused on trying to unpack the secrets of Batman V Superman (specifically, is Doomsday actually in the film?).
Nevertheless, Brainiac is an obvious choice for Man of Steel 2 - given the villain's role in the larger DC universe (and diverse set of potential powers), not to mention that Warner Bros. has wanted to see the character on the big screen ever since Tim Burton attempted to produce Superman Lives with Nicolas Cage in the starring role. The designs for that version of Brainiac were very Burton-esque - a disembodied head attached to spindly robot spider-like legs - and fans should expect something quite different should someone like Miller tackle the new project.
Like much of the DC movie universe, a live-action Brainiac would likely draw a lot of inspiration from recent depictions of the character (via the New 52 reboot). While earlier iterations of the villain portrayed Brainiac as a Kryptonian A.I. gone mad (much like Ultron in The Avengers), recent versions of the evildoer have portrayed him as a Culon A.I. known as The Collector tasked with gathering (and miniaturizing) the most advanced extraterrestrial species in the universe - storing them away for safe keeping. In the comics, the A.I. tracks Superman to Earth - after discovering that Kal-El had escaped Krypton before Brainiac harvested the planet's capital, Kandor. Brainiac then turns John Corben (aka Metallo) into a cyborg to fight Superman - before stealing Metropolis.
The idea of The Collector (a name that will likely be changed before the character hits the big screen, to avoid confusion with Marvel's other Collector) could sound goofy to skeptics trying to picture Brainiac miniaturize a city but the character is actually an intimidating presence in the New 52 universe - and it could, given the right depiction, make sense that Brainiac creates Bizarro to do his dirty work. After all, a Bizarro formed out of incomplete Kryptonian DNA and/or records would actually be one of the better explanations for the villain - and would make for a genuinely horrifying live-action baddie.
That all said, HH's namedrop of Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) seems, at this point, like a stretch - especially if Gonzalez is claiming that the heroine will actually appear in Man of Steel 2. Gonzalez mentions aspects of Kara's backstory that were touched-on in the Man of Steel prequel comic but it's a lot harder to connect all those dots - especially compared to the relatively straightforward 'Brainiac creates Bizarro to steal the codex from Superman' through-line. After all, as far as we know at this point, Kara arrived on Earth millenia before the events in Man of Steel, and has no connection to the codex whatsoever. New revelations could come to light in Batman V Superman or Justice League but, as much fun as it would be to see Supergirl in Man of Steel 2, the pieces don't quite fit (at least not yet).
Plus, with Supergirl set to debut on CBS this fall, would Warner Bros. really be interested in doubling-up again? The Flash TV series was created at a time when the DC movie slate wasn't fully-formed - and we've yet to see how audiences respond to two different versions of the character (one big screen, one small screen). It's still possible that Ezra Miller's movie Flash will face backlash - simply because people like Grant Gustin's TV version so much. Should Melissa Benoist nail TV Kara Zor-El, what would WB stand to gain by introducing the same character (played by a different actress) in live action?
No doubt, Warner Bros. will want to increase the number of female heroes in their male-dominated Justice League movie universe but there are plenty of great female heroines that have yet to be adapted - and would be a fresher fit for the DCEU.
The introduction of another Kryptonian could help explore a different side to Kal-El (after several films of setting-up the Justice League) - since the character would discover he's not the only El family member left. Yet, a second super-powered person might also make Superman slightly less interesting this early in the DC movie universe - given that Man of Steel 2 would be the first time Kal-El stood in the spotlight since Man of Steel.
Would the studio really gamble on introducing Supergirl in Superman's second solo outing?
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
Source: Heroic Hollywood