Now that Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy has drawn to a close, all eyes are on Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel, not only to create a new version of Superman's origin story, but also to establish a platform for a new series of DC universe movies with crossovers and team-ups between the various characters.
It could be argued that the Dark Knight movies should have been enough to prepare the world for more DC superheroes, but Nolan's films were limited in their potential to become part of a larger shared universe, since they were set in the "real world" (or an analog of it), and therefore were thematically closed off to fantastical or sci-fi elements such as aliens, time-travel, multiple dimensions and magical beings.
Though Snyder has promised a more down-to-earth (as it were) incarnation of Superman, there's no denying that a movie universe with a near-invincible flying alien battling a warlord with a spaceship full of prisoners who have escaped from the Phantom Zone offers far greater opportunity for further chimerical concepts.
Speaking in an interview with the LA Times, Snyder was asked whether he had directed Man of Steel in the belief that it was part of a larger shared universe, similar to Marvel Studios' Earth 199999, and whether he could elaborate on the current status of the much-rumored Justice League movie:
“Do the DC characters exist in the universe I created? The answer is yes. In my mind, we have this fantastic character of Superman. It’s not madness that there would be others.
“Now, that being said, does a ‘Justice League’ movie exist now? No. Whether or not I ever get to make that movie, I don’t know... What is real is that there’s a crack — a foot — in the door. That’s promising. The door is definitely open.”
Man of Steel might not be out yet, but we've already seen one Easter egg hinting at other DC characters in Snyder's universe: a Metropolis building was glimpses in one of the trailers sporting the logo for Blaze Comics - the fictional publishers of Booster Gold's comic book series - atop a billboard. If Justice League does get made, it's possible that Gold will be one of the characters who makes an appearance, given that a slim piece of groundwork has already been laid for him (though don't hold out too much hope).
Outside of such nods to DC universe mythos, some of the dialogue in the trailers for Man of Steel also seems to indicate that Superman will be the first superhero on Earth, and that others will emerge after him and follow his example. In the third trailer, Jor-El is heard telling his son:
"You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They'll race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
The line is obviously open to multiple interpretations. It ties into the religious undertones of the film that Snyder has discussed before, and also taps into the idea that superheroes have become the new mainstream cultural icons, and are representations of both traditional and modern ethical ideals. As one of the longest-standing popular comic book characters - one who Zack Snyder has described as "the Rosetta Stone of all superheroes" - it would make sense for Warner Bros. to kick off a shared cinematic universe with Man of Steel and allow the other characters to rise up around him, whether in team-ups or in standalone movies.
It's likely that we will not get a definitive answer as to whether or not the Justice League movie will happen until the box office numbers for Man of Steel come in. Screen Rant readers have expressed a lot of excitement for the movie and current box office projections estimate that it will be at the number one spot during its opening weekend - but like all new or rebooted franchises, it carries a risk of under-performing.
Marvel has proven that it's possible to successfully create a shared cinematic universe, but can Warner Bros. pull off the same trick, and will they? Share your hopes and predictions for Man of Steel and Justice League in the comments.
Man of Steel will be out in theaters on June 14th, 2013.
Source: LA Times