It's an exciting time to be a DC Comics fan. Not only is Zack Snyder working hard on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, bringing the two icons together, he's also helping launch the long in-development shared DC Cinematic Universe. Earlier this week, Warner Bros. made the Internet explode by officially confirming their upcoming slate of adaptations from 2016 to 2020.
While everyone was talking about how Ezra Miller's Flash would turn out, who would play the new Green Lantern, and the possibilities of a two-part Justice League extravaganza, there were probably some people who noticed that something was missing from the list of 10 films. In their announcement, WB made no mention of the impending Sandman film, which already has Joseph Gordon-Levitt on board in some capacity and was one of the rumored adaptations a while back. Now, we know why.
Sandman creator Neil Gaiman was asked about the lack of Morpheus amidst Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman on Tumblr. In his response, Gaiman revealed the reasoning behind it:
"It’s not a DC Comics film. It’s a Vertigo film. That’s a different slate of films, and a different announcement."
Given this information, Sandman's absence makes a lot more sense today than it did initially. It's also seemingly a confirmation that the production will be kept separate from the shared world the other 10+ movies will be a part of.
Even back when it was included alongside the rumored Flash/Green Lantern team-up and Man of Steel 2 a few months ago, it was assumed that this would be the case. Sandman may have become an honorary member of the Justice League at one point in the comics, but he's never been associated with the team in terms of the general public.
It was only a couple months back Gordon-Levitt was talking about using his experiences on Sin City: A Dame to Kill For to inform his handling of the Sandman property, so to our knowledge, the project was never in danger of being scrapped altogether. That said, this update will be comforting for fans of the graphic novel who may have feared the worst when DC fans were celebrating. It's not a bit of casting or some plot details, but at least we know that it's still on the way to theaters.
The other interesting nugget of information lost in Gaiman's post is that the Vertigo brand will apparently contain its own slate of films - meaning that there could very well be other adaptations of titles under this moniker on the horizon. Gaiman certainly seemed to think that was the case, hinting at an impending announcement of other movies in addition to the extensive line-up WB/DC has planned.
Those who have been following WB's development of their comics library are aware that director Guillermo del Toro has been planning a Justice League Dark film for a while now. Every once in a while, someone involved with the production will provide an update or two regarding it, but it seems to be stuck in perpetual development for the time being. Today's news would seem to indicate that like Sandman, Justice League Dark might still be on.
Several members of that team, including John Constantine, Madame Xanadau, and Swamp Thing, all had their own publications under the Vertigo banner, so if there really is a "slate" of these types of films coming soon, that would be the place to put Justice League Dark. Since del Toro has recently discussed the project like it's still on the table, it's very conceivable to think that this is the studio's plan right for it now.
If that's the case, it's a strategy that harkens back to Marvel's decision to green light Netflix series starring characters like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage - allowing the company to play in a different area of its sandbox without completely overhauling the core brand. Keeping the main DC heroes and the Vertigo titles separate presents plenty of opportunities not just for interesting takes on the various characters, but also a means for keeping "superhero" movies fresh and exciting for the next handful of years.
Do you like the idea of having two different DC universes? Let us know in the comments below.
We'll keep you updated on both Sandman and Justice League Dark as more information becomes available.
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Source: Neil Gaiman