The sequel to the Superman movie reboot Man of Steel - otherwise known as Batman vs. Superman/Superman vs. Batman - has found its Caped Crusader in the shape of
former Daredevil Oscar-winner Ben Affleck, in addition to an official July 2015 release date. That is to say: the rest of the world may still be wrapping its (figurative) head around the logic behind director Zack Snyder's decision to cast Affleck as Bruce Wayne, but Snyder and his production team are moving full-steam ahead (in order to begin production by the first quarter of 2014).
It had previously been rumored that the Batman/Superman movie will be shooting in Vancouver, Canada, which is where much of the sound stage filming (and some of the exterior photography) was conducted on Man of Steel. However, the Michigan Film Office has issued a formal press release, announcing that the Warner Bros/DC superhero movie has been approved for a film incentive from the state.
Batman vs. Superman (remember, that's not the official title... yet) having landed an incentive from the Michigan state government comes as little surprise, given the sheer amount of manpower and financial investment that this tentpole - a cinematic superhero "event" if ever there was one - will require. Here is an excerpt from the Michigan Film Office's press release, which offers a quick breakdown of that situation:
The as-yet-untitled feature film was awarded an incentive of $35 million on $131 million of projected in-state expenditures. The production is expected to hire 406 Michigan workers, with a full time equivalent of 426 jobs, plus an additional 6,000 man/days of extra work. The production anticipates using approximately 500 local Michigan vendors during the course of production and spending $5.1 million on local hotels, as well as an additional $3.5 million in out-of-town cast and crew per diem payments that will be spent in the local economy but which fall outside of the incentive program.
Most of Metropolis, as portrayed in Man of Steel, was "played" by Chicago, similar to how the Windy City provided many of the skyscrapers and buildings that made up Gotham City in Man of Steel co-writer/producer Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. At least one of those famous comic book cities will be "played" by Detroit in Batman vs. Superman/Man of Steel 2, based on the statement from Snyder that was included in the Michigan Film Office's press release:
“Detroit is a great example of a quintessential American city, and I know it will make the perfect backdrop for our movie,” stated filmmaker Zack Snyder. “Detroit and the entire state of Michigan have been fantastic collaborators, and we are looking forward to working together on this film.”
We have no concrete information about David S. Goyer's screenplay for the Man of Steel sequel (based on his and Snyder's screen story), so it's open season - as far as speculation goes, with regard to whether the film will take place almost entirely in Metropolis - like the famous "World's Finest" episode of Superman: The Animated Series (which pitted Kal-El against Bruce Wayne) - or partially unfold in both Supe's and Bats' respective home turfs. One possibility is that the Detroit locations will serve as previously-unexplored regions in the Man of Steel universe's version of Metropolis (rather than bring Gotham to life).
On the other hand: seeing how Affleck is playing a different version of the Dark Knight than Christian Bale did in Batman Begins - one who might fall closer to the experienced detective/crime-fighter type featured in many comic books and older animated TV shows - the Man of Steel sequel might also present a good occasion to establish a new Gotham vision that stands apart from Nolan's version. (Maybe setting up future Batman movies in the new shared DC universe?) A place like Detroit certainly has potential, as far as the city being used to create a worthy new rendition of Bruce Wayne's crime-rampant Gotham hometown on the big screen.
Thing is, if the Caped Crusader's function in Batman vs. Superman end up being relatively similar to The Joker's in The Dark Knight (i.e. he is the antagonistic force that challenges the superhero protagonist's moral code and beliefs), then it might be better to save the trip to the new Gotham for another day. Specifically, a movie where the focus is not (theoretically) on the Last Son of Krypton.
How about it: will/should we see Gotham City in the Man of Steel sequel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Batman vs. Superman/Superman vs. Batman/Man of Steel 2 opens in theaters on July 17th, 2015.
Source: Michigan Film Office