Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan's take on the Superman mythos in Man of Steel has strongly divided people into love or hate categories, even by comic book movie standards. Regardless, the film has so far proven to be a large enough box office success - $408 million around the globe and counting - for Warner Bros. to get serious about planning out the future of the live-action DC movie-verse (beginning by taking greater financial control of its superhero franchises).
The debate rages on among fans, as for whether Justice League should come next or if additional individual JL team member vehicles are necessary first. Snyder, for his part, is looking ahead to Man of Steel 2 (at least that's his official story...), and will soon sit down to discuss his plans in greater detail with studio heads.
Here is what Snyder offered Moviehole, when questioned about the rumors that he and Goyer already have a healthy chunk of the sequel planned out (including, who Kal-El's next antagonist will be):
"I’m going to be a hundred percent honest with you, I haven’t yet gotten to speak to the studio about all these awesome details (because I’ve been overseas on the junket). So my hope is, when I get home I can sit down with everyone and it’ll be like ‘Okay, so what are we going to do?.. we need to do something…"
Snyder has, by this point, repeated over and over that Man of Steel opens the door for a Justice League crossover, and he once again confirmed as much in this new interview. However, right now, the director feels the important question that needs to be addressed in Man of Steel 2 isn't necessarily "What's going to happen, now that the world knows superheroes exist?" - rather, it's "We almost destroyed the world last time, now what!?"
One popular theory is that Man of Steel 2 will introduce the new Lex Luthor - whose eventual appearance was teased by the glimpses of a LexiCorp tower and trucks (one of many 'Easter Eggs' in the film) - as a Bill Gates-like billionaire, who helps to rebuild the destruction caused by Kal-El's battle with General Zod and his forces. This would allow Lex to present himself as being a compassionate figure (in the public's eye) and thus, plant the seeds of doubt in people's minds about whether or not Kal-El really is humanity's savior.
For the time being, Snyder is indicating that fans just need to be patient:
"[People have been like ‘there’s no kryptonite in the movie’ and ‘there’s no Lex Luthor in the movie’, and by no means am I saying those things don’t exist, I’m just saying he didn’t run into them here [this time]."
For my money, Man of Steel was fine without the use of Kryptonite as a plot device, considering just how much emotional baggage Kal-El had to lug around throughout that film. That material - a.k.a. 'Superman's One Weakness' - can be abused as a narrative contrivance in the wrong hands, but it could be used to serve as an effective storytelling tool in the Man of Steel world (i.e. a symbolic remnant of Kal-El's Kryptonian heritage that literally weakens him).
Kryptonite can also help to level the playing field, so to speak, and would allow regular humans (such as Lex Luthor) to pose a legitimate threat to Kal-El. Indeed, fellow JL member Bruce Wayne/Batman has managed to go toe-to-toe with Superman in past comic book stories, through the use of weapons like Kryptonite bullets.
You can already see how an appearance by Lex Luthor in Man of Steel 2 could even lead into a Batman/Superman team-up somewhere down the line. Kal-El find a way to keep Luthor in check, only to meet his match in a very different sort of billionaire... one who perceives him as being something of a hypocrite - considering how Kal-El lets his emotions get the best of him, with the cost of immense collateral damage - and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, in order to cut 'the Man of Steel' down to size (see: use Kryptonite)...
What are you hoping to see in Man of Steel 2? Let us know in the comments section!
Man of Steel is currently playing in theaters.