If you were anywhere near a computer during 2013’s San Diego Comic-Con, chances are you heard about how DC “won” the entire weekend when Zack Synder came up on stage and confirmed the sequel to 2013’s blockbuster Man of Steel would be a crossover with Batman and released in 2015. Comic book and movie nerds collectively broke the Internet that day, with the news popping up all over Twitter, Reddit, and other various social media sites. As a fan of both of these entertainment mediums, I was extremely overjoyed to see this news. After many failed attempts, two of the world’s most famous and greatest comic book heroes would finally be sharing screen time as well as opening up the potential for expansion in a DC Cinematic Universe (much like Marvel’s).
However, unrelenting praise for DC began to diminish and skepticism began to arise as the casting rumors and confirmations began to flow in. First it was Ben Affleck cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman, which was a choice I disagreed with at the start but began to see the good in it every time his list of expanding accolades was mentioned and his defenders presented their reasons for why he was a great choice. After about a month, I found myself in complete agreement with the choice (a view I still have today) and defending Affleck’s impressive resume, likability, charm, and resemblance to the titular character against the individuals who preached hate his way for Daredevil and Gigli.
However, while I did defend Affleck as a good choice to portray The Dark Knight, more casting rumors began to flow in and the film suddenly began to feel overcrowded. Gal Gadot’s casting of Wonder Woman is one that I simply cannot agree with. Instead of getting a talented actress with years of experience who could carry her own film franchise after the hopeful success of this film and the subsequent Justice League film or a woman who was physically intimidating, Warner Brothers went with an underwear model whose acting credits include a minute part in Date Night and a recurring small role in the Fast and Furious franchise. This followed with subsequent rumors of possible Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter castings, overcrowding an already stacked lineup and making the film feel less like a sequel focusing on Batman and Superman and more like a Justice League film.
Now it looks like more trouble is on the rise for the Man of Steel sequel, as it was recently announced that the highly anticipated Batman/Superman team-up film has been pushed back almost a full year to May of 2016. In an official statement by Warner Brothers, the studio decided to push the start of production to the end of the second quarter of this year rather then their original start date in February to give “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.” While originally perceived as bad news, rumors and speculation have provided very interesting and possible reasons for the delay that effect the future of this entire cinematic universe going forward.
One of the first and major rumors as to why the film was delayed is simply because it will not be ready by the date. Sometime in December it was announced that Affleck had brought on his writing associate Chris Terriot, who recently penned the Oscar-winning script for Argo, for some rewrites and touchups to Goyer’s script. While I found Man of Steel to be a very well done comic book film with breathing action set pieces and visual effects that amazed, a modern retelling and upgrade to the Man of Steel as we knew him from the 50s, and a non-linear story that managed to make the time during adolescence not feel like a total drag, I think it’s almost universally accepted that one of the flaws of the film was the screenplay, which felt a little too scattered and poorly fleshed out in terms of characters and dialogue. The idea of Terriot coming in to do some minor touchups could have changed into major script changes and problems after a quick read through, forcing DC and Warner Brothers to push the release date back in order to deal with the problems in the script first.
There were also some minor rumors that also coincided with the delay of the film. One that went around for a while was that Ben Affleck injured himself on set and the production had to be delayed because of it. Whether or not the injury is true or false, it is very hard to believe that any injury could delay a film’s release a complete year, so it seems that reason is a bit farfetched. One other smaller rumor bouncing around was that the studio was thinking about recasting Wonder Woman because of the backlash suffered from fans for Gal Gadot. While I would not be necessarily upset if this were true, the backlash received over Affleck’s casting was just as strong and no studio would ever recast an actor or actress based off of fan reaction, which makes this rumor the most ridiculous of all.
Another popular movie site by the name comicbookmovie.com reported that one of the main reasons for the film’s delay was over budget concerns, specifically whether or not to include Wonder Woman’s home of Paradise Island in the film or just mention it briefly, due to the fact that the effects necessary to portray it would cost the studio a hefty sum of money. This one seems to make the most sense considering the production’s shooting in Detroit, before any other location shooting or post-production, was rumored at around $150 million, which is astronomical considering it is only $75 million less than the first film in total.
However, the most interesting rumor of all and the one that effects the future of the DC Cinematic Universe as a whole is that the film was pushed back so they studio could shoot Batman/Superman and Justice League back-to-back in an effort to save money and begin to truly compete with Marvel. This rumor would make sense in context with the casting rumors and monetary problems. All of these casting rumors and possible cameos for Flash, Green Lantern, etc. might not be cameos for these superheroes in the Batman/Superman film but rather roles in the Justice League film. And with the monetary issues expressed earlier with the studio looking to cut out Paradise Island completely, it would make sense for them to shoot these films back to back so they can minimize production costs and maximize profit.
While I believe the main reason for the delay is most likely script issues, the Justice League rumor presents some interesting theories going forward. If they are filming the two back to back and they both turn out to be fantastic hits, the DC Cinematic Universe opens up, completely spinning the Marvel formula around as new franchises begin to sprout up like The Flash, Wonder Woman, and hopefully Aquaman, who is, in my opinion, easily one of the most underrated and underappreciated superheroes in existence. On the other hand, another part of me feels skeptical that through DC’s attempts as trying to catch up to Marvel as quickly as possible they have begun to make some very huge mistakes that could cost their franchises big in the end.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Which of the rumors do you think is the real reason for the delay? Or any thoughts on the untitled Batman/Superman film in general? Sound off in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Article by Nick Franco