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Warner Bros. is finally at the point where the studio believes it can make Justice League, following the success of Man of Steel. The studio has assigned Zack Snyder to direct the project immediately after he completes his Man of Steel sequel, which teams up Superman and Batman.
Warner Bros. president of worldwide production Greg Silverman confirmed the news late Sunday night in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. It is expected that Henry Cavill will be playing Superman/Clark Kent again, while Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot will be back to play Batman and wonder woman, respectively. Man of Steel 2 doesn’t have a firm title yet, but it’s been referred to as Batman vs. Superman.
“It will be a further expansion of this universe,” Silverman explained. “Superman vs Batman will lead into Justice League.”
The script is currently being developed, likely with Man of Steel writer David Goyer involved. It isn’t likely that Justice League would appear in theaters until 2018.
The news follows last week’s reports that theater actor Ray Fisher was picked to play Cyborg/Victor Stone, who is only expected to make a cameo in Batman vs. Superman. Still, the project will feature other heroes besides the two in the title, including the feature film debut of Wonder Woman. Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey and Tao Okamoto have also recently joined the cast to play new roles.
Warner Bros. has struggled to launch DC Comics characters outside of Christopher Nolan’s stand-alone The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel. Both Green Lantern and Jonah Hex flopped. There was also a 2008 attempt to make a Justice League movie, but that was cancelled shortly after it went into production as costs skyrocketed. That project would have featured Armie Hammer as Batman.
The studio did not make a commitment to featuring Gadot in a solo Wonder Woman movie, but they are open to it.
“That is our hope,” Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing, told the WSJ. “With the right script, that could be viable. The world is ready for her.”
The Justice League (which initially included “of America” when it was first created) was the first major team-up of superheroes. Aquaman, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Hawkman have all been members, along with several other characters throughout the decades.
Of course, the studio’s decision to fast-track the project seems to be a reaction to Disney’s Marvel Studios success. Many have criticized Warner Bros.’ handling of the DC characters and this sounds like a response to that.