In this week’s edition of The Anderson Chronicles I delve into the behind the scenes happenings on a potential Justice League film receiving theatrical distribution. The Idea of a DC hero’s team up film has long been discussed by Warner Bros studio execs and fans alike. The project at some point is inevitable to happen, but in what capacity, under what direction and when is still up the air.
Two years ago the project almost came to fruition under the name of Justice League: Mortal and the direction of George Miller. The proposed cast was already in place and production was set to start in Australia. The project right off the bat was plagued with delays, and ultimately was cancelled indefinitely. Rumours swirled around that director Christopher Nolan had threatened to walk away from his already successful and rebooted Batman franchise, if production on a potentially contradicting Justice League film continued. The contradiction being that Batman would also be portrayed in the Justice League franchise by Armie Hammer concurrently with Bales Batman in The Dark Knight and the currently untitled Batman 3. There’s nothing proving the validity of this rumour aside form off hand comments made by both Nolan and Bale, but I think it was obvious Warner Bros knew where the better investment was.
If the project were to come back into the light of day what could we expect? According to a report from Inland Empire Strikes Back the plan was to bring all of the current as well as in development franchises together for one large scale DC Universe on film. Similar to what Marvel studios have done leading up to their currently planned Avengers film in 2012. According to the report there is an actual chronology in place between the current franchises.
Batman Begins is being specifically referred to as "Action Comics #1." Translation: Nolan's Batman is the first (and only) superhero around. During Batman Begins that is. As well as The Dark Knight that is going by "Action Comics #2."
What would be the third "issue," you ask? Martin Campbell's Green Lantern. In fact, there are still on-going talks to make references to Gotham City if not Batman himself. And although Superman himself isn't around just yet in this time-line, Clark Kent does exist in Smallville - the fictional town in Kansas, not the television series. You just know somebody is going make that assumption. At the moment, that's where the "comic series" stops.
I personally have a hard time believing the report, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from its legitimacy now does it. The only real problem being that according to this report it would mean contrary to popular belief Nolan is not in fact against a Justice League film. Contradicting previous statements made by Nolan in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.
"A lot of people have approached Superman in a lot of different ways. I only know the way that has worked for us that’s what I know how to do,” Nolan said, emphasizing the idea that Batman exists in a world where he is the only superhero and a similar approach to the Man of Steel would assure the integrity needed for the film. “Each serves to the internal logic of the story. They have nothing to do with each other."
Nolan aside, the franchise will eventually move forward regardless of certain fans gripes with it or continuity issues amongst the franchises. The most likely option and at least the most viable would be for the production to take place after the success of several separate DC franchises. Meaning the current films don’t have to conclude with all of the current franchises culminating up to one big film. It merely establishes each of the characters involved with general audiences there for creating a built in fan base for a potentially profitable Team up film in the future. I think that including the continuities set in place from the current franchises could serve as a mistake. The point being that current intent by the creative teams already in place is for their individual work to stand on its own and not be a part of a team film. This however does not mean that Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and/or all of the above should not at all be included in a potential Justice League film, as they would likely be the selling point of the feature. Those characters as portrayed in the justice league film can stand on their own also likely with a new cast in place, after allowing the Green Lantern, Superman, and Batman franchises currently in place to have concluded.
The best possible approach to take towards a Justice League film is motion capture. Not just to separate the franchise from the co-existing films set in place, but it also allows the film makers a much larger creative freedom with not only the casting but the effects and presentation as well. With a motion capture film you could cast someone like animated fan favourite Kevin Conroy as batman yet still have the character presented as a large menacing figure. The same can be said for the iconic character Superman, the issue of casting someone who looks enough like the comic book adaption is no longer an issue. The proposed Justice League film even in question at this point by Warner Bros is still likely close to at least 10 years away. Essentially creating a larger window of opportunity for further advancement in motion capture technology. Which could allow the characters to seem more photo realistic then they already do. Meaning we would be able enjoy a full length theatrically released Justice League film and regardless of the casting it’ll look more like a comic come to life than any other live action adaption ever has, and the level of confusion with the live action adaptions can remain minimal.
Just this past weekend at Comic Con in San Diego Sony released the first trailer for their new online game DC Universe Online. The trailer serves as a great representation as to what a motion capture Justice League film might look like. The result being all kinds of awesome!