The Justice League of America, of course, is the DC Comics equivalent of Marvel's mightiest heroes. But while 'The Avengers' has been building buzz since the premiere of 'Iron Man' back in 2008, the proposed Justice League movie has floundered in development hell despite a world famous line-up of iconic characters including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Aquaman, that would seem to be a guaranteed, no-brainer box-office smash. Over the weekend, Comic-Con provided film fans with a number of surprises, exclusives and toe-curling geek-out moments, but perhaps nothing compared to Marvel Studios bringing out the cast of 2012's highly anticipated comic crossover blockbuster 'The Avengers.' Now just one question remains for ecstatic superhero fans: What about the Justice League?
The Justice League of America, of course, is the DC Comics equivalent of Marvel's mightiest heroes. But while 'The Avengers' has been building buzz since the premiere of 'Iron Man' back in 2008, the proposed Justice League movie has floundered in development hell despite a world famous line-up of iconic characters including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Aquaman, that would seem to be a guaranteed, no-brainer box-office smash.
Yet despite the fact that DC Comics is owned by Time/Warner, which means that Warner Bros. has full and complete control over the film rights of the entire stable of DC characters, putting together a Justice League movie has proven to be beyond the studio's abilities. After the latest attempt, 'Justice League: Mortal,' was canned two years ago as a result of the writers strike, and faced with the increasing ascendancy of Marvel's film franchises, Time/Warner finally took the bull by the horns last year and restructured DC's entire management system in order to streamline film development, putting former President of Warner Premiere Diane Nelson in charge of the newly formed DC Entertainment division. The goal: to better leverage comics like Justice League into full fledged film franchises.
With that in mind, then, it now seems like only a matter of time before DC and Warner Bros. finish getting their act together and begin filming the long-awaited 'Justice League' movie. Unlike Marvel, however, which cleverly signed all of its solo film stars to package deals including 'The Avengers,' there's really no telling just who will be filling out the costumes in 'Justice League.' We're hoping, of course, that Christian Bale will be back as Batman, and if next year's Ryan Reynolds vehicle 'Green Lantern' is a hit, it's safe to assume Reynolds will return as the ring-slinger as well. But who else should Warner Bros. cast?
Well, DC, if you're listening, we have some answers for you. Here are our picks for the 'Justice League' dream cast:
• Superman: There's no doubt that the role of Superman is likely to be one of the most hotly contested in recent Hollywood history, as every A-lister and wannabe will be scrambling to play one of the most iconic figures in American culture. But while everyone from Nic Cage to Sam Worthington to Taylor Lautner lines up for the part, we have a shock suggestion: How about Brandon Routh? Sure, his turn as Superman in 2006's disappointing 'Superman Returns' wasn't exactly universally beloved, but we thought he did a pretty sharp job emulating the legendary Christopher Reeve. Now that he has some experience under his belt, we think he deserves the chance to step out from Reeve's long shadow and establish himself as his own man -- and his own Superman.
• Wonder Woman: The role of Wonder Woman has been the subject of intense debate for years, thanks in part to 'Avengers' director Joss Whedon's aborted attempt to bring the Amazon princess to the screen last decade. Everyone from Jessica Biel to Jennifer Love-Hewitt has been reportedly lobbying Warner Bros. for the part, while some fans with long memories still insist that Lucy Lawless or even Linda Carter are the only women who can do Diana Prince justice. But while there's no clear consensus other than "anyone but Megan Fox," we think most people would be on board with our choice: Charlize Theron, who has both the looks and the power to pull off the part.
• Flash: Before he was 'Green Lantern,' Ryan Reynolds was rumored to be in serious discussions for the part of the scarlet speedster known as The Flash. But since Reynolds can't play both parts (or can he -- after all, he already appeared as Deadpool in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine') we're going with another rumored Warner Bros. favorite: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Of course, if he does sign on as The Riddler for 'Batman 3' as many expect, he might be off the table, but we think Gordon-Levitt would be a great Flash. He's got that lean runner's frame and with his instantly iconic, balletic fight sequence in 'Inception,' he proved he has all the right moves as well.
• Aquaman: Yes, Aquaman is an occasional punchline even among comic book fans, thanks to his situationally specific powers (not to mention his orange body suit). But when done right, the King of Atlantis is just that: a noble, regal presence. We think a more mature actor with sufficient gravitas could restore the respect Aquaman deserve. Which is why we'd like to see 'Mad Men's' Jon Hamm in the part. And hey: While he's at it, maybe Hamm can bring some much-needed fashion sense to the character as well.
• Martian Manhunter: J'onn J'onzz isn't your typical little green man from Mars; he's green, and he's from Mars. But he's anything but little, as this powerful shapeshifting telepath has been known to go toe-to-toe with Superman himself. Our pick for the brooding soul of the Justice League? Idris Elba, who has proven he can handle both comic book action ('The Losers' and next year's 'Thor') as well as intense character drama (as "Stringer" Bell on 'The Wire').
• Green Arrow and Black Canary: In the comics, on-again, off-again lovers Green Arrow and Black Canary spend as much time fighting with each other as they do wrangling with the bad guys, though there's always the inevitable steamy reconciliation. If that sounds a little 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' to you, well, we agree. Which is why we think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would be the perfect choice for this volatile pair. Plus, while we already know Pitt can grow Green Arrow's signature goatee, we'd like to find out how well Jolie can fill out Canary's iconic fishnet stockings. We have an idea that she might do pretty well at it.