Last we heard, Warner Bros.' big-screen 'Justice League' film was deader than George Washington -- killed by the writer's strike, Australian tax laws and, theoretically, a rare bout of common sense at the studio. Warners apparently came to the conclusion that paying $300 million to make a movie headlined by a then-relatively-unknown Armie Hammer as Batman was probably a bad idea. Despite fanboy moaning and groaning, they were probably right.
However, few things are ever truly dead in Hollywood. In a new piece over at Hero Complex, Warners chief Jeff Robinov admits that a 'Justice League' could be on yet again.
Hit the jump for the full scoop, plus thoughts on why Warners should go ahead and make this movie.
It all began when an L.A. Times article managed to casually drop this 'Justice League' bombshell right in the middle of a relatively interesting profile piece and then never mention it again: "He's [Rubinov] then aiming to release new 'Batman' and 'Superman' films in 2012 and 'Justice League,' a teaming of DC's top heroes, in 2013."
There was no direct quote in the piece (written by Ben Fritz), but the Times' Hero Complex blog has since added more info, claiming a new 'Justice League' script is in the works. As an added bonus, Warners is also working on scripts for stand-alone features 'The Flash' and 'Wonder Woman.' Those films would debut after 'Justice League.'
And if that weren't enough superhero excitement, Rubinov also makes mention of plans for 'Batman' in the wake of Christopher Nolan's departure after 'The Dark Knight Rises.' He mentions the word "reinvent" when discussing that project, which makes us a little nervous (see our earlier post for more on that front).
Getting back to 'Justice League,' the real red flag here is the 2013 release date. Aiming for a theatrical debut two years from now seems plausible -- except that this is a 'Justice League' movie, meaning they'd have to assemble a huge cast (even if they wanted to bring back guys like Hammer, there'd be new contract negotiations, scheduling issues, etc., saying nothing of hiring a new director, reworking or writing an entirely new script ...), prepare to shoot, make the film, do all the post-production work, and have it ready to go in 700 or so days. This seems relatively implausible given the property's track record over the past few years.
It does make sense that Warner Bros. and DC Comics want to get this movie made, though. With Marvel lining up new features left, right and center, DC still gives off the appearance that they're playing catch-up. Christopher Nolan's 'Batman' films are a proven commodity, but 'Superman' is getting yet another solo effort (and given Zack Snyder's recent box office track record, there's no guarantee the film will catch on with audiences) and 'Green Lantern,' who is relatively unknown to non-comic folks, is set to make his debut this summer. Meanwhile, Marvel has 'Spider-Man,' 'X-Men: First Class,' 'Thor,' 'Captain America' and 'The Avengers' all in the works and on the way.
It's Joss Whedon's 'The Avengers' that has to be inspiring this idea of resurrecting 'Justice League,' and rightfully so. Whedon's feature about a team of superheroes is sort of like the Marvel equivalent of 'Justice League,' and early buzz for that film has been overwhelmingly positive. If nothing else, it shows Warners and DC that there is definitely a market for these epic superhero extravaganzas.
That being said, George Miller's planned take on 'Justice League' was often openly mocked on the Internet, mostly because fans didn't want to see their favorite heroes being played by unknown actors (particularly in the case of Batman, who has become relatively synonymous with Christian Bale at this point). Warners will need to think long and hard about casting this film before moving forward with it. Getting fan support for the casting choices could easily make a 'Justice League' movie one of the most anticipated titles on the future release docket.
Warner Bros. and DC are at a slight disadvantage here. Marvel's been much smarter with their marketing and planning and been sure to give members of the Avengers solo films before jumping right into the ensemble piece. DC doesn't have that luxury now. Fans will know 'Batman,' 'Superman' and 'Green Lantern' before a 'Justice League' film debuts (should this timeline turn out to be true), but the rest of DC's heroes (including Wonder Woman) will have to be introduced in a 'Justice League' feature. It robs Warners of the ability to explore each character's origin story, but with good writers that shouldn't be an issue.
One thing working in Warners' favor is that they'll have an opportunity to see 'The Avengers' and potentially avoid any missteps that film makes. Although if they're really serious about 2013, production will be well underway before Whedon's film hits theaters.
We're intrigued by this news for sure, but given the track-record of 'Justice League' over the past few years, we're not entirely convinced we need to start queuing up for tickets.
What do you guys think? Are you excited that this project appears to be on again and we might all finally see Aquaman on the big screen? Should they wait for 'The Avengers' to hit theaters before they make any moves? Sound off below.