Last month at San Diego Comic Con there were two interesting developments pertaining to Warner Brothers’ DC Comics Extended Universe film line up. In their big Hall H presentation, the studio promoted the titles of their upcoming comic book movies, mentioning the expected Wonder Woman II, Suicide Squad II, Batgirl and The Batman. But there were a pair of things that arched the collective eyebrows of fandom – The lack of mention of the previously announced sequel to this November’s Justice League and the fact that the studios’ planned adaption of The Flash comic book was now subtitled with one of the hero’s most fan favorite storylines – Flashpoint.
But the news from Forbes this past weekend leads me to wonder if the lack of a Justice League 2 and the change of the Flash film to Flashpoint aren’t separate things but related.
According to Forbes, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot has been signed by Warner Brothers to appear in Flashpoint. Now we know that it was initially reported that Gadot was contracted with Warners for four films – her debut in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, her own solo film and two Justice League films. With her solo film is a success, the studio has fast tracked a sequel. Gadot is of course slated (though not yet signed) to appear in it, with Warners not doubt exercising a sequel option placed in the contract for such a contingency.
That still leaves the Justice League 2 movie that Gadot was originally contracted for up in the air.
We’ll put a pin in that for a moment, as we take a look at Flashpoint. For the uninitiated, Flashpoint was a popular comics storyline from 2011 which sees the Flash inadvertently create an alternate timeline when he travels to the past to prevent his mother’s murder. (Our own Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes has a much more detailed breakdown of the story here.) Among the changes that came about because of that was a war that pitted the Amazons as led by Wonder Woman against the Atlanteans as led by Aquaman. The resultant conflict wrecked havoc around the world. It’s a great, epic story that has at its heart a strong moral quandary.
Flashpoint is a story that highlights The Flash and features both Wonder Woman and Aquaman in supporting roles. Superman and Batman also appear to a lesser extents. Wonder Woman, especially as portrayed by Gadot, is a character who is experiencing a burst of popularity thanks to her film earlier this summer. Could Aquaman see a similar burst in popularity next year when his solo film is released? Probably, if the reaction out of San Diego over the footage from the James Wan-directed project is any indication. Having those two characters in a film that shows them off would certainly be a smart move. It seems at least probable that somewhere in the creative hierarchy overseeing the DCEU the decision has been made to hedge their bets slightly with Justice League, and instead focus on a story that uses all of the Justice League characters -and contracted actors – in supporting roles to a film that would still be Flash-centric. And in the process transfer their Justice League 2 contractual obligations to Flashpoint.
For some time now there have been reports of problems behind the scenes at Warners. It is public knowledge that Justice League is in the process of extensive reshoots for its upcoming November release date. There have been reports that following the less-than-anticipated success of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the studio has been re-evaluating its strategy for the franchise. With the success of Wonder Woman, I dare say that we will be seeing a course correction for the DCEU films over the next couple of years. And shifting the focus of the Flash film’s storyline to Flashpoint would certainly fit into that course correction. And there’s the added bonus that with the reality-altering events of the storyline, you could easily do a soft reset of the franchise, bringing that course correction into focus.
Now admittedly, this is just speculation on our part. Outside of the initial four-film deal that Gadot signed, we really don’t have much information on any actors’ contracts with Warners. And if Joss Whedon’s new material for Justice League helps the film to click at the box office, then a Justice League 2 film could very easily be in the works this time next year.