Warner Brothers has hired Gangster Squad writer Will Beall to provide the screenplay for a new attempt to bring the DC Comics all-star superhero team the Justice League to the big screen, according to a report from Variety.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the studio is looking to bring the comic – which features such heavyweights as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman and Green Lantern amongst its cast – to theaters given that the film version of competitor comics publisher Marvel’s similar concept The Avengers is currently setting box-office records.
But actually the project has been on the planning boards at the studio for some time. Back in March 2011, Warner Brothers executive Jeff Robinov had stated that the studio did intend on bring the superhero team to the big screen. But one of the major reason that Warners temporarily held off on moving forward on a Justice League film is that one of the key characters, Batman, has been tied up in his own successful trilogy of films from writer/director Christopher Nolan. Nolan has stated that his films exist in a world where Batman is the only superhero and not in a “shared universe” similar to the one that Marvel has been cultivating over the past several yeas that lead up to the The Avengers. With the release of the final installment of Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, later next month, the studio is perhaps looking at the Justice League project as way to help relaunch the character in his own retooled franchise.
Outside of the screenwriter hire, there is really no other news about the project, which of course leaves plenty of room for speculation.
The big question seems to be is DC looking to make this film a cornerstone in their interconnected franchise cinematic universe the way that Marvel’s Iron Man, Thor, Incredible Hulk and Captain America films all culminated in The Avengers. That wouldn’t surprise me if they were planning such a move and as a long time DC reader, it would excite me to no end. Of course, that leads to the question as to whether they would incorporate last summer’s misfire Green Lantern and next summer’s Superman film Man Of Steel into the mix or start fresh. It looked to me at least that those two films were going to be the cornerstones of an ultimately connected universe. Green Lantern featured the character of Amanda Waller who in the comics headed up the government agency known as Task Force X, aka “the Suicide Squad.” As the character was not really much of a presence in the Green Lantern books, it looked to me as if Warners was setting her up to be a possible connecting thread through a couple of films in a similar way to how Marvel Studios used the character of Nick Fury and the spy agency SHIELD as connective tissue. With the release of Man Of Steel still a year away, it is way too early to tell if there have been seeds planted for a connected universe.
This isn’t the first time that Warners has moved forward on a Justice League film. In 2007, director George Miller oversaw an attempt that had gotten as far as getting his cast into costume fittings before the studio pulled the plug over budget concerns.