Welcome to our Man of Steel Countdown column, a biweekly look at the upcoming Superman movie along with an exploration of the character's past, present and future. In this edition we break down some of the most recent news items.
Did Someone Say Sequel??
E! Online caught up with director Zack Snyder as well as actor Christopher Meloni at the Arthritis Foundation gala in Beverly Hills, California. Snyder said he’s waiting to see what happens with the first film before considering what to do with a sequel. While there are probably several ideas and even screenwriters being kicked around at Warner Bros., it’s simply too early. Plus Snyder is plenty busy completing Man of Steel.
However, I have a prediction. If the first film is about Superman finding his place in a world that fears him for being a powerful alien who looks just like a human, the second (or possibly third) film will play off the idea that Superman’s presence holds back humanity. If there’s a world-threatening problem and Superman can fly in and save everyone, what does that do for society’s self-reliance? Again, just a prediction, but the ideal villain to spearhead that cause would most likely be Lex Luthor.
The L.A. Times has learned that Warner Bros. plans to film a Justice League movie next year for a 2015 release, and they already have a script. Let it be noted that Justice League film announcements have made it further than this in the past. Several years ago, George Miller was hired to direct and even went through a major casting process before it all fell apart. This announcement doesn’t even put this potential film ahead of that. But we can hope.
Warner Bros. has had a heck of a time with its superhero franchises outside of Batman, yet the Nolan version of that character would have a hard time fitting into the mold of a world where men can fly, a woman has a magic lasso and an invisible jet, and green power rings can create solid light constructs simply with thoughts and willpower. That’s why there is zero chance of Christian Bale returning. However, the studio still appears to want to do the opposite of Marvel by releasing one big Justice League film and then spinning off the most successful characters. For marketing purposes, it must include Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Probably also the Flash, Green Lantern and (*fingers crossed*) Aquaman.
Will Henry Cavill be involved? Probably, but nothing is set in stone. As for a new Batman, chances are that he will have a new film series starting up soon, and there’s a very good chance that whoever is cast for Justice League will spearhead the role for the next decade, at least if he’s successful.
What characters would you most like to see in a Justice League movie? And who would play them?
Will There Be Man of Steel Comic Book Tie-Ins?
DC Comics VP of sales Bob Wayne recently spoke to Newsarama about initial plans to release material concerning Man of Steel to go with with the film.
Wayne: “Every time that our colleagues at Warner Bros. release a feature film based on one of our properties, we work with them to maximize the attention we can get for our publishing program. When Man of Steel debuts in June, next summer, I think you will agree that we have done quite a bit to get people's attention to remind them that there's a movie coming up, and remind them that we publish comic books every week.”
Original comics that tie into films have not been DC’s practice since after Superman Returns was preparing to hit theaters. Four prequel comic book issues failed with fans and ultimately contained the wrong information about much of the film. Instead, compilations concerning specific characters, including first appearances, origins, fan favorites and so on have been put together to both promote the film and bring more business to the comics. Expect a reprint of the “Phantom Zone” collection, as well as one concerning Zod and probably including Faora’s original story. There will most likely be more, but that could be turned into a major advertising campaign (on a comic book-shop level) about myriad recent collections that have informed this new version of Superman on film.
What Is "The Black Zone"?
By the way, for Man of Steel, “The Phantom Zone” has been renamed and replaced by “The Black Zone.” Odds are that the purpose will remain the same in that Zod and Faora may be imprisoned in it and thus survive Krypton’s destruction and resurface on Earth to give Superman a hard time. If I had to guess… the writing team most likely decided that the word “Phantom” was too macabre and sounded supernatural while the attempt is to put Superman into a believable reality. Thus “Phantom” has turned to “Black.” It’s pure speculation on my part, but then again it’s probably true.
New Superman T-shirts and Other Merchandising
TV Mania has joined up with Warner Bros. to create exciting but affordable clothing and products for Man of Steel around the time of its release.
“We’re very proud to announce that TV Mania has partnered with WBCP for this original Superman apparel collection. A market leader in their field, they have a proven track record of taking classic entertainment power brands like Superman and adapting them to fit current fashion trends for all ages and all demographics.” Says Bruno Schwobthaler, senior vice president sales and business development, Warner Bros. Consumer Products EMEA.
No word yet on what these products will be, but certainly expect T-shirts with the new “S” symbol that was crafted for the film.
Screenwriter David Goyer on Working with Christopher Nolan
David Goyer attended the Roma Fiction Fest, covered by Badtaste.it and briefly discussed Man of Steel, saying:
“What we did, myself and Christopher Nolan, was to try and bring in the same naturalistic approach we brought to the Batman trilogy. It's always a naturalist, realistic approach that we're looking for, to imagine these stories as if they could happen in the same world in which we live. That's not an easy thing to do with Superman, but that does not mean that we will be making the film dark, but in order to make this reboot we wanted to examine what could happen if a story like this really happened. How would ordinary people react? What repercussions would there be? What I really like doing is writing 'genre' stories without a cartoonish element. I did the same with Da Vinci's Demons, and I'll do the same with Man of Steel."
At the New York Comic-Con, Goyer dropped a few more tidbits about why Man of Steel will be a new origin for Superman and what to expect from Michael Shannon as Zod in the film.
Henry Cavill and Harry Lennix Discuss Their Roles
Harry Lennix will be playing the original character General Swanwick in Man of Steel. Although all of the actors are keeping tight-lipped about the details of the film, he had the following to say about the process, where he filmed his scenes and his thoughts on Henry Cavill as Superman.
Red Eye Chicago asked which superhero he’d most like to play:
Lennix: "[Laughs.] That's funny. I did not film [in Chicago] unfortunately. I shot in Vancouver and central California, which was great. I had a great time on it. But I wasn't part of the Chicago end of it. I can tell you that General Swanwick is a U.S. army general and he's the head of Northcom, northern command. Outside of that I'm prohibited from saying anything. [Laughs.] But I can tell you that the guy they have as Superman is Superman. He's fantastic. I really like Henry Cavill. I think it's a very good cast. I'm as excited as anyone else to see the movie. Superman has always been my favorite superhero. I like Spider-Man too and all. I was never that big on Batman, but I really loved Superman from day one and will never forget the experience of seeing Superman with Christopher Reeve. It was a profound experience in my mind. I loved that. I think if I could be a superhero - I've never really actually thought about that. Frankly, I would love to be Superman. [Laughs.] Except that's not going to happen at this point I'm pretty sure."
Cavill himself was interviewed by TMZ as he walked through LAX last week. He was asked if being the first British Superman was intimidating and what he might think if an American was cast as James Bond.