Rumor: Justice League on the Way Sans Batman and Superman
This rumor is a bit crazy and we're only acknowledging it simply because it concerns a likely path that DC Entertainment could take eventually, but these rumored developments surrounding this potential project could spawn some interesting discussion. So without further adieu, ComicBookMovie.com (who have had some decent inside information regarding certain comic book flicks) is reporting Warner Bros has given the greenlight to a Justice League movie. They acknowledge that the film is in extremely early stages but apparently it's been decided the team will exclude two of the biggest superheroes: Superman and Batman.
So making up the DC Comics ensemble superhero team would be Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. This seems sketchy for all sorts of reasons right off the bat. First of all, even though two of those superheroes are getting their own feature films in the next couple years or so, I seriously doubt the studio is going to make a decision to greenlight a movie like this without more of the pieces in place and without a solid debut from Green Lantern and eventually The Flash.
In addition, it seems like Justice League would mark the introduction of the rest of the heroes, so Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and even Wonder Woman wouldn't be getting their own feature films at the start (which just seems stupid to me). But apparently actors are "quietly being pursued" to take on the roles of the other four superheroes (Ryan Reynolds is obviously already Green Lantern). This seems bogus if only because when Marvel planned The Avengers, they weren't already seeing actors to play Thor or Captain America, and the original dates for release for those individual movies followed by The Avengers didn't meet their original release date timeline.
I don't doubt that actors are being considered for The Flash since that's a flick actually moving forward (with Green Lantern writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim writing the script). But with how well Avengers is trending with comic and movie fans alike, I can't see DC Entertainment avoiding capitalizing on making individual films at least for Wonder Woman and Aquaman (which will obviously be a huge film directed by James Cameron and starring Vincent Chase). Martian Manhunter on the other hand could probably be worked into the franchise much like Nick Fury or Natasha Romanoff in Marvel's Universe.
But as shaky as this rumor feels, it does seem to play to the idea that Batman (at least in the form that Christopher Nolan has crafted him) simply does not fit in with the world of Justice League. Nolan's cinematic version of The Caped Crusader is too grounded, gritty and completely lacking the fantastical elements that the rest of the superheroes embody. In addition, with Nolan and his brother Jonathan working on a new Superman incarnation, it's easy to understand how The Big Blue Boy Scout wouldn't fit in with Justice League anymore too. Or maybe Warner Bros is anticipating losing the rights to the character (which could happen in 2012 if the studio doesn't get a new film featuring The Last Son of Krypton off the ground before then). However, the exclusion of these two key heroes doesn't jive with what we heard about DC Entertainment's approach to their cinematic universe and presumed lead-in to Justice League.
There's no doubt that it's far too early to have any solid developments, and let's not forget that the plan for The Avengers was mostly contingent on and came to fruition because of the breakout success of Iron Man. So I think that if Justice League is really in the cards, WB is going to wait to see the box office receipts for Green Lantern before any real development happens. But, let's keep in mind that Marvel announced The Avengers in 2008, but it's not hitting theaters until 2012. Therefore, it will be at least four years (Green Lantern doesn't come out until next year and a date hasn't even been set for The Flash) before Justice League could hit the big screen. However, I think this rumor raises an interesting question: Would you want to see a Justice League movie without Batman and/or Superman?