So How Does 'Man of Steel' Indirectly Setup a Future 'Justice League'?
by Ethan Anderton
June 14, 2013
Last night, audiences flocked to theaters for midnight showings of Man of Steel, and while some might be disappointed at a lack of a scene during or at the end of the credits like when Marvel set up The Avengers at the end of Iron Man, that doesn't mean there aren't nuggets of a larger DC Comics universe on the big screen that could lead to more. After all, we just heard a Man of Steel sequel is being fast-tracked with director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer returning, the latter also having a deal for a potential Justice League movie. And while the new movie doesn't directly set it up, there are hints at a larger world.
For those with keen eyes, you might have noticed a couple cool Easter Eggs in Man of Steel, but there are two very intriguing ones. First, the LexCorp logo, the company operated by Lex Luthor can be seen several times in the film, most notably on a dual tanker truck where Superman is battling General Zod in Metropolis. That means Lex Luthor is already an established businessman in Metropolis, and he'll likely come into contact with our hero sometime later in the franchise. But for now, that's just part of the world-building and a fun nod towards fans.
Another similar addition appears in space when a satellite is destroyed, but not before catching a glimpse of the same Wayne Enterprises logo from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. So does that mean Nolan's Batman franchise will link with Snyder's new take on Superman. We actually have a definite answer on that as Goyer told MTV:
"The 'Dark Knight' films do not exist in the same universe. Zack [Snyder] has gone on record. The fact that we have Wayne Industries on the satellite, Bruce Wayne exists in this universe. Lex Luthor exists in this universe. Other metahumans do exist in this universe, so the hope is, depending on how the film does, that we'll be able to roll into some other films."
That "other metahumans" comment is interesting, and ScreenCrush points out another interesting detail from Goyer on a different Easter Egg saying, "We mentioned S.T.A.R. Labs at one point, that’s kind of a connection to Cyborg.” Comic fans will know Cyborg as a cybernetically enhanced human who was a member of the Teen Titans for a long time, but in more recent comic book series he has become a founding member of the Justice League. So read from that what you will.
So what does this all mean? Well, Goyer explained their thought process to Bleeding Cool:
"It is our intention that, in success, this would be the zero issue and from this point onward, possible films could expand into a shared universe. In our world, the Man of Steel world, Zack has gone on record saying that we’re implying there are other superheroes in this world. But I don’t know that they’ve come forward yet. The idea is that Superman is the first one. There might be people helping people, but not in costumes, and that Superman comes forward and announces himself to the world. In him announcing himself, he’s the one that changes things."
So in a way, Man of Steel is like Iron Man in setting up a larger universe, but Goyer, Snyder and Nolan are just being a little more subtle about it. There's even speculation that a minor military character named Carrie Ferris (the one who calls Superman "hot") might be a variation on Carol Ferris, the love interest of Green Lantern hero Hal Jordan. And while there's certainly been discussions of a shared universe, Goyer is careful to point out that it's up to audiences and how the films are received. He told HeyUGuys:
"It would be disingenuous to say Warner Bros doesn’t hope that this would be the starting point for a shared universe. And Zack has said that Bruce Wayne exists in this universe. It would be a different Bruce Wayne from Chris’ [Nolan] Dark Knight trilogy, and it would be disingenuous to say that Zack and I haven’t had various conversations on set, around ‘what if’ and ‘moving forward.'
That having been said, it’s all going to depend on the next few weeks. Warner Bros has hopes that there will be more Man Of Steel films, and that this will be the beginning of a shared universe. We could meet Batman, or Wonder Woman, or the Justice League in these movies. But they all hinge on box office reception."
So while Man of Steel may not have had much pomp and circumstance setting up a DC Comics cinematic universe like Marvel. There are at least some seeds planted for this to grow into a multiple franchise comic book world, hopefully shepherded by Christopher Nolan. But for now, audiences should just enjoy Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, a humanizing story arc for a godlike hero brought to life effortlessly by Henry Cavill, complete with an epic, unforgivingly action-packed third act with Michael Shannon making for an incredible villain. See the film, and stay tuned for more on Superman and Justice League. Thoughts?