Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
A sequel to Superman Returns has been in limbo since the beginning. Warner Bros was unhappy with how the film performed, and fans were unhappy with the lack of action and unnecessary out-of-canon third act plot twist. But director Bryan Singer showed up at Comic Con expressing his desire to make a sequel that would give the fans what they wanted. Warner later announced that Superman: Man of Steel was given the official go-ahead, and a June 2009 release date was touted. Then Singer got distracted by the Tom Cruise WWII film, and a Justice League movie appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
Variety’s Anne Thompson wrote a blog post last week which I quickly dismissed as an opinion piece. But I’ve since been told that the comments were more fact based than opinion. So here are Anne’s comments about the current state of the Superman sequel, Justice League and third Batman film:
“Speaking of DC Comics pics, it is highly unlikely that Bryan Singer will return to shoot the next Superman movie. (The director is finishing up Tom Cruise’s Nazi film Valkyrie, and prepping The Mayor of Castro Street). The next Superman we will see on the big screen will not be Brandon Routh, but a younger Superman among a cast of youthful superheroes in The Justice League. That movie will likely not be shot, however, until after the WGA strike is resolved. Warners is so happy with Dark Knight that their fondest hope is that Nolan will return to do another Batman.”
Warner appears to want to do a total reboot with the DC comic line-up, aside from their successful Batman franchise. So it sounds to me like Routh might also be out as Superman (ie read: MY SPECULATION, not Anne’s), which is a shame considering he didn’t do a bad job. Plus, why bring Singer’s extra baggage on for Justice and the sequel? It’s bad enough that they’ll have two Batmans to market.
And while I love Singer, and wish he would return for Man of Steel, I must admit it’s a smart move by the Warner execs to cast a new Superman for Justice League. They’re planning for a franchise. They want a young star who can take on a trilogy or two.
But Warner Bros doesn’t understand is that fans don’t want the teen titans. They don’t want more-cartoony. But this appears to be the direction they are heading towards. I’m convinced that fans want dark and edgy, real but tounge firmly in cheek, action packed but with a dramatic backbone. Why can’t the studios look back at how the former comic book movie franchises fell, and see that this is the wrong move to make? Maybe because while most everyone I’ve talked to hated Spider-Man 3, it is still the 12th highest grossing film of all time. And with statisics like that floating around, executives are likely to believe that fans want things like multiple villains and corny dance sequences in Jazz clubs.
And it’s a shame because I think Singer could have made an incredible Superman sequel if he was given the space. But that film, we might never ever see.