It’s almost comical to think that, five or six years ago, Warner Bros. and DC were thinking of making a cheap-ish Justice League film. Sure, it might have been directed by George “Mad Max” Miller, and was set to feature some good actors, such as a then-unknown Armie Hammer as Bruce Wayne and Batman. But it would have been an all-new continuity for the characters, with Hammer’s Batman being a take on the character parallel to Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s.

The writer’s strike in 2007 stalled the film, and changing tax breaks in Australia killed it. And despite comments to suggest that it would happen eventually, Justice League has been dormant ever since.

Or has it? The Avengers is so big — one of the biggest earners ever — that naturally Warner Bros. wants their own version. And so Justice League lives again, and Warner Bros. has set Gangster Squad screenwriter Will Beall to write a film that will bring together DC’s biggest heroes.

Variety has the news, suggesting that Beall was actually hired last year. So this is actually pretty far along, one would think. (In fact, the trade also suggests Beall is writing another draft of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Logan’s Run; he wrote one draft, and Andrew Baldwin was hired to do a new draft last year.)

The interesting thing here is that we’ve known that WB and DC are going to want to reboot Batman after Nolan is done with his series, and Justice League could be the first stage of doing that. Sure, there could be a Justice League film without Batman, and in fact I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one go mostly without the character, but it could introduce him late in the game.

So the questions are: what characters are in the film at all, and will WB emulate Marvel’s approach and cast the same actors from the standalone films? That doesn’t seem like an option with Bale and Batman, but could we see Ryan Reynolds back in a Green Lantern mask?

And how does the film work? Marvel spent a lot of time engineering The Avengers in movies leading up to that event — almost too much, at times — so it might be a mistake to think that another super-team movie can simply be drafted and find similar success. Besides which, we don’t even know how one potential Justice League ingredient, Henry Cavill’s Superman, will be received. Zack Snyder once said that his Superman and a theoretical Justice League version of the character would be different, but in the wake of The Avengers it seems crazy to do two parallel versions of the characters, right?

Many question marks hang over this one, and it will be interesting to see how WB tries to pull it off.

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