The year was 2013, and Warner Bros. had only just rebooted the Superman movie franchise with Man of Steel, when an announcement was made at San Diego Comic-Con. The pundits all knew what was coming. Man of Steel was a respectable success at the box office, and a sequel was inevitable. But instead of announcing that they were hard at work on Man of Steel 2, Warner Bros. announced – rather off the cuff, if we’re being honest – that they were making Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice instead.
That official title came later, but the message was clear: they were skipping over another Superman movie, and jumpstarting what would eventually become known as the DC Extended Universe. And with Superman – SPOILER ALERT – not making it out of Batman v Superman alive, and with his death being a pivotal plot point in last weekend’s supervillain team-up movie Suicide Squad, it seemed unlikely that we would be getting another Superman solo movie anytime soon… even though the ending of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice certainly implied that he wouldn’t stay dead forever.
But maybe we won’t have to wait as long as we thought. Earlier today a report came through The Wrap, indicating that Warner Bros. is currently developing a Man of Steel sequel. The publication did not quote their source directly, but their source did indicate that “Superman is a top priority for the studio and getting the character right for audiences is of tantamount importance.”
Getting Superman right has been one of the trickier parts of Warner Bros.’ franchise plans for years. An earlier attempt to reboot the series under Bryan Singer, Superman Returns, evoked the majesty of the character but failed to put him in sufficiently exciting situations. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel vastly improved the stakes and scale of Superman’s story, but focused on the character’s earlier adventures, before he had developed his heroic identity. And Batman v Superman shifted the focus away from Superman and onto the international debate that the existence of Superman would inevitably stimulate, emphasizing the world’s anxieties about Superman instead of the character himself.
Perhaps the rebirth of Superman, returning to save the world that once rejected him, will provide Warner Bros. with all the storytelling context they need to treat Superman as a savior instead of a threat. But the question now seems to be when, exactly, Superman would return. Will he re-emerge over the course of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, to save the day at the last minute? Or will Warner Bros. save the return of Superman for his own sequel?
If the latter, audiences may have to wait for a while. The DC Extended Universe movies are already scheduled years in advance, although those release dates are subject to change. (Marvel Studios was certainly able to make room for Spider-Man: Homecoming as soon as the opportunity arose.) Wonder Woman and Justice League are both currently slated for 2017, with Aquaman expected in 2018. The Flash is currently in development, albeit without an official release date, but Warner Bros. does have releases dates staked out for unknown films in 2018 and 2019 that could – theoretically – be used for a Man of Steel sequel.
We are still waiting on official confirmation from Warner Bros. that this story is true, but Crave will update you as necessary.
Photo: Warner Bros.
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved, Rapid Reviews and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.