Batman and Superman will unite for a sequel to Warner Bros.’ “Man of Steel,” paving the way for a “Justice League” movie, the studio announced at Comic-Con on Saturday. The news was leaked just before the panel began, but that didn’t temper fans’ rapturous reaction to what would be the first time the superheroes were united on screen.
Director Zack Snyder ("Man of Steel," "300") made a surprise appearance in Hall H to announce he was working on the sequel, and promised to reveal something to "inform" audience expectations. He brought out actor Harry Lennix, who read a passage from Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight" – and then the screen flashed the Superman "S" symbol, shadowed by the distinctive wings of Batman. The crowd, as they say, went wild.
Snyder and David Goyer, who wrote the first one, will write the second one, maintaining the core creative team from the summer’s monster hit.
Though Snyder disclosed nothing more, Warner Bros. then sent out a press release announcing that Henry Cavill would return as Superman. Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane will repreise their roles as well. It remains unclear who will play Batman.
Christian Bale, who played Batman in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, has said he is done with the part.
The new film also brings back Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder as producers. Nolan and partner Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers, along with Benjamin Melniker and Mic
In a prepared statement, Warner production chief Greg Silverman said: “Zack Snyder is an incredibly talented filmmaker, but beyond that, he’s a fan first and he utterly gets this genre. We could not think of anyone better suited to the task of bringing these iconic superheroes to the screen in his own way."
“Superman and Batman together on the big screen is a dream come true for DC fans everywhere. All of us at DC Entertainment could not be more excited for Zack’s continuing vision for the DC Universe," said Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment.
Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” did not reinvigorate the franchise, delaying those plans for a few years. Snyder’s “Man of Steel” gave Warner Bros. exactly what it wanted, grossing more than $600 million at the worldwide box office and furthering speculation that Warner Bros. would plot a multi-character “Justice League” movie.
TheWrap reported on the eve of the film’s debut that Warner Bros. was planning to make a sequel to “Man of Steel” first, and then move on to “Justice League” and the other DC characters. Though early reports on Saturday indicated Warner Bros. would formally announce those plans for movies about The Flash and Justice League, the studio did not say anything beyond "Man of Steel."
Warner Bros. announced its plans for Superman and Batman on Saturday at a panel where the studio showcased seven different upcoming movies, including “Godzilla,” “Lego: The Movie” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.”
One question that went unanswered on Saturday is whether Legendary Entertainment will be involved in any way. Legendary co-financed and co-produced the “Dark Knight” movies and “Man of Steel” under a deal it had with Warner Bros. Yet Legendary has now moved on to NBCUniversal, and the schism was evident on Saturday as Warner Bros. slotted all the Legendary movies at the beginning of the panel, and reserved the second half for its own projects.
Regardless of who makes it, it is inevitable that Cavill, Snyder and the gang will return to Comic-Con in future years, promoting what Warner Bros. hopes will become a lengthy streak of hit movies.