Let’s see… we have one successful (but not overwhelmingly so) franchise in Christopher Nolan’s Batman, a stalled franchise in Superman, a miscarried Wonder Woman, an alternate universe Justice League of America speeding toward production with George Miller at the helm, a JLA spin-off of The Flash (with the newly-attached David Dobkin directing), and, now, television veteran Greg Berlanti taking the reins on Green Lantern.
This is beginning to look like the most expensive studio brainstorming session ever.
More troubling, there’s no coherent approach here – at least, not one that’s visible. The big problem for Warner Brothers is that, in lieu of any other good ideas (and no doubt desperate to feed off the thriving success of the Marvel brand), they gave the Batman franchise away to Nolan in 2003 – and his exceedingly dark vision is completely incompatible with the lighter-in-tone Justice League film. Not that a unity of tone would matter to Nolan; he probably wouldn’t play ball with crossover films, and neither would his star, Christian Bale.
So WB is stuck financing Nolan’s less commercially accessible Batman movies (I believe he’s under contract for one more after 2008’s The Dark Knight; I know Bale is) while they scramble to establish a more mainstream (and younger) incarnation of the character via Miller’s JLA. According to Devin’s story re: David Dobkin replacing Shawn Levy as the director of The Flash, it sounds like WB wants JLA to be the center of the cinematic DC universe. While the Variety story indicates nothing of the sort, I’m going to guess that Berlanti’s Green Lantern film will proceed likewise (although The Hollywood Reporter claims that Hal Jordan will be the protagonist, which may be at odds with JLA‘s use of John Stewart).
For those of you despairing over a prime time soap writer/producer developing the big screen Green Lantern, there is some good news: collaborating with Berlanti on the screenplay will be comic book scribe Marc Guggenheim. Or maybe that’s bad news. Again, the four color stuff ain’t my bailiwick. Michael Green, a writer and producer on Heroes and Smallville, is also working on the script. I’ve seen enough of those shows to know his involvement is not an particularly encouraging development.
Donald De Line will produce for Warner Brothers, with Andrew Haas exec producing. A start date isn’t even being intimated at this point; I’m sure it will stay in fairly active development until Justice League of America either hits or tanks – or, shit, gets made in the first place.