On Friday, Variety ran yet another piece on the troubled DC superhero film development process at Warner Brothers. It’s nothing new. “Warners and DC have labored in vain over
another Superman, and launches for Wonder Woman*, The Flash, Green Arrow
and Green Lantern,” wrote Marc Graser. Amid all that, Justice League continues to languish, but for a good reason. “We’re going to make a Justice League movie, whether it’s now or 10
years from now. But we’re not going to do it and Warners is not going
to do it until we know it’s right,” says senior VP of DC creative affairs Gregory Noveck.
The crux of that piece was that both WB and DC seem to know (still!) that they’ve got a problem with their project pipeline, and that (finally!) they might have an idea that will fix it. The idea is so good that it remains secret, but we might know about it within a month.
The follow-up, which only highlights the studio’s uncertainty and serves to scuttle rumors about Superman, comes from Anne Thompson, who posted a slight Superman update on her blog. No writers are currently working on the project, seemingly because the studio doesn’t know what they want. The key question is: to reboot or not?
“And within the halls of Warner Bros. the same debate rages on,” says Thompson. “They too
believe that the last movie didn’t break the mold and wound up in some
kind of middle limbo. Today I was told that it is a priority at the
studio to find the right direction and if Bryan Singer is willing to do
that, fine, but if he gets in the way, he may not stay on the project.”
The kicker comes from an unnamed exec who says “It might be better to start from scratch.”
As much as I hate to reinforce the waffling, this trepidation seems like the healthiest attitude Warner Brothers could currently take. Better to refine their communication with DC and get their broad priorities straight than crank out another Superman flick that would have to simultaneously revive the franchise and carry the standard for DC-based pictures. Alan Horn seems to know this, saying they need to turn “the properties into viable movie product in an intelligent way so that
we introduce them like planes on a runway. They have to be set up the
right way and lined up the right way and all take off one at a time and
fly safe and fly straight.”
* Incidentally, read Topless Robot’s difficult to repudiate list of reasons no one cares about Wonder Woman to get some idea of the problems that keep pushing against that film adaptation.