When Man of Steel arrived, fans were promised the start of a DC cinematic universe to rival Marvel's. At the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, the announcement was made that Man of Steel 2 would be more than just a sequel, and instead plant the seeds of a Justice League movie. The film, now titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be released on May 6th, 2016. Here is everything we know so far!
Zack Snyder is co-writing the story with David Goyer (who will then pen the screenplay), which is said to draw some inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, the classic story by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley which climaxed with an impressive street fight between Batman and Superman. While there are likely going to be some similarities, Goyer has stated that the film won't be an adaptation of that work. It seems possible that some of their conflict may stem from the controversial ending to Man of Steel, as Mr. Goyer promised, "we will be dealing with this in coming films...He isn't fully-formed as Superman in [Man of Steel], and he will have to deal with the repercussions of that in the next one."
As for what else Batman vs. Superman has in store, well...it looks like we're going to get a gathering of heroes. The next film after this one has officially been revealed as a Justice League movie, which will also be directed by Zack Snyder. We figure that whatever differences Bats and Supes have with each other in this one should be resolved by the time they get around to Super Friends: The Movie. A recent report indicates that Warner Bros. is finally ready to round out their movie calendar with a flurry of DC superhero movies, so this one may have some heavy lifting to do in order to introduce all of these characters.
And speaking of all those characters...
Henry Cavill will return as Superman and Ben Affleck will play Batman/Bruce Wayne. Affleck fits the mold of the "older and wiser" Batman who "bears the scars of a seasoned crimefighter" that Warner Bros. was looking for, which neatly sidesteps the need to re-establish Batman's origins on screen once again.
While the first live-action meeting of Batman and Superman is historic enough, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice goes even further, by introducing Wonder Woman into the mix, played by Gal Gadot. There's no word yet on just how large her role in the film will be, but this will mark the first appearance of Wonder Woman on the big screen, and her first live-action appearance (not counting an unaired NBC television pilot from a few years back) since Lynda Carter hung up her bracelets in 1979.
At least one villain has finally been cast, though. Jesse Eisenberg is taking on the role of Superman's arch-foe, Lex Luthor. David Goyer has stated that "Lex [Luthor] in this world is more a Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch like character. He's probably a multi, multi billionaire. He's not a crook." While this quote comes from an interview that was conducted well before the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice announcement, Goyer's vision for Lex would certainly put him in the same social circles as someone like Bruce Wayne. Zack Snyder describes Luthor as "a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman."
Jeremy Irons will play Batman's right-hand man, Alfred Pennyworth. While we don't know how much from previous incarnations of the character Irons will draw on, Alfred is described by Zack Snyder as "Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman."
Recently, the film has added three supporting castmembers in unidentified (but not comic book based) roles. Holly Hunter, Callan Mulvey, and Tao Okamoto have joined the cast in roles created specifically for the film. Scoot McNairy has also joined the cast in another unspecified role.
Ray Fisher will play Vic Stone...who is also known as Justice League member, Cyborg.
Jason Momoa's name keeps getting brought up in connection with the film, with the most recent report indicating that he has signed up to play Aquaman. It sounds like that's indeed the case. Other, less reliable reports indicate that Matt Damon is connected to the Aquaman role.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may or may not be part of this particular movie, but he's made no secret of the fact that he's meeting with Warner Bros. for an unspecified DC-related project.
Unconfirmed rumors indicate that the word is out for Dick Grayson, in his secret identity as Nightwing, to make an appearance, with Adam Driver's name initially having surfaced as a contender for the role. However, Driver has denied any involvement with the project, and his current commitments to the new Star Wars trilogy now safely rule him out.
In other news, fans hoping for an appearance by Arrow star Stephen Amell are likely to be disappointed, as the star has flatly stated that he isn't in the movie.
As for the other villains besides Lex Luthor, they have yet to be revealed. A recent report suggests that minor Batman baddie villain Victor Zsasz is in the film, along with other DC Comics supporting characters like Amanda Waller and Morgan Edge. That info seems to come from a fake script that is making the rounds, however.
Principal photography began in Detroit on May 6th, 2016, and will continue in Illinois, Africa, and the South Pacific. Some second-unit filming already took place, including at a football game between rival college teams from Metropolis and Gotham (this might be where Vic Stone/Cyborg is introduced), as well as locations in Illinois which have doubled as the Kent farm. Spy photos from the sets are starting to emerge around the web, as well, including shots of the LexCorp headquarters and a Superman statue under construction.
Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane will also reprise their Man of Steel roles. Batman vs. Superman is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder. Hans Zimmer will return to provide the score for the movie. However, when Zack Snyder stated that they'd want Mr. Zimmer back "as long as he'll have us" he also seemed to confirm that Zimmer wouldn't reuse any previous Batman themes, in order to distinguish this version of the character from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight films.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will open in the US on May 6th, 2016.