Poor Superman. He's had a string of bad movie luck lately. First Superman Returns tanks, then after a somewhat successful reboot in Man of Steel, Ben Affleck'sBatman comes along and steals his sequel. Sucks to be Supes.
Unless... [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) IS the sequel? This is what everyone assumed, as it follows on from the canon of Man of Steel and introduces Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor, but lately Henry Cavill has been eager to dissuade us of this assumption.
"I wouldn’t call this a Superman sequel. This is Batman vs. Superman, so it’s a separate entity altogether. It’s introducing the Batman character, and expanding upon this universe, which was kicked off by Man of Steel. It’s an introduction to the character, and ultimately an introduction to Justice League."
Originally Man of Steel was supposed to have a sequel that focussed on Superman, but somewhere on the road to Batman vs Superman, everything changed. So what exactly happened, and how did Batman swoop in to steal the limelight?
It's Batman's time to shine! (again)
It's all very well saying the Caped Crusader hijacked Superman's big screen debut ('s sequel), but is this a legitimate accusation? As it turns out, yes! After Man of Steel premiered, plans were already in place to continue the story into Man of Steel 2. But with Zod out of the picture, who could Kal-El battle next? Zack Snyder explained the process.
"I gotta be honest, it definitely was a thing that… after Man of Steel finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman. In the first meeting, it was like, maybe Batman?"
Snyder is quick to assure us that he didn't take the Man of Steel job "in a subversive way to get to Batman", but the Dark Knight was clearly on the writing team's mind. And pretty soon, the idea of Superman and Batman having an epic showdown spiralled into its own movie. I guess Batman is just too marketable right now for Superman to stand on his own. Not to mention Ben Affleck's pretty hot stuff after Gone Girl.
It's so long to a solo sequel for Supes. Neither Batman or Superman have solo films announced in the DC Cinematic Universe's phase 1 *ahem* I mean, the upcoming release lineup. And while rumours have been flying about a Batman solo film re-introducing the character properly (which will probably be in 2018), those little birds aren't chirping about Superman getting another film. Ah well.
But is this a bad thing?
I for one am delighted that some other DC stars are getting their own films, Aquaman and Wonder Woman especially (I can't believe DC got me to care about Aquaman but gosh darn it, Jason Momoa really sells it). These are characters that have been ignored by the silver screen for too long, while Superman and Batman seem to get a reboot every 5 years or so. It's time for these ubermenches to step down from the stage, and let someone else be the star for a change.
We've also got to stop seeing the DCCU as having the same structure as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of multiple solo films leading to a team up, and then the sequels of this structure, the DCCU is taking an approach that is more like POV chapters in a book (think A Song Of Ice And Fire). Each new film will move the plot along, and star the other members of the Justice League in cameos and supporting roles. Henry Cavill had more to say on the subject.
"From what I understand now, it’s no longer like, ‘This is Superman 2.’ The next one is not like a sequel to one of the characters. They’re just going to keep building their universe for about five or six movies."
That's actually a pretty interesting idea. Because while Marvel's long drawn out lead-in to Infinity War is clever, it does get to the point where we're like "yes! We get it! Thanos will be the bad guy!" By slowly drip feeding us glimpses of him, Marvel are really just ensuring that by the time Infinity War finally rolls around, we're sick of the villain already. And we know the plot. Is DC set to shakeup the world of superhero movies?
So Superman really doesn't have much to fear. He's probably going to get a role in the upcoming solo films, and of course he'll be leading the team in Justice League Part One. And there's always the chance that he'll get his own sequel. Until then, we'll finally get an answer to the age old question: who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman? (Spoiler alert: it's Wonder Woman.)