One of the reasons that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had one of the biggest opening weekends in history is because it’s a setup that fans have wanted to see for years. However, at the studio level, interest has not always been high. Back in 2005, the project was very nearly made, but eventually scrapped, in favor of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. At the time, writer David S. Goyer said that Batman vs Superman was a story to do when you run out of ideas. So what does it mean that he co-wrote Batman v Superman now? The answer may be complicated.
A decade ago Wolfgang Petersen very nearly directed a Batman vs Superman movie based on a script by Se7en’s Andrew Kevin Walker but eventually, Warner Bros. decided they weren’t ready to combine these two major franchises into a single film. As Indiewire remembers, David S Goyer summed it up as such:
'Batman Vs. Superman' is where you go when you admit to yourself that you've exhausted all possibilities. It's like 'Frankenstein meets Wolfman' or 'Freddy Vs. Jason.' It's somewhat of an admission that this franchise is on its last gasp.
In 2005, it’s clear that what David S. Goyer was saying was that these franchises still had something to say. In the case of Batman, they appeared to have been right, as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy became a huge success over the course of the next decade. Superman fared less well with Superman Returns, a movie which harkened back to the original Richard Donner directed films from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Now DC has begun again with Man of Steel and now the Justice League creating Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
But does going to this well so quickly, and Goyer helping to write it, mean that Warner Bros. is out of ideas (as Goyer once suggested)? The bad news is, the answer may be yes. However, the good news also is that it may not be as important as it once was. Batman and Superman have been the only major DC properties to see movies up to this point, but they won’t be carrying the DCEU by themselves going forward. As of this moment, there is an entire slate of DC movies scheduled to take us through the next four years. The fact that not one of them that’s been officially announced is a Batman or Superman solo film lends some credence to the idea that the studio may not know where to go with these two characters anymore. However, they have plenty of characters to play with now, so if Batman and Superman become supporting characters for a while, that could be OK. It will give people like Wonder Woman and the Flash a chance to shine in the spotlight. If DC didn't have these characters to fall back on, a lack of ideas for Batman or Superman would be a serious problem. As it stands, the two characters simply don't need to star in movies for awhile.
None of this means that they can’t still figure out what to do with Batman and Superman at some point in the future. The word is Ben Affleck has a script for a new Batman film, and we know the studio wants to make one, so maybe the key was simply bringing in new blood, who bring new ideas with them. We’re sure there are new ideas to be had, it’s just a question of finding them.
Do you see Batman v Superman as a last gasp, or the beginning of something new for these two characters? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. And then try this Batman trivia contest!