Ever since Warner Bros. announced at Comic Con that Batman would be in the new Man of Steel sequel, one thing was clear: this was not going to be a Man of Steel sequel.
Sequels to superhero franchises don’t have other superheroes sharing top billing, because then it stops being a superhero sequel and becomes a superteam movie (something only Marvel has done so far with the X-Men and Avengers movies). WB hasn’t been very subtle about it, of course, tentatively naming this Superman “sequel” Batman vs. Superman, except that now – with the official announcement that Gal Gadot has been cast as the new Wonder Woman – it’s clear WB isn’t just not making a Superman sequel, but they are actually rehearsing a Justice League movie without really calling it a Justice League movie.
We all know Marvel has the upper-hand as far as universe building is concerned, with their Avengers heroes all set up in their own movie franchises (at least those that are worth it, except for Hulk for some reason) and even expanding into outer space and the Guardians of the Galaxy. If they haven’t completely knocked out DC at this point is due to Sony holding unto the Spiderman franchise and Fox refusing to let go of the Fantastic Four, plus a certain director named Nolan producing the most lucrative superhero trilogy in history; but the fact remains that DC has fallen behind Marvel where Hollywood is concerned, and with The Avengers they have taken a strong lead. DC/WB can make up the ground if they make a Justice League movie (let’s face it, the Avengers roster is nothing compared to a Justice League roster), but rushing it could prove fatal. So now the plan seems to be that, instead of patiently positioning their pieces like Marvel did, they are going for a quick checkmate with a movie that is officially a sequel but unofficially the introduction to the Justice League characters, other movies be damned.
I’m not saying I am totally against this, I’m just worried that they are going to mess it up by cluttering Superman’s movie. Man of Steel showed both promise with Henry Cavill’s Superman interpretation and a lack of complete understanding of that character by Zack Snyder and the writing team. Still, there’s room for improvement, but will this Superman ever get that chance? He will be up against a brand new Batman, and now there’s a Wonder Woman whose exact role in this story is yet unknown, and the possibility of Flash also showing up. These last two characters deserve their own movies, so is this WB placing them in the public consciousness before that happens, or being lazy about it so people know who they are before jumping into the JL? I think there’s always a chance that all of this works out, and I’ll be first in line when the new movie comes out in a cluttered 2015, but I’m still worried.
On a last note, I don’t really know Gal Gadot, having only seen one of the Fast and the Furious movies and not remembering her at all, but at least she has the right looks (just a bit of gym work to buff up for the role). Is she leading role material, or was she cast because she is good with supporting characters and that’s enough for what WB intends to do? Can she carry a WW movie? The answer to these questions might reveal WB’s plans for Wonder Woman.