We believe that Warner Bros.' plan right now is to get a sequel to Man of Steel underway and only after that move screenwriter David Goyer, and very likely director Zack Snyder, onto Justice League. Unless Man of Steel somehow ends up being a flop – and so far, that's very much not happening – I would expect them to stick with this scheme.
And it's not a brand new plan. Back when David Goyer first started work on the Man of Steel screenplay, the studio told him to leave their options open and make sure the film could, if everything worked out at the box office, form the beginnings of DC Comics Movieverse.
So Goyer did that. There's nothing in this film that should prevent the introduction of a Batman, an Aquaman, a Wonder Woman or a Flash.
But it looks to me, in fact, that while leaving the way open for the introduction of other superheroes, Goyer has simultaneously made some different sequel problems for himself. At the very least, he's reinvented Superman in such a way that many of the old standby tropes we know from 75 years of comics, radio, TV and film just aren't going to fly anymore.
I have to say, that's one of the things I most enjoyed about Man of Steel, and I do feel very curious about what new, distinctive directions that any sequels will have to take this story and these characters.
Here's some of what Goyer had to say on the subject of a Man of Steel sequel when I sat down with him yesterday. Check out the problem solving he's going to have to do – and also the ideas for the follow up that he's clearly already had.
Chris [Nolan] was very clear that the Dark Knight trilogy exists in its own finite universe. But everybody is aware that it was Warner's intention there would be some kind of shared universe.
I believe I wrote a Lexcorp easter egg into the script and we mentioned STAR Labs at one point, which some comic book readers will be aware of. Zack slipped in the Wayne Industries satellite and I first saw that in the rough cut.
The challenge for us moving forward is how to depict Superman in a world like this, in a world where Twitter exists, in a world with social media. To me, the interesting challenge is "Could he solve hunger in the horn of Africa? What would he do with the Arab Spring? What would he do in Syria?"
Partly you could argue "How could he not intervene in something like the situation in Syria?" but the other argument is "Is it a hornet's nest if her intervenes? Does he have the wherewithal or the knowledge to intervene in something like this?"
To me, that's the interesting challenge. It's easier for Batman because he just exists in this little pocket of the world, he's not violating sovereign airspace every day.
There is musing about Lex Luthor, conversations that Zack and I have had on set, but it all depends on what happens over the next month. There are obviously those Lexcorp easter eggs in the film and clearly you can see from that, to the extent to which we can intuit things about Lex, it's not the Gene Hackman version. This is a Bill Gates-like Lex that is probably worth 50, 60, 70 billion dollars. It's a very different Lex.
Okay, let me warn you that from here on out we're into something more like spoiler territory. You may prefer to click away, or just skip down now to the end of the italicised comments.
Right. So up next is what David had to say when talking about the lack of a Clark Kent disguise or alias in the film, and how easy it is for folks to recognise this version of Kal-El whenever they see him.
In our minds there are people in Smallville who know Superman's secret as well [as Lois], Pete Ross seems to know, there's probably a couple dozen people who know and we thought it would be interesting if they're protective of him.
We were able to sidestep the issue of the ludicrous glasses disguise in this film but going forwards, we're going to find ourselves in a sticky wicket. Zack and I have definitely talked about "Okay, hmm, this will be interesting." Clearly Perry White and Steve Lombard see Lois kissing Superman at the end of the film. Perry's not an idiot. Moving forward, he's probably going to say to Lois "What's up with that?" We're definitely going to have to go through some story gymnastics.
Thanks again to Goyer for giving up a good chunk of time to talk with me. Please do come back for more from our interview over the weekend.
Man of Steel is on release now.