There were rumors percolating recently that Warner Bros. dictated that Batman be emphasized more in the upcoming movie superhero slugfest Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Last week, the film’s director Zack Snyder confirmed that the film will focus more on Batman. On top of that indignity (for Superman), there are further rumors that a proper Man of Steel sequel focusing solely on Superman won’t happen. Instead, Warner Bros. was so wowed by Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that now there will be three Batman films coming out.
Yeah, the Batman fans must be tickled pink about this development but what about Superman? Once again, the Man of Steel, the first superhero gets pushed to the curb in favor of Batman. Sure, Batman is DC Comics’ most popular superhero and the marketing department just love him, but the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) can’t just rely on him to carry the load for the film franchise. One of the reasons why their competitors Marvel Studios has done so well with their cinematic universe is because they doesn’t just rely on one superhero. Their biggest hit isn’t called Iron Man and the Avengers. No, that film, The Avengers, spread the attention around its many heroes. Marvel Studios hasn’t been shy about producing films on more obscure characters and their gambles paid off. Look at Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man.
In order for the DCEU to thrive, they need to diversify. They also have a rich comic book universe, it’s a shame that it’s largely ignored for Batman and his universe. Here’s another example, what went over so big in a recent DCEU trailer? The Joker and Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. We barely are aware that it features Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and other DC supervillains. The trailer even had a Batman cameo. Probably DC/Warner concluded that since Green Lantern and Man of Steel didn’t do too well, then they should go back to what worked for them. It’s a shame really because the DC Universe is ripe for exploring on film. At least, the DC TV shows realize this with their hit shows Arrow and The Flash, and it’s more amazing that they can’t use Batman at all.
Will we ever get a true sequel to Man of Steel? Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was originally supposed to be that. Metallo was slated to be the main villain and the film was going to end with a chunk of kryptonite being sent to Wayne Manor. That Batcameo ballooned into having Batman be the co-lead and now supposedly the lead. Snyder’s excuse for this is that the film needed to explore Batman. What is there to explore? We know his origin already (which was shown yet again in the film’s trailer), why not just cut out all references to Superman and be done with it?
Right off the bat, DC and Warner Bros. seem to be panicking and going back to their old crutch of making all things about Batman. If this goes on expect to see Batman shoehorned into other upcoming DCEU films like Aquaman and Green Lantern Corps. He’s already has a guaranteed spot in Justice League. Sure, from a marketing standpoint it makes perfect sense to highlight your most popular characters but don’t be afraid to focus on other assets, if nurtured correctly, they too will be just as popular as Batman. That is the best way to compete against Marvel and it will delight fans to no end.