In 2008, Warner Brothers failed to get a Justice League movie off the ground, but given the super success of Marvel's The Avengers -- and WB's 2013's Superman film -- many have wondered if July's The Dark Knight Rises will, in some small way, introduce The Justice League.
For the uninitiated, The Justice League is a super-team comprised, initially, of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter.
Speaking directly to this point during a press conference this weekend, TDKR director Christopher Nolan said, "I've got no plans to do anything more, and certainly, no involvement with any Justice League project. We're finished with all we're doing with Batman. This is the end of our take on this character." Although Nolan said he understands the rumors given his producer role on 2013's Man of Steel.
But here's the thing, I don't believe Nolan.
First of all, Warner Bros. would be negligent to totally write-off the idea of a Justice League movie since Marvel has not only proven the power of their assembled Avengers, but also the strength they command on their own (since 2008, none of the six films have made less than $200 million globally, while The Avengers has grossed over $1.4 billion).
Plus, if we've learned anything from Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, it's that he believes in secrecy above all else. So why in the world would the man who locks down script pages, builds walls around sets and disseminates false plotlines come out and say, "Yes, the biggest secret about our film is that it sets up a Justice League movie. I wanted it to stay secret, but since you asked nicely, I simply had to be truthful."
Additionally, look at the wording of Nolan's denial: "We're finished with all we're doing with Batman. This is the end of our take on this character." But as everyone knows, the overarching Avengers movie was steered by writer/director Joss Whedon, someone who had zero involvement with the series before that. So it's entirely plausible that a new visionary would take the reigns for a Justice League movie.
This also leads me into a second theory I've been keeping to myself for some time, but feel like sharing with you now. In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent says, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." A central tenet that loomed large over Bruce Wayne's entire journey. We saw him become a villain at the end of the sequel, but I believe redemption lies ahead in the finale -- as does Bruce's death, since those are the only two options.
I do believe the torch will be passed, in some capacity, during Rises final moments -- and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be picking up Batman's mantle. Whether this is as the new Dark Knight, or as Robin, or as one of the many Batman variations brought to life in the comics, remains to be seen. But I simply don't believe JGL's character (a rookie cop named John Blake) is as straight-forward as the powers-that-be would like us to believe. Especially since he's been basically M.I.A. from all Dark Knight Rises trailers/commercials despite being a Nolan favorite and major rising star.
Would Joseph have taken a role that amounts to a glorified cameo given his stature coming in? Would Warner Brothers truly close the door on this hugely successful franchise? Would anyone really be surprised if Nolan is intentionally misleading us? Tune in tomorrow -- same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
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