Batman vs. Superman: Everything We Know
When Man of Steel arrived, fans were promised the start of a DC cinematic universe to rival Marvel's. At the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, the announcement was made that Man of Steel 2 would be more than just a sequel, and instead plant the seeds of a Justice League movie. Henry Cavill will return as Superman and Ben Affleck will play Batman/Bruce Wayne. Affleck fits the mold of the "older and wiser" Batman who "bears the scars of a seasoned crimefighter" that Warner Bros. was looking for, which neatly sidesteps the need to re-establish Batman's origins on screen once again.
The latest, greatest, and biggest news involves the official announcement that Gal Gadot will be joining the film as Wonder Woman! There's no word yet on just how large her role in the film will be, but this will mark the first appearance of Wonder Woman on the big screen, and her first live-action appearance (not counting an unaired NBC television pilot from a few years back) since Lynda Carter hung up her bracelets in 1979.
While they aren't calling this a Justice League movie (at least, not yet) there's still a chance that other superheroes may make an appearance in the film. Unconfirmed rumors indicate that the word is out for Dick Grayson, in his secret identity as Nightwing, to make an appearance, with Adam Driver's name having surfaced as a contender for the role. However, Driver has denied any involvement with the project so far.
Zack Snyder is co-writing the story with David Goyer (who will then pen the screenplay), which is said to draw some inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, the classic story by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley which climaxed with an impressive street fight between Batman and Superman. While there are likely going to be some similarities, Goyer has stated that the film won't be an adaptation of that work. It seems possible that some of their conflict may stem from the controversial ending to Man of Steel, as Mr. Goyer promised, "we will be dealing with this in coming films...He isn't fully-formed as Superman in [Man of Steel], and he will have to deal with the repercussions of that in the next one."
While no villains have yet been announced, the LexCorp easter eggs in Man of Steel would seem to indicate that there are immediate plans to introduce Lex Luthor in some capacity. David Goyer has stated that "Lex [Luthor] in this world is more a Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch like character. He's probably a multi, multi billionaire. He's not a crook." While this quote comes from an interview that was conducted well before the Batman vs. Superman announcement, Goyer's vision for Lex would certainly put him in the same social circles as someone like Bruce Wayne. Luthor seems like such a likely contender as an on-screen presence in Batman vs. Superman that it has led to actors like Mark Strong commenting on the matter, as well as unsubstantiated "dream casting" rumors involving Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston. Recent statements by Zack Snyder also seemed to indicate that Lex will indeed show up in the movie.
The film is currently in aggressive pre-production, with primary filming scheduled to begin in early 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. However, some second-unit filming has already commenced, including at a football game between rival college teams from Metropolis and Gotham, as well as locations in Illinois which have doubled as the Kent farm. There have certainly been, at the very least, costume tests shot as Kevin Smith has seen a photo of Ben Affleck in a Batman costume, which he describes as something "you have not seen...in a movie before." Here's hoping that means it has some blue and grey...and maybe a yellow oval.
Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane will also reprise their Man of Steel roles. Batman vs. Superman is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder. It seems likely that Hans Zimmer will return as composer, given his history with both characters, although he did express that he "might not feel right" returning to score Batman again, so this one may be a "wait and see" situation. However, Zack Snyder recently said that they'd want Mr. Zimmer back "as long as he'll have us" but seemed to confirm that Zimmer wouldn't reuse any previous Batman themes, in order to distinguish this version of the character from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight films, which Zimmer also scored.
It also appears that Batman vs. Superman is just a working title, and that something less on-the-nose will replace it in the next few months.
Batman vs. Superman arrives on July 17, 2015.