Everyone Is Getting Every “Fact” About ‘Man of Steel 2’ Wrong and It Needs to Stop
I’ll be the first to admit the wait for any new information on the sequel to Man of Steel has been a tough one, but with the release so utterly far away we can’t really blame Warner Bros. for not opening the floodgates on news for the film. The downside of this blackout, however, is that the internet has stepped in to fill the void with an incessant amount of rumors, hopes, and flat out false reports about the film. Rumors and false reports about anticipated films is to be expected, but with Man of Steel 2 things have hit a fever pitch; not even the Dark Knight trilogy had this sort of whirlwind about it. With a huge amount of sites reporting this rumors as die-hard facts, I feel like someone needs to sort out the truths from the rumors and clear the air, and it might as well be me. Hit the jump to see what’s confirmed, what’s rumored, and which of those rumors are likely to turn out true, or false.
Let’s start off with the facts: what we absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt, straight from the studio or director themselves.
1. Batman, played by Ben Affleck will be in the film in a story drawing at least some inspiration from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.
Source: Announcement at San Diego Comic-Con, Statement From Zack Snyder/Press Release From Warner Bros.
It seems redundant to even mention this fact, but for the sake of clarity and completion I’m including it here. At the San Diego Comic-Con, Zack Snyder took the stage after the Warner Bros. panel to announce that they were indeed working on a sequel to Man of Steel. Snyder then brought actor Harry Lenix onto the stage to read a quote from a certain book the film was partially inspired by that they felt would give fans a look at the sort of tone they wanted to achieve (the infamous “I want you to remember” speech from The Dark Knight Returns). We were then treated to the now infamous Superman/Batman mash-up logo.
Fast forward to August 22nd, 2013. After a couple months of speculation on who would be teaming up with Henry Cavill on screen as the Caped Crusader, Warner Bros. shocked pretty much the entire collective internet by announcing that Ben Affleck would be taking up the cowl as an “older, tired, weary Batman” in keeping with the Batman of The Dark Knight Returns.
2. Wonder Woman will also be appearing in at least a cameo role, played by Gal Gadot.
Source: Statement from Zack Snyder/Warner Bros, Gal Gadot’s Twitter
After rumors that Batman would not be the only hero to join Big Blue in his sophomore outing swirled around for a few more months, in December of 2013 we received official confirmation that Wonder Woman would be appearing in Man of Steel 2, played by Gal Gadot. It’s important to note that the statement referred to Gadot as “Wonder Woman” and not simply “Diana Prince,” implying that we would get to see the legendary Amazon in all of her godlike glory. It has also been confirmed that Gadot will receive a pay of $300,000 for Man of Steel 2, implying that this will be a short cameo role at best that will move into bigger things.
3. The original draft was written by David S. Goyer, and now Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio has been brought in to write a draft and revise the script.
Source: Exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter
Though Goyer initially wrote the story and screenplay for Man of Steel 2, Warner Bros. announced in December that they had brought in Chris Terrio, writer of Argo, to pen a new script for the film. Given Terrio’s relationship with Warner Bros. and Ben Affleck, this really isn’t that big of a surprise. Also, when we look at what Goyer has on his plate lately, it could be best for the film to have a writer that can be one hundred percent dedicated on the film.
That is all the concrete information we have. Everything from this point on is based on rumor, speculation, and off-hand comments. Ordinarily, this is not a problem. But when people, including credible news sites, begin reporting this stuff as fact and start acting like it’s a given thing, it causes problems. In this next section we’ll be looking at the various rumors and, along with posting the original (or closest to it) source of the rumor, gauge their potential validity. These are all rumors that people have now taken as fact, that may indeed be true but not confirmed, or could be outright false. Think comments like “well we already know Nightwing is in Batman vs. Superman,” which have already been debunked but were so widespread everyone still believes them. More on that one later.
1. The film will be titled Batman vs. Superman.
Likelihood of Accuracy: Very Likely
Original rumor: comicbook.com, with a statement from David Goyer.
Though we have yet to see Warner Bros. announce a title or refer to the film as anything other than Untitled Man of Steel Sequel, everyone has universally accepted that the film will be titled Batman vs. Superman. This rumor seems to stem from ComicBook.com, who originally ran the rumor, stating that Goyer commented during the Superman 75th Anniversary panel at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con that the film would be called Batman vs. Superman or Superman vs. Batman. As I’ve never heard of this site, I am unable to check their track record when it comes to claims like this, but according to the site they did a little digging and discovered that Warner Bros. registered a domain for BatmanvsSupermanMovie.com.
I personally ran through the entire panel and pulled the following quote from Goyer:
“…we’re not actually sure what the title is, Batman vs. Superman or Superman vs. Batman or something, but yes, that rematch, that combination, the two guys…that’s happening.”So while the film is still technically untitled and Goyer even states they’re not sure what the title is, this is the source of the Batman vs. Superman title rumor. When we consider that Goyer wrote the story and first draft of the screenplay, and the domain registered by Warner Bros., it’s quite likely that the title will end up as Batman vs. Superman. However, nothing is set and stone and new writer Chris Terrio may decide to go with a different title when submitting his script to Warner Bros. for approval.
2. Nightwing/Dick Grayson will be in the film, played by Adam Driver.
Likelihood of Nightwing: Possible.
Likelihood of Adam Driver: None, debunked.
Original Rumor: The Wrap, from two sources “close to the project.”
This is a tricky one because though one aspect of this rumor was debunked, the other aspect of it stuck around and somehow became fact. The story that Adam Driver was being eyed as Nightwing first hit the web as an “exclusive” from a site called The Wrap, who sourced from “two individuals familiar with the project.” This sort of “source” is always a red flag for me, because it’s like the internet equivalent of saying “my friend who really wants this to happen says it is.” It’s also important to note that this story was the first time anyone had even heard of Nightwing being in the film at all; there were no whisperings of his role at all. Warner Bros. had no comment on the report.
The backfire from this is that though everyone now accepts that the part about Adam Driver has been debunked, the rumor that Nightwing is in the film at all still persists as fact. So let’s break down what we know and see if there’s any likelihood of the former boy wonder appearing in the film.
Here are the facts: we know that this Bruce will have been active for quite a long time, and will be tired and weary ala The Dark Knight Returns. It’s possible that he could in fact have had Dick Grayson as Robin during this time, who then graduated to Nightwing. Though I doubt Nightwing would appear in a major capacity it is possible that Dick Grayson could appear in a very quick cameo/shout-out, but this is again just me speculating. Perhaps just mentioned in passing, or appearing on phone contacts, something of that nature.
3. The villain will be Lex Luthor, played by Joaquin Phoenix, Bryan Cranston, or Mark Strong.
Likelihood of Luthor: Very Likely
Likelihood of Joaquin Phoenix: Possible
Likelihood of Bryan Cranston: Debunked
Likelihood of Mark Strong: Possible
Original rumor: Comments From Snyder in Man of Steel Q&A
This one has just been a roller coaster from the start. Rumors of Luthor’s involvement in the sequel to Man of Steel date back to the first film itself, with LexCorp being featured quite prominently in the background of the sets. Rumors of Luthor’s appearance swirled even more after comments made from director Zack Snyder during the Man of Steel fan event seemed to point towards Luthor being in the sequel.
This led to a whirlwind of casting rumors, with somewhat obvious choices like Bryan Cranston and Mark Strong being the top contenders. Cranston was quick to debunk these rumors, however, in an interview with the Boston Globe. Interestingly enough Mark Strong did not speak out against the rumors of him being in the film, telling us to “watch this space.”
Things got even stranger a bit later, when out of seemingly nowhere it was reported that Joaquin Phoenix was being offered the villain role in Man of Steel 2, though the villain is not named. Many were quick to dismiss this as blockbusters do not really seem to be Phoenix’s standard fare, but he then expressed an interest in doing a blockbuster film to LA Weekly.
So, while nothing is solidified nor confirmed, it is very likely that Lex Luthor will be present in the film, and could potentially be played by Mark Strong or Joaquin Phoenix. This does not necessarily mean he will be the central villain, however. Though Lex is a formidable opponent in his own right, his schemes often involve a collaborator. Personally, I’m pulling for Braniac, but nothing is confirmed.
4. The film will really be a Justice League movie in disguise, featuring appearances from Aquaman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Green Arrow, and the Martian Manhunter.
Likelihood: Not likely.
Hoo boy, is this one a doozy. I think this persistent rumor is stemming directly from the lack of information provided by Warner Bros.; all the fans are filling in the information void with what they want to happen most, some to the point of reporting it as a rumor because they think it would be cool and, frankly, because it will get them page views. In recent months, we’ve had rumors from “trusted sources” over every minor site most of us have never heard of before of appearances by Jason Momoa (later denied multiple times by the actor) or Josh Holloway as Aquaman (also debunked), Denzel Washington as Green Lantern John Stewart (very likely false, as I can personally say that Nuke the Fridge, who broke the “news,” will say anything for page hits. I’m not the only one that thinks this, and El Mayimbe has a fantastic track record when it comes to WB scoops), Dwayne Johnson in the film as possibly the Martian Manhunter (not sure where to stand on this, as Johnson confirmed he has been speaking with DC and WB but does not state regarding what), an appearance from Steven Amell of Arrow reprising his role as Oliver Queen (straight-up debunked in a refreshingly straight post from Amell himself, talking about the sort of thing this post is all about), and an appearance from the Flash (later debunked by the very man who accidentally started the rumor, with apologies).
All of these character rumors led to the persistent rumor that Man of Steel 2 is really just going to be called Justice League and Warner Bros. is being coy about the whole thing. I personally believe (and looking at all the debunked rumors, think I may be right) that this is all the result of people being really impatient in regards to waiting for the eventual Justice League movie, since we’ve already had Avengers. I don’t think they’re realizing that Avengers only worked because Marvel took their time building up their entire universe before throwing everyone together. If Warner Bros. was to drop a Justice League movie with no universe building beforehand, the results would be completely disastrous because there are certain elements that are frankly foreign to non-comic readers, and Warner is smart enough to know that as well. They simply would not go into a massive team movie off the back of one Superman movie. Could the characters show up as cameos at the end of Man of Steel 2 to lead into Justice League? It’s entirely possible, and I won’t absolutely refute the idea right now. But as far as anything other a cameo, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
When you go through all of the pure, hard, facts, the only characters confirmed for this movie are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and that’s probably all we’ll see on the hero side of things.
The thought has now been put forward that all of these casting and character rumors have come about because of an interesting concept, which we’ll examine next:
5. Man of Steel 2 and Justice League will be filmed back-to-back.
Original rumor: Latino Review
This is definitely a possibility when you consider the crazy schedules of the actors involved in the films; most of them are extremely busy and in-demand, and filming back-to-back would be a sure-fire way to make sure everyone is available at the same time. This would also account for all of the character rumors we keep hearing about: those aren’t casting rumors for Man of Steel 2, they’re for Justice League, which is beginning its casting process now in order to be ready when Justice League begins filming shortly after wrapping Man of Steel 2. Unfortunately, until we hear an official statement from Warner Bros. this is all just speculation.
Well, there you have it. We’ve gotten to the bottom of each of the most persistent rumors involving Man of Steel 2, and we’ve learned the following:
1. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are in the film.
2. It is likely it will be called Superman vs. Batman or Batman vs. Superman.
3. Nightwing could possibly make a short cameo, though he will not be played by Adam Driver.
4. Lex Luthor will likely make an appearance in a villainous role, possibly played by Mark Strong or Joaquin Phoenix.
5. The film will not be a Justice League film in disguise.
6. Jason Momoa, Josh Holloway, and Steven Amell have all stated they have nothing to do with the movie.
7. Justice League could be filming back-to-back with Man of Steel 2.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a juicy rumor, discussing its validity, or even discussing how you think it would work out if it were true. But be careful to remember that rumors are just that: rumors. Until some hard evidence confirms it we shouldn’t be going around reporting these rumors as matters of fact, we should be taking everything with a grain of salt. Believe it or not, I have a good reason for feeling this way. Once people start getting excited over a rumor and take it as fact they’ll automatically feel anger and disappointment when the film eventually does come out and it turns out to be false, and this will lead them to basically be against the film before it even had a fair chance to entertain them.
Avoid disappointing yourself, and don’t take rumors too seriously.