The fact that "Man of Steel," director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated Superman reboot, is going to serve as the first chapter of a much larger on-screen DC character universe should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that someone at Warner Bros. has finally officially confirmed that that's indeed the plan.
"['Man of Steel'] is setting the tone for what the movies are going to be like going forward. In that, it's definitely a first step," said Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"I think you'll see that, going forward, anything can live in this world," Robinov continued. "[Nolan's] Batman was deliberately and smartly positioned as a stand-alone. The world they lived in was very isolated without any knowledge of any other superheroes. What Zack and Chris have done with this film is allow you to really introduce other characters into the same world."
Great. But what we really want to know is if "Man of Steel" is going to pave the way for a bunch of stand-alone DC superhero movies that will then accumulate into an "Avengers"-esque mashup — which, in the DC universe, is known as "Justice League." Like, for real.
"We'll announce something in the next several weeks that will hopefully position the DC characters and the movies we're going to be making," Robinov said.
We can expect "Man of Steel" to at least hint at these characters without overtly introducing them — kind of like how we saw the Joker card at the end of "Batman Begins" without actually seeing, you know, the Joker himself.
"One of the things we dealt with on the Batman films is, Chris dislikes it when you plan something, when you say, 'I'm going to follow this up in the next film," said David Goyer, co-writer of the "Dark Knight" films and "Man of Steel." "He's always said put everything you have into this film and then worry about the next film later. That gives the film its own integrity as opposed to being part of an overall plan."
That "overall plan" doesn't look like it involves Christopher Nolan beyond "Man of Steel," as Robinov was quick to respond when asked if the recent rumor of Nolan possibly producing "Justice League" and bringing Christian Bale back with him was true.
"No, no it's not," he said.
We'll have to see where all this is leading when Warner Bros. and DC make their formal announcements in the coming weeks. But one thing's for certain: "Man of Steel," opening June 14, is just the beginning.