Zack Snyder’s Justice League — Part 1 is officially a go at Warner Bros. and will begin filming on April 11, a little over two weeks after the release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the director and studio tell EW.
“The idea that we could begin to boot up a Justice League concept was a cool thing,” says Snyder, who also directed 2013’s Man of Steel and has become one of the key figures in shaping DC’s connected film universe.
“It was a little bit of an ‘about time’ moment, and I don’t blame [the studio] for feeling that way, because it’s a long time coming,” he said. “But I do feel like it’s a little bit of a creative hurdle. It seems like an easy thing to do at first glance, the idea that, ‘Oh, we just get the rest of the superheroes in there.’ But you have to [establish] a world where they can exist.”
Dawn of Justice, which hits theatres March 25, focuses on a clash between Superman (played again by Henry Cavill) and a new Batman/Bruce Wayne, portrayed by Ben Affleck, who is seething with rage toward the Kryptonian over the destruction unleashed on Metropolis in Man of Steel. The film also features a major role for Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), which is — astoundingly — the first time the character has appeared in a live-action feature film in her 75-year history.
Other famous DC characters also make brief appearances in that movie — Ezra Miller as the Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg — but while Batman and Superman battle it out in the main storyline, those are cameos that mainly lay groundwork for a broader universe in Justice League.
Fans can be forgiven for wondering if they’d ever really get to see all of DC’s heroes on one side. But this time, there’s no doubt. It’s happening, and Snyder is currently in the U.K. prepping for the start.
A previous Justice League movie was planned in 2007, with Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller at the helm, and many of the main characters had been cast: Armie Hammer as Batman, D.J. Catrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern, and Adam Brody as the Flash. Then the project collapsed due to the 2007-08 Writers Guild strike when the script wasn’t ready in time to begin principal photography and many of the deals lapsed.
Wonder Woman was also supposed to get her own feature back in 2005 when Joss Whedon was developing a story that he planned to write and direct, but that project also notoriously never came to fruition. Finally, Diana Prince’s Amazonian alter-ego will get a stand-alone in between Batman v. Superman and Justice League.
Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster) and starring Gadot, is currently shooting and will be released on June 23, 2017. That film will be followed up just a few months later by Snyder’s Justice League, which will debut Nov. 17, 2017.
In the meantime, on Aug. 5 we’ll be getting DC’s Suicide Squad from writer-director David Ayer, with Jared Leto as the Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, among many others.
Justice League will shoot at the Warner Bros. Leavesden studios in southeast England, as well as various locations around London and in Iceland. While this film is being designated Part 1, the follow-up installment, which will shoot separately, is already on the studio’s release schedule for 2019, following standalone movies for The Flash and Aquaman (both planned for 2018).
After Justice League — Part 2, Warner Bros. has plans for a Cyborg movie with Fisher, and a new take on Green Lantern, although an actor for that role hasn’t been revealed yet and those movies, set for somewhere in 2020, haven’t been given release dates.
There may also be other DC movies that turn up in the meantime, according to Warner Bros. A Ben Affleck-directed Batman movie is one possibility.
Dwayne Johnson has tweeted about playing the villain Black Adam in a Warner Bros./New Line production of DC’s Shazam, and that movie has been announced by the studio for 2019, but it’s not clear whether it’s part of the same narrartive as the other movies.
While three years passed between the release Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, that was mainly because the various creative teams were mapping out so many interlocked stories. “The studio really wants us to try and pace it up, as far as —now we have an idea where we’re going,” Snyder says.