Zack Snyder to direct ‘Justice League’ movie after ‘Man of Steel’ sequel

April 28, 2014 | 7:33 a.m.
supes lex21 Zack Snyder to direct Justice League movie after Man of Steel sequel

Jesse Eisenberg will star as Lex Luthor in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Jim Lee / DC Entertainment; Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

supe alfred1 Zack Snyder to direct Justice League movie after Man of Steel sequel

Jeremy Irons will play Alfred Pennyworth in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Brian Bolland / DC Entertainment; Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

supes affleck Zack Snyder to direct Justice League movie after Man of Steel sequel

Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman opposite Henry Cavill's Superman in the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Ethan Van Sciver / DC Entertainment; Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

supe galgadot Zack Snyder to direct Justice League movie after Man of Steel sequel

Actress and model Gal Gadot, best known for her work in the "Fast & Furious" film franchise, has been cast as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Alex Ross / DC Entertainment; Handout)

Zack Snyder is set to direct a “Justice League” movie for Warner Bros.

Word arrived Sunday that the filmmaker will follow his upcoming sequel to “Man of Steel” with a film that will bring all the members of the Justice League together on screen.

Speculation had been growing for some time that Warner Bros. was moving toward uniting the heroes on screen — Batman, as played by Ben Affleck, and Wonder Woman, as played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, are already set to join Henry Cavill’s Superman in the “Man of Steel” sequel set for release May 6, 2016. That grouping seemed to pave the way for the entire group of DC good guys to band together on film.

The story was first reported on the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, with Warner Bros. executive Greg Silverman saying that “‘Superman vs. Batman’ will lead into ‘Justice League.'” He went on to say that the script for the film was still in development, and declined to specify which specific characters would appear in the movie.

Snyder first must complete the officially untitled follow-up to “Man of Steel,” which became one of the biggest hits of last summer, grossing more than $291 million at the North American box office. The upcoming film became controversial among fans early on, however, beginning with the casting of Affleck, which was greeted with much consternation on the Internet. The hashtag #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck began trending on Twitter almost immediately after he was announced to take over the mantle from actor Christian Bale in filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City trilogy. (Some prominent voices in the genre community expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing Cavill’s Superman squaring off with Affleck’s Batman. “Avengers” filmmaker Joss Whedon, for one, tweeted, “He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin — just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in.”)

Similarly, some fans expressed concern that Gadot, best known for her appearances in three “Fast & Furious” films, wouldn’t receive enough of the spotlight in her role as Diana Prince, given that she’s sharing time with DC Comics’ two most legendary heroes. There was further angst when it was revealed that boyish “Social Network” star Jesse Eisenberg had claimed the part of Superman’s traditionally burly, bald and middle-aged arch nemesis Lex Luthor.

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In an interview with Hero Complex, Snyder spoke candidly about keeping tabs on fanboy “talk-back” and how outcry is “reassuring and frustrating at the same time.”

“There are two ways to think about it,” Snyder said. “We know the material. Unfortunately, the fans don’t know the material. So, we’re casting according to what’s happening in the script. And we’re hoping that leads to enough originality, enough perspective on what we’re doing that you get something fresh and exciting. I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint. I think Jesse is going to be an amazing Lex. Let’s not forget he was nominated for an Academy Award. It’s not like I just grabbed my friend to play the guy! This guy’s the real deal. By the way, in looking at all the talk-back, you can get all different perspectives in there too. Some people are hating to hate.”

The untitled “Man of Steel” sequel sees producers Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder return, with Nolan and Emma Thomas serving as executive producers on the upcoming film, along with Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan.

Returning “Man of Steel” cast members include Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. Diane Lane also will reprise her role as Martha Kent.

— Gina McIntyre and Chris Lee

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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