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In Part 1 of my Justice League Movie Suggestions we talked about Story, Villains, Creative, and Personnel. Now lets talk about Casting the Big Three! A film of this magnitude requires a cast that will be able to carry the film, much like Marvel’s The Avengers. This no time to start messing around with the characters and just throwing in people for the hell of it and the star power. I remember years ago when George Miller came to close to making what was being called Justice League: Mortal. He had apparently cast a bunch of, at that time, unknowns in every role. Now with some of the roles I could agree an unknown would be a good way to go, but asking a cast of complete unknowns to carry a film like this would be unfair. Casting one or two and then surround them with better known people has been a formula that has proven to work in the past. Below are a few suggestions for  the big guns of the Justice League.

Superman/Clark Kent
Most Likely Choice: Hell to me this is no contest, it has to be Henry Cavill from next years Man Of Steel. Warner Brothers would be foolish not to use that film to launch their new DC universe, but with it being produced by Chris Nolan there is a chance that they may keep the whole one hero, one universe. I think that this would be a bad move. While it worked on Nolan’s Batman trilogy because Batman has no super powers and it felt like a real world that they created. This is Superman, the story is so more universal. I think Cavill will be there come the start of production.

The only other person I could see them turning to would be Joe Manganiello from True Blood. He has tested for the role before and apparently came very close to winning the role. It seems likely that if Warner Brothers were to replace Cavill for Justice League then they would turn to him. He has the size and actin chops to excel in the role. But I really do think Cavill is the safe bet here.

Batman/Bruce Wayne
The “Robert Downey Jr” Choice: By this I mean an actor who’s been in the spotlight at the top and has suffered a steep decline attributed to either poor film choices or some sort of scandal. This wasn’t actually my personal choice, but I could see it if it happened and that person is Colin Farrell. I think he has the look of Bruce Wayne and could pull of the suave playboy image. I’ve never seen much of his work in darker roles as he always seems to play the hero roles and that could work to his advantage. I actually do like Farrell as an actor. The 2008 film Pride And Glory where he played a corrupt NYPD officer in a family of cops really showcased his talent. He was almost cast as Batman in Wolfgang Petersen’s aborted Batman Vs Superman, so again Warner Brothers must like something about him. That script made it online and I did get to read it and I could really see where they were coming fro. I could really see Farrell in the role at the time.

Another actor I could see in the role who would rock it would be Mad Men star Jon Hamm. His career doesn’t need much of a boost, but his only main exposure is television right now. He has had very few movie roles and Justice League could be the one that makes him the next George Clooney. No, not in the sense of being a bad Batman, but in the sense of being the next television star to make the transition to Hollywood A-List movie star with ease.

Wonder Woman/Diana Prince
The Popular Choices: MMA star Gina Carano just burst onto the film scene in the action flick Haywire, which has led to a lot of fans calling for the WB to sign her to don the bullet proof bracelets. Personally I love the choice, Haywire was a fun action flick and she did a lot of her own stunts and fight scenes. I think she would fit well in an ensemble and possibly lead to her being one of the breakout stars of the film.

Another choice I could get behind would be Castle star Stana Katic. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just could totally see her as Wonder Woman. She has the look and the skills to portray an Amazon princess. I would love to see Wonder Woman have a bit more of a feisty side to her like in the new Justice League comics, but she still needs to have that authority of a warrior about her. That’s why I think Carano would probably be the better choice.

In Part 3 of our Justice League Movie Suggestions I’d take a look at casting Green Lantern, Flash, and Aquaman!

Finally Warner Brothers and DC Comics are getting their act together! The behemoth that was The Avengers this summer seems to have lit a fire underneath the suits in Burbank. First Gangster Squad writer Will Beall was given the task of scripting the film that will finally (hopefully) bring all of the big DC comics Titans together on the big screen for the first time. Last week the studio was reportedly eying Ben Affleck to direct with Harry Potter alum David Yates next on their list. Could we be finally seeing this happen? If it does here are some suggestions that I think WB/DC should take into consideration.

Story and Villains
Give the Justice League a full on challenge, not just something like the Injustice Gang plotting to take over the world. Put the whole world in danger and have this be the reason for why they have to team up. Don’t team them up simply because Joker, Luthor, Trickster, and Star Sapphire have joined forces so that means Batman, Superman, Flash and Green Lantern should team up. Throw the team together because Earth is being invaded by Darkseid and his forces from Apokolips. The story from the recent reboot, DC’s “New 52” is perfect for that. Have the Earth be in serious trouble from a real threat. Give us the full fight of the league vs Darkseid. That was my biggest complaint about The Avengers. When you took away all the geek factors and other story parts you essentially had an Alien Invasion movie with no real pay-off at the end. Instead it was a mid credits teaser where the big villain was revealed and now you have to wait presumably until The Avengers 2 to see it. Don’t do that here! Make the league face Darkseid individually and fail then lead up to them fighting together to stop him.

Creative and Personnel
Get the right people involved on the production, Hire Paul Dini and Bruce Timm from every recent memory DC Comics animated series and features to look over scripting and story details. Get Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Dan Jurgens to make sure DC’s interests are kept true to the comic universe. These are key to the process. Warner Brothers need to do what they been doing wrong all these years. Make this a collaborative film, pick the right storylines from the comics to help inspire the story. Now we’ve seen Ben Afflec’sk name come up already in line for the gig though his rep’s reportedly say he has passed (which I don’t believe). My gut tells me he is probably still talking to them. Yes he turned down the Man Of Steel allegedly, but he is obviously impressing people at Warner Brothers with his work. I’m a fan of his directorial work, Gone Baby, Gone and The Town were two of the best crime films I’ve seen in a long time. The guy knows his stuff, but the question remains can he do a big action film. My answer to that would be yes he probably can. He’s worked on those type films as an actor, so he would have had to picked up something along the way (good or bad). He is also a comic book geek so he will know what kind of audience he has to aim the film for as well. I think Affleck’s previous work has earned him a shot. I would also be happy with Warner’s rumored second choice, David Yates. He can make a solid film and has huge spectacle film experience. Some of the action sequences from the Harry Potter films he has directed have been nothing short of excellent. I would hope Warners interviews or talks to a few more directors before anything is made official and I hope we get to hear who they are.

Check out Part 2 of my Justice League Movie Suggestions: Casting the Big Three.

With the recent rumors of Ben Affleck sliding into the director’s chair for a big budget Justice League movie (I’ll believe it when I see it), lets take a look at some of the possible villains that the DC Comics heroes might faceoff against.

Starro. We might as well start at the beginning with the first villain that the League faced off against, Starro the Conqueror. Created way back in 1960 in Brave and the Bold #28, Starro has had a very long career of giving the Justice League headaches (literately, he grows little parasite starfish that latch onto their heads and takes control of their bodies). Visually Starro is a little goofy- he is a giant purple and blue starfish with a target logo as an eye and, oh, did I mention he can fly and shoot energy blasts? Yeah, he was born in the silver age of comics where everyone had a smorgasbord of powers. In story terms, Starro could do a lot to help push the Justice League together. Nothing rallies the troops better than an alien that comes to earth and enslaves humans. Even better, Starro can pit the Justice League against each other by taking control of their bodies. He can help fans finally decide who would win in a fight, Superman or Batman? Green Lantern or Flash? Visually, that aspect could be a lot of fun (maybe have the parasites latch onto the heroes backs or go inside their bodies as to not cover their faces).

Black Adam. In terms of power level and personality, Black Adam flies above the pack of possible Justice League villains. Single handed, he could take out each individual League member and could give them a pretty impressive battle all together as well. A team of archaeologists accidentally awaken the ancient Egyptian prince named Teth-Adam, who proceeds to assert his power over the people to declare himself King Black Adam of the world. After taking out each of the Justice League members in their own cities (and countries like Atlantis and Themyscira), the heroes must ban together to distract Black Adam long enough so they can find a way to awaken the legend known as Captain Marvel- the key to which might be a little boy named Billy Batson. Sure it is a Captain Marvel/Shazam origin story, but who is to say that something like that couldn’t tie all of the heroes together and give them purpose. In terms of visuals, Black Atom is a powerful villain and the lightening effects alone while he fights could be a real visual treat (especially in 3D). With people used to DC heroes fighting Lex Luthor, the Joker, and evil clouds (why Green Lantern movie, why?), Black Adam could give the team a villain that is as powerful and charismatic as they are. On the other hand, Black Adam might just be a bit too similar to the Avenger’s Loki with Captain Marvel as his Thor.

Darkseid. Enough is enough with all of the cameos, hints to bigger threads, etc. Do you know who would have been a cooler villain then Loki for The Avengers? Thanos. Instead we got a weaker threat and more set up. With Warner Brothers and DC Comics jumping right into Justice League without a series of solo movies, why don’t they jump right ahead to the biggest thread of the DC Universe, Darkseid and Apokolips. Not only could he take down the Justice League on his own, making him the highest level of threat, but he has a planet of warriors created by comic legend Jack Kirby that could also take down the Justice League. Superman The Animated Series did an awesome multiple episode Darkseid invasion, and now imagine that live action and with the whole Justice League. You have seven heroes standing against an army with super powerful generals (Desaad, Godfrey, Granny Goodness, Mantis, Female Furies to name a few) and a warlord who is one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Don’t use Justice League to hype of future movies, let the s#it hit the fan from the get go and prove why the Earth (and universe) needs the Justice League.

In the comics right now The Avengers are facing off with the X-Men, but come 2015 they might be facing off with the Justice League as both Marvel Studios and Warner Brothers are gearing up new film versions of the beloved superheroes. Fresh news has broken this past week on both properties.  Lets start with Marvel…

It is official! Joss Whedon will be returning to write and direct The Avengers 2 for Marvel Studios for release in the summer of 2015. In addition to this very large duty, the fan favorite director will also be developing a television series ele Marvel and ABC that takes place in the Marvel movie universe. All of this is part of an exclusive deal that Whedon signed with Marvel that will extend their working relationship through 2015. Deals like this are very common with comic book writers/artists with publishers and used to be the norm in Hollywood, but these days it is very rare. Who might the television series focus on? Could it be the long in development Hulk show? Or how about Cloak and Dagger? Maybe a series that Whedon took a crack at writing in comic form, like The Runaways? Black Panter, Doctor Strange, Heroes for Hire with Luke Cage and Iron Fist… the possibilities are endless. And if they can get a big screen Avenger to appear during sweeps, you better believe record setting ratings will follow.

Rumors are also swirling that Marvel Studios is negotiating with Fox in regards to the rights of Daredevil and Fantastic Four characters. Fox is looking to extend their rights to make another Daredevil movie, and Marvel is willing to play ball as long as Fox reverts the rights to a few cosmic characters from the Fantastic Four, including Galactus and the Silver Surfer (both of which were butchered in Fox’s awful FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer). We’ll have to wait and see if this is legit. Worse case is that it is not, but in the very least it looks like Marvel will be getting the rights to Daredevil back soon enough.

Over at Warner Brothers, with Man of Steel heading into theaters next summer, the studio is trying push forward to a Justice League film sooner rather than later. Hopefully it will tie into Man of Steel and also connect to the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern. A script has already been written by Will Beall (writer of Gangster Squad and a handful of Castle epsiodes) and Variety reports that the WB is sending it out to Ben Affleck to consider directing and co-starring in it. Deadline Hollywood denies that Affleck has any interest in the project, but this will be a wait and see type of deal. Affleck, who starred in Daredevil and was one of the actors at the top of the list to play Superman for the aborted Tim Burton Superman Lives, could have interest in the genre and Justice League would be the ultimate superhero film. As for which role he’d take? I have no idea…

First NBC announced a Munsters reboot, Mockingbird Lane, and a Hannibal Lecter prequel named Hannibal, both of which are from Bryan Fuller. Well, now NBC has revealed that they have ordered 10 episodes of a Dracula reboot starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Official description: “…series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

DC Comics is getting ready to reveal more of their “New 52” universe’s history in September’s The Phantom Stranger #0. The book promises to reveal new parts of the elaborate backstory of our favorite heroes and villains. The Stranger has appeared already in the “New 52”, in a story in the Free Comic Book Day special. The new series will be written by Dan DiDio with art by Brent Anderson.

Over in Marvel Comics, this week sees the long awaited (at least for me) meeting between Kitty Prde and Colossus. It has been a year since these two ex-love birds have been together since the “Schism” between Cyclops and Wolverine that broke the X-Men in two over a year ago. Be apart of their date today in Wolverine and the X-Men #14.

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is very close to changing from two films into a trilogy of films. Jackson toyed with the idea at Comic Con, maybe getting people ready for the official announcement? It should be interesting how much of the movies will follow JRR Tolkien’s actual book, which was much shorter than the Lord of the Rings books and aimed at kids. The report says that Jackson worked from more than 125 notes that Tolkien was using to rewrite The Hobbit after the success of Lord of the Rings. The whole project is very interesting and I’m sure the success of the first movie will help determine the future of the series.

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We are getting closer to Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, every day. In order to go in blind and enjoy every twist and turn the film has to offer I’ve been staying away from news for the flick. I even passed the writing of the Film Spotlight over to our contributor Kris Greet so I wouldn’t accidentally get spoiled. While we slowly march to July 20th, lets change paces like we did for The Amazing Spider-Man and speculate on possible villains in a Batman reboot (which I don’t think will be very far away if this is indeed the last Nolan/Bale Batman adventure).

Nolan was very smart to stay away from villains that appeared in other Batman films with Batman Begins when he used Ra’s al Ghul and Scarecrow, two lesser known villains that still have a lot of history. I think a new director/writer team will do the same and stay away from Nolan’s main baddies, including the Joker, Ra, Scarecrow, Two-Face, and now of course Bane, at least for the first movie in a new series. I also think the new series will start with Batman already being established, maybe a short montage origin recap (as used in The Incredible Hulk). So, who might they bring into the mix to face off with the Dark Knight?

Professor Hugo Strange. Not to be confused with Marvel Comic’s Doctor Strange, Hugo Strange might not be a house hold name, but he definitely has his place among Batman’s classic rogue gallery having first appeared in 1940. Strange is an insane psychologist who invented a serum to drive his victims in to mindless killing machines and him obsession with Batman lead him to want to become him. He is as smart as he is insane and is a formidable opponent for the Dark Knight. To take things one step further, you can have Strange’s serum create some of Batman’s other classic villains, like Man-Bat or Clayface, giving the movie a more superhuman vibe which could separate it from Nolan’s super realistic take on the hero.

Man-Bat. Playing off my last entry of Hugo Strange, I think this combo of villains could work really well. On the flip side, if done right, Man-Bat could work for the main villain also. You can make Dr. Kirk Langstrom a Wayne Enterprises scientist who has the best intentions who accidentally mutates himself in to the Man-Bat. Of course this would be very similar to the movie Spider-Man’s Green Goblin, Doc Ock and the remake’s Lizard stories. But just think how cool a Batman vs Man-Bat fight flying across the Gotham skyline would be! None of Nolan’s villains were any bit as monstrous as this guy, none nearly as scary either. (and for Warner Brothers, just think of all the toys they could sell!)

Deadshot. Yeah, I know he was in the last season of Smallville, but who cares? The “second greatest assassin” in the DC Universe could give Batman a run for his money. Sure, I can’t see him being the main villain, but imagine he is sent to kill Bruce Wayne in public during the day. Bruce has to hide the fact that he is Batman, but still get out of the situation alive– maybe enter Robin or Batgirl to come to his aid? This would be another thing to separate a remake from Nolan, the introduction of the Batman “family” of allies. Of course, who would send an assassin to kill Bruce Wayne? How about…

Lex Luthor. Yes, Superman’s top villain. Why would he be in Gotham going head to head with Batman? Luthor could be bank rolling Hugo Strange or he could send Deadshot to take out the head of Wayne Enterprises, one of his top defense competitors. Hopefully Luthor will be in Zack Synder’s upcoming Superman reboot, Man of Steel, in a cameo and maybe he can do the same in a possible Batman reboot. Luthor could be in the background, pulling the strings, in all of the upcoming DC Comics movies creating an actual shared universe. Setting up an epic World’s Finest crossover with Superman and Batman, or maybe he could be forming the Injustice Gang to go head to head with the Justice League in a future crossover of all of DC’s top heroes.

If DC Comics and Warner Brothers are going to reboot Batman so soon after Nolan’s acclaimed trilogy, then they better give us something special. And Batman in a fantastic universe sharing scenes with the likes of Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman would be the perfect hook and give a reason for the reboot that no one would complain about. Now, who should play Bruce Wayne/Batman?

Release Date: July 20, 2012
Studio: Warner Brothers
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine.
Plot: Eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face’s crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham’s finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy. (via IMDB)

Thoughts: Well the end is in sight for a journey that began eight years ago and is arguably one of the greatest cinematic trilogies of all time. Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise took comic book movies to a new level. Placing the character in the real world and giving the characters and story that sense of realism that could make you believe that this could actually happen. The Dark Knight Rises is shaping up to be THE movie of 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises, like it predecessors, boast an impressive cast. Joining the returning Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I think out of three films, this cast seems to be the best by far. Nolan has said that he didn’t want to save anything from this movie and this looks like it. While not a lot is known officially about the story, that hasn’t stopped the fanboys and internet writers from speculating.

From the trailers and other footage that’s been released, It seems like Nolan is sticking true to his word. There’s already a sense of epicness to this and a feeling that this will easily top anything that’s been done in the two previous films. Hardy and Hathaway look impressive as Bane and Selena Kyle/Catwoman. I like the fact that the film is set quite a while after the events of The Dark Knight. (8 years is official figure I keep hearing). Not only is this a great story setting but this could be a great move for Warner Brothers. With Nolan definitively stating this is the last Batman film he is directing. It’s been rumoured that he will be on the reboot as a producer much like his role on next years Superman Reboot “Man Of Steel”.

If that is the case, this reboot or next series of films could take place in those eight years. Bale has recently said he would up for a fourth film if the story is right- but we’ll have to wait and see. The Dark Knight Rises will be giving an epic conclusion to this wonderful journey and I think it will be the best movie of the summer. I’ve seen The Avengers and loved it, but I just think that TDKR will be better. Nolan hasn’t let us down yet and I think he will be able to top everything else we’ve seen. Either way, July 20th can’t come quick enough for this Bat-Fan.

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