Man of Steel

As a website that covers (among other things) comic book movies, we’ve written a lot about the cloud of uncertainty that’s been hanging over Warner’s slate of DC movies ever since ‘Justice League’ arrived to the disinterested shrugs of audience members everywhere back in November. But even before that, there was a question that had been lingering over the whole enterprise, virtually from the start: “When is ‘Man of Steel 2’ coming?”

There’s been a lot of mixed messaging around the sequel to ‘Man of Steel’ in the five years since the film’s release. While Henry Cavill would ultimately reappear as Superman in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (and, eventually, ‘Justice League’), a “proper” standalone sequel remained elusive. This despite rumors of involvement by creative forces as varied as George Miller and Matthew Vaughan.

Now we might have our first clear sense of what is (or isn’t) going on with ‘Man of Steel 2’, thanks to DC Animation director Jay Oliva (in addition to his animation credits, Oliva has worked as a storyboard artist on Zack Snyder’s DC films). Oliva recently revealed on Twitter that there is actually a very specific reason that ‘Man of Steel 2’ has yet to manifest, and as both fans and critics of the DC Extended Universe may suspect, it all comes back to Snyder.

The most interesting part of Oliva’s tweet isn’t that ‘Batman v Superman‘ was functionally as much a sequel to ‘Man of Steel’ as it was a prelude to ‘Justice League’ (that more or less lines up with the prevailing understanding of Warner/Snyder’s plans among fandom). Rather, it’s that Snyder’s plan was for a five movie cycle. Whether or not it was understood specifically in terms of Superman, it has long been established that Snyder’s intent was to craft a multi-film narrative that would have encompassed ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Justice League’, and ‘Justice League 2’. When asked, Oliva confirmed in a later tweet that those were the films in question, though he admitted that he wasn’t privy to any discussion of just what the fifth film would have been.

In light of these new revelations, it now seems as though the sporadic public discussion of a standalone ‘Man of Steel’ sequel had more to do with Warner keeping their options open or laying the groundwork for a follow up to Snyder’s planned epic. Of course, this entire discussion is now purely academic, as the critical beating that ‘Batman v Superman’ endured marked the beginning of a course change on Warner’s part, with ‘Justice League’ being reconfigured as a single film. Snyder’s later exit from that project (in the wake of a family tragedy) sealed the deal. Whatever the plan once was, it has since been irrevocably altered. And frankly, that may be for the best, given the decidedly mixed results the franchise has yielded thus far.

While Snyder may have been able to craft something of worth when all was said and done, the sad fact is that the foundation on which it would have been built was more than a little rickety, and sooner or later something had to give. With this being the case, it now seems as though the public discussion around a standalone ‘Man of Steel’ sequel had more to do with Warner keeping their options open or laying the groundwork for a follow up to Snyder’s planned epic.