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'Justice League' Finds a Familiar Commander

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Strap in, folks: Your beloved Superman and Batman are finally getting the Avengers-style treatment you’ve been waiting for. After years of starts and stops, Warner Bros. confirmed on April 27 that it’s moving forward with plans to release a Justice League movie in 2018 — with Man of Steel director Zack Snyder at the helm. The project will come two years after Snyder unveils Batman vs. Superman, a Ben Affleck/Henry Cavill-fronted crossover that is intended to kick-start the DC Comics multiverse in a similar — though much-delayed — manner to Marvel Comics’ billion-dollar movie enterprise.

The news of a robust ensemble movie from Warner Bros. has long been anticipated, especially in light of how the studio has stocked up on Batman vs. Superman actors, including Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and theater actor Ray Fisher as Cyborg — both playing roles that would fit cleanly into the let’s-get-the-gang-together type of movie that Justice League promises to be.

But what confounds Hollywood insiders is Warner Bros.’ decision to double down on Snyder, a director the studio has remained loyal to even though his highly ambitious pre-Man of Steel movies Watchmen and Sucker Punch were critical and commercial disappointments. (He’s currently in preproduction on Batman vs. Superman.) “It feels like a natural segue — making Zack the new Christopher Nolan of the franchise,” says one insider, referring to the director of the previous three Batman films, who was Snyder’s producing partner on Man of Steel. “It makes sense on paper, but it’s still risky. [Man of Steel] wasn’t revered.”

Warner Bros. won’t divulge who’s scripting the Justice League movie, but sources close to the studio suggest that a cabal of writers including David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman), Jeremy Doner (TV’s The Killing), and Will Beall (Gangster Squad) are locked in a Batcave carving out a story. Reps for the writers declined to comment. (A previous Justice League, with D.J. Cotrona as Superman and Armie Hammer as Batman, was abandoned in 2008 when the writers’ strike hit.)

Also unclear: Who will constitute this league of superheroes? Do they stay away from Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern, given that his 2011 solo outing disappointed? Will Aquaman or Flash make an appearance? Just add those to the long list of questions Zack Snyder has four years to answer.

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