In possibly one of the biggest superhero movie shockers since the last one–when was the Spider-Man reboot, three weeks ago?–Deadline Hollywood is now reporting that The Dark Knight and Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan has been assigned the potentially thankless task of being the latest filmmaker assigned by Warner Bros. to try to save the “Superman” franchise, in this case in a mentoring capacity to figure out the best way to proceed.
Director Bryan Singer helmed the last installment Superman Returns three and a half years ago, which grossed $391 million worldwide, but wasn’t seen as a hit due to its reported $270 million production budget. (Remember that the studio doesn’t get 100% of those theatrical grosses.)
Since then, various names have been mentioned as possible candidates to get Superman back to the screen, most vocally comic book creator Mark Millar (Wanted, Kick-Ass), but nothing had been confirmed or definite.
This latest news seems to come out of two recent developments, the restructuring of Warner’s relationship with DC Comics into a new company called DC Entertainment, headed by Diane Nelson, and the looming deadline of the estates of Superman creators Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster gaining back the entire copyright for the character in 2013. During a court hearing about the rights to Superman, Warners chairman Alan Horn said that he hoped to make another film for 2012 at the earliest but that no script was currently in development.
Some may remember that before Bryan Singer came on board, various versions of the Man of Steel were floundering in development, including one version starring Nicolas Cage to be directed by Tim Burton based on a screenplay by Kevin Smith. Even J.J. Abrams took a crack at writing a Superman screenplay with both Brett Ratner and McG attached to direct his version at one point.
It’s unclear how far Nolan’s role as a mentor might stretch and whether he’ll just be offering some suggestions on the direction, or will be actively involved in picking the director, writers and casting for the reboot, as it’s still very early in what is already being labeled “Superman 3.0.”
You can read a lot more about what led to Warner Bros.’ decision over at Deadline Hollywood, and we’ll keep you posted as things develop.
Knowing how many fans of The Dark Knight there are, need we even ask what you think about Nolan being actively involved in another movie about a DC Comics character?