The Big Picture
- David S. Goyer agrees that Warner Bros. should have focused on a standalone Superman sequel instead of rushing into a cinematic universe with Batman v Superman.
- Warner Bros. felt pressure to catch up with Marvel’s success and made hasty decisions without proper planning or realistic expectations.
- Goyer reveals that executives at Warner Bros. proposed a 20 film plan over 10 years, but none of the films had a script or treatment, highlighting the flawed approach taken by the studio.
During an extensive interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, David S. Goyer, the writer of Man of Steel concurred with host Josh Horowitz that Warner Bros. might have been better served by pursuing a standalone Superman sequel featuring Henry Cavill, rather than attempting to create a cinematic universe with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The studio’s decision to go in this direction was primarily driven by a desire to compete with Marvel.
Marvel had gotten out of the gates quickly with the release of Iron Man in 2008 and quickly built up a head of steam with individual movies for The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America as well as an Iron Man sequel before a mega team-up movie in the form of The Avengers. Warner Bros., however, wanted to catch up and cut corners to the chagrin of Goyer. Made worse, Goyer explained, was the raft of new executives who would come into the company with grand expansion plans that kept getting bigger and bigger without any work actually being done to ensure the project had a realistic chance of succeeding.
“I know the pressure we were getting from Warner Bros., which was, ‘We need our MCU! We need our MCU!’ And I was like let’s not run before we walk,” Goyer said. “The other thing that was difficult at the time was there was this revolving door of executives at Warner Bros. and DC.”
A Ten Year Plan Without a Plan
In the most eye-opening remark, Goyer revealed that one executive even prosposed a 20 film plan, spread out over 10 years, with one caveat—not a single one of those films had a script or treatment attached to them, meaning the idea was flawed from the very start.
“Every 18 months someone new would come in. We were just getting whiplash. Every new person was like, ‘We’re going to go bigger!’”“I remember at one point the person running Warner Bros. at the time had this release that pitched the next 20 movies over the next 10 years. But none of them had been written yet!” It was crazy how much architecture was being built on air… This is not how you build a house.”
As it was, Cavill never again got the opportunity to lead his own film, being put in ensemble pieces like Batman vs. Superman and Justice League. He would make a return, briefly, as the character in Black Adam before parting ways with DC and Warner Bros.