‘Batman vs Superman’ Delay Means Sequel Overload in 2016?

News broke earlier about the delay of Batman vs Superman (or whatever the eventual title of the untitled Man of Steel sequel featuring Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince will be) and the internet wasn’t quite sure how to take it. Despite having a finished script from David S. Goyer (with re-writes from Chris Terrio), being in production since mid-October of last year, and having more than enough time to make the original release date of July 17, 2015, the film has been pushed back to May 6, 2016, making for an even more crowded summer, as it is.

'Batman vs Superman' logo

According to the press release, courtesy of The Wrap, the ten-month delay will allow the filmmakers to “realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.” The delay also pushes the start of production into the second quarter of 2014. What could this be telling us?

  1. The film will be CG-heavy. Sure, but what isn’t when it comes to superhero films these days? Green Lantern was CG-heavy and look what happened there – it wasn’t just the CGI, but that’s beside the point right now. Man of Steel certainly had its CG-heavy moments, but those were balanced out by grounded exposition and dialogue-filled scenes. But will bringing an Amazonian, a billionaire vigilante, and a Kryptonian into close quarters need all that CGI? It’s too soon to tell, but Superman will definitely rely on CGI – that’s for sure. And Snyder’s style has – in recent years, anyway – veered towards distinctly CGI-heavy at times (300WatchmenSucker Punch).
  2. Marvel vs. DC Okay, okay, you’ve heard it before with the “Marvel Vs. DC” parody videos, but just take into consideration what a summer Marvel will have in 2015. As a film studio, Avengers: Age of Ultron kicks off May 2015 and Ant-Man ends July 2015. As a producing studio, the Fantastic Four reboot from director Josh Trank (and screenwriters Ashley Miller, Jeremy Slater, Zack Stentz, Michael Green, Seth Grahame-Smith, and Simon Kinberg – talk about screenwriter overload there) arrives on screens on June 19, 2015. Sandwiching a potentially overloaded live-action DC film into the already Marvel-heavy summer might not bode well for box office earnings, but then again, summer 2016 is also looking a tad Marvel-heavy.
  3. The script still needs work. So you’ve got the established Man of Steel coming together with a rebooted grittier Batman (Is grittier than Chris Nolan’s trilogy possible? Maybe.) and a new-to-the-live-action-DC-Universe Wonder Woman? How exactly is the film going to play out – two quickly hashed together origin stories before DC’s holy trinity quarrels, eventually teams up to take down whoever the big bad is (Luther? Doomsday? It’s still not clear, even two years out.), and then decides to form the Justice League, leading up to the rumored film? Truth be told, Batman doesn’t need yet another cinematic origin story (Hell, Spider-Man didn’t really need one two years ago, but it still worked for the film.), but Wonder Woman – in her 73 years of existence – still hasn’t made her way onto the big screen, and that’s a big issue in itself, to say the least. Sure, her origin story could be explored in its own separate movie, but at this point and time, there’s little chance of that happening before the trio meets for the first time on theater screens.

Again, it’s too early to hypothesize as to what the exact reason (or reasons) for the film’s delay is, but consider for a moment the May 6, 2016 release date. That summer already has Marvel properties (and sequels, no less) scheduled up the wazoo – an untitled Marvel Studios film on May 6, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 on June 10, and another untitled Marvel Studios film set for July 8 – not to mention sequels to Alice in WonderlandHow to Train Your DragonFinding Nemo, Independence DayIce Age, and Planet of the Apes. Going directly head-to-head with Marvel in an already Marvel-heavy summer wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do, but it’s a risk – and a big risk in my mind – however, isn’t the business of blockbusters and tent-pole films all about taking risks?

We’ll see how Batman vs Superman (or whatever the film will be titled) fares against Marvel’s upcoming films when it hits screens on May 6, 2016. In the meantime, superhero-wise, we have Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014 and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014 to look forward to.