DC Whispers: Abandoned Batman Plans, The Legion of Doom Alive?, Rocksteady, More!
Greetings, and welcome to another edition of RTF’s Detective Comics Rumor Mill…aka DC Whispers. Please note, as always, these are not scoops. These are interesting rumors I’ve heard from folks in the know, which I thought I’d pass along today since the DC fandom is still reeling from all of last night’s major announcements. And let’s face it, while I would love the clicks, not every rumor I hear deserves its own post.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
DC’s Big Night
To recap, last night in the span of a couple of hours we learned:
- Matt Reeves’ The Batman has a release date
- James Gunn is likely to direct the new Suicide Squad, which is considered a relaunch with a mostly new cast
- Ben Affleck is out as Batman
Lots to digest there. Even for me.
See, the night before, I had been given a heads up that big news was coming. That’s why I tweeted this out, sounding the Bat Signal on Tuesday night ahead of Wednesday’s big reveals:
The rails were, indeed, humming. But not even I was prepared for the train that roared through town last night.
But to go a little more in-depth on what I was told on Tuesday, and how it set the stage for last night’s major news items, a trusted source reached out to let me know that the studio was getting ready to unleash some big news based on all of the confidence instilled in them by the success of Aquaman.
They told me that things were suddenly moving and shaking on The Batman, and that other projects were getting a fire lit under them because the studio views the triumph of Aquaman as proof that the DC brand is red hot- and that they successfully survived some of the earlier, polarizing entries in their Extended Universe.
In short, James Wan’s film about the King of Atlantis, and the way it’s been embraced by audiences, gave the studio the final boost it needed to come roaring out of the gates, letting the world know what DC’s future looks like.
And that’s not all they told me, but I’ve got more digging to do before I’m confident enough to share what else is brewing.
Scrapped Bat Plans
Now that Ben Affleck has finally confirmed that he’s moving on, I feel at ease discussing some of the scrapped plans that had floating, had a deal been worked out for him to stick around.
If you’ll recall, while the overall outlook on Affleck returning as Batman has been pretty dim for two straight years, there have been times where it seemed like he might stick around.
Here’s what might’ve happened, had all of the involved parties come to terms:
- He would’ve bookended The Batman as the Present Day Dark Knight
- His Present Day Batman would’ve factored into Birds of Prey
I say this because a colleague of mine read one of the drafts of the Birds of Prey script and told me that a big deal was going to be made about “Gotham’s favorite son Bruce Wayne” being missing. Along the way, we’d meet Robin (!), who I think would’ve been the same Dick Grayson that Chris McKay would’ve used for his Nightwing movie.
So in essence, Batman would’ve had an arc that played out across Birds of Prey, The Batman, and Nightwing. Then, presumably, we’d get another solo Bat film that centered squarely on the present day Batman.
However, whenever it was made abundantly clear that Affleck was no longer returning, they simplified the Batman angle in Birds of Prey and ditched their live-action Dick Grayson plans entirely (for now), which is why McKay’s Nightwing disappeared.
The Look of The ‘Birds of Prey’
Earlier this week, the world was treated to its first looks at the main cast for Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey. And while there’s way more to the story than what the initial batch of images we were given demonstrate, I wanted to add one interesting tidbit I came across this week.
According to someone way closer to the production than I am, they haven’t hired a costume-maker. They hired a stylist.
The difference is that one creates costumes and suits from scratch- the kind you’ve seen in films like Aquaman and Justice League, while the other uses existing clothing to create a character’s signature look.
So those of you waiting for something more comic-appropriate later on in the movie for characters like Huntress, Black Canary, or even Harley Quinn, may want to get your expectations in check. It sounds like they’ll be wearing regular clothes, warn uniquely, the whole time.
Personally, I fell in love with Cathy Yan’s production on Monday. I loved the look of it, the feel of the camera test footage that was released, and the unique energy coming out of Yan’s production so far. So none of this bothers me one bit, as I’m just looking forward to seeing a young auteur work her magic on some great characters.
Those of you who have been dying for DC Entertainment to go back to being filmmaker-driven better not be decrying Yan’s stylistic choices now. Just sayin’.
Lastly on this, this should put to rest any concerns that DC was going to become a generic “everything looks and feels the same” corporate franchise. From the sound of it, Birds of Prey will look and feel nothing like Aquaman or Shazam!, which means DC will continue to give us varied artistic takes on their iconic characters and not assembly-line corporate products.
Rocksteady Is Working on…Something
A couple of nights ago, rumors once again surfaced that game developer Rocksteady was working on some top secret Batman game- a continuation of their Arkham line of games. And while I can’t shed much more light on the situation, I can tell you that I’d heard last week that Rocksteady had recently done some work with an actress who’s done voice work in some high profile DC animated features lately, and that the code name for the project is “Legacy.”
Before we go crazy with Theory Spirals about what that name means, it’s important to note that code names don’t always imply much. For example, Arkham Knight had the code name “Thunder.”
Regardless, something is definitely afoot.
Legion of Doom…Not Doomed?
One of my earliest independent scoops centered on the Legion of Doom. Back in late November of 2017, I wrote up a report about how the studio was high on the idea of continuing to develop the group of villains in the background of the next several years of DC solo movies. But then Justice League was officially deemed a missed opportunity and January brought all kinds of changes- including the apparent shelving of the Legion of Doom.
We’d get confirmation of just how high of a priority introducing the LOD had once been to DC Entertainment a few months later. Still, considering they scrapped the planned scene that would’ve found the League recruiting Black Manta at the end of Aquaman, you’d be correct in assuming the idea was officially dead.
But here’s the funny the thing…
In light of Aquaman being a smash hit and showing the studio that they had flexibility on which old plans to keep and which ones to discard, I hear the LOD idea is still alive- even if on life support at the moment.
A source contacted me, unprovoked, to let me know that there’s still an idea that the post-credit scene in Justice League could bare fruit one day. It may get reworked, the team reconfigured, and- similar to the rest of their shared universe plans- was now going to be handled extremely patiently, over the course of years before the next team-up event.
It’s one of the reasons that DC has been careful about killing off villains. Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, Black Manta, and The Joker are all alive out there, and it sounds like the studio is still open to one day bringing in the group of villains- even if they end up looking a little different when we revisit them down the line.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Cheetah survives Wonder Woman 1984 too…
But we shall see, in due time.
Thanks for reading the latest batch of DC Whispers, and please remember: These are mere rumors. They’re not scoops or things I feel confident reporting as definitive news/plans, but they’re interesting things to consider and to keep in the backs of our minds as things develop.
If you choose to cover any of these for your site, please be sure to sprinkle some salt on them for me- and from me. Here: