Following this week's revelations that Warner Bros. has quietly hired writers for adaptations of Justice League and Wonder Woman, two long-suffering projects, Variety takes a broad look at the studio's efforts to better exploit its DC Comics properties in television, film and video games. The overview doesn't include much new information -- movies based on Aquaman, The Flash and Suicide Squad are still on the development slate, Christopher Nolan is being set up as the godfather of DC's big-screen universe -- but it does drop a tantalizing nugget about the potential future of Warner Bros.' Green Lantern franchise.
According to the trade paper, nearly a year after the disappointing release of that superhero tentpole (the $200 million movie grossed just $220 million worldwide), Warner Bros. is still deciding whether to bring back star Ryan Reynolds for a sequel, or relaunch the character in a new way. What that "new way" might be isn't specified, but it's certainly possible the studio could return to the idea of using the Justice League movie as a way to introduce audiences to heroes like The Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, who would then spin off into their own solo projects -- in short, the opposite of Marvel's approach.
Although Green Lantern screenwriters Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim turned in an outline for the sequel last year, it was reported in August that Warner Bros. was expected to make significant changes if not start from scratch (Variety contends Michael Goldenberg, who rewrote Green Lantern and is now attached to Wonder Woman, penned a sequel script as far back as 2010). Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov said at the time that, "To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action. … And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth.”
Whatever direction Warner Bros. takes with the Green Lantern sequel, and the rest of its DC Comics stable, Variety's sources say executives have learned they need "to tap creatives that genuinely understand the characters the way Joss Whedon was comfortable with The Avengers."