SHOCKER! Warner Bros. Reportedly Developing Justice League Film

Yesterday, Variety broke the news that Warner Bros. very quietly hired a writer last year to start work on a Justice League script.

Soo-prise! Soo-prise! Soo-prise!

Coming to theaters near you!

Will Beall is the writer in question and you might know his name if you pay attention to such things, as he is the writer of the much buzzed about upcoming true life crime film Gangster Squad.

It’s important to note that at this point Warner Bros. has only commissioned a script and that script hasn’t even been turned in to the studio yet by Beall. Warner Bros. could hate it and it could go nowhere. With the runaway success of Marvel’s The Avengers, it’s no surprise that Warners is trying to get Justice League off the ground, even though they commissioned the script last year before Marvel’s The Avengers took the world by storm, its box office success was a foregone conclusion. Warner Bros. used to own the box office with its Batman and Superman films but over the last few years the pendulum has swung decisively in Marvel Studios’ direction and one would imagine that getting some viable DC superhero films that don’t star Batman and aren’t directed by Christopher Nolan is probably job one in Burbank.

Will we ever see the Justice League on the screen? We’ll see.

But forget the Justice League. To me the biggest news in that Variety article is that Will Beall is also writing the forthcoming reboot of Lethal Weapon.


We're all too old for this shit.



  1. I had heard that Shane Black was going to write a new Lethal Weapon, with Riggs and Murtogh passing the torch to a new duo. Did that vanish?

  2. I think Warner Bros should do somethng incredibly ballsy and drop Superman and Batman from the JL flick; give it to the other five who can’t get a good movie on their own.

    • I really like this idea. It’s hard to have either Superman or Batman on the team and not have them be the focus. I’d much rather see a team with Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman, with maybe Green Arrow and Black Canary thrown in.

    • JLA: Year One does that. It’s pretty good.

  3. Sometimes, I have nightmares about that Justice League pilot.

    …hilarious nightmares.

  4. If they cast Tracy Morgan and Dane Cook as Murtaugh and Riggs, I swear I will burn the studio down myself!

    • I really hope that no one at Warner reads this, because you just gave them the cast. I’m getting some matches, meet you there.

  5. What made The Avengers work, is that we learned who the characters were in the movies that came before hand. Just jumping straight into a JLA movie won’t work nearly as well.

    Rebooting Lethal Weapon? They’re just trolling us, right? Right?

  6. I personally think it could work. My theory is that if they ever wanted to just straight up do a JL movie, do it. Make us love the characters in it with their personalities, and if audiences like Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, or Aquaman, then make a movie about them that’s their origin. Half the world knows who these characters are anyway. Their ingrained in pop culture. They certainly know who Green Lantern is better than Hawkeye or Black Widow. An Avengers approach would be nice, but this could work too if handled right.

    • I think that would be a great idea. They’ve already said they were relaunching Batman after the Nolan Trilogy concludes, why not introduce the new Bats in a JL film before his new film series? I think the recent New 52 Origin story would make a great film.

  7. Maybe I’m the only one but I think it SHOULD be a separate continuity to the other DC films, to keep it as different from Marvel as possible.
    And, let’s be honest, The Avengers didn’t NEED any of those build up films, it would have made just as much sense standalone.
    If they wanted to keep the budget down on the actors get Nathan Fillion for GL and Tom Welling as Supes (it doesn’t have to strictly tie in with the Smallville continuity).

    • I’m going to have to respectively disagree with you here @kzap. The Avengers movie was plotted with the understanding that the audience knew who everyone was and where they came from.

      Thor, Loki, and the whole Asgard/Midgard thing would have taken up a chunk of time to explain.

      The previous movies work as sort of learner’s manual for the Marvel Universe. Ok, now that we know how everything works, let’s see what this baby can do.

      I agree with you that a separate continuity from Batman and Superman (and even Green Lantern) would be a good call.

    • I also think that Marvel Studios cut its teeth, so to speak, on the earlier films. Could you imagine having to design from scratch Iron Man’s armor, Cap’s shield and uniform, Thor’s hammer and outfit, Hulk’s CGI, space aliens and the Hellicarrier — all for one movie? That’s daunting! By breaking it up into separate movies, Marvel Studios was able to work out the components before building it into a cohesive whole.

    • @smasher

      The Avengers has made x3/x4 times more than Thor, Captain America and Hulk. That means most movigoers didn’t watch those movies (including my 10 year old cousin) but loved The Avengers and understood the plot just fine.

  8. David Ogden Stiers is probably available to be Martian Manhunter again. Just in case Warner Bros. is reading this thread.

  9. The thing about doing each character’s movie first lets you perfect the effects before you combine them. OK, we’ve established that we can do something visually cool with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but GL, Flash and Aquaman, Cyborg or Manhunter are going to need some special effects. Bruce Timm-style animation, it looks great, but live action-adventure first-date movie is a little harder. Especially to establish a visual style where it all looks seamless and of-the-same-fake-reality.

    If you went for super Morrison-esque shorthand with the origins, I think you could just establish a little meta relationship with the audience like Family Guy or Venture Bros., and intercut really brief scenes which iconically establish who each character is. They did it during the titles in that one Superman movie, and in four panels in that Superman graphic novel.

    I’d go Five-Man Band: Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, Flash. Strange Amazonian woman convinces brash astronaut/entrepeneur for private space exploration startup to help her recruit three mysterious vigilantes to stop a brash trilionaire from holding the whole plane hostage with an asteroid protection racket. Wonder Woman (leader), Green Lantern (lancer), Batman (smart guy), Superman (strong guy), Flash (the chick).

    • Flash (chick?) What the hell does that mean?

    • I like the idea of going Big 5 instead of Big 7.

      I think an area where a Justice League movie has an advantage the Avengers didn’t is that the general public is VERY familiar with Superman and Batman, and with Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash to varying lesser extents. They’ve all been featured in at least one well-known (if not long-lived) live action production (not to mention animation), so the origin stories aren’t quite as important. For better or worse, these heroes are much more iconic amongst the general public.

      An obvious pitfall I could see is if they don’t bring the League together in a way that makes sense beyond all of them responding to the same threat and saying “hey let’s do this again”. Using SHIELD as the connective tissue for the Avengers did wonders for making the team seem like a necessary thing.

      And John Stewart needs to be Green Lantern. It helps push the Ryan Reynolds movie back a bit further, it links up with popular depiction from the Justice League cartoon, and it adds some diversity to the team.

    • @ken–yes i really hope they’d avoid the cheesy buddy movie moment of “hey we’re a pretty good team…some might call us a league. A JUSTICE LEAGUE! “

    • Using the pitch outlined above, you could even make Flash the hero, make the Trinity the elusive vigilantes, show Flash’s origin and flash back to GL’s make it a buddy movie with Flash and GL as “new” heroes (like the Silver Age just started now) looking for the older established heroes (from the slightly previous half-generation). You could refer to the origins of the Trinity during conversation between the newbies.

      You could do it as a Mad Men/New Frontier/Plan 9 From Outer Space/atompunk period piece, or you could make it “now” or slightly in the future, like in the Avengers movie. Or a stylized combination of any two, a la Blade Runner, Sky Captain, Sin City, etc.

      Basics of the plot: A consortium that is mining asteroids decides to set up a protection racket to come up with the truly astronomical start-up costs and seed money. They have certain black-market arms dealers approach various “rogue” nations, essentially demanding that they buy into an asteroid impact defense program – equal to their entire space budget – because if they don’t, “God forbid something terrible could happen”, which it does, to the DCU equivalent of Latveria and Symkaria, and other rogue regimes outside of the mainstream of international consensus.

      Amazonia (Paradise Island) has some minor quibble with the World Bank or some tiff or squabble with the IMF or refuses UN inspectors, and is declared a rogue nation. Of course her leaders are almost immediately approached by arms dealers, demanding that Amazonia join a mutual defense and asteroid protection program. This is the point at which we enter the story, and the preceding backstory will all be explicated within the first few scenes. Paradise Island faces spending her entire space and military budget on these extortionists. Because meteorites have already crashed into various countries that didn’t buy in, the Amazons are justifiably concerned.

      Flash could work for a chemical company that makes rocket propellant, GL could be a test pilot or entrepreneur for the asteroid consortium or a competitor, etc.

      Why aren’t Superman and Batman working on this case yet? Because, coincidentally, the work is seeing outbreaks of cannibalism and zombieism – face-eating and brain-frying and liver-chewing – and even Paradise Island has had dead Amazons rise from their ancient burial sites and battle the warrior-queens of today. Just last week, Diana had to put the great Sappho herself back in her grave… with a battle-axe.

      Of course the two phenomena are related; the meteorites are bringing space parasites to eat away at our flesh and cause us to crave brains, or the evil dudes are peddling some new drug laced with alien parasites or something, and of course Batman figures it out and Superman makes asteroids crash into the space-base of the Big Bad, and in the end they realize they need to build a satellite so they can watch over the Earth from above, etc.

      I’d stick with the Five-Man Band and introduce a Sixth Ranger during the course of the story.

      P.S. As stated at the link, the “Chick” is the peacekeeper, consensus-builder, who sees to the emotional needs of the team, like the joking Flash or Spider-Man character, who is always full of quips to overcome their nervousness and offset the tension of the situation.

      Know Your Tropes.


  10. A new Lethal Weapon? I’m getting old for this shit.

  11. There is no need to reboot lethal weapon.

  12. I think DC needs to prove that they can make a superhero movie other than Nolan’s Batman movies that don’t suck before they try to make Justice League movie.

    • I think DC needs to prove they can make ANY movie. I obviously don’t know specifics, so I could be very wrong, but my understanding is that outside of David Goyer, DC creative wasn’t heavily involved in the production of the Nolan Batman movies.

      If Warner let Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, or DiDio have a heavier hand in the vision for a film (like Marvel does with the Creative Committee), it might result in better DC movies.

    • @KenOchalek I’m pretty sure Geoff Johns was heavily involved in the scripting of Green Lantern. I like Johns stuff a lot but I think writing movies and comics requires two totally different sensibilities.

    • @Gaboury The Green Lantern movie certainly goes pretty far in proving your point.

  13. I think it can be done as long as they take their time and invest the proper amount of time and money on costumes so they do not look silly!! Next the super powers, like stated above really need to be perfected and not just thrown together; I mean some cutting edge special effects would help and CGI’s would need to be as flawless if not better than the Avengers film. From there they would need a super villian that could bring them to their knees if not for their awesome team work that will save them.
    The script could be easily done, I think the group should already be together and than some flash backs as to how they formed the league along the way as well as how some of them got their powers for the lesser known to the public like Jon Jonz, Aquaman and maybe a quick hit from WW’s past and how she got to man’s world.
    The villian could be Starro and mind control could cause some serious fights among them selves until they are saved by two new memebers joining the league at the end ie… Firestorm (Ronnie and Prof. Stein) figure out the lime trick and convert something into large amounts of lime and Red Tornado helped vortex it into the villian some how, as the other main heroes are freed they ask them to join and also come to the conclusion this was all caused by Darksied who wanted to weaken them for his grand invasion of Earth and his desire for WW. Just a thought, it could be lots of fun!!??

    The League:

    The Flash(Barry)
    Green Lantern (Hal)
    Wonder Woman
    Martian Manhunter (more of the on monitor duty type situation for him)

    Firestorm and Red Tornado join the league at the end.


  14. They better now even try and reboot Lethal Weapon!!


  15. I’m not even a big fan of his, but The Avengers worked because of Joss Whedon. When working with one character, it probably doesn’t make a “huge” difference whether or not the person knows the source material. But with an ensemble, the main thing that needs to come through is the relationships. For that, you need someone like Whedon. I could be wrong, and for all I know Will Beal has been reading Justice League since he was in the womb, but it just seems like a strange choice to choose someone with no apparent history in the genre to write something so complicated to pull off.

  16. Then again, The Avengers script didn’t start with Whedon, so there’s time.

  17. Studios commission these spec scripts all the time, I have a buddy doing one for the Batman franchise, doesn’t mean it will ever see the light of day.

  18. There needs to be a Legion of Doom – specifically that ominous Vader-shaped submarine.

    • Yeah, that should be the villain. It’s really the only threat large enough that wouldn’t be compared to The Avengers aliens. They could actually do individual movies where the villains are starting to get together, if they wanted to go that route.

  19. That reminds me. I need to check my toilet for a bomb.

  20. Honestly, after “Dark Knight Rises” and “Man of Steel,” I might be done with DC movies until they link up with another auteur like Burton or Nolan. And even then, I’m not going to watch Joe Chill shoot Batman’s parents again or Superman learn how to fly…again.

    Marvel Studios just seems to have a better handle on how to translate their properties into consistently entertaining movies and seem to be moving forward. They’ve taken the time to create a cinematic universe and the next batch of movies seem like opportunities to relax and play in that sand box until “Avengers 2.” AIM is going to be in “Iron Man 3.” The Executioner (and Enchantress!) might be in “Thor 2.” Black Panther might FINALLY get his own movie. And “Guardians of the Galaxy?” And the prospect of a PIXAR/Disney animated film based on a Marvel Property?

    That’s way more exciting to me than watching DC try to play catch-up.

  21. To the Lethal Weapon comment, Yes I agree with you, to quote Jay -Z ” It’s all about progression”

  22. I dislike any setup that doesn’t have Martianb Manhunter in it. He is in almost every incarnation of the JLA. Besides that, since he is so unknown, what a better way to introduce people to him then in a movie that has characters they already know and love. Also, he is generally a badass.

    They should also do the original JLA origin story with the Appelaxians. That makes it really easy to intoriduce each character on thier own and then have them come together to fight as cohesive unit, leading ultimately into the end where they meet in the Satellite and have the first meeting, insgina-branded chairs and all, while looking at picture os new members to recruit i.e. Firestorm, Atom, Green Arrow etc…, which in turn leads into the sequel (set up by an after credits scene of course)

    I also have to mention taht when I was thinking about the JLA movie, I thought about the inevitable sequels and triquels taht would result from this. I soon started chucking thinking about the movie version of the JLA stationed in Happy Harbor….

  23. The cartoon Justice League did pretty short takes on only a couple of heroes so they could totally do a big screen JL without getting all mired in individual origins.

    I personally think DC/Warners should just go in with the conceit that people have a reasonable knowledge of who the characters are and just wade into things. Jump in with a big crazy threat that brings together all these heroes who don’t really know one another. Sort of like the new 52 version in that respect.

    And yes, I would love for the villain to be Starro. There’s just something creepy as hell about mind-controlled people with starfish on their faces.

    • It’s weird, because DC spent a good decade or so establishing itself in cartoons with Batman, Superman, and the Justice League series’. Or maybe not establishing, but definitely refining the characters and finding what makes them interesting to an audience. It seems like Warner Brothers would let those guys – the ones in charge of the plot, characterization, and all that stuff – take a stab at a Justice League movie. There’s a big difference between animation and live action visually but, in the really important ways, they’re the same.

      Unless the guy behind it all was Paul Dini, in which case, he’s at Marvel so never mind.

  24. If DC has half a brain they will re-calibrate Man of Steel to at least open the possibility of a larger universe. Some newspaper article about Green Lantern or Batman. Or shoot an end of credits scene with Steve Trevor. Then they can get the ball rolling on intro-ing some of these characters. There’s no way a Justice League movie works that doesn’t have introductory movies.

    Avengers worked because they never had to really explain who the characters were, it was all about getting personalities that were already explored in previous films interacting in the mash-up. If the first appearance of Aquaman and The Flash in this movie is them just fighting each other or something then 90% of what made Avengers great is gone.

    Also, I don’t know about timelines when it comes to making these massive types of movies but it seems like commissioning a script means that release is at least 3-4 years off. That’s a lot of time to release smaller, character centric movies in the Marvel fashion.

    • The thing is, I don’t think DC should go in the Marvel fashion.

      Part of that has to do with the fact that DC characters are icons. Even non-comic fans know who Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman is. They will have at least an understanding of characters like Flash, Green Lantern and probably even Aquaman. No need to roll the dice on an individual character movie when you can bring in everyone, see who the audience wants more of and then use that information.

      The other part is the “been there, done that” factor. If DC does what Marvel does, it just comes off liek a knock-off. And you can bet Marvel would be the first to point that out.

      If DC leapt in with both feet and introduced the characters in a JL film, they could conceivably use that as a springboard for individual character movies. And what a way to begin.

    • @Metamorphic You might be right. I just liked the dynamic of the Marvel lead up. I am definitely a DC guy but they made me like both Thor and the Hulk, something I never thought they could do. I think they did that by spotlighting those characters in a really compelling way through their own films first.

      Also knowing that Superman flies and Flash is fast is not what defines them as great characters. The average non-comic reader probably can’t describe Flash or Aquaman’s personalities whereas they can do that for any of the Avengers. Knowing the broad outlines isn’t enough for a good team movie.

    • Totally get what you’re saying and I really liked the way Marvel did things – don’t get me wrong. And I agree that the powers don’t define the character.

      But I believe that the character interactions within the story can begin scratching the surface of the personalities which can be further developed in individual movies.

      Harry Potter began as a sort of “team movie” and let the characters develop further over time. I think it can be done. And, after the lackluster Green Lantern movie, it might be a smarter play, IMO.

      But to each their own. After all, there are no guarantees in Hollywood! (Except that Nic Cage will release two movies a year until he dies.)

  25. Conor’s punchy.

  26. DC had the Super Friends, the Supes and Bats TAS, and the Justice League Cartoons, and now Young Justice.

    DC has icons.

    Marvel has Cap, and maaaaaybe Thor, but really, before Robert Downey Jr, while people may have recognized Iron Man, not many had a clue who Tony Stark was. They sure didn’t know who Nick Fury, Hawkey and Black Widow were.

    Marvel needed the introductory movies, but DC doesn’t. Provided of course they go with the Trinity plus GL, Flash, Aquaman and maybe one more character. I would love to see J’onn, but it’s tough to get a martian with a mostly redundant power set in I would think.

  27. possibly because I haven’t slept in a day, but i originally read that the writers of the new movie were going to be the ones behind Loiter Squad.

  28. Adapt a classic Justice League story from the comics into a movie. I mean….if only there were material they could draw from. If only….

    • I see what you’re getting at, and I hate to keep making comparisons to The Avengers, but I think one of the strengths of the Avengers is that it’s not an adaptation of any one story, but more of an amalgamation of elements from many of the best parts of past Avengers stories. And because Whedon on company went that route, I think you can make a case that they’ve told THE definitive Avengers story to date.

      It seems like that’s an approach a Justice League movie could swipe without totally aping the Marvel Studios playbook (unlike the overly obvious move of doing a single-character movies to introduce characters before teaming them up).

    • my point was, if they’re struggling, use the cliff’s notes. haha

  29. My kids have no idea who Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash are and they think Superman can only fly. They don’t know his back story at all. Justice League has icons. To the a older generation. If they want to make as much money as Avengers they need the solo movies to help. My son loves Iron Man and his cool suits and knows why he has that blue thing in his chest. But he wont pick up a comic to read it. Just to look at it and say cool. Then want to play a video game. The solo movies help bring a lot of people into the Avengers movie. Marvel did a great job at appealing to everyone.

  30. about fn time

  31. As others have pointed out, there is really no need to delve into a lot of backstory because most of these characters are so well known. Unless the overall movie plot ties into a particular character’s origin (something Kryptonian, some GL history, etc), then all you need to know is the basic abilities of the lesser-known characters, which could be played out briefly on-screen. Heck, you could have a short clip of each battling and defeating a classic arch-enemy as the movie intro. Or a humorous aside between two characters(GL: “How’d you get so fast?” Flash: “Lightning struck a bunch of chemicals then hit me.” GL: “Did it hurt?” Flash: “Hell yes it hurt!”). You could even make it a running gag, or have a character with a convoluted origin tell a different origin each time (a la Joker in Dark Knight but not creepy). There is a lot that a skilled writer could do to inform people without endless flashbacks or “prequel” set-up movies.

  32. The only way for this to work is to have the team already established and that they have been working together for years. Just like if you were to pick up an issue of Justice League off the stands today… well, not today but, like a year ago…Well if you picked up an early issue of Morrisons run. Anyway just establish a world that is comfortable and loves it’s superheroes. Citizens who are fine with men in spandex saving their wives and children. That way you don’t have to have shitty hi-tech bumpy costumes to “seem-legit”. Just keep them in basic suits. (I mean look at the photo above) Nobody wants the vh1 behind the music on the JLA. We just want Darkseid on the screen before Thanos… Too late.

  33. Obviously everyone wants JL to be a success but I’m going to be skeptical until DC entertainment proves they can deliver the goods. They clearly failed in GL and I’ve seen nothing to make me optimistic. When more details come out I may change my mind. I’m still convinced that Geoff Johns is out of his depth.

  34. It’s going to be tough to do a JLA movie now considering Avengers is going the Thanos route. You can’t do Darkseid cause it is way too similar for regular audiences who saw Avengers….Who on Earth could they use as a major threat? Vandal Savage? Ra’s Al Ghul?….But they’re too ‘minor’ of a major threat to make a big superhero movie like this.

    Plus I can’t see them doing ANY type of team movie without introducing the other characters first. Considering they can’t do an Aquaman TV show, let alone a Wonder Woman movie (…and show!), I doubt we’ll see this movie be made any time soon.

  35. I’d also think about going simple on the costumes and the fan service.

    Maybe push a new aesthetic and eschew the actual costumes for simple wardrobe that evokes the costumes.

    Keep everybody out of costume for the most part until the big showdown.

    And invent a totally new villain or gang for them to fight in the first flick.

    Maybe the gangsters/extortionists accidentally bring Starro to Earth by smashing meteorites into rogue countries.

    • And when people get parasitic extraterrestrial space-starfish face-huggers, they get naked and eat brains.


      Cannibal zombies!

      Asteroid miners!

      Private space companies!

      Rogue nations with their own missile programs!