Behind-the-scenes details are learned about the DC movie universe where it is confirmed that Zack Snyder’s original plan was to focus and follow the journey of Henry Cavill’s Superman.
An independent freelance market research analyst and focus group moderator for the DC movies, Neil Daly, participated in the Fire and Water podcast where he goes into details about Zack Snyder’s Superman and DC plans.
Daly notes that Warner Bros. meddled with Zack Snyder’s plans in that Snyder wanted to go with solo films, but the WB execs were playing catch up to Marvel and wanted to get the Justice League team out there as soon as possible. Snyder didn’t want Justice League released as soon as it was as his plan was to follow the story of Superman. Daly says Snyder wanted to do five or six movies that started with Superman being the reluctant hero leading to the Superman everyone is familiar with, i.e. a boy scout version approved by the president. Daly says the arc started with Superman with the idea of him being a reluctant apathetic hero who didn’t know if he belonged on earth or wanted to save people, leading to the Superman we all know, but Daly says we never got a chance to see it.
Daly also says Snyder’s 5-6 movie plan consisted of Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Justice League, Man of Steel 2, and a two-part Justice League (JL 2 and 3). Daly says a lot of things were left out from Snyder’s true vision, that Snyder got a raw deal, and that Snyder had a lot going on moving forward. Daly also confirms that Aquaman did save Clark Kent from the oil rig in Man of Steel and a lot was left out from Snyder’s original plans for Batman vs. Superman as well.
While Daly doesn’t go into further detail, his information fits with everything I was told years ago about Snyder’s plans for Henry Cavill and Superman. I was told the plan was for Henry Cavill to be the headliner and spearhead the DCEU, with a Man of Steel 2 to follow Man of Steel in addition to a solo Batman movie featuring a younger version of the character in his second year of being a hero (sound familiar)? I was told that Batman vs. Superman essentially came about from separate solo Superman and Batman scripts (written by David S. Goyer) when Man of Steel failed to reach a billion dollars at the box office (MOS was expected to hit a billion because of the previous Nolan Batman films).
My understanding of why things took a different turn is because of the fallout from Man of Steel. Initially, when Man of Steel had that huge opening, there was talk of doing a Superman sequel, but as the movie faded (at the box office specifically), WB execs scrapped those plans, wanted a big actor as Batman and the Justice League introduced ASAP, which is why Batman vs. Superman came about (combo of solo Batman and Superman films) and featured the introduction of the Justice League, with the JL movie to follow. The original plan following Man of Steel was to have a Superman sequel, a solo Batman movie, and then Justice League, with solo movies to follow such as for The Flash and Wonder Woman.
Prior to Man of Steel, Zack Snyder actually said his Superman was going to be its own thing and separate from the Justice League movie, probably similar to how Nolan’s Batman was its own thing and not a part of an overall extended cinematic universe. However, obviously, Snyder was convinced to do his Superman movie as introducing the DCEU, and he worked with Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer to make it happen.
So we see we never got the chance to see Zack Snyder’s vision, which would have been the journey of Henry Cavill as Superman from a reluctant hero to one embracing humanity and himself, which would have spawned Batman movies featuring a younger Bruce Wayne (again, Superman is the center of Snyder’s DCEU) and solo films for the rest of the Justice League characters in addition to numerous Justice League-event films.
What could have been, eh?