The Warner Bros. PR machine has been on a marketing overdrive in an attempt to convince fans that their favourite Man of Steel plays no part in its big ticket release Justice League.
It released a new poster that not only addresses the elephant in the room, but also hints at how it might happen. It incorporates emblems of all of DC Comicsâ€™ big guns, but the one that stands out is that of Superman.
Reddit threads went into collective meltdown following his apparent death at the hands of Doomsday in last yearâ€™s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with many putting on tinfoil hats to debate the story arcs that DC-Warner could use to bring the last son of Krypton back from the dead. While the latest trailer did give a glimpse of Clark Kent, albeit in a flashback/dream sequence, the poster more or less confirms his return, despite he studio pretending otherwise.
An e-commerce site specialising in comic merchandise recently put on sale a black cap with Supermanâ€™s insignia as part of an exclusive line. The cap harks back to the Superman: Doomsday story arc, which sees Superman use a black suit during his time in the â€œregeneration matrixâ€? following a brutal assault by Doomsday.
Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, has himself teased a monochromatic suit on his Instagram account, sending fans into a tizzy.
He might be conspicuous by his absence in the posters, but there is no Justice League without Superman and Warner Bros. knows that. And with the amount of money on the line, they surely will not risk going down that road.
There is also a shift in the tone with the studio literally lightening up the characters. The new poster is brighter and more vibrant than previous ones that have bordered on the monochromatic. Aquamanâ€™s traditional gold and green costume and the bluest Batman in years highlight a marked directional change after the box office dud that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was.
Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had alienated many fans with their sombre theme, forcing Warner Bros. to rope in screenwriter Joss Whedon, the man who gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe its outlandish success, to steady the film.
Whedonâ€™s screenplays have set the cash registers ringing at Marvel and he was given a clear run at re-shoots and post-production to weave the same kind of magic â€” as being seen in the poster. The studio will be hoping Whedonâ€™s magic touch, coupled with the almost obvious return of Superman and the debuts of a host of DC Comicsâ€™ big
guns will finally get its extended superhero universe off the ground.
Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder, releases in the US on November 17.