Well it's been quite the bloodbath the past few days over at the W.B. Studios Superhero Department. Last Friday, Joss Whedon announced that he'd been relieved of his duties on the long-in-development Wonder Woman project. The following day David Goyer announced on his MySpace page that he and W.B. have gone their separate ways on doing The Flash film. Then on Monday they announced that they've brought in Shawn Levy to helm the project.
While there's noting truly earth-shattering about a film changing directors, it's the timing and the apparent reasoning behind the changes that caught our attention. Some of the reasons for the "irreconcilable differences" sound AWFULLY familiar to some of the criticisms people had of Singerman. Coincidence? Perhaps not. Check out what Whedon had to say on his website about his dismissal:
"I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked.Now what is Whedon's writing style? And what do Buffy, Angel, and Serenity all have in common? That's right they have a dark, edgy tone to the characters. Also keep in mind this was just days after it was announced that WB had purchased a Wonder Woman spec script to allegedly avoid any copyright issues with Whedon's. Latino Review got a hold of that spec script and reviewed it as:
We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk."
"The spec that Silver picked up ROCKS! A fun filled adventure packed girl power action movie in the 1940s! 1943 to be exact...Overall, a very great read. The writers did their homework. As a comic book character origin movie - it is just as good as Batman Begins.I can see why Silver supposedly took it off the spec market. If I was a betting man, I figure this is the origin story that Warners might stick with. My note to the studio is to not touch the script, leave it intact, get yourself a good director and shoot this script. It is all there on the page."LR also points out that WB buys this excellent spec script and says something along the lines of committing to Whedon’s contemporary version, then the very next day Whedon is off the project. Why would you take a spec off the market when you own the rights already?
Now let's compare that to what went down on The Flash project. On his MySpace Goyer is quoted as saying:
Well, I've been waiting a few months to relate this news -- but I am sad to say that my version of The Flash is dead at WB. The God's honest truth is that WB and myself simply couldn't agree on what would make for a cool Flash film. I'm quite proud of the screenplay I turned it. I threw my heart into it and I genuinely think it would've been the basis of a ground-breaking film. But as of now, the studio is heading off in a completely different direction.Sound familiar? The following day it comes out that Shawn Levy will be replacing him, and The Hollywood Reporter tells us that:
"Despite Levy's previous films, including Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pink Panther, they have "no intention of making Flash a comedy," but they do intend to "aim for a lighter movie than previous Warners Bros comic adaptations, such as Batman Begins and Superman Returns." Goyer was in part responsible for the former's script, his Flash was said to be "dark themed" as well."Hmmm, sensing a theme between these two? A lighter, more action-oriented film? Didn't like the previous director's dark, overly serious take on a historically "lighter" character? Who does that sound like? Yup that's right folks, Singerman.
While Batman is a hero historically depicted to be of a darker and more cerebral nature lending himself to a writer like Goyer, characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash are not. Wonder Woman and the Flash were slated to be WB's next big new superhero franchises launched after Singerman, but now seem to be years away from seeing the light of day. Is WB trying to avoid repeating the mistakes that it made with Singerman especially now that most of the damage from the lackluster box office and home video sales has been assessed by the studio's bean counters?
It seems to me that there's a MAJOR rethinking of the studio's comic book projects not named Batman at this point, thanks in great part to some of the major shortcomings of Singerman. Whedon and Goyer were both paid millions of dollars for their efforts, so the fact that Singer signed on to write the script for the sequel doesn't exactly assure him of helming the project. We can only hope that someone out there writes an outstanding spec script for an actual Superman film, and WB kicks Singer to the curb.