With only Zack Snyder's Man of Steel scheduled to arrive before Justice League's provisional 2015 release, most if not all of the setup and character origins are going to have to be presented in the film itself. Digital Spy has a few thoughts on what we might expect from the movie...
The New 52
Following DC Comics's recent move to reboot and streamline its continuity - with Justice League positioned once again as its flagship title - it would make sense to take the lead from the freshly reimagined team. The first evidence of this has already been seen, with Henry Cavill's Superman costume for Man of Steel taking its cue from the New 52's pants-less design.
This route would definitely see the core members of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman involved, with Green Lantern, the Flash and Aquaman available to fill out the roster; the lesser-known Cyborg seems an unlikely inclusion. The first comic arc of the new title featured Darkseid, an iconic and relatively straightforward villain (i.e. the embodiment of pure evil), although his similarities to Marvel's Thanos may disqualify him from the villain roster for now.
The original Crisis on Infinite Earths is far too continuity heavy for a direct adaptation to the screen, but the heart of the multiverse-spanning epic could become the basis of a truly heroic adventure. With the menacing, seemingly unstoppable Anti-Monitor and a threat to all reality, what better way to thrust our heroes together?
The multiversal route could offer a quick and easy way of combining seemingly disparate film continuities, giving DC the opportunity of bringing together elements of its Batman, Superman and Green Lantern films as universes collide in the ultimate struggle for survival.
The Injustice Gang
The core of the Justice League is somewhat of a given, but what about their enemies for the film? An opposing team comprising their bitterest foes would be a fine way to draw out the finest qualities of the qualities of our heroes. Enter the Injustice Gang.
DC has the benefit of some of the most iconic villains in the history of comics. Lex Luthor requires little in the way of introduction and Batman offers a bevy of criminal masterminds - The Joker, the Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, the Riddler to name but a few - all instantly recognisable to even the least comic-savvy among us. The danger here is that too many villains can easily make a mess of a comic book film, and has done in the past (we're looking at you, Spider-Man 3).
The New Frontier
Darwyn Cooke's award-winning reimagining of the Justice League seems ripe for adaptation into an origin film. Widely praised for its characterisation (especially that of the frequently misused Wonder Woman) this would be a great place to start when laying down the foundations of the in-movie Justice League.
The filmmakers could draw on the distinctive retro style of the series' Silver Age setting for a unique, classic and family friendly character movie that does not try to replicate the modern-day Marvel Studios movies or the dark and gritty themes of Nolan's Batman trilogy. There is a certain precedent for adaptation too, with a well-received animated version of the series released in 2008.
Origin...? Who needs an origin?
We have been looking at different ways DC and Warner Bros might choose establish the Justice League, but is there an argument to skip the potentially slow-paced origin scenes altogether. Snyder set the scene for Watchmen in the space of the opening credits. Couldn't a montage of these very familiar origins do the same?
Picture it: An image of Krypton torn by cataclysm. A rocket fired away. The young Kal-El discovered by the Kents. Quick snaps of growing up and his debut as Superman and you're done. Similar shorthand could be used with the death of the Waynes and the birth of Batman, and Wonder Woman's departure from Paradise Island.
The Avengers had the benefit of offering its origin stories in previous films, but with a bit of imagination and some respect for the audiences' intelligence, a Justice League movie could skip this altogether and get right down to telling the best story the filmmakers can craft.
Watch a trailer for The Dark Knight Rises below:
What would you like to see in a Justice League movie? Post a comment below.