Due to the fact that it was the first live-action movie to pair the two DC Comics icons, Batman and Superman, together, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” made history. Even if you don’t enjoy the movie, it was the first DC Extended Universe effort to pit two of its greatest heroes against one other, making it quite a significant event despite the movie’s reputation for being a complex superhero clash (or rather, disaster).
Although “Batman v Superman” was released in 2016, it had really been in development for about ten years before to that. For this reason, an Easter egg referencing “Batman v Superman” could be found in the post-apocalyptic thriller “I Am Legend” from back in 2007.
Hollywood icon Will Smith plays Robert Neville in the film “I Am Legend,” the last man alive in New York City and the only survivor of a horrific pandemic. A pretty huge sign advertising a Batman and Superman crossover movie is seen as Smith’s character makes his way through a deserted, dystopian version of Times Square. The unexpected Easter egg reference to the confrontation of DC’s most well-known heroes lasts only a brief period of time.
There was no way for the producers to be aware of the 2016 movie because “I Am Legend” was released many years before Zack Snyder’s movie was publicly publicised. Why then was it there? The Easter egg actually refers to a “Batman vs. Superman” project that was never finished, not what might have been.
The History of Batman vs Superman in Hollywood
The writer of “I Am Legend,” Akiva Goldsman, also authored an early script of a “Batman vs. Superman” movie, which was never made since Warner Bros. shelved the idea, director Francis Lawrence of “I Am Legend” revealed to Collider in 2014.
Prior to that, Warner Bros. endorsed Andrew Kevin Walker’s plan to combine Superman and Batman into a single film while writing “Sleepy Hollow.” In addition to hiring Akiva Goldsman to rework Walker’s original screenplay, Wolfgang Petersen, an Oscar-nominated director, was brought in to direct the movie. Thanks to Goldsman’s wealth of information about the Dark Knight gained from his work on “Batman Forever” (1995) and “Batman & Robin” (1997), the heroes were destined to meet in a narrative that connected their respective cities of Gotham and Metropolis.
Unfortunately, Warner Bros. decided against using Goldsman’s revision and instead decided to use Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” which would serve as the foundation for his entire “Dark Knight Trilogy.” Later, the company employed Bryan Singer to direct “Superman Returns” in 2005, another relaunch of a superhero.
When working on “I Am Legend,” Lawrence and Goldsman decided it would be fun to speculate about the movies that would be popular during the futuristic plague that the movie depicts. The Easter egg in “Batman v. Superman” was a homage to Goldsman’s unrealized script, and he saw it as the ideal opportunity to immortalise a glimpse of what might have been, if the movie had been done.
Of course, over ten years later, Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was published, and what came after is a lengthy, convoluted Hollywood history that will make for an intriguing book after much more time has passed.