The era of DC movies in the early 2010s has now become an infamous nexus point in the franchise's history. Christopher Nolan's imprint on the Batman movie franchise had taken the world by storm after The Dark Knight in 2008, and many saw Nolan as the architect of an entire DC Movie Universe to rival what Kevin Feige was building over at Marvel Studios. That vision was fostered when Nolan stepped out of Batman's Universe to help David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder shape the Superman franchise. Now we're learning just how writer's block on The Dark Knight Rises ended up giving birth to Man of Steel.
David S. Goyer was doing an in-depth interview with THR, about the past, present, and impending future of his career making geek and/or genre hits when the subject of Man of Steel's origin got revisited. Time has given Goyer some interesting new perspective on making Man of Steel:
"When Chris and I were beating out The Dark Knight Rises, we ran into some issues in the middle of the film," Goyer recalls. "It was a number of things: How Bruce was going to defeat Bane, how he was going to escape the Pit and the switch reveal — that the child was actually Talia. Chris and I just hit a wall, and Chris suggested we take a break for a week and put our pencils down. It’s counterintuitive, because you think you have to keep at it. But often when you have writer’s block, it’s best to just walk away, do something completely different and just hope that your subconscious will come to the rescue."
Well, that zen-like approach to cracking the problem took Goyer to a different corner of the DC Universe (Superman), and gave him an idea he wasn't even looking for:
"What happened during that week [off] is I ended up rereading the first few years of Action Comics and writing down a two-pager for a Superman movie. So when we came back, Chris said, 'Well, have any ideas?' And I said, 'I’ve got this Superman movie that has nothing to do with The Dark Knight Rises.' That’s how Man of Steel happened. We ended up pitching it to Warner Bros. and getting that going."
While Goyer may sound like a philosophical master in the way he arrived at Man of Steel's script, viewing Man of Steel today makes it clear he may not have ever really strayed too far from the puzzle he was trying to put together. Man of Steel's infamous non-linear narrative saw the formative years of Henry Cavill's Superman mixed together like a strange brew of free-flowing memory - pretty much the same way that Nolan and Goyer's Batman Begins origin story did in 2005.
It's part of the reason why so many DC fans came away from The Dark Knight Rises and/or Man of Steel feeling like Christian Bale's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman were destined to meet onscreen in a DC Nolanverse. Hindsight being 20/20, that still sounds a lot more exciting now, instead of the years of mess and missteps that followed Nolan's era, in the late 2010s.