The Justice League: Ten Directors Equal to the Task

Not everyone can direct a major summer tentpole film.

As names have popped up and then disappeared again, fans have started to really wonder what direction Warner Brothers might be taking Justice League in when they attempt to take the property to the big screen sometime in the next few years. Ben Affleck and Frank Miller? Those aren't exactly names that immediately spring to mind when the question is, "Who might do a great job with a massive budget and more superheroes than you can shake a stick at?". And that's not necessarily a critique of them as filmmakers.

Even incredibly talented directors like Andrew Stanton can have a flame-out when it comes to trying to shift gears and making one of these bombastic, explosion-filled mini-epics that's supposed to appeal to everyone with a pulse.

Because making a movie that needs to raise $500 million isn't really about being the best director on the planet. It's a very specific skillset. If being Martin Scorcese requires you to be one of the world's great chefs, then directing The Avengers requires you to be perhaps one of the world's greatest pastry chefs.

In any case, since we poo-pooed the newest rumor (Frank Miller), we thought it was incumbent upon us to come up with some alternative solutions. Who might direct Justice League? Read on.

David Yates

The director of the Harry Potter finale not only has experience playing up to high expectations on a big stage with beloved characters--but he's done it for Warner Brothers...and for the highest-grossing non-Batman film in Warner's recent history. If that isn't a ringing endorsement to the guys over at WB, I don't know what is.

Peter Jackson

Another guy who's had massive success at Warner with big-name, brand-name adaptations. And the best part? Even after splitting the movies from two to three and maybe doing a bit more shooting, Jackson should be finished with his trilogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and ready to take on his next challenge around the same time Will Beall turns in his final Justice League script.

Luc Besson

This is a guy who's maybe a little more in the vein of what Warners has already been looking at than most directors who seem likely to fit well with the characters. The director of The Fifth Element and La Femme Nikita, he's shown the ability to balance stylish battle scenes and outlandish backdrops with a little sex appeal and humor.

Steven Spielberg

You have to at least consider Spielberg for something like this. Will it ever happen? Of course not, for a variety of reasons--but bringing the most recognizable team in superhero comics, which stars arguably the three most recognizable characters in superhero comics--to the screen with one of the best-known directors in the world at the helm? It would generate a ton of buzz. And, of course, he's done just about every kind of film under the sun so there's no doubt he can pull off whatever it is that ends up being written.

Pete Travis

The director of Dredd needs to be at least considered on this list. He made the most visually-interesting comic book film of the year--in a year that included a Christopher Nolan film and new installments for both Spider-Man and The Avengers. It's a stunning-looking film and it seems as though Travis deserves to be in the discussion for every big action franchise until such time as he's blown a chance or two and proves he's not as incredible as Dredd makes him seem.

Brad Bird

While the Mission: Impossible movie (Ghost Protocol) that represents his big live-action debut was not spectacular, it's difficult to blame that on the director. The thing was capably handled and plenty exciting; it's just unlikely that the franchis is going to keep blowing the doors off at this stage.

Meanwhile, the veteran animation director did one of the best all-ages action movies of the last twenty years in Iron Giant and has consistently turned out high-quality product that proves he understands character and widescreen action.

Gary Ross

In similar fashion to what we said about Pete Travis, the runaway success (both critically and commercially) of The Hunger Games means that Ross will be a hot commodity for the foreseeable future. The fact that Lionsgate hasn't held onto him to do Catching Fire puts him back in play earlier than anybody could have predicted.

Joe Carnahan

The director of The A Team and The Grey is a guy whose stock is only rising, and the fact that his sizzle reel for the aborted Daredevil project has generated more interest among fans than basically any film trailer since the first ads for The Avengers can't hurt his argument any.

Gore Verbinski

You'll never get him away from Disney, now that he's spent the better part of my adult life making Pirates of the Caribbean films. But if you could? This is a guy who's used to working on big action set pieces with a big cast full of egos.


Francis Lawrence

To make this one work, Lawrence would have to pick up right after he wraps shooting on Catching Fire and, by logical extension, would not be able to return to make the Mockingjay movies--but he could also redeem himself with comic fans who by and large didn't love his take on Constantine.