Hello DC my old friend…The DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, has been through numerous behind the scenes ups-and-downs in the past few months, to say the least. On the upside: Aquaman managed to make $1 billion at the box office, Wonder Woman 1984 is moving full steam ahead post COVID-19, and despite not being a box-office knockout, Shazam! was well-loved by fans and critics alike, made a fair amount of money given its budget, and has a sequel on the way. Furthermore, James Gunn was hired by DC to do a “soft” reboot to Suicide Squad and Ava DuVernay is partnering with Mister Miracle writer Tom King for her New Gods film, which definitely sounds like a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Ben Affleck officially stepped down and Robert Pattinson is taking up the mantle as the Batman, Henry Cavill wants to come back to play Superman but most likely isn’t returning. The Flash is still moving forward possibly with or without Ezra Miller given his recent encounter with a fan. Amber Heard also may or may not come back for Aquaman 2 after having gone from domestic abuse victim to perpetrator. As if things weren’t confusing enough, DC might move forward with a different continuity for their new Batman and Superman films separate from the main DCEU. Multiverse anyone?
Overall it seems that Warner and DC are taking bigger steps to set themselves apart from the behemoth that is Marvel Studios. As we mentioned in our previous DC article: DC isn’t Marvel, and it shouldn’t be! Luckily for us, the fans, they’ve already taken some steps in the right direction. To start, the new continuity is pretty much trying to undo the Snyderverse, starting with giving him the boot.
So now that we have a better idea of what DC is planning moving forward, here are some new ideas on what would work best:
Establish Heroes AND Villains In Their Respective Solo Movies First
The key misstep DC took in trying to rush their cinematic universe was cramming all their top characters in just ONE movie before doing their grand superhero team-up ensemble. Let audiences get to know your heroes and their respective villains in the solo films so that we care about them before you try to have them play with all the other toys in the sandbox.
Get A Kevin Feige-Type Figure To Oversee The Universe
The DCEU also lacked a creative centerpiece to guide them through their cinematic narrative, and Snyder’s main contribution was making everything dark and edgy without adding any real substance. They may have already found their man in J.J. Abrams, who recently made a deal at Warner Bros and is producing a new Justice League Dark show for HBO Max, but even so, you need someone to perform this job full-time.
Keep Continuity Between Movies Loose And Simple
Both Birds of Prey and Shazam! are probably the best examples of this; those movies set themselves within the DCEU without having to interconnect and tie so closely to events or stories happening to other heroes in the same universe. They were able to be its own thing while also accepting that there are other heroes out there.
Use A “Crisis” Movie To Merge The Robert Pattinson Batman Universe Into The Main DCEU
The “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is a popular DC storyline used to bring different versions of characters together in one main universe and writers are able to use the best versions of said characters for the ongoing continuity. DC should think about doing the same for their films.
The CW Arrowverse shows recently had their own adaptation of the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, but essentially that became more about how many actors from other DC projects both past and present they could fit in as opposed to focusing on the story from the comics. The DCEU could benefit from adapting this storyline in a way that both logically explains why Batman looks several years younger while hopefully also bringing more to the table other than just cameos.
Keep Doing Elseworlds-type Stories
Last fall’s Joker movie went out there, gave zero fucks about fitting in to a pre-existing universe or lore and managed to get Joaquin Phoenix his first Oscar win. If DC wants to give directors a chance to get really wild and creative with their property, and get a chance to stand out creatively, then let them go there and keep it separate from the main continuity. That way we can see new bold and refreshing takes on familiar characters and stories, hopefully without the need to see Batman’s special parts.
I’ll go on record saying that Henry Cavill was not a bad Superman; the direction and scripts of the movies he was in was what really let him down. More so than Batman, Superman is the one who needs a serious rebooting, and while I would love for Cavill to return in a rebooted universe, a lot of the things the Snyderverse did for his character simply did not work. From Pa Kent being okay with kids dying, a horrible CGI upper lip, casting the guy who was originally gonna be Jimmy Olsen as Lex Luthor and last but not least…that Martha scene.
Since we now live in a post-Avengers: Endgame world where Marvel is focusing more on their solo movies and TV shows on the Disney+ service, now is the time for DC to step up and give us something unique.
Exported from Medium on June 27, 2020.