Folks, it has begun.
As stated in the original report, Geoff Johns is stepping in as co-runner of DC Films, and that deserves your attention. Read the original report to find out why I think he deserves your forgiveness for past transgressions, and your patience. For now, Vulture has offered two new nuggets.
Johns was asked about the reports that say that he and Jon Berg are the new leaders of DC Films and will help shape the future of the DCEU after Warner Bros. seemingly lost faith in Zack Snyder following the response to BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. While he didn't want to directly address the reports, he did say, "You can connect the dots," which all but confirms that they're true.
But where things get really promising is when he was asked about where he thinks DC needs to go from here. While Vulture didn't publish the entire quote, they say the one key phrase he used over and over was "Hope and Optimism."
During the press conference this morning, which was meant to discuss the "Rebirth" of the DC Comics line, he also had this to say- specifically- about Superman:
"I think people make a mistake when they say, ‘Superman’s not relatable because he’s so powerful.' I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? He’s a farm boy from Kansas who moves to the city and just wants to do the best he can with what he’s got.’ That’s the most relatable character in the world."
This stands in stark contrast to Zack Snyder's views on the character. This is very, very welcome news.
In last night's breaking coverage of the latest peak behind the curtain at Warner Bros., our report was a little on the clinical side. We informed you that the WB, in a move to course-correct the issues currently plaguing their ambitious slate of DCEU films, had put Geoff Johns and Jon Berg in charge of the DC Films division. But there's more to the story, and it's something that really should give DC fans reason to be optimistic.
I know last night's news seems like just another reason to pile on and bury our faces into our palms. Ever since BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE came out and left the majority of critics, fans, and box office experts scratching their heads, the reports coming out of the situation at Warner Bros. haven't been encouraging. Hell, I even initially tweeted that Warner Bros. was misdiagnosing the core issue with their DCEU. But now, with some time to think about it, here's what I've noticed:
This move is more of a shift towards Ben Affleck, and a move away from Zack Snyder.
When The Hollywood Reporter broke the story last night, they mentioned something that seems to have flown under the radar of many. Jon Berg isn't just a random suit, or faceless executive. He's someone who's seen as "a conduit to Ben Affleck." Berg is someone that Affleck trusts, having worked with him on ARGO and the just-wrapped LIVE BY NIGHT.
Affleck, let's not forget, also recently just signed on to help produce JUSTICE LEAGUE- a move meant to signal that the writer-director-star was going to have more of a say on the final product. This move to install Berg as more of a force in the DC Films power structure could really just be a way to make Affleck's influence on things grow stronger.
As for Geoff Johns, the other half of this new duo that's now seemingly in charge of the DCEU, do you all remember the reports a few weeks back about Affleck's BATMAN movie? They claimed that Johns was working side-by-side with Affleck on the script for it.
Are you seeing the bigger picture come together here?
Berg and Johns, people who Ben Affleck seems to trust and respect, are now the shot-callers for the DCEU- which Affleck is about to get more hands-on with in JUSTICE LEAGUE.
For fans that love DC but think Zack Snyder is the wrong man to be steering the ship, this is nothing but great news. It means that Snyder who- until now- has been seen as the creative head of the DCEU, is no longer going to have as large a voice in the creative process. While Warner Bros. remains committed to the idea of their films being filmmaker-driven, which means they'll allow Snyder to make his movies his way, it looks like his movies will become the only place where his voice looms large while others are now in charge of the bigger landscape.
This move makes a ton of sense when you look at it in these terms. While BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE inflamed and divided the fanbase, Affleck's Batman received near-unanimous praise. Affleck also has a blemish-free record as a filmmaker, while Snyder took the can't-miss proposition of BvS and created a film that THR states Warner Bros. has admitted was not the home run that the studio was expecting/needing it to be.
So sit tight, fanboys. This latest news could very well be the pivot we've all been hoping for; A move that could signal a very positive shift for the DCEU.
Last thing I'll say, for the folks piling on Geoff Johns. I know his name has been attached to the failed GREEN LANTERN movie, and he seemed pretty out-of-touch when it was reported that he was shocked by the response to BATMAN V SUPERMAN, but I think he deserves our confidence. Sometimes it takes people time to find their footing. Everyone says the DCEU needs a Kevin Feige, but many tend to forget that before he figured out how to produce good movies he worked on films like DAREDEVIL, BLADE: TRINITY, SPIDER-MAN 3, ELEKTRA, Ang Lee's HULK, and both Tim Story FANTASTIC FOUR movies. Along the way, he seemingly learned, honed his craft, and has figured out what goes into creating a successful movie.
Johns deserves a little time to stretch his creative muscles as he moves from comics to films. He's responsible for some great books, so he clearly understands the source material- perhaps in a more intuitive way than Feige ever could, since he actually writes them. Another plus? Johns began his career as an intern for Richard Donner, the first filmmaker to ever take a comic book superhero and create a blockbuster movie (SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE). He cites Donner as his mentor, and we know that Donner's belief in verisimilitude when it comes to adapting superheroes for the big screen was an inspiration for a whole generation of filmmakers, including a certain Christopher Nolan.