Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column that just won’t go away, where uber-geek Nick Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week (or whatever he feels like), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek! Today’s Topic: Killing The DCEU.
The DC Extended Universe MUST DIE!!!
You read that right. Come at me, bro! (After you read what I have to say.)
After the most recent report this week from Variety that Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck may never don their tights again as Superman and Batman, respectively, there is only one thing left to do with DC’s failed movie universe… Dissolve it.
I’m not saying stop making successful franchises like Wonder Woman, or cancel any upcoming projects, but after failing to emulate Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, now DC should transfer their efforts fully into Worlds of DC, taking us back to a simpler time when one companies’ superhero franchises didn’t need to all be connected.
It’s time for DC to return to the days of all the solo Batman films from Tim Burton to Christopher Nolan, Superman Returns, and 2002’s Spider-Man. A time when a hero could just kick one villain’s ass after another, without having to waste screentime on world-building, setup for sequels and other DC franchises, and endless Easter Eggs. I love the MCU, but we only need one complicated universe to follow. Let DC do what DC used to do best, standalone franchises where each film feels like a complete story, not a set-up for something grander.
Let’s make DC great again!
Cause, well, it’s been a while since it has been great. But, it can be! It needs to be!
This isn’t the DC Universe we deserve, but it’s the one we have. So, here are four key points that I feel DC should take into account moving forward in an effort to drop the DCEU all together and embrace Worlds of DC past the Joker film.
Keep What Works But Remove Connections
Like I said, we don’t need to stop what’s working. Keep Wonder Woman as a franchise. If Aquaman does well, give him a trilogy. But, forget Justice League happened, if possible. Remove any connective tissue from Wonder Woman 1984 that the first film may have had. Don’t tie Aquaman back to JL. Let these characters inhabit their own worlds with unique tones, just as Batman did going back to 1989 or Nolan’s amazing Dark Knight Trilogy, the greatest set of films DC has ever released.
Shazam! has a unique opportunity to be completely separate from what comes before. I don’t want the rumored Cavill cameo, which is an unlikely case if Variety’s latest report is to be believed. Sure, throw in a line akin to, “I’m like Superman!” But don’t show us Superman. Don’t show us a poster or billboard with his symbol. He exists, but it’s like Batman’s lame line in the even lamer Batman and Robin, “This is why Superman doesn’t have a sidekick!” Only write it better.
These characters are all impressive on their own, if done properly. And maybe DC needs to keep them separate to deliver quality. You know, focus on one story at a time, not a larger narrative.
No More Crossovers! All Separate Franchises With Unique Actors
This is more of what I was saying before, only slightly more extreme and playing more into the future of Justice League.
We’ve already discussed keeping characters and Easter Eggs from different franchises out of the films. But, what about Justice League? Sure, the last one was such a spectacular flop for a film that contains the two most well-known superheros, prior to the MCU, and DC’s recent success Wonder Woman, yet couldn’t even touch many Marvel characters’ solo films. Justice League was supposed to be DC’s Avengers, obviously. Their big billion dollar hit! But… it wasn’t. JL should be a sure thing.
I want to go back to Warner Bros. and DC’s plan prior to the success of the MCU. George Miller’s Justice League film was set to have a second Batman actor going at the same time as Nolan’s trilogy featuring Christian Bale. Why not do that now?
Keep Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984 and Jason Mamoa in the Aquaman films (if it makes enough for sequels). Cast a brand new Justice League just for a Justice League film or franchise. Same with a new Batman for Matt Reeves’ The Batman; keep that actor out of Justice League and cast another. No baggage from the old DCEU or films released later this year into next year. No mess of unwatchable movies to remember story points from. Just a nice, clean adventure that is hopefully better than Suicide Squad.
It’s not like DC is concerned with confusing people. We’re about to get another new Joker already!
Reach Deeper Into The Comics Catalog
Use this opportunity to explore DC’s deeper catalog, as Marvel has been doing with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and upcoming films like The Eternals. Give us characters we never thought we’d see on screen.
Does everyone love Flash? Sure. But would I rather see Shazam! or something even more obscure? Absolutely. Greg Berlanti’s ArrowVerse is quite good at this. Black Lightning? The characters that make up Legends of Tomorrow? All deeper pulls from the comics than any of the DCEU films.
Now, I don’t know my DC characters as well as my Marvel favorites, but how about going back to Justice League Dark aka Dark Universe? John Constantine has had a film and a TV show, but I doubt people who haven’t read comics know much about Zatana, Deadman, Etrigan the Demon, and even Swamp Thing. So why not start there?
Maybe do Mister Miracle after the New Gods film. Just like Marvel, there are so many comic book titles I’ve never even heard of, until they are announced to appear on the silver screen.
Just don’t lean on your Justice League members too much. Or Batman and Superman. This has proven not to be as profitable as everyone assumed already.
Be Brave And Wild!
The first screen test featuring Joaquin Phoenix as Joker was shocking. It felt like the most original thing DC had tried since letting Nolan play with Batman.
I want more of this, and turning DCEU into a nearly completely disconnected series of franchises would allow films to not look like Zack Snyder’s wet dream (or nightmare). You can play around with time, just as Joker is set in the 1980s. I know I said use less known characters than Batman or Superman, but why not a Superman comic set around the time it was written? Or a gritty 1950s Batman (sorry for again suggesting Batman be “gritty…”)?
You can also just get wacky with it. Do a funny Batman ’66 type film. Make that Jack Black Green Lantern comedy that was almost made before Ryan Reynolds’ version. Do stuff Marvel wouldn’t do! Because in the end, that is key.
DC can make more money and grab more eyes with a tactic like this. Because when you lose two of your most important actors, it is totally time to reconsider the DCEU.
Which is why THE DCEU MUST DIE!!!