Welcome to Breaking Geek, where uber-geek Nick Doll offers strong opinions, fun commentary, informed reactions, and thought-out theories regarding the most interesting news of the week, using his expansive knowledge of all things geek!
Ben Affleck is out of the DC Extended Universe, which I suppose I should now be calling Worlds of DC.
Though no one was surprised — this has been a rumor since San Diego Comic Con 2017 — Affleck will not be in Matt Reeve’s Batman film (no longer officially titled The Batman according to Reeves himself), which will focus on a younger version of the Caped Crusader.
What does this mean for Worlds of DC? How will it affect a possible Justice League 2 which will likely see the return of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa as Aquaman? Does this also mean trouble for Henry Cavill’s future of Superman? How should Worlds of DC be structured moving forward?
Well, I’m here to make assumptions… and give my vision for Worlds of DC sans Baffleck.
Does This Spell (Legion of) Doom For Henry Cavill?
Look, like them or not, Man of Steel (yuck), Batman V Superman (I do like this one), and Justice League (it’s totally watchable), DC seems to be distancing themselves from Zack Snyder’s past vision, having directed these three underwhelming and critically panned films. That is as director, as it was recently reported he is producing James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, which THR describes as more of a “relaunch” than a sequel, with mostly new villains making up the roster of Task Force X.
So, if DC really wants to move past the Batffleck era of the DCEU (before it was Worlds of DC), maybe casting a new Superman, or leaving the character alone for a bit, will help audiences forget the choppy past. After all, Wonder Woman was successful with minimal ties to the other DCEU films, bringing in $821.8 million worldwide, and Aquaman knocked it out of the fishbowl with a similar strategy, already past the billion dollar mark, both keeping their leads and not recasting.
There is a glimmer of hope, as The Hollywood Reporter revealed that James Gunn was offered many DC projects to choose from, including Man of Steel 2, which could still be a new Superman film with a new Superman, as that seems like a working title. But, at least that means Superman is on the minds of DC and Warner Bros. executives. And Cavill isn’t out… at the time of this writing.
Though, like Ben Affleck, the rumors of his departure have been swirling around the internet for months.
Worlds of DC Films Need To Be As Separate As Possible
Aquaman and Wonder Woman were both successful, in part, due to their tone that was nothing like Snyder’s films or Suicide Squad. Instead of literally dark films with brooding characters, Wonder Woman and Aquaman seem like bright action-adventures. Many have compared Aquaman to what Kevin Feige is doing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as far as fun action films.
That’s where I think the similarities should end. A connected DC Universe has not worked so far, on the big screen at least. Blame it on Snyder if you want, but maybe audiences don’t want to be invested in two superhero based Cinematic Universes. So, for the time being, I recommend DC continues this standalone film route as they will be doing with April’s Shazam! and October’s Joker.
Winks and Easter Eggs toward other characters would still be fun, like the Batarang in Shazam’s trailer, but we don’t need to see them crossover for a long time, and I think it should be limited to Justice League films, rather than having Batman and Flash show up in Suicide Squad, and completely unlike Hulk being in a Thor movie or Tony Stark being a lousy mentor for Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming over at Marvel Studios.
This is obviously the plan for now (mostly) and I hope DC sticks to it.
Yes, DC is rumored to be making a trilogy of Harley Quinn films due to the character’s popularity, starting with Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), and continuing into films like Gotham City Sirens. This still works in a standalone world, basically, a Harley Quinn franchise the same way Wonder Woman can be its own trilogy of films.
What About A Future Justice League Movie?
My dream is to treat it like Joker. Get a new cast for all the characters so it is clearly different from the current iterations of Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
This is unlikely the case, as part of the fun in Avengers movies to see how the characters have grown between them. We know much more about them because they have a chance to take the spotlight between the Team-Ups, whereas just throwing us seven new iterations of the classic Justice League characters could leave the characters feeling shallow, like nearly everyone in Suicide Squad as well as Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman in the first Justice League.
Obviously, Justice League 2 should not carry that title, and be treated more like The Suicide Squad, hopefully with a subtitle, rather than calling it The Justice League.
This does bring to question the continuity of the universe, as Batman will suddenly be 30 years younger than when he assembled the Justice League and stood aside the metahumans in battle, including Wonder Woman and Aquaman who are unlikely to be recast due to their strong box office, with hopes it will translate to big money for the eventual Justice League 2.
Sure, you could use a Flashpoint film to explain Bruce Wayne’s change in age, but again, that’s more connective than I would want a Flash movie to be.
Or, you could set The Batman in the past, or just make it so standalone and bring back the timeless look Tim Burton films and Batman: The Animated Series gave Gotham City. Then keep Affleck for Justice League 2. Make him a new offer when beginning pre-production on the film.
That is very unlikely, as like I said, it seems DC is distancing themselves from the bad taste the films featuring Batffleck left in their mouths.
My recommendation is to wait five or so years before another Justice League, then relaunch it with the old cast and the new (if Cavill also leaves Worlds of DC), ignoring any plot points from the first.
No matter how you look at it, Worlds of DC is changing rapidly and is taking mostly a brand new approach that I approve of. Who knows what direction a future Justice League (you know they’re going to try again) will take with a new, younger Batman, and possibly a new Superman?
I just hope it is handled better than what I guess you can call “Phase 1” of the DCEU, before it was Worlds of DC.
And I will miss Ben Affleck. He wasn’t given much to work with, but he was a damn good Batman… and Bruce Wayne.