Since the critical drubbing that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received upon release, the DCEU has appeared to be in disarray. From reports of massive reshoots on both Suicide Squad and the upcoming Justice League, to behind the scenes drama on upcoming films it seems like the DCEU is in a state of chaos. While Warner Bros. and DC films are scrambling to right the ship the news seems to suggest that the DCEU as it is now is broken. From the appearance of no clear plan about the future of the franchise, to uncertainty what is happening on current films, the DCEU seems to be in a perilous situation right now. Here we will look at the developments and news that show how the DCEU has reached the state is in at and what has caused this turmoil.
6. The Back and Forth on Batfleck
Since his appearance in Batman v Superman, Ben Affleck‘s role as Batman has seemed to be in flux. While he will be appearing in Justice League, his role beyond that has never seemed to be set. Initially he was going to star, direct, and co-write a solo Batman film. Then reports suggested he was just going to star. Affleck went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in January 2017 and reassured everyone he was still directing, only to announce he was dropping out of the director’s chair a few weeks later.
Now reports suggest he might not even star in the film. While at Comic Con 2017 he seemed to assure people he was starring in the movie, but we saw how that worked out with his directing role. All this shows is uncertainty behind the scenes involving one of their biggest, if not the biggest, character they have. If you have no clear plan for Batman how can you have one for the the whole DC universe.
5. So Many Joker Films
Recently two new films were announced featuring the Joker. One is an origin movie that is not connected to the DCEU, the other is a Harley Quinn and Joker movie focused on their relationship. Before this reports have also stated that Joker will also appear in Suicide Squad 2 and Gotham City Sirens. While I love the Joker, he is my favourite character in comics, this is way too many films with the clown prince of crime. Even disregarding the origin movie, which is not connected to the DCEU, featuring him in three films in rapid order seems like overkill. DC and WB seem to being relying too much on its most popular villain and not willing to give other characters a chance. Joker is arguably the most popular comic book villain, but use him too much and people are going to be sick of him.
4. Joker Origin Film and New DC Banner
In the news story about the Joker origin film it was revealed that the film will not be connected to the DCEU and instead be part of a new DC banner that will allow them to make films that do not need to adhere to the DCEU style. While this opens up some amazing opportunities, Superman: Red Son movie anyone, the fact that they are planning this shows that WB probably doesn’t have much faith in the future of the DCEU. It appears that they want to give themselves the freedom to move away from the DCEU and go back to being able to do something akin to The Dark Knight Trilogy, where they can let filmmakers bring their own unique vision to their characters.
At Comic Con 2017 WB announced that the upcoming Flash solo movie had been renamed to Flashpoint. To those unfamiliar with the storyline, Flash goes back in time to stop his mother’s murder. When he gets back to the present he is not the Flash and the world has become nightmarish. Realizing his mistake he goes back again to undo his mistake but when he returns while things are mostly back to normal there are still lasting changes to the timeline. To me this appears to be a case of WB and DC finding a way to hedge their bets.
If the goodwill they have received from Wonder Woman continues with Justice League and Aquaman, then they can just adopt one of the most popular storylines in recent memory. If Justice League and the other films are received poorly though they can use Flashpoint to reboot the DCEU and change elements of it. Whatever happens the fact that Flash’s solo film has become another DC universe movie shows again they do not have much faith in the character just being in his own film and they instead want to include the other characters they see as more popular, such as Wonder Woman and Batman.
It seems like we can’t go more than a few weeks without reports of more DCEU films in development. As of this writing there are sixteen films in various stages of development, and that doesn’t include Justice League and Aquaman which have already been shot and are in post-production. However a lot of these are still far off and there seems to be no real plan or schedule to how all of this will play out. WB and DC have seemed to take the route of just throwing ideas at a wall and see what sticks. This kind of disorder in terms of their slate suggests that here is no concrete plan and they are making things up as they go along. WB and DC need to get their act together and figure out just what the DCEU is and how they are going to develop this series.
Perhaps the main thing holding the DCEU back is that they do not seem to have anyone in charge. In May 2016 Geoff Johns and Jon Berg were put in charge of DC films but Johns is also the President and COO of DC comics and is thus splitting his time between the film and comics divisions. What the DCEU needs is someone like Kevin Feige who is in charge and overseeing the MCU as a whole, plotting out the films and uniting them under one unified vision. DC doesn’t appear to have that one person who is in charge and that in the end is what is really hurting them and keeping the DCEU from becoming all that it can be.
While Wonder Woman was a bright spot, the DCEU has been going through some tough times. As of now the universe seems to be broken and not much has been done to try to right the ship. But hope should not be given up yet. Hopefully changes, such as putting someone in charge who can give all of their time to the DCEU and come up with an actual plan for the series, can be implemented that save the DCEU. As a DC fan I just want to see them get better and start making great movies again. I hope we get to that point soon.