With the mentioning of the direction for the coming Joker Origin film, we hypothesized on the exact future for future DC films and, by extension, the current DCEU.
Well, an extensive piece in Vulture has unveiled plans that will have chief creative officer Geoff Johns gaining a lot more influence on a DC universe that will, for the most part, do away with the Marvel-styled narrative interconnected universe.
DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson had this to say about where DC will be taking things in the near future after Justice League:
Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn’t make sense, but there’s no insistence upon an overall storyline or interconnectivity in that universe
Johns also mirrored this sentiment, saying “the movie’s not about another movie”. And while in making a specific reference to Aquaman films not needing to have some super-connectivity, in the end it is still a fruit from the Snyder tree. A universe slap-dashed on top of shifting terra-unfirma of the divisive Man Of Steel. And this was in spite of Geoff Johns, always a voice of reason, raised concerns about the direction of Man of Steel, as reportedly acknowledged someone with knowledge on the Man Of Steel film during the embryonic stage:
Geoff Johns and Diane were reading scripts, and Geoff Johns, to his credit, was concerned that there was not enough lightness or humor, given who the character is. Geoff definitely raised that point, but that current administration didn’t care that much about what Geoff Johns thought.
It is no wonder Johns stepped away from the cinematic side of things to TV, which has been the stronger side of entertainment for DC in recent years.
DC’s greatest flaw was to try and copy Marvel’s formula, looking and obsessing on what the competition was doing. They had a high with Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but even that had a third film that made a concerted, near-forced effort to build spin-off of the now non-existent Robin film. A former DC editor said as much:
DC was so far behind the eight ball of Marvel, in terms of the entertainment side. They needed to get their shit together. And Warner Bros. needed to get their shit together in terms of the film stuff.
And another major issue is in-house chaos of DC and Warner Bros., which has seethed to the top. Image control and PR have been a major issue for DC-movie enterprise today. When you think about Matt Reeves backtracking from saying The Batman isn’t a part of the DCEU to it being apart of the current DCEU, not to mention WB execs handling of Wonder Woman and seemingly being more concerned with returns than with film integrity, it is apparent that DC doesn’t have much of a compass. Hell, most of the news that breaks is not from a centralized DC-disseminated news source. Much unlike Marvel and Star Wars.
The iconography and the representation of the ideals they embody mean so much to people. There’s a lot of emotional underpinning of the characters and the stories. But when it’s not there, you really feel that emptiness.
And that has been the underpinning issue with DC’s efforts. Making sure “stories and characters are working everywhere”. And while games like Batman Arkham and Injustice 2 have gained incredible popularity, as well as DCTV making moderate stride with the likes of CW’s onslaught of DC characters as well as animated features and series, it seems most of the lag exists in DC’s cinematic universe stemming from a lack of direction and being hung up on what Marvel’s doing. Hopefully, this new direction that isn’t overly concerned with making the tapestry of features some interwoven narrative hive of mediocrity, and focusing more on narrative and character development will bring DC back into the forefront.