In the ongoing battle for comic-to-screen domination, the blueprints for the DC Comics cinematic universe may be headed in a new direction. When Warner Bros. announced their slate of titles seemed promising, particularly since this summer’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was still in production. With director Zack Snyder behind the camera (after 2013’s mixed reviewed Man of Steel), and returning for two Justice League films, it was primarily his lead and vision that other filmmakers used as an anchor when developing their own contributions to the cinematic universe.
With very mixed reviews and a very dark and gloomy take on what should have been the biggest tent-pole film of all time (featuring three of pop culture’s biggest icons, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, sharing the screen in live action for the first time ever), Batman v Superman had more detractors than fans. Box office wise the film was a success, but audiences and critics started wondering if Snyder the right guy to oversee DC properties.
Although the trailers for this summer’s Suicide Squad have gotten a fairly positive reaction and the upcoming Wonder Woman film benefits from Gal Godot’s performance being singled out as one BvS‘s bright spots, there’s still plenty to be worried about. Not long after, Flash director Seth Grahame-Smith left the project over creative differences and rumors began to surface that Aquaman helmer James Wan was possibly leaving the project. Finally, it was announced that Ben Affleck and DC Comics Chief Creative OfficerGeoff Johns were co-writing the new Batman film under the rumored condition of not having to report to Snyder.
The release of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War has furthered broadened the divide as it’s critical and box office success managed to not only deal with a similar conflict between icons, but also successfully made a film that’s resonating with audiences. Under the guidance of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, their cinematic universe continues to build upon it’s mythology and excite audiences with future installments (with the debuts of Black Panther and MCU Spider-Man cementing that).
Until now, Warner hasn’t had anyone doing that for their DC properties.
This week, Warner Bros. announced that executive VP Jon Berg and Johns, would co-run the newly created DC Films. Which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, would attempt to, “unify the disparate elements of the DC movies with a seasoned film exec and a comics veteran that together hopefully can emulate the way Marvel Studios has produced its films under the vision of president Kevin Feige. But sources also say Warners still wants to remain a filmmaker-driven studio. As part of their new jobs, Berg and Johns will become producers on the Justice League movies.”
Johns was quick to announce his vision of the what the DC Universe represents, “hope and optimism.”
Where does this leave Snyder? The line-up itself? Although the odds are good that creator owned properties are popular, bringing the pantheon of DC’s superheroes to the big screen seems more than ever as an opportunity rather than a burden.