To kick off The Cinema Elite Season 2 (2017-2018), let’s break down whatever in the world is going on with the DC Extended Universe, and what all of this news means for the future of the series.
Over the past few days, Warner Bros and DC have announced a few things: A) The Batman film is NOT a part of the DCEU franchise B) The Joker film will feature a younger version of the character in the 1980’s as he becomes the Joker C) The Joker film will be produced by Martin Scorsese, written by Todd Phillips and likely directed by him or somebody like him D) a Joker and Harley Quinn movie will begin production soon and E) The Batman film WILL be a part of the DCEU franchise but will be an exclusively Batman story.
So, yeah… a lot has happened, but what does it all mean?
To understand this, I think it’s important to take a look back at a few things, the most important thing being the history of the movie franchise, and not just the DC franchise but the movie franchise in general. In the 1930’s through the 50’s, Universal released many films series including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Wolf Man, The Mummy, et cetera which all took the world by storm. What was great about their releases was that the film franchises could all stand alone, but they also briefly crossed over with one another; a trait that no other film franchise by a large studio would have until about 70 years later with Marvel. Between those points in time, if a studio would release films in a series, they would all stick to one or a few characters and never spin-off or tie together with other films.
Between those points in time, if a studio would release films in a series, they would all stick to one or a few characters and never spin-off or tie together with other films. You can see a Batman series, Superman series, Spider-Man series, Mummy series, Mission: Impossible, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, whatever, and the films would all stay in that titular (and linear) group. Now, you can see films that diverge from the main storyline in the MCU, Star Wars saga, X-Men series, and DCEU (as well as a few others) with basically every other studio trying to jump on this bandwagon now, too.
What does this have to do with the new DC news?
Well, with director Matt Reeves and DC mentioning that their films will NOT be a part of this new Cinematic Universe fad, it seems as though they’re taking steps backwards instead of continuing with this innovative way to tell related stories. We’ve had decades of films not relating to each other, so what could this new structure of DC possibly do that we haven’t seen before? My worry is that it won’t do anything new AND it will confuse audience members who are now seemingly used to seeing films tie together. I think that this notion will end up hurting the DCEU more than it already is, and it will hurt fans as well since we expect to see the DCEU do what the MCU has done so successfully: give comic book and film fans things they have never seen before. By resorting back to having one-off storylines and disconnected characters, fans will be left with nothing new and nothing to look forward to.
The DCEU has had it’s history of problems over the last four years with mixed to negative receptions on Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, trouble behind the scenes of Justice League, directors leaving the Flash film, and fans having no clue what to expect. To me, it looks like the producers are scrambling for a plan but they have no faith in anything that they announce. You can read my essay on the DCEU here to see more of my thoughts, but what do you think? Do you think that the new direction of the DCEU will prove fruitful or will it be another failure for the studio? I’d love to know your thoughts because I’m scrambling to understand all of this just as much as the studio seems to be doing. As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!