DCEU’s Multiverse is looking out of sorts after cancelations and rescheduling; better luck next time.
DC fans have all the right to be disappointed as other studios heavily invest in consumer metrics and customer satisfaction while the DCEU remains rudderless.
The previous decade started well despite criticism for the DCEU, with the Man of Steel (2013) hitting the screens, followed by Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).The next installments, such as Shazam, Birds of Prey, and Suicide, failed to impress the box office and eventually left a bad impression on the fans.
Recently, DCEU s’ Batgirl film made the news when it was canceled after Warner Bros. and Discovery merged. The movie didn’t pass the screening test, but reports suggest it performed no worse than the upcoming Black Adam.
It isn’t the first time DC canceled a movie; as we have seen, the history of cancellations in the DCEU is long. Projects like Zatanna, Static, Blue Beetle and Hourman have never seen the light of the day.
Looking at the bigger picture, DC s’ new management no longer wants their releases to be set in the altered version of the mainstream timeline; instead, they follow a different path to establish a DCEU’s Multiverse.
Considering Marvel is already en route towards their Multiverse Saga with the announcement of Phase 5 and 6, it was only a matter before DCEU started their parallel universe.
Unfortunately, DCEU s’ recent course of action and lack of planning looks already out of touch with reality and ending towards the roadblock. If you are a DC fan reading this, you might want to stick around, to find out if the endgame for DCEU has already begun.
DCEU’S MULTIVERSE TO RIVAL MCU
The headlines may be ambitious, and so is the CEO of Discovery and Warner Bros David Zaslav who spoke in the recent investor s’ call and said:
Our ambition is to bring Warner back to produce great, high-quality films. As we look at the opportunities we have broadly, DC is at the top of the list for us. We look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman — these are brands that are known everywhere in the world. And the ability to drive those all over the world with great stories is a big opportunity for us.David Zaslav
He spoke about his plan to rival Marvel and revealed a new structure of a ten-year plan similar to MCU in the earning call.
We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business. We’re going to focus where there will be a team with a ten-year plan focusing just on DC. It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horn and Bob Iger put together very effectively with Kevin Feige at Disney. We think that we could build a long term, much stronger, sustainable growth business out of DC.David Zaslav
David also spoke about the shift to quality rather than aimless releases. He highlighted the need to make films better than before and how DC will be focused more into it.
“We’re going to focus on quality. We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready. The focus is going to be, ‘How do we make each of these films as good as possible?’ DC is something that we think we could make better and we’re focused on it now.“
While it sounds good to pay the lip service to your investors, actions will speak louder than words.
One of the most significant issues DC faces is the lack of auteurs like Kevin Feige, who can implement creative narration and styles across movies and TV shows. To overcome this problem, Alan Thorn has been brought out of retirement to assist Zaslav as a consultant at Warner Bros.
FLASH MOVE CHANGES DCEU’S MULTIVERSE BUT CAN’T FIX IT
If DC had to incorporate the multiverse universe, there is no better character to do so than, The Flash. The red suit quickster has faced many situations, which include time travel and alternate universes, which makes him the perfect candidate to start the multiverse timeline.
Unfortunately, this is where the problem arises with DC, as they haven’t done their groundwork to interwove all their significant heroes in one frame. Unveiling the Multiverse through flash may look like a solution at first glance, but so many other characters related to different timelines will bound to cause a shared overlap problem.
If the news regarding Affleck’s departure is true, it further presents a problem of erasing the Zack Snyder universe, which will only kill the prospect of Multiverse Dead.
Even if they try introducing Michael Keaton as Batman to solve the shared overlap problem, it would only further evidence the need for other successful franchise elements to solve an upcoming project. Starting the Multiverse narrative by overlooking committed mistakes is like wearing the seatbelt after a crash, which isn’t the ideal way of stopping mishappenings.
Either way, DCEU, in theory, would have to borrow their good deeds to correct their wrong ones to have any chance of success in the proposed Multiverse.
CANCELLING BATGIRL EXPOSES DCEU S’ CORPORATE MENTALITY
Warner Bros. has owned DC since 1968, and for more than 50 years, a lack of vision has been running through the franchise. Whether with character writing, hiring directors, or cast, DC media has been a corporate machine.
On the contrary, Marvel started as a small company but has built a massive supporting fanbase. Despite having a large pool of superheroes to work with, MCU has changed its vision on quality over quantity.
But DCEU has worked the reverse way, evidenced by the laying off of the Batgirl movie. Having a budget of $100 million, Batgirl was set to debut Leslie Grace as the lead role and bring back Michael Keaton as the Batman. The movie was in discussion to get a theatrical release but couldn’t even make the HBO Max streaming platform and was cut short amidst production.
David Zaslav also mentioned the expense of streaming movies without theatrical releases.
Our focus will be on theatrical, and so this idea of expensive films going direct to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it. When we bring the theatrical films to HBO Max, we find they have substantially more value. That’s why most people move to Hollywood. That’s why most people got in this business, to be on the big screen when the lights go out. That is the magic. And the economic model is much stronger.David Zaslav
If DCEU s’ multiverse has any chance of survival, a major change from the corporate mentality is needed. New leaders and creative minds must be put in place for DC s’ ten-year plan to succeed.
DCEU’S MULTIVERSE PINS ITS HOPE ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
If you exclude the Avengers, there aren’t many bigger and more popular factions than the Justice League. When Zack Snyder released the Justice League movie in 2017, there was some gleaming hope for DC fans, but it would not last long as controversy surrounded its premiere.
In 2021, Snyder got his cut of Justice League which only raised more questions on which version is canon. Furthermore, bunching multiple characters with no connections on screen led to the demise of the movie.
Instead of accepting their mistake, DC creators started selling the movie as an inspiration for the new Multiverse. In the DC FanDome 2020, DC comics CEO Jim Lee also confirmed that everything that came out was cannon and part of the Multiverse.
Without establishing the Justice League members and pushing the multiverse narrative as a coverup, it will sadly not work. Additionally, there are doubts over the castings of Superman and Batman, who are effectively the group’s leaders.
Not having the most prominent franchise players will ultimately cost the DCEU massively. Thus DC creators need to flesh out these characters before moving to a multiverse.
It took ten years to build up the MCU, culminating with an Avengers movie, and DCEU needs to learn the same rather than forcing their fans to accept unrelated movies as cannon.
Currently, the future of DCEU isn’t looking bright, especially with their major players like Superman and Batman taking a time out. But there is hope in the new WB/Discovery leadership to change for taking the right creative and corporate steps to change the fortunes of DCEU.