Long time DC Comics fans (ourselves included) had always dreamed of seeing their favourite DC characters on the big screen together. After 2013’s Man of Steel and the announcement of it’s of spin-off – featuring none other than the Dark Knight, himself. Fan’s were overjoyed that FINALLY, the Worlds Finest would finally be in a live action, big screen adaptation with one another.
When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice finally arrived into cinema’s in early 2016; the response was…mixed.
In what has traditionally (in other incarnations of the Batman v Superman storyline) been a fight between dark and light and the striking comparisons between the two characters i.e. in how both heroes not only fight crime, but how they are revered – are they a symbol of fear? courage? hope? as well as the obvious – the ying and yang differences between their respective personalities.
Unfortunately, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to capture the tried and tested dynamic in which the two heroes start by hating each other, but ultimately (with some conflict in-between) become (essentially) best friends – despite their polar opposite methods. What both fan’s and newcomers alike saw was a very dark tale, with no contrast between the two characters, and the movie, itself, ultimately served as a staging point for 2017’s ill-fated Justice League.
David Ayer’s Suicide Squad – which was also released in 2016 – was met with equally middling reviews and did nothing to aid the, so far, struggling comic-book universe which Warner Bros. wanted so much.
Despite DC’s cinematic universe getting off to rocky start as they tried to play catch-up with Disney’s MCU, Warner Bros’ DC television universe was achieving wonders! Where, ironically, Marvel was failing.
Warner Bros. had seen great successes with Arrow and The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and most recently, Batwoman. Now, with the newest editions to the shared tv universe: Superman & Lois, Green Arrow & The Canaries, Green Lantern and Justice League: Dark – the latter two of which will showcase on HBO MAX and is still yet unconfirmed if they will indeed be apart of the larger “Arrowverse” of shows.
However, Warner Bros’ shared single, tv universe is not just contained to a single “universe” – rather “universes”.
The critically acclaimed Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event successfully established the DC Multiverse in its grand entirety. The majority of tv shows and movies throughout DC’s long history of live entertainment was confirmed to be apart of the the grand “multiverse” including: Batman 66, Batman 89, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern, Superman (Reeves and Routh), Smallville, Titans, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, Black Lightening, Lucifer and yes…even the DC Cinematic Universe!
All were tied in successfully, into a larger “web” of stories, adventures, movies and shows where for half a century; all us fans were just watching a multiverse of events! Not only was this excellent fan service, but an excellent way of creating new spin-off shows/movies where the audience does not have to worry nor think about why, for example: ‘Character-A’ appears in two separate formats i.e movie and tv – played by two different actors.
This was illustrated by both the DCEU Flash (Ezra Miller) coming face-to-face with “Arrowverse” Flash (Grant Gustin) as the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover came to it’s conclusion.
With show’s such a Lucifer *(Earth 666) finding success over the years, Stargirl *(Earth 2) starting strong, and both Titans *(Earth 9) and Doom Patrol *(Earth 21) also proving to be hits – as well as two big budget, potential hits on the way with Green Lantern and Justice League: Dark. It’s fair to say that DC’s future is firmly slated within television…
Or is it?
*Earth number in DC Multiverse
Though DC’s cinematic universe seemed to have ground to halt (at least, from a shared universe perspective) Warner Bros. found great success with 2018’s Aquaman and 2018’s SHAZAM!. 2019’s Joker was one of the most successful comic-book adaptations of all time with it’s lead, Joaquin Phoenix, winning best actor at the 2020 Oscars. Wonder Woman: 84 is slated for release later this year and is already on the road to success, and the reboot of Batman is slated for 2021.
But! even bigger news has dropped over the past couple of weeks! Zack Snyder’s original cut of Justice League will be airing on HBO Max also, in 2021! A story which will be (from what we’ve heard) far different from 2017’s theatrical cut – fan’s now only just being told that Warner Bros. only used a quarter of Snyder’s original content!
This has also fuelled speculation that Ben Affleck may one day reprise his role as the Caper Crusader, something fan’s would very much like to see happen! This of would, of course, contradict Robert Pattinson’s role as a younger Bruce Wayne – but there a fan’s still wondering if this new (supposed) trilogy of films, will act as a prequel of sorts to the already (though still wobbly) DCEU?
Though the multiverse plays well with tv vs theatrical releases, and even other tv shows. The movie audience would most likely become confused if two Batmen were on screen within months of each other, so don’t expect to see Affleck to return to the word of DC, just yet. But with fans hoping for Bat-Fleck’s return never the less, fan’s have been given yet another glimpse of hope, as Henry Cavill could also once again play the Man of Steel!
However, it seems that although Warner Bros. are not looking to create any further Superman movies anytime soon, rumours are that Cavill will be set to don the red cape in other DC movies – such as SHAZAM!, Wonder Woman, Aquaman etc – though the said cameo appearances are still to be confirmed.
Although that Marvel has dominated the big screen for the last decade (in the comic-movie genre), DC have been building something arguably larger…
With a string of successful tv shows, which are within another shared universe – rather “multiverse” as well as incorporating most of their live action archive (past and present) within this “multiverse”, including the DCEU! It’s fair to say that Warner Bros. has played a very long game indeed! And…it’s beginning to pay off!
The future of DC’s live entertainment is now more exciting than ever, which, we hope, will continue for some time to come!