Surprise, surprise. Another hard reboot might be in the future for DC. We don’t want to offend anyone, but we don’t think we’re being too controversial in describing the management of the DC superhero franchise as Infinite Crisis. Though Warner Bros. Discovery basically started the superhero movie train with Superman and Batman, since the release of X-Men, barring a few major exceptions, its played second fiddle to Marvel.
Per Variety, Discovery, which closed its $43 billion merger with WarnerMedia last week, is “toying with the idea of turning DC into its own solidified content vertical.” Stripping away the corporate jargon, this would mean separating DC from Warner Bros. and creating a type of Marvel Studios for DC. At least, that’s what we think. Honestly, we just like movies and love it when they’re described as a “solidified content vertical.”
More than anything, it’s on the hunt, once again, for its own Kevin Feige, something it tried with Zack Snyder in the past. Several grim, nihilistic, and divisive movies later, WB is still using elements from the Snyder-verse to cobble together its current DC line-up. Meanwhile, the company also has a well-organized fanbase calling for the restoration of the “Snyder-verse.”
It’s all kind of a mess, especially considering how high DC was hiding in, say, 2008 after the release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which is why the company had Nolan produce those first batch of Snyder-directed DC movies. It wanted more grounded, but what it got were bored Gods who couldn’t care less about humanity. Obviously, that’s a take that connects with some fans but has failed to grab audiences quite as the MCU has.
Well, hot on the heels of DC’s win for the most cheer-worthy moment at the Academy Awards and Ezra Miller’s restraining order getting dropped, Discovery thinks that the DC Universe “lacks a coherent creative and brand strategy.” Variety continues:
Discovery believes that several top-shelf characters such as Superman have been left to languish and need to be revitalized. They also believe that projects like Todd Phillips’ Joker are a shining example of how second-billed characters from the DC library can and should be exploited (Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was another opportunity, though Birds of Prey missed the mark).
To be clear, DC has had some major success lately. After the Nolan-verse and the Snyder-verse, DC Comics Jon Berg and Geoff Johns took over DC Films, which also ended in controversy. That’s when Walter Hamada took over in 2018, Variety notes, things started getting much more consistent.
More recently, The Batman was both critically and commercially successful, while The Suicide Squad and its spin-off The Peacemaker became sleeper hits. Hamada is under contract through 2023 and has some major releases on the horizon, including the Dwayne Johnson-led Black Adam and sequels to Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Shazam. There’s also the issue of Ezra Miller’s Flash movie, which we can only assume doesn’t actually exist and will never be released.
Who knows, maybe one of these days we’ll even get a Superman movie.