HOW THE DC CINEMATIC UNIVERSE CAN MOVE FORWARD
Fixing the DC Cinematic Universe Part 2

 

The Suicide Squad is a great superhero movie (even though it technically is about the bad guys). It helps to have a great cast and an even better writer/director in James Gunn. It is up there in my list of great comic book movies. I enjoyed everything about this flick, from the action, quick deaths, interesting character moments, the characterizations of all the major and minor characters, and the wacky comic book goodness of a giant alien mind-controlling starfish from space.

It had the right tone, look, and feel of a comic book movie but had a harder edge. Of course, these are the bad guys, so I would expect more mayhem and destruction here than in, say, the next Shazam! movie. The general vibe should be contagious.

With the Snyder-universe approach being relegated to the back burner and the shared universe/no shared universe/shared universe stance of the people in charge likely changing with the advent of the multiverse in The Flash, there is an opportunity to make the DC Expanded Universe into something special.

To refresh memories, the DC Expanded Universe consists of the following films:

Man of Steel (2013)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Wonder Woman (2017)
Justice League (2017)
Aquaman (2018)
Shazam! (2019)
Birds of Prey (2020)
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
The Suicide Squad (2021)

There are four movies currently in production or post-production:

Black Adam (2022)
The Flash (2022)
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022)
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

Additionally, Warner Brothers Pictures and DC Films have a variety of films in varying stages of development. Of the sixteen different movies, in my opinion, the only concepts worth pursuing as theatrical releases are Wonder Woman 3, Blackhawks, Blue Beetle, and maybe Deadshot. I’m also sure some of these films in development will likely premiere on HBO Max and not have a theatrical release. My guess is Batgirl would fall into that category.

There have not been many leaks yet regarding the Aquaman and Shazam! sequels, so I’m not sure where those stories are going. I would guess they will be more world-building for both areas of the DCEU in the same vein as Wonder Woman 1984.

Those following the production leaks and casting of The Flash know the main character is time traveling and jumping into parallel universes. As I argued in the first installment on how to fix the DC universe, I expect The Flash to establish a DC multiverse. It would not be surprising that Black Adam is also set on a parallel Earth, mainly because the DCEU does not seem to have a Golden Age of Heroes that would feature Justice Society of America characters.

This brings me to the tip of the spear. What can be done to right the good ship DCEU?

A good old-fashioned Crisis, of course.

Imagine, if you will, the faraway time of 2025. We’ve already seen a Steven Spielberg directed Blackhawks movie, a Blue Beetle HBO Max movie that has everyone calling Xolo Maridueña a future box office star, and a James Gunn-led Deadshot vs. Bloodsport movie bringing back Will Smith as Deadshot and Idris Elba as Bloodsport vying over a billion-dollar contract to kill the Batman. Of course, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn bounces around the flick, and Gunn convinces Ben Affleck to don the cape and cowl, and in a massive surprise cameo, Joe Manganiello returns as Deathstroke.

In each of these movies, audiences get glimpses of a mysterious figure observing the proceedings.

At San Diego Comic-Con 2024, Walter Hamada announces the next DCEU movie, Justice League: Infinite Crisis. He starts by introducing the cast. One by one, they grace the Hall H stage:

Harry Shum Jr.
Grace Fulton
Aldis Hodge
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Michael Rosenbaum
Sasha Calle
Joe Manganiello
Emilia Clarke
Ezra Miller
Idris Elba
Margot Robbie
Will Smith
Michael B Jordan
Gal Gadot
The Rock
Sylvester Stallone
Patton Oswalt
Henry Cavill
Patrick Stewart
Ian McKellan

With each name, the crowd goes nuts. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan tell the crowd they are playing the Monitor and Anti-Monitor, respectfully. Shum tells the audience he’s playing Ryan Choi, and everyone goes nuts. Oswalt tells the crowd he’s voicing Captain Carrot, and the place erupts into pandemonium.

Surprisingly, Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor with hair), Michael B Jordan (President Superman), and Emilia Clarke (Zatanna) don’t tell the audience who they might be playing. The internet breaks in half as rumors run rampant. No Ben Affleck or Jason Momoa on the stage also serves as a catalyst to drive speculation, with both actors on the record saying they wish the movie well and can’t wait to see it.

Hamada then shows a short, thirty-second preview of the film where they announce the director: James Gunn.

Imagine the opening of a Justice League: Infinite Crisis movie. It starts with red skies and a massive white energy cloud destroying everything. We then insert clips of the Christopher Reeve Superman films to show we are in this particular movie universe. The insertion would be like Carrie Fisher added to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The Reeve Superman tries in vain to stop the energy cloud. His universe is gone. Smash cut to the title. The audience would lose their minds.

Throw in some cool cameos from George Clooney, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jim Carrey, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the menacing white cloud obliterates their respective DC characters.

Can you imagine Ian McKellan playing the Monitor bringing in a variety of heroes and villains from various universes to try and stop the Anti-Monitor played by Patrick Stewart?

What if we see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman only for the white energy cloud to destroy everything?

What if we see the Jesse Eisenberg version of Lex Luthor kill the Kevin Spacey version?

How many versions of the Flash can we include and which one will die?

The end could be a twist with Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman only disguised as the Monitor, who in reality is dying. A new Justice League emerges with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Atom, Hawkman, and Zatanna.

There are so many opportunities for cool cameos, surprising deaths, and potentially lots of one-of-a-kind moments. Done correctly, it would be one of the biggest movies of all time.

Of course, one couldn’t contain a story this massive in one movie, even if it’s three hours long. It would have to be a duology. Let’s call the second movie Justice League: Final Crisis, and it should set up how the DC Expanded Universe would work. Future movies and television shows could be part of the main DCEU or simply a parallel universe offshoot. Savvy viewers would be able to follow, and they are already being primed for this kind of multiverse with both Marvel and DC movies and TV.

It would take a visionary leader to pull something like this off and a studio ready to make the biggest splash in cinematic history.

Well, in some parallel universe this happens. Maybe, just maybe, it will be this one.

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