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The Future of the DCEU

We live in a world where the Justice League star in a live action movie. I honestly still can’t believe it. We finally saw Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Superman together on the big screen. So, now what? Where does DC go from here? The next movie is 13 months away from the time of this post. Four out of five films have had a mixed reception at best. Justice League is (currently) underperforming during its opening weekend. What’s the next step? Let’s take a look at Phase 2 of the DC Universe.

Solo Films

On the one hand, you can say that taking a 13-month break could hurt Aquaman’s [the next film scheduled for release] chances.  There’s no hype, no momentum, nothing keeping people interested. On the other hand, it allows them to regroup. Think about how they want to approach these films. Develop excellent stories for their “Phase 2”. Allow Johns and Berg to really put their stamp on the movies going forward. This is the best thing they could do at this point. They might’ve jumped the gun in the early going. Now, they can focus on solo stories for these remarkable characters. Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman 2 are the next set of films to release. The solo movies haven’t been an issue; it’s the team-ups. Focus on these three for right now. Then bring them back for Justice League 2.

Elseworlds

We know that WB has been planning a new line of DC films. Elseworld stories would focus on DC characters, not in current continuity. We might get a Joker origin story that has no connection to the Joker we saw in Suicide Squad. This sounds like a crazy idea, but the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. Think about it, this connected universe hasn’t been going as well as one would hope. Change the approach, allow directors to make their own version of these characters. Something new, exciting, and even a little crazy. Make a movie where Joker is the hero, a JSA film, one where Power Girl is the last child of Krypton, or even adapt stories like Red Son Superman. Let creators have freedom apart from the DCU. It’s working for the X-Men; it should work for DC too.

Smaller Projects

Another thing that Warner Brothers looks to be considering is going smaller. It seems like that the direction their headed with movies like Nightwing and Deathstroke. Justice League had a massive budget of $300MM, while Batman v. Superman had a $250MM budget. It’s too big of a financial risk, especially with the mixed responses. Make your big tentpole films like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, but The Batman probably doesn’t need a $300MM budget.

The DC Films are going through a transition, but I think they’re on the right track. If this franchise is going to be successful, it’s going to have to make some changes, and it seems like that’s just what they’re doing. It’ll be awhile before we see another DC film. Hopefully, it’s worth the wait.

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