Sci-Fi/Superheroes: Warner Bros. Discovery and DC

Screenshot of Gal Gadot as Diana Prince in ‘Wonder Woman’. Copyright goes to DC Comics and Warner Bros. Discovery.

Hey! Hallie here!

Just today we received the huge news that Warner Bros., the huge entertainment company behind the likes of the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Bladerunner’ franchises, was bought out by ‘Discovery’. You know, the company in charge of cool documentaries and addictive HGTV shows. This is definitely news that felt like it came out of nowhere, but by far the most interesting part of this announcement was the newly dubbed Warner Bros. Discovery’s immediate discussions about the DC franchise. Essentially, they want to completely overhaul it and they have a list of goals for this overhaul as well. There’s quite a bit to discuss, and a lot of uncertainty that comes along with it, so I’m just going to get right into this!

New Structure:

This is the main goal that came up amongst the reports of Warner Bros. Discovery’s plans for DC. The new heads of the company feel that one of the major reasons the DC Extended Universe hasn’t been going so well is because of a lack of structure. As a result, they seem to want to restart the franchise. Again. They also appear to be actively searching for a Kevin Feige-like figure to ensure that the franchise feels connected. This announcement is getting some mixed reactions and I can honestly say I feel pretty mixed on this myself. I don’t believe anyone can argue that the DC franchise hasn’t severely suffered from a lack of planning. ‘Batman v Superman’ was the first attempt to connect the first solo films that were part of the DC Extended Universe, and it suffered from terrible writing and shoddily put-together character connections. After that was ‘Justice League’ which, while better than ‘Batman v Superman’, suffered from either mediocre writing or bad writing depending on which version you’re watching. It also struggled with underdeveloped characters as a result of jumping into a team movie with only three of the characters having been previously explored. It really is no wonder that DC decided on a restart recently by recasting Batman and leaving Superman behind, but those decisions continue to make fans confused while they move forward with characters like Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and the Flash. That said, I wouldn’t say the major issue with DC is shoddy planning. DC’s major issue has been tone and poor writing. We know this because DC has found major success in solo films that aren’t connected to each other, such as ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Suicide Squad’, because of good writing. In fact, with the new success of ‘Batman’, it feels like DC could really hit their stride putting focus on quality individual character projects. DC already tried the MCU approach. Maybe it’s time to go for something else.

Superman and Joker:

These are the two names that were prominently thrown around once the Warner Bros. Discovery merger happened. Apparently new execs are upset with the way DC was trying to drop Superman entirely. They also want more side-character exploration movies like ‘Joker’. I have very strong, very opposite feelings on both of these subjects. I definitely think that it was a bad idea for DC to try to drop Superman. Superman is one of the most popular superhero characters of all time, and it’s kind of ridiculous to picture a DCEU in any state without the Man of Steel. I did like Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, but I think there’s room to restart if they so choose. They just need a better script than ‘Man of Steel’, which definitely wasn’t the worst the DCEU had to offer, but was pretty bland as far as superhero movies go. There’s a lot they could do with Superman that could prove much more interesting, and I do think he’s a character worth bringing back. As for ‘Joker’, we DO NOT need more movies like it. If they’re talking about character deep-dives alone, I’m on board. I stated above that I think individual character films could be where DC hits its stride. What we don’t need, though, are more movies that glorify serial killers by making them “relatable”. That’s an entire genre of films that needs to go, and supervillains don’t get a pass on that just because they aren’t real. The toxic fanbase that surrounded this movie alone is enough to prove that Hollywood shouldn’t be making more movies like this. I’m just hoping that Warner Bros. Discovery isn’t talking about making more supervillain movies that celebrate the awful things they do just because they were mistreated.

What About the Current DC Projects?:

Currently there’s a lot of uncertainty around the projects that have been planned or are currently active within the DCEU. And there really isn’t a way to tell what this new merger means for them all. But some things seem more likely to stick around than others. For one, ‘Batman’ is a recent release and a huge success. I can’t imagine them shutting down that project so soon, even if they choose new creatives to head the ‘Batman’ projects in the future. Similarly, ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ are both franchises that are wildly popular and could easily stick around. ‘Wonder Woman’ has been solo enough that they can pretend her team-ups never happened, and love her or hate her, I don’t think Gal Gadot will be stepping out of the role of Diana Prince. As for ‘Suicide Squad’, the ‘Peacemaker’ series has been well received and we all know by now that Margot Robbie won’t be stepping down from the role of Harley Quinn. Also, ‘Shazam’ was very well received and hasn’t been tied into anything at all so far, meaning it would be easy to take that film, and all of its planned sequels and spin-offs, and carry it into the new DCEU. That said, other projects are harder to call. ‘The Flash’ might already be dead in the water because of Ezra Miller (Warner Bros. really needs to stop hiring him for their major projects). ‘Aquaman’ might also be seriously effected because of the controversy surrounding Amber Heard. But really, nothing is certain. While there are things that don’t seem likely to change, we still might see a bigger overhaul of the DCEU than any of us expect.

At this point, DC fans are getting really tired. The amount of fans who have recently expressed that they’re experiencing Joker fatigue is not small. In fact, the amount of times the Batman series as a whole has been reimagined is starting to tire out Batman fans. And fans of other DC franchises are likely to follow soon. All of that seems to indicate that DC really doesn’t need another revamp right now. Fans have seen enough revamps of most of the characters to last a lifetime. What DC fans want right now are good scripts and some sort of stability. I think that DC can do that with what they have now if they’re careful about what they plan in the future. But who knows? Maybe Warner Bros. Discovery will surprise us with a really amazing central storyline. Still, I’m more concerned for the DCEU than ever and I think I speak for most fans when I say that all I want at this point, is consistently good content.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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