Sci-Fi/Superheroes: The DCEU Might Die Soon

Screenshot of Henry Cavill as Superman. Copyright goes to DC Studios and Warner Bros. Discovery.

Hey! Hallie here!

It seems that ever since Warner Bros. and Discovery joined together we’ve only heard bad news come out of the company. Projects are constantly struck down, fans become angrier as the days pass, and bewildering decisions seem set on driving the whole thing into the ground. DC is one of the biggest franchises Warner Bros. Discovery is majorly fumbling right now. It seemed as though the DCEU might be saved thanks to the newest ‘Batman’ film and the appointment of fan-favorite James Gunn as co-president of DC Studios. But after this bright speck of hope we were thrown into even more horrible news, to the extent that most DC fans are now throwing their hands up in defeat. Fans have even begun to demand that James Gunn step down after his appointment was widely praised. So does the DCEU really look like its final days are around the corner? Well, the best way to know that is to look at the most recent DC projects and decisions made by Warner Bros. Discovery. And knowing Warner Bros. Discovery, it’s going to look pretty bleak.

‘Superman’:

Let’s get the biggest news from yesterday out of the way. Henry Cavill will no longer be playing Superman. You know how Henry Cavill announced he’d be back in the DC universe around the time James Gunn made a statement about how central Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent would be moving forward? Yeah, that was evidently a mean joke made at Cavill’s expense. Both James Gunn and Henry Cavill made statements about this situation, but while both statements are very polite, they paint the situation in two entirely different lights. Gunn is adamant that this is just a result of the Superman movie he’s planning being a “young Superman” movie, but he says he talked it over with Cavill and discussed possible ways for him to return in the future. Cavill’s version of events seems much more irresponsible. Cavill says the company forced him to announce his return in October even though they hadn’t officially hired him yet, and now he will be moving on from the DCEU entirely. If there’s any plans for him to come back, he definitely doesn’t seem aware of it. This is, to put it bluntly, a catastrophic mess. Not only did Cavill already make an on-screen appearance returning as the character in a mid-credits scene for ‘Black Adam’, but the announcement that Cavill would return was one of the more highly fan-praised decisions to come out of DC. The intense backlash is no surprise, especially with how Gunn seems to be trying to soften the blow with false promises of Cavill still having a place in the DCEU. But this is definitely not the only thing that’s gone wrong recently.

‘The Flash’ and ‘Wonder Woman’:

A few days ago it was announced that Warner Bros. Discovery would no longer be going through with their plans for a third ‘Wonder Woman’ movie. ‘Wonder Woman’ has been one of DC’s most solid franchises. The first film in particular was groundbreaking to women when it was released. But now ‘Wonder Woman’ is being tossed into the trash heap alongside so many other DC franchises and projects. This decision feels like it’s coming completely out of left field considering the popularity and success surrounding this character. But this decision is even more condemnable when you compare it to news about the still unreleased ‘Flash’ movie. ‘The Flash’ has outlasted two major female-driven projects now that we’ve seen the cancellation of ‘Wonder Woman 3’ and ‘Batgirl’. Not only is this really worrisome to women who were hoping to see more representation in the DCEU, but it’s worrisome because Ezra Miller is a really troubling person who definitely belongs in jail. At this point they’ve faced lawsuits related to abuse, assault, kidnapping, and burglary. And multiple accounts of all of those. Most people have already decided to boycott this movie when it comes out. I certainly won’t be watching it with Ezra Miller as the lead. But somehow Warner Bros. Discovery is still pushing its release despite multiple delays, and now we even have reports that a second script has already been penned and is ready to be put into production. I really can’t understand how anyone could possibly think this is a good idea. People were actually looking forward to ‘Batgirl’, a movie with a woman of color at its center as well as the return of Michael Keaton. ‘Wonder Woman’ has become a staple of superhero movies since Patty Jenkins introduced her version of the character. And yet we’re only getting the movie no one wants to see anymore. It’s baffling.

‘Black Adam’ and the Recent Films:

Putting aside the mass of bad announcements recently, let’s look at what movies came out recently. The most recent DC movie was ‘Black Adam’. ‘Black Adam’ was not well received by critics and had a mixed reception amongst fans. While viewers of the movie disagreed on whether or not Dwayne Johnson saved the movie or gave a bad performance, almost everyone agreed that the movie had a messy plot and its value was mostly found in its crazy action sequences. So overall the movie wasn’t an amazing DC entry by anyone’s standards, and the messy plot paired with ok CG action sequences brings us back to the first DCEU movies where fans were hopeful but still critiqued the poor writing. ‘Black Adam’ seems to say to fans that the DCEU isn’t progressing even after all these years. The movies just before this one were promising, though. James Gunn’s ‘The Suicide Squad’ got him his job as co-president of DC Studios, and ‘The Batman’ was very well received. But amongst those releases were also the various versions of ‘Justice League’ that received mixed reviews, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ which also received a lukewarm response, and ‘Aquaman’ which, once again, received both good and bad reviews. Then there’s ‘Joker’, which may or may not be part of the DCEU but was rightly criticized for the way it sympathized with its main character (And is now getting a musical sequel nobody asked for). The DCEU is incredible at putting out movies that aren’t bad but certainly aren’t good, and failing to connect them in one cohesive story. Sure we haven’t gotten anything as bad as ‘Batman v Superman’ or ‘Suicide Squad’ lately, but I’d argue that the good movies in the DCEU are just as rare. DC keeps failing to prove to audiences that their loyalty will be worthwhile. And the way they keep dropping projects that fans are looking forward to doesn’t instill confidence in them.

So will the DCEU die soon? It’s very likely. Even ‘Shazam’ fans are expressing their desire to leave behind the sequel and the DCEU altogether. James Gunn does say that he has a plan for the DCEU moving forward, including movies that will finally connect. If that’s true, it makes sense why so many projects are being dropped. But it still doesn’t explain all these strange decisions. ‘The Flash’ is still getting made, which will be a weird tie in to the projects DC is currently dropping and stars a person no one’s willing to support. James Gunn’s ‘Suicide Squad’ characters will very likely continue to play a role in his new universe even with their awkward ties to the old DCEU movies. So why drop other fan favorites? It doesn’t make sense. Especially during a period where fans already have no confidence in the franchise going forward. But even beyond this, Warner Bros. Discovery is making many mistakes with all of their franchises. To the point that they’re rapidly losing money. So who knows? Warner Bros. Discovery might die entirely before DC even has the chance to. Either way, it’s not looking good for DC fans right now.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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