Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe became the most gigantic movie franchise in Hollywood history, many other studios smelled the money. They wanted to create the same sort of franchise with the characters they have rights to. Legendary Pictures managed to start MonsterVerse, and Universal Pictures tried to start Dark Universe, which was ultimately scrapped. However, Warner Bros. and their DC Studios (formerly known as DC Films) are the most interesting examples.
Following the cancelation of the ‘Superman Returns’ sequel and the critical and commercial failure of 2011’s Green Lantern, WB developed ‘Man of Steel,’ which was supposed to start the DC Extended Universe. The franchise was further developed through ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Wonder Woman.’
However, with the release of 2017’s ‘Justice League,’ everything went down the hill. Despite the commercial success of ‘Aquaman,’ the franchise fell into a development hell without a real vision of where it wanted to go. In the meantime, WB and DC released some pretty good standalone movies (‘Shazam,’ ‘The Suicide Squad’), but in terms of the shared universe, DCEU completely lost its way.
David S. Goyer talks about the DCEU’s inability to compete with the MCU
David S. Goyer has plenty of experience working on superhero movies. He wrote all three movies of the original ‘Blade’ trilogy and directed the third one. He co-wrote ‘Batman Begins’ with the movie’s director, Christopher Nolan. He also wrote the first DCEU movie ‘Man of Steel,’ and co-wrote ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’ with Chris Terrio.
While speaking with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Goyer opened up about Warner Bros.’s pressures to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s what Goyer had to say about it.
“I know the pressure we were getting from Warner Bros., which was, ‘We need our MCU! We need our MCU!’ And I was like, let’s not run before we walk. The other thing that was difficult at the time was there was this revolving door of executives at Warner Bros. and DC. Every 18 months, someone new would come in. We were just getting whiplash. Every new person was like, ‘We’re going to go bigger!’
I remember at one point the person running Warner Bros. at the time had this release that pitched the next 20 movies over the next 10 years. But none of them had been written yet! It was crazy how much architecture was being built on air… This is not how you build a house.”David S. Goyer for Happy Sad Confused (via Variety)
Goyer basically said what we always knew. Constant changes in the company’s leadership and the lack of the franchise’s central storyline brought DCEU where it is today, only one movie away from being closed for good.
Warner Bros. Discovery, a new company that was founded in 2022 after merging with Discovery Inc., is aware of that, which is why James Gunn and Peter Safran were hired to lead DC Studios and build up a new cinematic universe that will have a unique vision, just like Kevin Feige had it for the MCU when the franchise was at its peak.
Whether we like it or not, DCEU is a finished story, and we can only wait and hope that WB and DC have learned something from their past mistakes. A new cinematic universe, DCU, starts in July 2025 with ‘Superman: Legacy.’ The first movie and television projects have already been announced, and we are waiting to see where it’s going to bring us.
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