The comparison occurs naturally and the summary too: Marvel has years ahead of him. DC Extended Universe. While the former seems to be clear about each step he takes, the latter is in a limbo due to his own and others’ causes; from the blurring of the studies involved, the cancellation of projects, the selected directors, to recent problems such as Ezra Miller’s personal conflicts. Based on that context, it is clear: this narrative needs to be reset.
Recently, David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery, stated that the company is working on a new ten-year project with DC. Bearing in mind that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already proposed this structure, with a grid in which its projects have an estimated date and title (in most cases), the reference from the competition was clear, as if they were saying: “ we can do something similar”.
The resource would allow the company to communicate what its meaning is and what its goal is in the medium and long term, something key in the construction of this type of narrative. Recently, due to the irregular Phase 4, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was questioned about an apparent lack of direction. Given these interpretations, Phase 5 and 6 were revealed at San Diego Comic-Con. End of debate. Meanwhile, at Warner Bros Discovery they don’t know how to handle the situation of Ezra Miller.
The richness of the characters
in DC comics
Although in a matter of tastes the debates are endless, within the public that follows comics there is a tendency that recognizes in DC comics richer and more complex characters in relation to those of Marvel. The clearest example is Batman, the most famous superhero of all. His case involves a peculiarity: his power is the knowledge and the money to execute it; no serums or divine abilities. Added to that is his network of values and a personality that constantly quarrels with his past.
His figure represents an ideal, that of being “common” who can do extraordinary things and, even so, he is still very human due to his conflicts and failures, from his orphanhood to his social and love difficulties. As opposed, joker. A cruel villain who represents everything that El Murciélago will never be: the bizarre color and an abrupt, corrupt scale of values. It is no coincidence that, separately, they are the most stable projects currently on Warner Bros Discovery, with Robert Pattinson Y joaquin phoenix being protagonists of both stories, respectively.
Along with these examples, perhaps the most visible, are the characters of Watchmen. To date, Zack Snyder’s adaptation released in 2009 is considered the best in terms of cinematography. A film that enchants because the heroes, in addition to saving lives, are also vulnerable to different issues. Love, desire, fears, their vices. A variety of paths that converge in action, drama, tension and philosophical depth, together with a clear authorial cinematographic language. To these can be added options such as Wonder Woman, Superman –perhaps the sweetest– harley quinn, Flash, lex luthor, among others, with a series of nuances with potential. So what is the scenario? DC has a powerful narrative foundation on which to build. But the meaning is missing.
The current context
Warner Bros Discovery is evaluating the different projects it has in development. The company is going through a search for new horizons and, on that path, the DC Extended Universe appears. One that, in general, has brought more conflicts than applause. Either for internal reasons, due to differences with the directors, problems such as that of Ezra Miller, or the final result of the works.
Added to this is a restructuring of the company, the ten-year plan suggested by David Zaslav, while projects such as batgirl and possibilities like a movie about Crisis on Infinite Earths. Meanwhile, productions such as the second season of peacemaker and the spin off about The Penguin featured in batmanare still in development.
The next knot in this whole story is Flash, a film that, in theory and seen what was seen in the teaser presented at the end of 2021, would serve to reboot the DC Extended Universe. Based on the character’s time travel ability and the mix of realities, a reconstruction of the entire narrative would be triggered. But Ezra Miller goes from one problem to another. What will happen to him in the story? Warner Bros. Discovery studies three options:
- Offer professional help and move forward with the project, giving limited access to the press.
- If the aid is not accepted or does not work, release the film without a major publicity event. Then do a new casting for the character.
- If the situation doesn’t improve, cancel the movie.
Defining the future of this character seems essential within any scenario that arises in relation to the DC Extended Universe.
The DC Extended Universe
and an opportunity to grow
The current scenario, confused, erratic and bombarded by different factors, does not make decision making easy. It should be remembered that restarting a work plan can lead to legal problems, because previous agreements would have to be canceled and invoices paid that will not have any type of income. So it’s not easy. Taking this nuance into account, Warner Bros Discovery has the opportunity to review what has gone wrong and move in another direction.
The interest in developing a work plan similar to that of the competition suggests that the company wants a stable and recognizable structure. The example of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its impact on pop culture is compelling: fans can respond in a good wayeven before productions that are strange or very authorial within the narrative itself, as in the case of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness either Thor: Love and Thunder.
Both the comic and anime industries have been experiencing sustained booms for a few years, due to globalization and internet access. These aspects have motivated readers to approach new stories. Added to this are the film adaptations, forming a virtuous circle in which readers and viewers can interact. Just because Marvel feature films are working so far doesn’t mean they’re perfect. One of the options that could be considered for the DC Extended Universe in the future is to move forward on a more adult tone. Beyond the doubts regarding the perspective it can take, and what happens to Ezra Miller and his project, it seems necessary and urgent to start over.