Warner Bros. Seems to Be Struggling to Build DC Cinematic Universe
If you're excited about the forthcoming, growing DC Comics cinematic universe that will be launched in a big way with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, we have some potentially bad news. Even though Warner Bros. Pictures has a set schedule for how they plan to release future tentpoles that will be part of the DC Comics universe on film, a report from THR indicates that things don't seem to be going well in the development department. This isn't a surprising revelation considering Michelle MacLaren recently left Wonder Woman due to creative differences and ended up being replaced quickly by Patty Jenkins, but when you hear what the primary problems seems to be, you'll understand the trouble going on right now.
The trade report indicates some big issues with the development of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, which are due out in 2017 and 2018 respectively. With Wonder Woman, the studio reportedly hired no less than five writers to compete for a job on the film. Meanwhile, we already knew Aquaman had two scripts commissioned, but reportedly three scripts were in the works. And here's where the problem comes in: no singular person or brain trust is helping these writers make their film fit in with the overall universe's plans. One source said, "They just haven't been thorough about their whole world and how each character fits and how to get the most out of each writer's time by giving them direction."
Now you might be thinking to yourself that this can only be good for the quality of these films, because this means the filmmakers are being given free reign to tell the story they see fit. But at the same time, if Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment are hoping to build an interconnected comic book universe on the big screen, there need to be some guiding principles or someone to help shepherd the films so that everyone is one the same page with certain characters, and what might be in store for them when Justice League comes along. It's one thing to bolster creativity among the filmmakers, but you can't build a universe where all these films exist and intertwine without someone steering the ship.
This is exactly what I was worried about when WB and DC started quickly and eagerly following Marvel's model. As someone who hasn't been impressed by Man of Steel or what we've heard about Batman v. Superman, I've remained hopeful that this will work out for the best and that fans and average movie-going audiences will get another great comic book universe on the big screen. But it sounds like no one is in control of where DC's superheroes are going, when really they should have someone in place that can be the DC Comics cinematic universe's Kevin Feige, someone who knows how to handle these characters.
But again, no one is taking the reins of this massive franchise universe. The trade notes that Zack Snyder seems to be at the top of the chain right now, but there's no clear leader of this endeavor. There's plenty of heavy hitters involved, like producer Charles Roven (of Man of Steel and The Dark Knight trilogy) along with president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman and executive vice president Jon Berg, not to mention people from DC Entertainment like president Diane Nelson and chief creative officer Geoff Johns. But no one is stepping up and taking control.
It's fine if the DC Comics cinematic universe is meant to be filmmaker driven, and perhaps they can improve in some areas where Marvel has failed such as having strong villains, more prominent female characters and filmmakers. But as of now, they don't seem to have their ducks in a row, and it has me concerned. David Ayer has a lot of creative control for Suicide Squad, the first film that will follow Batman v. Superman, but beyond that, will Zack Snyder take the Kevin Feige role at DC Entertainment for the films that follow? He doesn't seem like the right guy for the job, since he probably has other aspirations beyond DC, but here's hoping that someone steps up to help sort all this out sooner than later. What do you think?