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The DCEU has turned into a crisis of Warner Bros. own making

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The fate of Warner Bros. DC Comics movies is looking grim

Probably the most curious details ahead out of recent reports centered on the organization fracas happening at HBO Max and the others of Warner Bros. Discovery was CEO David Zaslavs announcement of an explicitly Marvel-esque, decade-long plan for the studios films predicated on DCs comic books. To hear Zaslavs assertion that moves designed to grow and protect the DC brand, one mightve gotten the impression that Warner Bros. wasnt already amid a years-long effort to create out a cinematic universe of superhero movies. To obtain that impression, though, you might somehow need to have forgotten or blocked out the DCEU, Warner Bros. most-recent constellation of loosely-connected, live-action comic book adaptations that began with Zack Snyders Man of Steel in 2013.

Considering what happened to Batgirl, its fairly obvious that post-merger, the brand new guard at Warner Bros. Discovery really wants to jettison or at least put some distance between itself and the DCEUs current iteration (alongside all of the baggage linked to the endeavor.) But doing this will be an unenviable and extremely difficult task for a variety of reasons which range from Black Adams impending release this fall to the truth that the studio still seems very bullish about its upcoming Flash feature starring actor Ezra Miller.

The DCEU often felt enjoy it was racing towards an emergency event that could either make or break the franchise. While there is the possibility of this crisis being fictional and an adaptation of 1 of DCs capital-C Crises storylines, whats become a lot more clear in the last few weeks is merely how fraught the DCEUs future is, and the way the studio may not be working with a good gameplan.

Ezra Miller as Barry Allen in Justice League.
Warner Bros.

The DCEU was suffering from numerous issues a long time before Warner Bros. took Discoverys name such as a general insufficient cohesion, subpar storytelling, and a link with a toxic fandom whose obsession eventually devolved into harassment campaigns against studio executives. Looking back, Justice League since it premiered in 2017 was a haphazard try to catch around the MCU that put much too much faith in the energy of peoples general knowledge of characters like Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman who didnt genuinely have presences in the DCEU at that time.

Though Justice League made a substantial amount of money, it had been a long way off from the financial success that Warner Bros. wanted and needed it to be. In the wake of the films box office underperformance, you can plainly see Warner Bros. recalculating how it wished to craft the DCEU, and opening itself around the theory that the original DC Trinity that’s, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman may not have to be the pillars of the brand.

That idea and the unexpected success of projects like James Wans Aquaman and David F. Sandbergs first Shazam! includes a lot related to why Black Adam, a magically muscular throwback to the Bronze Age of DCs comics, will headline their own film before so a great many other a lot more well-known characters. Its strange, sometimes, to take into account Black Adam: a.) existing and b.) finally escaping development hell. But after director Todd Phillips first Joker and Matt Reeves The Batman, two Elseworlds-style stories purposefully set beyond your DCEUs continuity, it seemed as though Warner Bros. may have settled on making big, bold, standalone movies designed to win viewers over making use of their distinct voices.

From the financial perspective, its unsurprising that both Joker and The Batman are slated to obtain sequels, but instead than leaning into those objective wins, Warner Bros. Discoverys apparently likely to keep running after an MCU-shaped white whale. It’s been rather interesting to discover that Warner Bros. Discovery recently tacked on a totally new post-credits scene to Black Adam before its October release designed to establish its titular antihero as a far more significant power player in the DCEU.

Dwayne Johnson on filming on the group of Black Adam.
Warner Bros.

Connecting Black Adam to the DCEU (presumably to fight his gang of child nemeses) would make a lot more sense if it were a thriving, vibrant place where massive crossovers were portents of epic and awe-inspiring narratives ahead.

And Hollywoods settled into its current dependence on multiverses, the DCEUs fate is becoming potentially imperiled by its reliance on Ezra Miller in The Flash, a universe-hopping epic thats looking a lot more like DCs response to Spider-Man: NO CHANCE Home. Despite how its frequently felt like Warner Bros. could straight up nothing like making comic book movies, the chance of director Andy Muschiettis Flash feature utilizing the multiverse to link Warner Bros large number of disparate comics adaptations together is really a tantalizing one. Along with echoing the beats of DCs Flashpoint comics event, using The Flash this way could, one imagines, lay the groundwork for a totally new direction for Warner Bros. superhero movies.

Alongside all that possibility though, The Flash in addition has become linked to the allegations of assault and grooming of children being leveled against Miller, who reportedly arrived for the films additional photography earlier come early july before being arrested in August. Warner Bros. known reasons for not immediately attempting to hit the brakes on a tentpole movie years in the making and just months before its intended release are easy enough to comprehend up to certain point. But with each different incident involving Miller since footage of these choking someone within an Icelandic bar surfaced in 2020, its increasingly appeared to be Warner Bros. may be ready to completely overlook the actors behavior and only putting The Flash first.

Between Warner Bros. shelving Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallahs nearly-completed $90 million Batgirl movie, and Zaslav enthusiastically name-checking The Flash on investor calls, its clear that studio leadership thinks theres an excessive amount of riding on the film to did it regardless of the damage Miller might do to the brand. Ultimately, which may be the case, but that type of strategy-first, substance-second method of franchise building is just what brought Warner Bros. to the juncture to begin with, also it could easily find yourself poisoning whatever future Warner Bros. Discovery has planned.

As of this late, late stage in the superhero movie game in which a large amount of the noveltys come and gone, what Warner Bros. Discovery needs isnt necessarily to create movies just how Marvel does, but to seriously commit itself to a cohesive vision because of its DC projects, and since to its very end.

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