The DCEU As We Knew It Is Dead
The past several years have been quite the roller coaster for Warner Bros., particularly where the studio's burgeoning DCU was concerned. Along the way, there were highs (Wonder Woman and Aquaman), there were lows (Suicide Squad), there were in-betweens (Man of Steel), and there were misguided fan petitions which mainly served to inspire increasingly savage dunk contests on social media. Now, with a new Aquaman officially in the works and a Wonder Woman sequel just a year away, it's time to look to the future.
And according to WB head Kevin Tsujihara, that future will mainly focus on single-serving superhero offerings rather than a sprawling, highly-interconnected series of DC films. Here's Tsujihara saying as much in a new interview with the L.A. Times:
“The upcoming slate, with Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey, feels like we’re on the right track. We have the right people in the right jobs working on it. The [DC cinematic] universe isn’t as connected as we thought it was going to be five years ago. You’re seeing much more focus on individual experiences around individual characters. That’s not to say we won’t at some point come back to that notion of a more connected universe. But it feels like that’s the right strategy for us right now.”
Yes, pour one out for the DCU (or DCEU, if ya nasty) as we knew it. Some of its cast members and characters (including Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot and Margot Robbie) are moving forward into new projects and sequels, whereas others (including Will Smith, who's apparently not going to appear in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad) will simply be moving on.
The note about eventually returning to an interconnected universe is interesting to consider. Will Robbie's Quinn be able to appear in a non-Affleck Batman movie without creating confusion for casual moviegoers? Eh, probably. One suspects the average audience member is, uh, decidedly less precious about continuity than the average die-hard comic book fan (see also: the generally warm response received by the increasingly-convoluted X-Men franchise; many slasher movie franchises). Frankly, they can probably make these things connect as much or as little as they like and no one'll bat an eye, just so as long as they make sure they're fun to watch.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman were strong steps forward. Shazam looks likely to be another one, and lord knows we're curious about both Todd Phillips' Joker and Gunn's Suicde Squad reboot (hell, we're even kinda into this Aquaman spin-off they're talking about). We're excited about the talent WB's bringing to this table, and very interested to see what they do with it. There's reason to be positive, in other words. Fingers crossed!