Building the DC Cinematic Universe

Part I, Learn from the opposition

Part II, Picking a "shepherd"

With the success of Marvel's The Avengers, and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy now at an end, the big question on everyone's mind is "when are we getting a Justice League movie?" In fact, this question has been on the minds of fans for years, with movies for the Flash and Wonder Woman never quite making it off the ground. So how should DC Comics and Warner Bros. go about creating their DC Cinematic Universe? I'll be discussing this in this blog series, entitled "Building the DC Cinematic Universe", and hopefully, I'll be able to address some of the issues Warner Bros. and DC face in their plan to bring together a Justice League film. I also look forward to lots of discussion in the comment section, so please leave your thoughts, and note any issues you think DC and WB face in the coming years.

Learn from the opposition

There's no doubt that Marvel's The Avengers was a huge success, grossing just under $1.5 billion, making it the third highest-grossing film worldwide of all time. DC fans consoled themselves with a collective groan, saying "well just wait until The Dark Knight Rises." But the sad truth of the matter is, that even if everyone who saw The Avengers sees The Dark Knight Rises, it still won't earn as much, as The Avengers benefited from the raised price of 3D tickets, whereas The Dark Knight Rises will not. Further more, the tragic shooting at the new Batman film's premiere in Aurora, Colarado has put a dampener on the film, and will no doubt influence many consumers' decision as to whether or not they will see the film. Marvel and Disney have really laid down the hammer for superhero movies, and DC must act fast or risk becoming irrelevant in the medium.

First, DC and Warner Bros. need to get over the fact that Marvel Studios was the first to make the collective universe of films. It's a formula that works, why not use it? Not only does DC have to create a shared universe, they need to plan it properly. The fact that Marvel's movies tie-in are not what made it so successful, it's the fact that they took their time to plan it. Back in 2005, Kevin Feige made allusions to a shared cinematic universe. That's right, 2005. It was ultimately seven years later that the plan to build to The Avengers paid off, which involved not only behind-the-scene confirmation of what Marvel was building to, but various Easter eggs in-universe, such as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s presence in the films, Captain America's shield in Iron Man 2, Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, the Cosmic Cube in Thor, and so on, so forth.

Many believe Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman film Man of Steel will be the beginning of the DC Cinematic Universe with a rumored Wonder Woman cameo, but was it planned to be so, or are Warner Bros. morphing Snyder's film into a Justice League prequel just to get things rolling? Snyder himself was quoted as saying at the premiere of Sucker Punch that his Superman series will have nothing to do with Warner Bros.' Justice League, and will coexist with another version of the Man of Steel. Really? Could audiences really ever accept two versions of the same character at once?

If DC should learn anything from Marvel, it's that planning is the key to making the DC Cinematic Universe a success, and that this planning requires either one person, or a team of people heading the films, known as a "shepherd". But more on that in my next blog. For now, what do you think DC needs to do to get up to speed with Marvel, without rushing the films and compromising their quality? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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