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Building the DC Cinematic Universe

Part I, Learn from the opposition

Part II, Picking a "shepherd"

So last week I spoke about how DC and Warner Bros. should take some tips from Marvel's "Avengers initiative", which had absolute success with The Avengers. This week I'll be continuing in the same theme, but it will definitely be a more independent discussion in relation to DC as we talk about how DC need to find their own "shepherd".

Picking a "shepherd"

Marvel has benefited greatly from having Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel Studios heading the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and DC needs to follow suite. They don't have time for Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan to play around with their characters, they need someone who's main goal is to build a shared universe which doesn't need to mirror Marvel's, but needs to match it. Many believe that Christopher Nolan is currently heading DC's movies, as per his stellar work on the Dark Knight trilogy and his producing credit on Snyder's 2013 film Man of Steel. However, Nolan's made it very clear he's finished with Batman and the DC Universe, saying "We're finished with all we're doing with Batman... I've got no plans to do anything more, and certainly, no involvement with any 'Justice League' project."

DC needs to find their own "Joss Whedon"; someone who is invested in the characters, and not just interested in collecting a big fat cheque. Although most would look externally, why not consider hiring internally? I'm sure it'd be easier for Warner Bros. to trust a director or writer who are already on their contact list. I'm referring to those involved in DC animation, namely Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett. For the few of you who know very little about these three, they were largely responsible, among others, for bringing together the widely celebrated DC Animated Universe. Why not give these guys a go? If not as directors, then at least screenwriters who can work collaboratively to bring together the universe. After all, you can't make a good movie without a good story to tell, and these three have proven themselves as skilled writers for DC characters on many occasions, from Batman: The Animated Series, to Justice League Unlimited. And isn't it television writers that are credited with having the best skills for story and character development? I know I trust these three more than I do Zack Snyder, who is yet to produce a film that has been successful amongst both audiences and critics.

It has however been announced that Will Beall is penning the script for the Justice League film, and if you’re wondering who he is, I don’t blame you; he doesn't even have a Wikipedia article! Beall has writing credits for several episodes of Castle, as well as the upcoming Gangster Squad. To be honest, I'm not sure how to feel about this, because I've never seen any of his work, however, I admit Gangster Squad does look very promising, and if DC are planning to differentiate themselves from Marvel by taking a more "realistic" perspective, Beall might just be the man to do it. But Beall won't be directing as far as we know, and there's no word on who would, or who is even rumored to be lined up for the director's chair. Personally, I'd like to see J. J. Abrams have a crack at it. I've enjoyed all the films of his that I've seen, and he's got an amazing line up of television credits, which as I mentioned before, is something to look out for. And who wouldn't want to see a few lens flares in Justice League!?

Ultimately, it's important for Warner Bros. to find someone who is not only familiar with the characters, but has a personal connection with them, which gives them that insight to really bring the team together effectively and for a purpose other than to make a bucket load of money!

What do you think about Beall's selection as scriptwriter for Justice League? Does he have what it takes, or should DC have considered Timm, Dini, or Burnett? And who do you think should direct the film? Have your say in the comments below, where I look forward to continue the same level of discussion that took place last week.

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