DC to put less emphasis on cinematic universe, making more focused solo movies
A shift in priorities for the better.
In 2013, director Zack Snyder introduced to a new adaptation of the most iconic character in all of fiction, Superman. His take offered a darker, more grounded look and posed the question "What would it look like if a superhero with extraordinary abilities was placed in our world?" It was ambitious and combines a superhero origin story with one about an immigrant. The end result ultimately left audiences divided with some feeling like it was too grim for Superman and it wasn't right for the character.
After that, Snyder followed it up with Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice which did a lot more than just divide people. The majority seem to really hate it or don't care for it while a vocal minority praise Snyder for his storytelling and breathtaking visuals. One of the biggest criticisms with the movie is a lack of focus. At random points in the flick, it tries to set up future movies by shoving so much information in just a few minutes that it becomes either confusing or forced/rushed.
It's obvious DC wants to compete with Marvel's cinematic universe that they've spent a decade crafting but DC doesn't have a decade to spare, they need to do it now while superhero movies are still relevant and it's raking in billions of dollars each summer. This plan hasn't exactly worked and they've realized that movies like Wonder Woman which focuses on a solo story in a shared universe appealed more to audiences.
With that in mind, DC and Warner Bros. will be moving forward with a different approach after Justice League releases this November. In an extensive piece from Vulture, DC executives shared their vision of future DC films.
"They’re not giving up on the idea of continuity, but they want to deemphasize the idea that all of these flicks are occupying the same space. “Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn’t make sense, but there’s no insistence upon an overall storyline or interconnectivity in that universe,” said DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson.
Movies like Aquaman will have a much bigger focus on the characters at hand and won't worry about trying to set up dozens of sequels, making it feel more natural.
“The movie’s not about another movie,” said DC's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. “Some of the movies do connect the characters together, like Justice League. But, like with Aquaman” — one of their next efforts, out in 2018 — “our goal is not to connect Aquaman to every movie.” As Nelson puts it, “Moving forward, you’ll see the DC movie universe being a universe, but one that comes from the heart of the filmmaker who’s creating them.”
Additionally, it sounds like Geoff Johns and Diane Nelson's concerns about the universe being too dark were ignored by Warner Bros initially. Luckily, Geoff Johns has been granted a much larger position in the film space and has much more creative input and will be overseeing the production of just about every single movie going forward. Johns even helped write Wonder Woman, hopefully, this bodes well for Justice League.
“Geoff Johns and Diane were reading scripts, and Geoff Johns, to his credit, was concerned that there was not enough lightness or humor, given who the character is,” recalls one person with knowledge of the making of Man of Steel. “Geoff definitely raised that point, but that current administration didn’t care that much about what Geoff Johns thought.”
Justice League opens in theaters November 17th, 2017.