The State of the DCEU
It is safe to say that things have been a little bit rocky for DC as they’ve tried to establish their own cinematic universe to rival Marvel. While none of their films has lost money, there has been a serious lack of return of investment across the board, and aside from the success of Wonder Woman, the critical response has not been much better. So, what are the current plans for the DCEU and how can we expect things to develop?
What is in the Works?
There’s no denying that DC is playing a bit of a catch-up game with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and part of that is extensively planning out what they’re working on years in advance. I won’t run through the full list here (it’s pretty big), but the main nuggets are:
- Wonder Woman 1984
- Green Lantern Corps
In addition to these films that have entered some stages of actual production, there are others that are in the pre-production and script writing process. Amongst these other films are two unrelated Joker standalone films, featuring different lead actors. At this point, it seems like DC is taking more of a “let’s throw it all at the wall and see what sticks” approach, compared to the carefully planned and interconnect Marvel development plan.
With increased pressure for their films to connect with general audiences and critics, the question at this point is starting to be what will DC and Warner Bros do, if their next few planned films flop?
While the Marvel films haven’t exactly all been critical darlings, they have found a strong public following and they are acknowledged as a fun way to whittle away a few hours. The DC films on the other hand (with Wonder Woman as the exception as always) have garnered a reputation for being dour, over serious slogs. If DC can’t escape that perception over the course of their next films, then the damage may already have been done and it will be difficult for them to build any momentum.
So, what can they do?
Well, one of the suggestions that has been floated around is that they give the franchise a reset. This could be achieved outside of the films or within the narrative, with the leverage that a comic book setting provides. A jump to an alternative universe could allow DC to take advantage of the best of both worlds, they could use plot devices to carry over the successful characters like Wonder Woman, but also tonally reset what we can expect from the films.
It’s All on Aquaman
Rebooting the franchise might just be able to turn DC’s fortunes around, but for the time being that remains an expensive and difficult last-ditch resort. For now, all the pressure is on the upcoming Aquaman film, due towards the end of this year. Aquaman will have to find success at the box office and with critics for the franchise to have any real hope of finding success. However, Aquaman is a much-maligned character and it is doubtful as to whether DC can pull in enough crowds based on his name alone.
Only time will tell how things go for DC.