DC was going to have to do something to right the ship when it came to the state of the DC Extended Universe, sooner or later. Despite an initially ambitious rollout plan that envisioned the comic imprint catching up to Marvel’s industry-changing “cinematic universe” model in a fraction of the time, things got off to a fairly rocky start, and DC found itself changing course pretty quickly in order to salvage what is potentially WB’s most lucrative long-term franchise.
Likely emboldened by the success of standalone entries Wonder Woman and Aquaman, DC appears to be scaling back its future plans for interconnected stories, at least to the originally envisioned extent. An interview in the Los Angeles Times saw Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara weigh in on the current state of DC Films, particularly as it relates to some of the upcoming entries. He had this to say about what lies ahead:
“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 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.”
Tsujihara also praised the more successful solo outings:
“What Patty Jenkins did on Wonder Woman illustrated to us what you could do with these characters who are not Batman and Superman. Obviously, we want to get those two in the right place, and we want strong movies around Batman and Superman. But Aquaman is a perfect example of what we can do. They’re each unique and the tone’s different in each movie.”
While the door is still clearly open for a return to painting on a broader canvas, it’s clear that DC is headed in new directions. We’ll be excited to see if it means that they can finally do what they’ve been trying to for about five years now: set themselves apart in a crowded superhero movie marketplace.