Marvel and DC have always had a comic book rivalry, but when it comes to their films, the former always upstages the latter. Since 2008, Marvel has consistantly delivered one successful hit after another, and that success increased tenfold when Disney acquired Marvel, expanding the brand. They already have their plots mapped out until 2028. Warner Bros have pretty much locked themselves in with DC, and have just started to launch their DC Cinematic Universe with Man of Steel. Though the film was a mild success, we will see what the studio has in store for us with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Beyond that, the studios’ future for the DC Cinematic Universe is still very much unclear.
Between directors coming and going, and multiple writers signing on for competition scripts, WB looks like they are making things up for the DC Cinematic Universe as they go, which in the end makes them look like they are struggling to catch up to Marvel Studios. And now insiders and reps are confirming that notion.
More on the story below.
THR exclusively reported on how WB is building their DC Cinematic Universe. Here’s an excerpt:
“Grumbling among talent reps came especially in response to the studio’s strategy of hiring five writers to compete for a job on Wonder Woman, which has a June 2017 release date. On Aquaman, set for 2018, sources say Warners commissioned scripts from three writers, one of whom followed the studio’s direction only to be told the rules governing the universe had changed and his work no longer was usable. Another writer has been on hold for the film for months as the studio works to define its vision. “They just haven’t been thorough about their whole world and how each character fits and how to get the most out of each writer’s time by giving them direction,” says a rep with knowledge of the process. ‘Obviously, Marvel’s very good at that.'”
Not exactly what you want to hear, especially if you are a DC fan. The entire process of how they have mapped out the universe doesn’t even compare to what Marvel has done since the beginning. In fact, it almost looks as though they don’t have a clue as to what they are doing.
This would be the first time that we’ve heard that Wonder Woman has multiple writers. Our last report had Pan scribe Jason Fuchs penning the script, and now that might not be the case. But the fact that five writers are working on the Wonder Woman script should have some people worried. Patty Jenkins most recently signed on to replace Michelle MacLaren as director.
We have known that Aquaman has had dueling scripts, and that the writers on board for that script are Will Beall, Jeff Nichols, and Kurt Johnstad. But now comes word that there are three scripts that WB is looking at. No word yet on which one they are leaning towards.
The key thing here is that these writers who have been working on these scripts for months, get abrupt notices like one who got that “the rules governing the universe had changed and his work no longer was usable.” This alone shows that there is a clear lack of leadership over at the studio. With no sense of direction or idea of where to go, WB/DC will continue to struggle against their competitors like Marvel.
Also of note, WB hasn’t been thorough enough with mapping out their universe, and seem to be going at it on a film-by-film basis. Now that may not be a bad thing. It may sound like a safer route at first, but when there are schedules and deadlines to meet, and for something to look and sound like it is cohesive and shares the same universe, there needs to be a sense of clear communication.
That is something that Marvel and LucasFilms have. With Marvel, there is Kevin Feige, who has been overseeing all things MCU, making the deals necessary to get key characters like Spider-Man back into their universe, constantly working with directors, but also letting them have their voice in their respective films. Then there is Kathleen Kennedy steering LucasFilm. Over there, she has built a story trust for key Star Wars properties like the core films, the spinoffs, and even the animated show Rebels. They are constantly working together to bring us the best stories. Sure The Force Awakens and Rogue One have yet to open, but at least there is a clear line of communication.
Though they are different properties, they all share a unified vision and always have an goal set in mind. And that’s what, at least based on THR’s report, WB lacks.
Zack Snyder would seem like the WB’s most obvious choice to lead the DC Cinematic Universe in the right direction, but no offer has been made. He is however attached to direct both Justice League films.
Let’s not write off WB/DC just yet. So far they only have Man of Steel, and while the first teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn’t the “break the Internet” event that Snyder was hoping for, there are still 10 months or so before the film is released, in between that time there will be Comic-Con and plenty of trailers to show us that these films can be just as good as Marvel’s. But as of now, with no leader at the helm, the DC Cinematic Universe looks like a sinking ship.