DC and Warner Bros have been taken to task often for how they’ve gone about pushing the DC Extended Universe. It hasn’t helped that those movies, most notably Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, haven’t been all that great, but they’ve also been hit by criticism that they’ve tried to sell an interconnected film franchise without setting it up by introducing the principal characters on their own. It sounds like DC and Warner Bros have finally agreed — per a report from Vulture, the plan is to emphasize standalone DC movies instead of building an ongoing narrative from here on out.
It’s a lengthy report and a pretty good read if you’re curious about the inner workings of the DC-Warner Bros partnership (the latter owns the former). The short of it is that the internal DC Entertainment team is securing more control over the direction of the films, presumably taking it away in some measure from director Zach Snyder. While DC Entertainment isn’t completely moving away from interconnected movies (there will still be ensemble films like this November’s Justice League), there’s more desire to make the solo movies (like Wonder Woman and the upcoming Aquaman) as stories that can stand on their own with minimal references to other DC movies. There’s even talk of a sub-studio that would make DC movies totally disconnected from the greater narrative.
This is essentially how the Marvel Cinematic Universe got started in the first place! While plans for a cinematic universe were there from the beginning, the early MCU movies — Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor — were largely standalone films with small cameo appearances hinting at something greater. Marvel slowly built out their universe, eventually leading to the universe encompassing everything — it’s called Captain America: Civil War, but it’s hard to think of it as just a Captain America movie.
So, is this decision an attempt on the part of DC to go back and do things the right way? Maybe, maybe not. Focusing on standalone stories could make for more interesting movies — writers and directors would be unburdened from the need to reference and stay consistent with about a dozen other movies during the creative process, which could make for better quality movies in the end. Still, with Justice League almost here and with so many stories from the comics involving multiple superheroes, it’s hard to imagine they’ll veer too far away from the cinematic universe concept.
Whatever they decide, it seems like what Patty Jenkins did with Wonder Woman is what DC wants to see more of. If that’s the case, we’re all for it!