Okay, there’s no getting away from it – the DC expanded universe is in trouble. The last-minute course-correct of Justice League failed faster than Superman trying to fly with a pocket full of Kryptonite. Now, the worst news of all – Henry Cavill could be on his way of out of the DC movie universe.
Fans – fairly predictably – got quite upset.
That’s mainly because, although Cavill has yet to make a truly great Superman movie, he is the perfect Superman.
In terms of his dedication to the character, and the way he’s willing to go the extra mile faster than a speeding bullet for fans, Cavill is basically DC’s Chris Evans.
To cut his Super-career short (he’s got at least three more films in him) seems like a decision that was made by the same person who thought using CGI to delete a moustache was a solid plan.
Not only that, but if DC are about to do a hard reboot, they’ll be doing it at precisely the wrong time in terms of their rivalry with Marvel.
The studio that did their best to distance themselves from Marvel’s way of doing things (by inverting the Avengers approach, using a team-up movie to introduce a bunch of new characters), will now be rebooting their universe at pretty much the exact same time as the MCU (thanks to a lot of Marvel contracts running out). Talk about missing an open goal.
But, if they really have to reboot the DCEU, there are three main ways they can do it.
So, when a franchise goes wrong, the very best way to fix it is to shut the whole thing down for a few years, then relaunch it with a completely new approach in the hands of the right director. It’s what Warner Brothers did after Batman & Robin, and we got Batman Begins out of it.
And it could be done – especially if Cavill’s leaving Superman. Sure, we’d be sad to lose Wonder Woman, The Flash and… Well, that’s it. But as a great man once said, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs *laughs maniacally*.
This one’s trickier, but could still be done. Basically, Warner Brothers let all the stuff that isn’t working – Superman (sorry Henry), Suicide Squad, Ben Affleck’s Batman (sorry Ben), Jared’s Joker – quietly fade away, and focus their energies on the stuff that works. Wonder Woman, The Flash, Reeves’ rebooted Batman (potentially), Aquaman… Okay, maybe not that last one, but let’s see it before we make our mind up.
As for how they do that, we wouldn’t be surprised if Wonder Woman 1984 works as a Days Of Future Past style shift, doing for the DCEU what that film did for the X-Men universe, using time travel to undo former mistakes and starting fresh with a new combination of the best characters.
One thing’s for sure – if Cavill’s stepping down as Superman, Affleck’s on the way out as Batman. But Warners are going to want to keep Wonder Woman, so this approach could make sense – even if it’ll be a little messy, and will require the films that follow it to be perfect.
This is the best way to appease fans, but is the hardest to deliver. You’d need a Kevin Feige to make it work, but it is possible.
One of the coolest aspects of DC comics is the fact they have a Multiverse – a whole universe of alternate characters and worlds that are all related, but are all different.
So, there’s a one-film solution to Warner Brothers’ problems – open a new Justice League movie with a whole new team with a lighter, Marvel style vibe – they’re watching Zack Snyder’s movies on a TV screen, commenting on how dark the heroes of Earth 23 (or whatever) are.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but utilising the Multiverse to bring in new versions of our favourite heroes, while keeping the ones people like makes the most sense on (comic-book) paper.
But it’s so sensible it’s probably never going to happen.
Still, there is that weird Todd Phillips Joker movie still scheduled – which is unconnected to the main DCEU, operating in its own world, so that could be the first sign that a Multiverse is on the way.
And, if the worst comes to the worst, Twitter could have already offered the solution to all of Warner Brothers’ problems.