DC’s offerings for the 2016 movie season are now out there. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was… well we don’t have to get into that again do we? Suicide Squad? Some loved it, others hated it. I thought it was pretty good and a nice step to knocking some sense into DC’s film slate.
So… where do they go from here? Where do each of these characters fit in this “Shared Universe”? What other films should they maybe think about making?
I’m not an expert or anything but here are a few of my thoughts.
I’m not a huge Wonder Woman fan (I liked the Perez run, I loved Azzarello’s take on the character), but the only part I like about BvsS is Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot shined in the little bit she had to work with. Then at SDCC, we got the first trailer and honestly, I think it looks great. The casting looks spot on and the action looks fluid and interesting.
By all appearances, this is DC’s Captain America and that’s kind of how it should be placed. Keep the humor and action and make us care about this character and you are miles ahead of the other two members of DC’s holy trinity.
Justice League 1, 2 and Beyond
These films are already in motion so what I’m talking about may turn out to be impossible but bare with me. At this point, we know that the villain for at least one (if not both) of these films is Steppenwolf, minion of Darkseid. Now, what I would do is build to Darkseid (which it sounds like they are doing) and also build to the return of Superman. Superman shouldn’t be in the first Justice League film.
I know it may sound weird but hear me out. At the current moment, despite how crappy of an idea it was to kill Superman off in the first place, it’s an idea they are stuck with and can work if they slowly play it out. Superman is the Justice League’s Coulson, the team is forming around the death of this hero. Much like Jesus, Gandalf and numerous other heroes, he should not appear again until he is needed the most, like when Darkseid shows up and the boom tubes start opening all over Earth. But that itself shouldn’t happen until the second film at the earliest.
I want to see the great war of the heroes vs the army of Apocalypse. I want to see the flame pits being created, Parademons marching the staff of the Daily Planet into a slave camp. If you are going to tease this in a crappy dream sequence, you sure as hell better deliver when it happens.
So basically we should end up with the Justice League vs. Darkseid on Earth in the second Justice League film. But running concurrently, if I had my way, would be…
Suicide Squad 2
In my mind, Suicide Squad is the Dirty Dozen of the DCU films. Characters should die, be swapped out and be sent on dangerous missions. The sequel to Suicide Squad should be the ultimate suicide run. Batman needs something important done on Apocalypse for the sake of our world while The Justice League are fighting the big battle, so Task Force X needs to sneak in and get the job done. It’s a great way to up the stakes for the characters in the Squad and attaches it firmly within the franchise. You also have these gritty villains working in a huge environment. Flame pits, alien terrain, etc. I’d have either Flag or Deadshot make the ultimate sacrifice in the film, just to prove they meant business.
In many ways, The Flash has one of the toughest jobs as the television series is pretty loved by fans and you will automatically get comparisons. I would very much avoid most of what the show has done or at the very least, I would avoid Zoom. If you are going to use Captain Cold, make sure to do him differently than his television counterpart (which once again may be tough because Wentworth Miller has pretty much nailed it in the past few seasons of The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow). I wish the filmmakers luck because they have a very tough job.
The movie everyone keeps forgetting about but still shows up on DC’s film list. If not for The Rock occasionally mentioning it, I almost think that Warner Brothers might accidentally forget about it too. But luckily, Dwayne Johnson is nothing if not a workaholic and promo machine. Shazam has the ability to be something very different and new in the DCU film world. It should be relatively light-hearted and fun because that’s what the character is. But you also want to make sure you don’t stray off too much into Disney territory. I’d try to keep it very separate from Justice League (with the exception of an extended cameo in JL2). You can have Batman appear and offer him an invite at the end of the first League film but have Captain Marvel just kind of shrug it off and say he’s still learning or he doesn’t want to move.
We know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of when. This week we saw footage of Deathstroke (what looked like a costume test) being released by Ben Affleck via his social media channels. The prevailing rumour seems to have good Ol’ Slade Wilson as a Batman villain and not in Justice League. While Deathstroke may seem to be an odd choice for a Batman villain, at least it’s something different. Honestly, we don’t need yet another Batman/Joker movie and at this point and a lot of his other villains are tainted by past film versions. I like the idea of Deathstroke being hired to take The Bat out. It’s a simple plot device and it allows for a little mystery (who hired him for example) so we can see more of the detective side of Batman and at the very least. Also, this way Affleck doesn’t have to put up with Jared Leto sending him his grandmother’s teeth.
Justice League Dark
Kind of like Shazam, this really should be it’s own animal other then cameos against the forces of Apocalypse. Keep it dark, keep it magical. Oddly, while I don’t think the tone of the original Constantine film worked for that movie, I think it would work for this. Somewhere between horror and superhero. The line up of Constantine, Zatana, Swamp Thing and The Demon make for a good set of spin-offs as well. I’d take a page from Suicide Squad and do very quick origin stories for everyone (maybe even in the title sequence) and get them out of the way quick, leaving the extended origins for their solo films.
The nice thing about the ideas above is that it leaves plenty of room for new films to be created. If you have Darkseid, there should be members of the New Gods present which could lead to a very interesting Game of Thrones-like prequel covering the New Gods and Darkseid’s back story. You could make franchises out of Constantine and Swamp Thing all by themselves.
Suicide Squad was a very positive step forward and if Warner Brothers uses it as an example, the DC film ship may yet be able to right itself for fans and critics alike.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!