EDITORIAL With All The News Related To DC's Film And TV Properties, Is The DCCU Expanding?
With the news of the upcoming Flash series and the rumor of an unnamed/unannounced Gotham PD series (which is said to take place between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises), there seems to be no real sign of a cohesive DC Universe for film and television; or is there?
Lets take a closer look that the projects and rumored projects that DC has in place and see what we can make of it.
Lets start with the Flash series. The show is going to center around Barry Allen, who is going to be introduced on CW’s other current series, Arrow. This is a surprising move, mostly because the producers of Arrow declared that never was there to be super powers in their universe, a move all too similar that was made with Batman in the Nolan films. However the very same producers made the claim that Flash will indeed have his powers in his show, and will even have his traditional costume and no silly name. So what happened? For unknown reasons, the Arrow producers have recanted their no superpowers policy and are going to introduce the first super powered individual into the Arrow universe. Now, while Barry will be powerless on Arrow, it cannot be ignored that Arrow and Flash will both be in the same shared universe.
Next, lets look at the already anticipated Batman/Superman film. Since this is the sequel to Man of Steel, it looks to introduce a hero, who has no superpowers into a world with superpowers, set in a realistic tone. Now, regardless of if this film is a team-up, a verses, or a combination of both, this film is going to have some real obstacles to overcome. First, how grounded is Batman? Obviously he has no powers, but is he going to be able to take a hit from Superman? If it is a verses how does Batman at least survive the attack? Does he have a battlesuit? What is the setting, i.e. how long after Man of Steel does it take place? These are really just a small sample of questions. Unlike the Marvel properties, where combining them is easier and more sensible, Batman/Superman will have some things to work out. But the most important thing is that he is a grounded Batman.
So, as of now, we have two separate universes, both containing grounded superpowered beings and grounded non powered beings. Now lets look at the rumored Gotham PD series which is set to take place between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. As far as we have been told, The Dark Knight Trilogy is over. But what if this is not true? Why else would they create a show, set between 2008 and 2016 (based on the viral marketing of TDK which set the film in July 2008 and adjusting for the 8 year gap between TDK and TDKR) at the same time that they have one show based on another realistic vigilante (Arrow) and have a show set to premiere with a superpowered Flash, both within the time gap between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. This may all be speculation but the pieces are coming together. DC is starting to build their Cinematic Universe, and they are using their television properties as stepping stones.
Back to the Batman/Superman movie. What does this all mean? What does it mean if the universe in which The Dark Knight Trilogy is set? Well, here is my speculation. I believe that since they are not going to be able to get Christian Bale back to play Batman, they are still going to use the grounded Batman from the series. Honestly, why completely reboot him? Instead, tweak him. I honestly would have believe that Batman Begins would have fit nicely with Man of Steel and Arrow because Batman had a sort of mystic reality about him, and about the whole movie, something that really was missing from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. As for the Gotham PD show, it is the perfect way to cameo their new Bruce Wayne, who will be in the Batman/Superman film and beyond. For me, it only makes sense to have a unified set of TV series, and when one of them in clearly set in the Nolan Batman films, it stands to reason that all of the TV series are set in the same world. In this case, with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD being an offshoot of the still ongoing films, it would only make sense for the series in which is housed in the Batman films, would still be continuing to have films in the series. To me, the only possible conclusion is to have The Dark Knight Trilogy, Green Lantern (yes I know what you are thinking) Arrow, Man of Steel, and Flash in the same universe.
Now, before someone sends me hate mail, here is my case for this combined cinematic universe. Lets start with Arrow. Obviously, as mentioned before Flash is going to be in the same universe as Arrow, which allows for other supers to be mentioned, and even cameo without their powers. One such superhero has been hinted at when Oliver stopped missiles from hitting a Ferris aircraft. Even though this is just a subtle wink, there has always been a rumor to introduce Hal onto Arrow, and doing so in the same season as introducing the Flash is perfect. Now, as for Ryan Reynolds. You don’t have to keep him, though I would prefer it, just like I would prefer Bale to stay on as Batman. However, just as I mentioned earlier, Arrow, like the Gotham PD series, would be a perfect way to introduce a new actor in the same role. As for the movie, just don’t discount it and give Hal a new origin story; it would be pointless. As I mentioned before, just crossover Arrow and the Gotham PD series and you have placed The Dark Knight Trilogy in the same universe, allowing for powers to be accepted in that universe. And now, how and why to connect these properties to Man of Steel and the Batman/Superman movie.
First of all, by including Flash in the same universe Arrow opened the door for The Dark Knight Trilogy to allow something such as Man of Steel to happen. It’s honestly okay to have a superpowered Superman to be in the same universe as Batman Look at the original comics. Would anyone have thought that Batman should meet Superman? Eventually yes, just like eventually Batman no longer just worried with corrupt officials and mob bosses, but also being with powers that he couldn’t explain. It just happened. So why can’t that be the case for cinema? I mean, we really don’t need another Burton/Schumacher Batman, Nolan’s is perfectly acceptable. Secondly, I love nods and winks so for me, when Superman and Zod destroyed the satellite in Man of Steel, having the Trilogy’s Wayne Enterprises logo on it is enough for me. Thirdly, both The Dark Knight Rises and the upcoming Batman/Superman movie are both based on the same core book, The Dark Knight Returns. Simply put, treat them like the animated feature. Two separate stories which tie into each other. Why else have a Batman that is late 30’s early 40’s when the Nolan Batman was 38 in The Dark Knight Returns. They aren’t giving Batman an origin story again either. To me, the execs are saying that they want Batman to pick up where he left off. I know what you are saying; but having anything continue the story that Nolan told in any way is just going to ruin everything that he did. No, it won’t.
First, Robin John Blake ‘rose up’ to be the new Batman of Gotham. Second, Wayne left Gotham with Selina Kyle and clean slate or not, she’s going to provoke him. Third, Bruce Wayne died the night his parents were murdered and was replaced with Batman. Regardless of what you say, Bruce can not, not be Batman. Take a cue from Batman Forever. He has found a will and reason to live, but he can’t be Batman pointlessly. He can’t just be Batman and battle the Bruce inside, he has to join them to be his honest and true self. I’m not saying all of this to say that you have to have a Batman Incorporated film with Blake protecting Gotham and Bruce protecting the world from super-threats, but it’s not a bad concept (hint, hint.) Additionally, allow this version of the same Batman to show the sides that he didn’t show off to well in the Trilogy. Give his character, along with every other one, a good story arc with a beginning middle and end. I’m not saying kill him, but treat it like a book. Or a series of books. You move on when you need to, but that does not mean that you start with new characters, you just make better stories.
So there you have it, there is my take on what is going on, and what should go on with DC’s Cinematic Universe. I hope you enjoyed, please comment below.
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