Mapping Out the Future of the DC Cinematic Universe
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in full swing and laid out the formula for success, and the DC/WB Universe is still in its early phases, I believe DC/WB should follow only to a certain extent. This is how I believe DC should handle their characters in order to achieve an ideal DC Universe on the big screen.
Before I start, I just want to say yes I know this is another one of "those" articles about how DC/WB should set up their universe, and how one may think that this is an attempt at the $500, but it's not. If I want to share my thoughts and write an editorial, then I'm going to do so. And why would I make this an attempt at the money, this is not going to start a flame war nor will it make the front page unless enough people like it (which wouldn't be a bad thing). Now that that's out of the way, let's get started.
What DC Has So Far
Well, not much. The jumping off point in this universe is Man of Steel, the highly, highly controversial film on this site. I for one loved it. Without a doubt it had its issues, whether it's weird/corny/bad writing to an overdose of destruction, it had its issues. But I love those issues and they don't ruin the experience for me. For example, TDKR had plot holes and bad dialogue from time to time, but I still love and it's one of my all-time favorite CBM's (it's even in my top 5). Man of Steel was a great origin for Superman and really was the Superman movie that I have been wanting for a long time. Now regarding the ending,SPOILER ALERT (I guess, I mean if you don't know the big twist to this movie, where have you been?), I had no problem with Superman killing Zod. I mean, Superman has killed before, and he had no choice here. Now you have probably have heard this a billion times again and then some, so now onto its sequel; World's Finest. I think this is a great move by WB/DC. This allows for the wrong doings of the past to be justified. The amount of destruction Zod caused makes room for Lex Luthor to come in and be set up. This also allows for Bruce Wayne/Batman to come in and have him investigate this "murdering" alien. By checking out and interacting with Superman, this experienced Batman can teach and show Superman what it takes to be a hero and address the big shock of the last film. And atop of all of this, you introduce your second biggest piece of your universe, and it is being brought to us by Zack Snyder, who I've always thought would be good for doing Batman ever since I saw Watchmen. As for how much Batman we will see, I expect him to show up briefly at the beginning, disappear, then come back and stay midway through the movie, leaving the first half to be dedicated to character development mostly. And as for the actually actor playing Batman, Ben Affleck, I think he will do great. He has the look, he is a huge fan of the character (he built his own batcave...kinda), I liked him in the Town, Argo, even Dogma and Good Will Hunting. And he was an OKAY Daredevil, okay. That movie is terrible, it's unwatchable, but he was okay in a movie where 90% of everything in it was crap. So that already had me convinced that he could pull it off, and then the thought of him directing/writing/staring in future Batman flicks is amazing. Add in the notion that he could be co-writing a or the Justice League films with David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder directing? Yeah, a good writer, director, and actor all in one is a pretty good deal. So overall, MoS was a great set up to this universe, a World's Finest film is a great idea, and Ben Affleck is an unexpected yet good choice for the cape and cowl.
So it's 2015 and you are just entering the theater. You smell that sweet scent of unbuttered popcorn floating around as you get ready to purchase your ticket for one of, if not THE most anticipated CBM ever. Just weeks ago you saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was the greatest CBM ever, and you are wondering how will this live up to the hype, as Marvel was easily able to call the Avengers 2 a major success and the greatest CBM of all time. You start to worry that this will suck, your palms sweat, your mind starts going at 100 miles an hour, you get paranoid and look around. It seems as if everybody is staring at you, then it occurs that if this doesn't do good we won't get a Flash movie. Or a Wonder Woman. Or a Justice League movie. You get ready to faint when you think back to 3 years ago when you were in this same exact spot waiting to get your ticket for The Avengers. For a brief second, you relax and stop sweating, then only to start sweating again when you remember that it's DC. It's your turn in line and you hand your $12.50 to the cashier with lots of pimples. Trying to hide your fear, you stand tall and hand your ticket to "the man" and confidently walk to the concession stand to decide what you want. Because you're feeling weak you go for the large tub of popcorn, extra butter. Then, all of a sudden, at the last second, you look down at those goobers. You hadn't had those since TDKR, a movie which had it's flaws yet was still awesome. You panic, do you risk going for a repeat of a movie that wasn't at full potential, or do you buck the trend and start a new one by getting a box of nutter butters. You look back and forth, then quickly glance at the employee in front of you that clearly hasn't hit puberty, then back at the candy. Your lip starts to quiver and you feel sick when you blurt out nutter butters. Then "kid" hands you your candy and popcorn, already buttered. You make it to your seat, as wet as Free Willy, not knowing whether or not to be excited or scared. The lights dim, and the thought "this will suck" quickly flies across your head. You get ready to puke when you hear to deep drums of Hans Zimmer start. You hold in the barf and look up. The Superman/Batman logo flashes across the screen to epic music. You sit and let out a little squeal and show an enormous grin. You get ready to stand up and jump out of excitement when you see the cute girl in the row in front of you looking back at you. You quickly look down at your feet, full of embarrassment and joy at the same time. You humbly tilt your head up and lay back in your seat and watch the movie.....The movie is over. Your walking out of the theater and are going "wooooooooow!". Your mind has been blown, reassembled, smashed by Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, reassembled one last time, then blown again. You get to your car and think "what was better, A2 or B/S? What just happened? Is this real life?". You come to the conclusion that you need to see it at least another three times, just like A2 before you judge. Maybe four more times is the right number. No, you have to go see A2 for the fifth time and have to see this four more times. And right before you put your seatbelt on, you run out of your car and get back in line for another viewing. So, in a word, what was that movie? Amazing.
The Next Step
So what was it about that movie that made you go see it eight times? Well, I think that the movie should basically have Luthor create either Metallo, Bizzaro, or Parasite and use whomever that it as the main villain. Lex hires Deathstroke to kill Batman on the side, so it's Superman vs Bizzaro/Parasite/Metallo and Batman vs. Deathstroke. Lex should be caught at the end of the film, but needs to be freed and should not suit up, as there are plans for that in the next Superman flick. I have a fanfic piece that I'm working on right now, so I'll save most of the details for that. Anyway, now that World's Finest is in the books and a great success, what is the next step?
The next film in this DC universe is a Wonder Woman film. Wonder Woman would be and is a tricky character to put on film. You need to respect the source material, yet update the character for this more modern and "realistic" world. So what should take place in this film? Well, the typical Wonder Woman origin. Scott Trevor meets WW, she goes to the modern world, blah blah blah. But why would you want to see this if the premise sounds so simple? Because it's never been done before. This film could revolutionize the genre and make a Ms Marvel film work. As for the villain for the film, I think Ares should be the main antagonist. Wonder Woman kinda has a weak rogues gallery and she needs to be badass from the very first film. Ares is a pretty cool villain and so with a property like Wonder Woman, you need to play it smart. So this film is a success and it's 2016. You know that Justice League is coming in 2018, but there is one last film that you need to see. That film is...
The Scarlet Speedster
This is where it might get confusing. These are the options for this film:
A-Lets assume WB is not going to connect Arrow & Flash to the DCU, then he should get his own movie. The year is 2017 and the reason why Arrow wasn't connected to this universe is because it's spinoff, Flash, sucked or just wouldn't mesh well. Then this is a new Flash and new origin story, unrelated to Arrow.
B-Arrow & Flash are hits and this is just a big screen jump from the TV show to the big screen, where it briefly goes over his origins and then onto his normal Flash life with periodic flashbacks from the show or just special moments from his life.
C-This film just doesn't happen at all.
Those are the three scenarios that could happen, and there are a couple of things that would need to happen in all of them. The number one thing is that Captain Cold needs to be the villain. He could have a very hard transition to the big screen, or he could have a very badass one. Number two is that Reverse Flash and Gorilla Grodd need to be set up. Remember how cool it was to see Sinestro put on the power ring at the end of that train wreck Green Lantern? That needs to happen here. The third thing is that there needs to be multiple DC universe references out in the open. One of my few gripes about the MCU in general is that I want it to be even more connected (yeah, I know what you're thinking). Like look at IM3, where were The Avengers or Shield during the attack on Tony's mansion or when The President was kidnapped? That's not the number one thing holding that movie back, I'm just saying I kinda wish there was a reason that was addressed in that film. I want there to be references to Batman, Superman, aliens, a magical island out in the middle of nowhere in this film to make it feel more connected. And the final must have is Hal Jordan/John Stewart. Whoever they go with he must be in this film. He needs to be the BFF of Barry, but should not show that he is GL until the very end of the film or in an end credits scene. That way you have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and kind of Green Lantern already set up for JL. Don't make him a major role in this film, just show him enough were you know that he is generally a good and funny guy, leave all that emotional baggage for a solo flick.
There you have it. Man of Steel, World's Finest, The Amazonian,and The Scarlet Speedster are all the films that lead up to...
The Justice League
It's here, the biggest movie since, well The Avengers, and how does it play out? Well, if I was in charge of this movie, I would get Ben Affleck to write, David S. Goyer to provide to ideas, and Zack Snyder to direct. As for the story, I would basically have it a 2 on 2 on 1 on 1. What? Yeah, Batman and Superman vs. Flash and Green Lantern vs. Wonder Woman vs. Aquaman. Similar to Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's New 52 Justice League: Origin. The first half should be all these big personalities fighting each other. Batman and Superman have their cautions and want to get this settled, Green Lantern and Flash are the comedy relief who are kinda wanting to fight yet just GTFO at the same time, and Aquaman and Wonder Woman just want to fight, like duel to the death. The second half should be the heroes teaming up to take on somebody like a heavily origin changed Amazo, who is sent from Darkseid to take on the League and search the planet for his daughter among other stuff. And he just so happens to bring along Starro too, yeah that would be cool. Similar to The Avengers, maybe, but this is just a basic, basic plot, things would need to be added to this film.
Short and sweet, the sequel to this should focus on the team still learning their bugs and forming into the classic team we all know and love. The main villain in this should be Darkseid, as he is pissed that Amazo did not make it back all in one piece. In my mind, I've always thought it would be cool to see a villain invade Watch Tower and make it fall out of orbit like it did in the TV show Justice League:Unlimited. Another cool thing to see here is Apokolis. I don't know if it would be plausible for the League to go there, but it would be cool too. The third need of this film would have to be the league expanding, show Shazam, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Cyborg, other Green Lanterns, maybe some Teen Titian members (if they ever do decide that it's plausible)and even give Martian Manhunter a large role. But besides just a few, other heroes shown should be more or less cameos. Who knows, they could even throw in some elements of Blackest Night in there. But yeah, DC's big gun is used in it's sequel, but no worry, there is something bigger for a third film...
The big finale should have all the accumulated rogues from the solo flicks come together and take on the Justice League. Yeah, the Justice League vs The Injustice League. But wait! Towards the end of the movie, Darkseid returns and makes it The Justice League and the Injustice League vs. Darkseid and his army. Yeah, stuff is going to get heavy (TWSS?). It should kinda serve as an ending to this DCU, make the good guys win and have a semi-happy ending, but put in an event that forever scars the League. Why would you need to have the League scared even more than before, because that way you can have the League members old and talking about "that day" in a .....
The Beyond film
After giving the DCU around 5 years, DC should make the Beyond Universe make an appearance. Terry McGinnis can get a solo film or two maybe, and if good we could be looking at another JL trilogy. Granted, many things would need to change for the big screen, but it would be awesome seeing Neo-Gotham. Maybe in a Batman Beyond film you can have Affleck back for one last time and mix The Dark Knight Returns in it, since it would be a long time from Rises. What would be even cooler for a Batman Beyond film would be to base it off Return of the Joker. Terry has to track down The Joker and what not, blah blah blah Terry and Joker are in the middle of a duel (Joker probably winning) when Bruce jumps through the ceiling of a building striking that famous pose with lightning in the background, and then he beats the crap outta the Joker. I would flip if that ever happened.(I know that the top picture isn't JL Beyond, but that's the closest thing from Ross that I could find that is more than just Batman).
Spinoffs: Shazam, Aquaman, Joker?, Nightwing?, Justice League Dark, Green Arrow, (Teen) Titans, Booster Gold?, Justice League OF America?, and Martian Manhunter.
The League and Their Roles
Superman should obviously be the team leader. The team lines up in their heroic pose it's Superman in front of everybody. He is the brawns and noble leader. He must be the face of the league, and Henry Cavill is the right man for the Job. I don't want him to be portrayed as super strong but lacking common sense, I think the way he was portrayed in MoS was fairly good, but I just wish he could be a little more agile and throw in one of the corny phrases every now and then. He should be smart and strong at the same time, something that it seems certain media portrayals have forgotten.
Ideal Trilogy: With one film down, one getting ready to film, this Superman trilogy hasn't really aimed for a specific story arc. So, this is more of what I think his final film should be based on. What is his final outing based on? There are two options; the first one is Geoff Johns Brainiac, and the second is The Death of Superman. Either one could work, or they could actually combine the two. Imagine having Brainiac come to Earth with Doomsday, and then have Brainiac team up with an already established Lex Luthor. That would be amazing. He would die in at the beginning of phase 3, then come back for JL3. Or, they could just adapt the Brainiac storyline and kill Superman off in JL2. Going along with that Brainiac story line, it's the perfect way to introduce Supergirl, who we already know exists in this universe. There are many, many great possibilities for this franchise and I have faith that Snyder can continue to deliver great Superman film (although I think somebody will need to co-write with David S. Goyer). You would portray Superman? Obviously Henry Cavill. Snyder and co. got the perfect Superman for this franchise and I can't wait to see him in future films.
Henry Cavill as Superman
Batman should and probably will be the brains and co/second in command of the Justice League. Think back to Justice League Unlimited...that's how he should be portrayed. He is the experienced, arrogant, commanding leader/member. One thing that I think should be kept in mind is his humor. What I mean is that usually in intense situations or really relaxing situations Batman is able to slide in a little joke. Not all the time, I'm just saying a joke or two per film would be nice to lighten the mood. If you want to know what I'm talking about then go on YouTube and just look up Justice League Batman funny moments. I'll even put a video down below for it. And I don't want it to that extent, I'm just saying a joke per film would be nice.
Ideal Trilogy There aren't very many story arcs left out there since Nolan used them all in his film. So my suggestion, use Robin. Hold though, this is not Tim Drake, Jason Todd, Carrie Kelly, or Dick Grayson, this is Damian Wayne. He should be around 16-18 and use a heavily modified version of Damian's regular suit. Why it is Damian is because that is the most plausible Robin. If Damian is actually Bruce's son, then that provides a little more justification to a ludicrous idea. The first film would introduce Damian, the second film would be a Death In the Family adaptation, and the final film would be an Arkham Asylum kinda thing. With Damian in this world, there is also Dick, but he was never Robin. He was a vigilante since he was a teen and would meet Batman occasionally. At the point where the first film would take place, he is in his early twenties and a regular crime fighter that now has access to the Batcave because he has been working with Batman for so long. But, if they decide that they don't want to use Damian, then a build up to Hush or Arkham Asylum/City would be nice. As for a director, Ben Affleck. As for a writer, Ben Affleck. As for a star, Ben Affleck. It's not that hard, Ben is a good, not the best, but good choice for Batman IMO and he should do great.
Ben Affleck as The Batman
As I said earlier, Wonder Woman is a tricky character. She kind of needs to be the Thor of the DCU, but more arrogant. She needs to be out of place in this world. She has to be confident and strong willed. Her suit should be similar to the New 52 one, but can't be too silly. Her lack of social skills should be a comedic point in her films, but it should not be turned into a comedy. Her films need to be mythological thriller that is fun at the same time.
Ideal Trilogy The first film should be a typical origin story, even though it sounds boring it won't because this is untouched ground here. A second film should explore more of her relationship with Scott Trevor and use Cheetah as the foe. The third film should be used as a wrap up for the franchise, have her finally adapt to this new world. What I mean is in this final film she should be fully adjusted to this new world, she understands most of the social customs and truly is happy. And then everything goes south. Maybe Ares returns with Hades and they put Wonder Woman through "The Ultimate Test". I would like to see Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, or Guillermo del Toro direct these films with Gemma Arterton portraying her. Gemma seems like a fan favorite, and she should. She has recently been in Hansel and Gretel and The Prince of Persia, which I thought she was fine and both and think she can pull off the task that is Wonder Woman. If Jamie Alexander wasn't Siff she would be great. My third choice would be Adrianne Palicki.
Gemma Arterton as Wonder Woman
Hal Jodan should be one of the two comic relief characters in this DCU. We don't need another Hal origin, when he gets his first solo flick we can briefly fly over his origin in the beginning of the film, but then head straight into the film. These new Green Lantern movies need to be fun, like Star Trek. They need to have amazing visuals with a great story in between. Ideal Trilogy I think that the logical way they should go is a Sinestro Corps War mixed with Blackest Night. The first film should be Hal Jordan in space for most of the time but with John Stewart as they have to go do Green Lantern'y things together. The second could be The Sinestro Corps War, and in the third film a mix of blackest night with a conclusion story. If I had it my way, I would get JJ Abrhams to direct and write, but with Star Trek, Star Wars, and a billion other projects, not to mention he is now part of the Disney family, it seems unlikely. My second pick would be Ridley Scott (Alien) or Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion). As for my Hal Jordan pick, either Chris Pine, Matt Bomer, or Jensen Ackles. My pick for John Stewart would be either Idris Elba or Chadwick Boseman.
Chris Pine/Jensen Ackles/Matt Bomer as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern
Idris Elba as John Stewart/Green Lantern
The Flash is the second comic relief member of the original team. He should be the "BFF" of Hal Jordan. One of the things that I think would be amazing on film is his powers look similar to Faroa's speed in Man of Steel. As for his personality, he should be modeled after Wally West's sense of humor in Justice League: Unlimited, and the personality of Barry Allen, since this is Barry Allen.
Ideal Trilogy As I stated above, Captain Cold should be the main villain the first film, with Gorilla Grodd and Reverse Flash being built up. The second, in my opinion Gorilla Grodd would have to be the primary villain in his second solo flick, with Reverse Flash as the final villain. Now I would prefer a mixture of pre and post New 52. The ideal director for these movies, for me, would be Rian Johnson. The ideal Barry Allen for me would be John Krasinski. John is most known for playing Jim Halpert from The Office, which automatically doesn't scream The Flash immediately. But upon further investigation, he has that sense of humor that any Flash should have. Him being an up and coming actor would also allow for him to potentially be apart of the the new CW Flash show.
John Krasinski as Barry Allen/The Flash
While I will never be put in charge of this universe, this is how I would handle it. These are just my opinions on the characters and their personalities. Sorry if there are too many pictures for you, but who doesn't love Alex Ross' work? Let me know in the comments what you thought about my ideal DCU and what would you do if you were in charge of WB and the asked to map it out. So until next time...
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