The DCEU started out as Warner Bros.’s ambitious retaliation against rival Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Centered around Zack Snyder and his vision of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League, the DCEU has transformed from a dark, gritty, and meticulous form of storytelling to a more standalone and tongue-in-cheek way of telling tales.
This can be easily seen with the dark tone that Batman vs Superman is centered around as opposed to movies like Shazam and Aquaman. What is yet to be seen is if Warner has a definitive plan to match their ambition, with movies contained within their universe seemingly losing their woven touch.
That is why with Zack Snyder’s Justice League behind us, and James Gunn’s iteration of The Suicide Squad on the way, I have decided to fantasy book the DCEU, giving 3 courses of food-for-thought for the top brass at Warner Bros.
As I mentioned briefly before, the DCEU started with Zack Snyder’s visions for Superman and Batman. Starting with Man of Steel and continuing with Batman vs Superman, Snyder set the scene for a tidal redemption arc for the Son of Krypton and the Bat of Gotham. Although Man of Steel emerged unscathed, Batman vs Superman was heavily tampered with by higher-ups and as a result, the theatrical cut of the movie was churned out to negative reception. Without watching the Ultimate Edition of the movie, viewers miss out on essential plot points that go to explain the course of the admittedly convoluted story.
Not seeing the error of their ways and instead focusing on the critique that BvS was unnecessarily dark, Warner looked to their next theatrical outing. Suicide Squad, helmed by David Ayer, was next in line and received heavy storyline tampering, including the relegation of Jared Leto’s Joker from antagonist to side character. Even despite yet more negative reviews, Warner continued to tamper with the directorial vision of Zack Snyder for the 2017 Justice League outing.
When Snyder’s daughter passed away, he stepped away from the project and the studio made the heinous decision to replace him with Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon. Whedon was tasked with finishing Snyder’s vision of the movie but instead decided to overhaul the movie completely. This meant that upon release Justice League was littered with blatantly reshot scenes and omitted plot points, leaving the end product feeling tasteless and loveless.
Warner appeared to learn the error of their ways as they greenlit the return of Snyder to the director’s chair for the four-hour epic that was Zack Snyder’s Justice League. ZSJL was a global phenomenon and trended for days on end on Twitter. The hunger and desire of the fans was the continuation of Snyder’s plan for Justice League 2 and 3, with pockets of fans demanding David Ayer get the chance to see his original vision realized as well.
Alas, during an interview with Variety, Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff revealed that ZSJL was designed to be the conclusion of a trilogy of Snyder movies and that David Ayer would not have his vision released.
If left down to me, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad and Zack Snyder’s Justice League Part 2 & 3 would be first up on the slate. The continuous campaigning and support from fans coupled with the response to ZSJL indicate that there is a ready-made market, and purely from a logistical aspect, it would not be hard to fit the movies into the canon, as DC operates within a multiverse.
Drop Amber Heard for Emilia Clarke
One of the many controversies attached to the DCEU is the continued use of Amber Heard, despite her past indiscretions and confirmed domestic abuse of Johnny Depp, in the role of Mera. Mera operates as the love interest for Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and as a result, presents a quintessential character that could not simply be removed from the fold. However, another product of fan campaigns plus DeepFake (See Below) is the conceptual idea that Game of Thrones and Terminator: Genisys actress Emilia Clarke would make the perfect replacement for the role.
Recasting is nothing new in the world of film, (take Edward Norton being replaced by Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk for example). Emilia Clarke is an exceptional actress who has had blockbuster experience with The Terminator and Star Wars franchises and ranks among the biggest stars in film today, while Heard remains a reviled member of Hollywood. Dropping Heard would be beneficial to Warner.
Get The Actors Signed
One of the underrated aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its success is the fact that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios had the savvy and the foresight to get their main actors signed to long-term deals. Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans are prime examples, as they were both signed to Marvel for extended periods of time.
It would remain beneficial for Warner to start signing their on-screen talent in the long-term as well, as this would prevent actors from leaving crucial roles uncast. The best example of this would be the situation currently with Henry Cavill and Superman. Henry Cavill currently has no re-signed contract with Warner and as a result, Superman does not have a set portrayal for the foreseeable future. This could be avoided by keeping talent signed in the long run and ensuring that no crucial plot lines are dropped due to on-goings in the outside world.
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