Article by Matthew Mendiola
There has been a lot of speculation that Henry Cavill will no longer be donning his iconic blue tights and red cape. There have even been rumors that Michael B. Jordan (known for his phenomenal role in Black Panther as Killmonger) has been considered by Warner Bros. as a candidate to replace Cavill as Superman.
While these are all just rumors, the fact is, Warner Bros. doesn’t know what to do with the franchise, which is why plans for a Man of Steel sequel are just up in the air. This begs the question–what is the future of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and can it still be saved at all?
Even with the outliers like the critically-acclaimed Wonder Woman solo film and the upcoming Aquaman and Shazam spin-offs, both of which seem promising, the DCEU was a sinking ship to begin with.
The DCEU was off to a shaky start by hinging its universe on Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman. While both actors can’t be blamed for the franchise’s box office failures (I personally think Henry Cavill is the greatest Superman ever), Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which should have been the franchise’s most important film, ruined everything for the DCEU, with its dull overtones, terrible casting choice for Lex Luthor (which is problematic, since Luthor will be a key character in future films), lack of coherence, and ill-conceived plot (Would Superman be dead if his mom had a different name?).
It didn’t help that Batman v. Superman was followed by the mediocre Suicide Squad, ultimately culminating in a disappointing Justice League movie adaptation, which can be summed up as: a team of supers take 2 hours to wake Superman up so he could finish the fight in 1 minute.
Fact of the matter is: Affleck and Cavill are basically the godfathers of the DCEU, and if Henry Cavill leaves (there are also reports that Ben Affleck won’t be reprising his role), that’s it for the DCEU.
The problem with the Warner Bros. studio is their lack of foresight. Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the Arrowverse, for that matter, which both have clear creative visions, the studio took a risk by leaving directors like Zack Snyder unchecked. They left the fate of the DCEU solely to independent directors’ visions, and they realized this mistake too late.
It sucks, but I think it’s safe to say that the DCEU is dead. My opinion is that if Warner Bros. were to reboot their cinematic universe, which seems like the only way to go if they are to pursue building a shared universe, that shouldn’t happen any time soon.
They’ve already gotten people emotionally invested in their current line-up of characters, whether or not you love them or hate them. For one, I’m so in love with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and to take her away now would make me lose interest in watching a rebooted DC universe, knowing that her character will no longer be there. The same goes for Henry Cavill’s Superman. I don’t think anyone can fill the Man of Steel’s shoes the way he did.
On the other hand, if Warner Bros. were to keep the franchise’s beloved characters, you can’t have Superman or Wonder Woman or Aquaman or Shazam (I’m betting on this being a good movie), without the sour reminder that these characters are part of an overarching story arc that failed many times over.
Bottom line, the only thing people want are better DC films. How Warner Bros. is going to make that work is their problem. Just please. Give justice to the Justice League.
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