It’s true. The hierarchy of power in the DC universe is about to change. But it won’t be Black Adam doing the changing—it’s Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. At a recent event, he described the future of DC Films as more focused and singular than it had been in the past. “There’s not going to be four Batmans,” he said.
Speaking at the Capital Markets’ Technology, Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference (via IndieWire), the company head discussed what he felt DC needs to do to be more successful, and it is, in fact, looking at Marvel. “The strategy that [former Disney CEO Bob] Iger put together was all Marvels in one place,” Zaslav said. “You don’t wake up and find out that there’s a Batman TV show somewhere and a Batman cartoon somewhere else, they all have to relate to each other. There has to be a look and feel for all of it. And so, I went on a journey a few months ago of, ‘How do I put all of DC in one place?’ ‘Cause I think it’s one of the biggest opportunities at this company.”
The answer, it turns out, comes with hiring the new heads of DC Films James Gunn and Peter Safran, who have been tasked with creating a new, focused future for the brand. “Part of our strategy is drive the hell out of DC, which James and Peter are gonna do,” Zaslav said. “They thrilled the fans, I think they’ll thrill you over a period of time. But also really focus on our strategic advantage, the great content we have that everyone in the world knows, and focus on telling those stories.”
The CEO mentioned that Superman is, of course, a focus (“We haven’t done a Superman movie in 13 years,” he also noted), and that while Gunn is working on writing a new DC movie, Safran is “fixing” Aquaman. Whatever that means. Might it have to do with the fact Ben Affleck’s Batman was set to cameo in the upcoming sequel? And if he does, does that give DC the aforementioned four Batmans moving around in live-action? Meaning Robert Pattinson in The Batman, Ben Affleck in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Michael Keaton in The Flash, and the young actor as Bruce Wayne from the Joker series? We don’t know.
It wasn’t mentioned at the event, but the other thing Zaslav’s quote brings to mind is the multiverse storyline of The Flash. Rumor had it that film was made explicitly with the aim to give DC another starting point for its storytelling. Will this idea of keeping everything focused change that movie? Has the CEO already given The Flash a mental Batgirl and dismissed it as a one-off? There are so many questions to be answered in the next few months as Gunn gets set to release what we’d imagine are his final two Marvel projects (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and that franchise’s Christmas special), and DC gets back into theaters with Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Flash.
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