TV's Green Arrow made a few waves over the weekend in an interview where he questioned WB's handling of their DC Cinematic Universe announcement - and he's right to shine a light on how the weird relationships between the many heads of Warner Brothers might not be doing DC the justice it deserves.
First off, Amell was totally right to call them out on announcing Ezra Miller's casting as The Flash just as Grant Gustin's TV-based incarnation was hitting the ground running. Sure, at some point it was almost to be expected that DC's Television heroes wouldn't make the crossover to the movies, but after spending months getting audiences used to Gustin's Barry Allen, to suddenly go 'hey here's the new Flash!' just as the series had started - only 2 episodes had aired in the US at that point - was kind of a douchey move to the poor guy. Casual audiences not familiar with the ins and outs of DC's multi-versal possibilities (and ultimately perhaps used to the rabid, intensely planned inter-connectivity from the House of Mouse's approach to Marvel) probably were a bit confused at there now being a 'TV' Flash and this upcoming 'Movie' Flash, and for the people behind the TV show it was probably a bit disheartening to see some of the wind taken out of their sails.
Or it would be if Warner Bros. had unveiled these plans with any sort of semblance of grace - after all, they all came tumbling out of an Investors meeting. First word came from a journalist's twitter account, spreading across the web as more and more details poured out of this management meeting. No press release, no big hooplah, no precisely-planned unveil to set fans hearts racing. It just sort of... happened. It didn't just trip up DC's TV universe, it somehow managed to bungle what should've been a monumental announcement for DC at the same time - something that was brought even further into stark relief by Marvel's 'Phase 3' event a few weeks later being so laser-guided in its approach to maximising the hype. It was meticulously planned and teased to the point that people were frothing at the mouth to find out what was happening, and when the news dropped, the crowd went wild. Why didn't DC get the same opportunity to have that with their own characters?
You could say, sure, Marvel has the benefit of the doubt at this point - they've already proven that they're 'worth' the hype. But at the same time it's also partially down to the fact that when it comes to anything Marvel these days - whether it be the MCU or the comics or the cartoons or Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter - Disney are a united front about it all. All these different facets of Marvel either interconnect as part of their 'shared universe' ethos or are working together for the benefit of the whole. Guardians doing well at the box office? Announce a cartoon, get some ongoing movie-audience-friendly comic series running, get them showing up here and there, do this, do that. They're all different branches of Marvel, but they come together to capitalise on their characters. The many heads of the Warner Bros. Hydra just tend to keep to themselves, to the point that it can actively sabotage what each part of the company is doing. If you cut one head off WB's Hydra, two more don't take its place - the other heads just seem to potter on none the wiser that one of their own is wriggling about on the floor.
I'm not saying that Warner Bros. has to try and emulate Marvel with all the shared-universe stuff - if anything, that'd just have people snarking at them for playing copy-cat - but the TV and Film branches on this DC stuff seem to have this weird relationship where one doesn't know what the other's doing, and at some point that is going to start hampering the DC output of both. There's an argument to be made that the independence of the two, especially on the TV front, has lead to the best possible outcome. On TV at least, DC is nailing it arguably a lot better than Marvel did at first - they've got 4 great shows on at the moment, Arrow essentially pioneered Superhero TV, and The Flash is pumping out consistently great ratings (thankfully unhampered by the casting of an alternate Flash). By being kept away from what the films are going to be doing, they've been able to flourish and thrive as their own, standalone things. And that's awesome! But that could have still happened even if the two departments worked together and avoided clunky PR mishaps like the Ezra Miller casting.
They don't need to unify literally like Marvel's properties all have, the independence of all these different aspects of DC has been one of the company's biggest strengths, but Warner Bros. definitely should be displaying a united front across all of its branches. It can have the best of both worlds that way - they don't have to deal with the headache of how everything the TV/Comic/Movie worlds are doing having to all intertwine, but it would lead to each part of the DC media conglomerate working together to benefit each other.
DC and their cadre of heroes certainly deserves that sort of treatment - and will need it if Warner Bros. wants them to become staples to rival Marvel.
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