Shortly after finishing a piece where I pontificated about the future of the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros. announced a significant restructuring of their film divisions, something specifically targeted at fixing the DC Comics films. In an effort to better streamline the oversight of the DCEU, Warner Bros. has assigned two executives to guide the DC Films branch, much like Kevin Feige’s role for Marvel Studios.
This seems like a long time coming, especially considering that Geoff Johns is one of the executives on board. Johns has been writing for DC Comics for nearly twenty years and has been an enormous figure in the company’s recent history. Johns was instrumental when it came to DC breaking new ground on television, working on Smallville, Arrow and The Flash. He’s a perfect analog to Kevin Feige in that he is a true fan of the universe who can also see the big picture. His involvement is an enormous step in the right direction.
However, he comes with a few caveats. Firstly, Johns is being pulled in two harsh directions. As the Chief Creative Officer for DC Comics, he’s in the middle of a complete relaunch of the comic universe called Rebirth, an initiative that is aiming to return the DC Universe to something that resembles the pre-New 52 continuity. Comics, right? In the midst of that undertaking, now Johns is being called in to be the architect on the cinematic side of things. This is doubly worrisome since Johns is inheriting an iteration of the DC characters that he’s had little input on. While it’s true that Johns is working with Ben Affleck on the solo venture The Batman, he’s hasn’t had the strongest voice in the room when it comes to the rest of the DCEU. If Johns was able to completely retool Zack Snyder’s (and let’s not forget David Goyer‘s) specific vision of the DCEU, I would be thrilled. There’s certainly plenty of excellent pieces he can work with — primarily Affleck and Batman’s corner of the DCEU which is heavily featured in Suicide Squad — but the DCEU needs a big restart when it comes to its soul.
The X factor of this equation is Executive VP Jon Berg, the other head honcho who will be shepherding DC Films. He clearly represents the Warner Bros. part of the Warner Bros./DC relationship, and it’s iffy what kind of influence he’ll have. To his credit, he was involved with Elf and Edge of Tomorrow, two solid films from the Warner Bros. studio. Edge of Tomorrow alone is a perfect example of what the DCEU should be striving for: intense action that doesn’t pull any punches but is tempered with a rousing tone. Still, having two cooks in the kitchen makes Marvel’s Kevin Feige look like a master chef.
I want the best for DC Films but it’s clear that things behind the scenes are hectic at best. Hopefully, this chaos will produce something we fans can rally behind.