Joss Whedon will dip his toes back into the world of comic film with the new Batgirl movie. The announcement came down today that Whedon will write, produce, and direct the adventures of DC Comic‘s female caped-crusader. Considering the success of Whedon’s Avengers series and the lackluster performance of DC’s first couple of motion pictures, this makes sense. However, is this the first of many Marvel talents defecting to the DC universe?
What We Know
Here’s what we know. Joss Whedon expressed many times that he was worn out by the Avenger series. In an interview with Vulture about making the next Avengers movie he noted:
“They came to me about the movie and what I said was ‘I’m tapped out…and I think they knew that even if I could give them something, it wasn’t going to be anytime soon .”
We also know that a large obstacle to finishing Avengers: Age of Ultron lay in a constant creative battle with executives. Many times expressing his desire to go back to his own creative “universe”.
“I gotta say, it’s been dark. It’s been weird. It’s been horrible. About a month and a half ago, I said goodbye to my kids, and I’ve been living in Burbank next to the studio. I feel every day like, I didn’t do enough, I didn’t do enough, I didn’t do enough. I wasn’t ready. Here’s failure. Here’s failure. Here’s compromise. Here’s compromise.” (Buzzfeed)
What This Means
Using this logic, signing on to a project of this magnitude counteracts those statements. To me, this indicates two major developments: 1) DC offered Joss Whedon a ton of money. 2) Whedon must have obtained a tremendous amount of creative control.
What This Resembles
This new slant in the battle of the iconic comic book companies is similar to the beginning of wrestling’s Monday Night Wars. In the same way that Marvel’s superhero line-up currently dominates the comic book movie landscape, the juggernaut World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as WWE) once reigned as the undisputed king of wrestling. World Championship Wrestling (WCW) wanted to compete with the top dog and aimed to surpass their success.
To begin with, WCW missed the mark, similar to the way DC failed with poor response to Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. With WCW unable to measure up to the lofty standards of WWF, they decided to hire their competitors’ top talent. In their negotiations with these stars, WCW adopted two strategies in an effort to compete. First, they offered more money with guaranteed contracts. Second, they allowed for the talent to have creative control of their characters.
Taking WWF’s top talent escalated the war between the two companies and the Monday Night Wars were born. Over the next three years, the two companies battled for ratings supremacy. WCW prevailed for almost a year and a half, proving the strategy effective. More importantly, it drove the two companies to step up their game, rewarding fans of both brands.
Now that DC have managed to woo Joss Whedon over to their side, is this the direction we are headed in the Comic Universe battle? Could the DC movie universe be hunting for writers, producers, directors, or even actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Will we start seeing more of Marvel’s top talents defecting to DC with the promise of more money and creative control? If DC are copying this strategy, then hiring Joss Whedon is a massive win as they prepare for war.