DC Movies Have ‘Turned A Corner’, Says Toby Emmerich
It seems that Warner Bros. and DC have turned a corner recently, and refocus their efforts to build a shared universe like Marvel.
Toby Emmerich, the new chairman of Warner Bros. spoke to THR about their newfound approach towards the DC superhero films, claiming they are focused on honouring their directors’ visions instead.
When asked what the success of Aquaman means for the DC universe, Emmerich responded:
We all feel like we’ve turned a corner now. We’re playing by the DC playbook, which is very different than the Marvel playbook. We are far less focused on a shared universe. We take it one movie at a time. Each movie is its own equation and own creative quantity. If you had to say one thing about us, it’s that it always has to be about the directors.
This approach makes a lot more sense when consider the DC movies Warner Bros. currently have in the pipeline. 2019 will see Shazam! and Joker arrive on the big screen and as far as we know, the latter is very much a standalone spinoff that doesn’t connect to any of the current DC universe. 2020 will see Wonder Woman 1984 hit theatres, a film set in the past and not connected to the present day storyline, as the title suggests.
Throw in plans for Green Lantern Corps, Cyborg, The Batman, Flash, Suicide Squad 2, Birds of Prey, Nightwing, Batgirl, a Jared Leto Joker movie and Harley Quinn and the Joker and it becomes difficult to see how those would come together under Marvel’s template of different phases bookended by big team up movies.
It does seem that the best way forward is to just tell great stories without worrying how they tie in together with each other. After all, that seemed to work pretty well before Marvel pulled off their first team up movie. Really, this is what DC should have done from the outset; it was obvious to see that their rushed efforts to copy the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and rush out a Justice League film was going to fall flat, and that’s pretty much exactly what happened.
It’s no coincidence that the DC’s best films in the last 10 years have been Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Man of Steel. All of these films were made without worrying about how they fit into a larger continuity; Man of Steel in particular was made before Warner Bros. even decided to do a shared universe. Batman and Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League all failed because they were saddled with the burden of building a huge world and introducing tons of important characters in just a couple of films, resulting in overstuffed and confusing stories.
Warner Bros. should be credited for finally learning the right lesson. It took them a long time to get there, but clearly they’ve looked at Wonder Woman and Aquaman and realised that’s the direction they should go in. Marvel won’t be beaten by emulating their template, so it makes sense for Warner Bros. and DC to focus on themselves and create good, engaging stories.