Being a DC Comics Fan Is Hard AF Right Now
Being a fan of DC Comics in a world where the Marvel Cinematic Universe reigns supreme has been a bummer from time-to-time, but the last few weeks of DC’s movie news have been so chaotic that it has just made everything exhausting. And right now there is nothing giving me tangible hope.
Promises have been made, especially by new DC Films co-CEO James Gunn online. While I take his intentions on good faith, I do think he needs to get off Twitter—not because he is doing anything wrong, but because (a) it is a terrible, bad faith platform, and (b) nothing he says can sway doubts until we are able to see actually developments. Right now, the entire roster of the DCEU is being shaken up, and while it may not have been perfect, it was all we had.
Zack Snyder’s era of the DCEU had its problems, even though he did infuse it with diversity and probably made the most interesting onscreen version of Wonder Woman (sorry #hottake), but narratively, he struggled to understand some of the softer edges of the characters—especially Superman. While his version of the Justice League is probably one of my favorite Superhero movies, it still suffers from being part of a very messy, half-baked universe.
The two debacles with Patty Jenkins and Henry Cavill/Dwayne Johnson have been particularly embarrassing. Reports went back and forth about whether Jenkins would be returning and Wonder Woman 3 would be happening or not. As someone who is meh on the first Wonder Woman movie and loathes WW1984, I can still say that the 2017 film helped rescue the DCEU from what was a long trend of Ls. Gal Gadot was, at one point, praised for her acting as the character and became the face of DC. I think Jenkins needs to look seriously at her choices in 84 and work on it, but if any creator has proven themselves deserving of a third film, it is Jenkins.
As for her own words, as reported earlier this month: “When there started being backlash about WW3 not happening, the attractive clickbait false story that it was me that killed it or walked away started to spread. This is simply not true. I never walked away. I was open to considering anything asked of me. It was my understanding there was nothing I could do to move anything forward at this time. DC is obviously buried in changes they are having to make, so I understand these decisions are difficult right now.”
Gunn responded on Twitter saying that his interactions with Jenkins had been “pleasant and professional.”
But this biggest thing is what is going on with Henry Cavill, Dwayne Johnson, and Superman. To back up for a moment, one key thing to understand is that Cavill and Johnson share the same manager, Johnson’s ex-wife. It was Johnson who wanted to bring back Cavill as Superman and did so in the post-credits scene for Black Adam (a moment Johnson spoiled during the press junket). This is course got people hyped to see Cavill in the role again, and that doubled when his posted a picture of himself in the costume AND left Netflix’s The Witcher—only to then have leaks from inside the studio slowly chip away at the possibility of Cavill returning to the role, until it was confirmed by Gunn himself that it wasn’t happening.
“Among those on the slate is Superman,” tweeted Gunn in reference to the new slate of DC projects he is working on with co-CEO, Peter Safran. “In the initial stages, our story will be focusing on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill.”
Then, news dropped that Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam would not continue in the DCU as it is under Gunn and Safran.
“After 15 years of relentless hard work to finally make Black Adam, I’m very proud of the film we delivered for fans worldwide,” said Johnson. “I will always look back on the fan reaction to Black Adam with tremendous gratitude, humility and love.”
And while people have joked about Johnson pushing hard for the film, for those who did see it in a very low box office economy, it was received well by audiences—and, in my opinion, simply needed a tighter script and less bad needle drops.
Even now, there are rumors that after the long-awaited Aquaman sequel (for which we have had no updates in a while), Jason Momoa will be moved from that character to popular DC alien bounty hunter, Lobo. So far, the only one who seems to be sleeping easy is Zachery Levi as Shazam.
All of these changes from the Warner Bros./Discovery merger to now with Gunn have just felt like a nonstop conga line of losses. Even the small victories (like we are getting a Blue Beatle movie!) are hindered by the huge uncertainty of what comes next. After all, the DCEU has been ongoing for nearly 10 years, and it has been a lot of misses in the public eye. All that time, Marvel was reigning supreme, and now people are exhausted at Marvel movies.
Until we are able to get a full look at the slate and a solid understanding of who will be attached, I don’t think we need to hear anything else from DC—not while they are stilling pushing The Flash. Not while they disrespected the entire Batgirl team. Not while they are trying to set up a ten-year plan, when the past ten years (for all its highs and lows) are still hyper present in people’s minds. I want the best for DC and I want Gunn to succeed, but coming online to debunk every rumor when things are still in the works isn’t the best idea. We need a solid longterm vision for DC along with talented people behind those films before any confidence can be established. Warner Bros. Discovery hurt DC fans a lot, and it is going to take a lot to fix it, so let’s get to it.
DC Comics has some of the most important and impactful characters in the medium. It is shameful that we’ve only seen Batman have longterm sustained success on the big screen. We deserve better and creators who understand how to balance out creating gods with crafting fleshed out characters. The comics have done it. The DC animated universe did it. So, let’s get to it.
(featured image: Warner Bros.)
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