What's happening to the universe of DC Comics movies and series

What's happening to the universe of DC Comics movies and series

It all started in the first days of August with the decision to quash Batgirl. The film about the superheroine DC Comics, which was to have as the protagonist the young actress Leslie Grace, has been eliminated from the programming of the Hbo Max streaming platform and will not even be released in the cinema, despite the shooting was already completed, the post-production work has already begun. and the whole thing had already cost 90 million dollars. The decision came from above, or from David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, the new media conglomerate born this year from the merger of Warner Bros. (the film giant that owns DC) and the documentary and factual company Discovery . “We have made a total reset,” said Zaslav, known for his metaphors that don't go too far.

Cuts and turnarounds Over the past few weeks, in a global perspective of cost and project reduction fielded (the animated film Scoob! Haunted House, the serial productions of Hbo Europe, the original programs of the Tbs and Tnt channels and a lot of content for children and teenagers were also eliminated), the film Supergirl and the series were also canceled Strange Adventures anthology. In general, the current one seems to be a total reversal of trend: the previous CEO of Warner Media, Jason Kilar, had devised a strategy that involved the production of many different films, some exclusively for streaming only, and of as many TV series that anticipated, accompanied or expanded the film titles. Among the surviving projects should be the second season of Peacemaker, the series on Green Lanterns, the films on Black Canary and Blue Beetle, as well as the biggest projects (the sequels to The Batman and Joker, the upcoming Shazam 2 and Black Adam).

Warner Bros. PicturesZaslav essentially pulled the handbrake: “We will focus on quality. We won't release any movies before it's ready, ”he said and then added:“ DC is something we can definitely do better ”. A statement that internally must not have been very pleased, in particular to Walter Hamada, the president of DC Films - therefore the division in some way "indicted" - who would have liked to resign immediately after the cancellation of Batgirl. In the end he was convinced to stay until after the release of Black Adam with Dwayne Johnson, precisely a fundamental piece of the renewal underway in this cinematic universe.

What will remain of Hamada's original plans, including the hypothesis of transposing to the cinema a fundamental cycle of comics such as Crisis on Infinite Earths, is not known, as well as about his other ambition ideas, such as the black Superman signed J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates. On the other hand, it seems that Zaslav has announced that he wants to put together a team that will devise a ten-year program of films and DC series: who will be part of it or which titles they will churn out is still to be understood.

A schizophrenic universe Not that the DC Extended Universe has ever enjoyed very strong health, to tell the truth. After the disastrous Green Lantern of 2011 (which Ryan Reynolds still regrets having done), the attempt to emulate the solidity and coherence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was entrusted to Zack Snyder, with his Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman, but above all with Justice League, which in his plans should have been divided into two if not five films. The mixed results of his films and those of others (Batman vs. Superman was badly received but Wonder Woman was a success, but the same cannot be said of Suicide Squad or Wonder Woman 1984 itself, and after the exploits of Aquaman and Shazam the cold shower of Birds of Prey and so on) pushed the Warner executives to block everything, then tangled in the even bigger mess that was Justice League: Snyder's Cut.

With the will to clear the saga of Snyder and opening up to more authorial films, at one point in the DC universe you could count three Jokers (Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix and the Barry Keoghan introduced in the recent The Batman), three Batman (Ben Affleck, Robert Pattinson and the return - already questioned - by Michael Keaton), two Harley Quinns (Margot Robbie and Kaley Cuoco in the animated series) and so on. Farther and farther away from the perhaps almost crushing efficiency of Marvel, DC Comics on the screen has chosen schizophrenic directions: on the one hand the attempts of the author like Joker and The Batman, on the other the crazy attempts à la The Suicide Squad of James Gunn and, on the other hand, the most caciaroni blockbuster genre such as Shazam, Black Adam and The Flash.

The scandal stone: The Flash And the Flash must be talked about in order to face the last cat to peel. part of the Warner Bros. Discovery executives. The film about Barry Allen, the fastest-than-light superhero, was scheduled for release in June 2023 and, given its considerable cost, it would also have been essential to introduce a kind of "multiverse" in DC sauce: going so fast that it travels in parallel dimensions, Flash would have encountered alternate versions of the characters we know, such as Keaton's vintage Batman and introduced additional characters such as Stargirl. This at least in the initial plans. Cuts aside, now all of The Flash is in danger mainly because of the main interpreter, Ezra Miller.

Miller has long been in the eye of the storm, so much so that Warner has already had to significantly reduce his part in the third Fantastic Beasts chapter. Beyond extravagant outfits and utterances, Miller - who defines himself as non-binary - has been the protagonist in recent years of episodes that are nothing short of worrying. In 2020 a video re-emerged in which he is seen grabbing a woman by the throat; in March and April 2022 he was arrested twice for assault and violent behavior in a bar; in June the families of two minors issued restrictive orders against him for inappropriate behavior; only in recent weeks, then, has he been accused of stealing bottles of alcohol from a private house in Vermont and hosting a woman and her three children on his farm in Massachusetts, while at home there are guns and people who smoke. marijuana.

For months, Warner executives have been trying to contain the scandal, aware that for them a film like The Flash is essential but also that several other actors have had their careers completely wiped out for much less. Now is the time to make a decision. In recent days Miller has agreed to enter therapy: "Having gone through an intense period of crisis, I realized that I suffer from complex mental problems and started a course of therapy," said the interpreter. The film could therefore come out anyway, with Miller involved in the promotion of the same and with further apology that would calm the waters in the media (with the possibility of finding a new actor in the next films). One way or another, the fate of the DC Comics film universe hangs in the balance again, and not even the most powerful superheroes would likely know how to straighten its course.

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