DC Films Can’t Blow This Opportunity


A lot of people dislike the New 52 comic reboot. Just as many, quite a few overlapping, disliked Man of Steel as a film. Especially as a cornerstone of a new cinematic universe. What makes them so unpopular? It’s not just that a lot of them are genuinely not great quality. I’m not going to get into the drama or infighting between editors and writers that has mired DC’s front office, nor am I going to comment on the purported egomania that has given their execs a bad reputation. The real issue that is causing so many misfires is something far more basic.


One of the main differences between Marvel and DC is the way their timelines are constructed. Marvel has a sliding timeline, always 15 years old from the origin of the Fantastic Four. Other than a few big points in time like Cap in WWII, everything else is just always happening now-ish. This allows them to soft reboot when they want or easily dismiss timeline conflicts. DC has always taken pains to make things consistent and explainable throughout its universe. Most of that stemmed out of necessity, trying to make sense of a jumbled web of contradicting characters and events. During Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC managed to use their clean-up efforts to not only fix the problems they had but also start from scratch with their beloved characters.

Before Crisis, Clark Kent was married and a TV news anchor, and Batman was an old man with a full-grown daughter (in an alternate reality that represented the original characters on their original timelines unfolding in real time). Crazy, right? The valiant effort to streamline all that helped set a standard of cohesion for their universe. Storytelling is much, much easier that way.

Continuity is the what makes DC DC. That’s why they are headed down an unfortunate and self destructive path if they continue to forget that. The New 52 ‘soft reboot’ left a lot of people scratching their heads. Some characters who should exist, don’t. Some that do, shouldn’t. Some events were wiped clean, but their ramifications were still felt. It was confusing.

Now we’re entering a new era with the birth of an interconnected cinematic universe. It’s never  been more important to get on the same page with all their properties. If they want to keep people watching Arrow and The Flash, it would be ill-advised to introduce different versions of those characters in a film. It would also be more awkward to not include them at all because then everyone will start asking why they refuse to commit to either project.

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What needs to happen is clear. All of their projects on screen need to work together if they want DC fans to embrace the canon they’ve set worth.  This is, after all, what said fans look for in their comics in the first place. If they’re going to have The Flash in a Justice League movie, it better be the kid from the CW show. Otherwise, why make the show? They’d only be dividing their fanbase. Soon we’ll find out which direction they’ll go, but let’s pray they keep in mind who and what DC is.

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