DC Cinematic Universe

If you could control all the major decisions made for a theoretical DC Cinematic Universe franchise of major live-action movies, what would you do?

In this blog, list your own personal preferences for a series of DC movies (inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s success) that include a Justice League movie (and sequels) and subsequent solo superhero movies based in the same fictional cinematic universe. My preference is to ignore all previous DC live-action movies and start from scratch, but you can choose to ignore or include any previous material you wish.

So keep in mind that these ideas do not have to be scrutinised for being incorrect due to any previously released information or material. Just let your imagination run wild for the ideal theoretical DC Cinematic Universe.

My Idea:

Do the opposite of what Marvel has done. Instead of releasing a series of solo movies that eventually link up into one giant team-up movie; begin with a team-up movie that branches out into several solo movies.

The Avengers needed the solo movies because the majority of the general non-comic-book-reading public actually don’t know who most of the Marvel superheroes are (before 2007). Few knew Iron Man or could distinguish “superhero Thor” from “mythological Thor”. My grandfather recognised Captain America but couldn't tell me a thing about him. The only character most people knew was the Hulk. Black Widow and Hawkeye were completely obscure, and I think few people comprehend even now who Hawkeye actually is.

DC, however, doesn't have that problem. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't know who Superman and Batman are (and to a lesser extent Wonder Woman). To have a major live-action superhero movie containing these three iconic characters together for the first time ever – in this context – alone would make this movie a major success. In my opinion, start with the Justice League movie.

Justice League Movie:

I think it’s best to keep with a core roster of five founding members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash, and with the main villain Darkseid. All these ideas, to me, are perfect. A story where the world’s greatest superheroes, who have had little to no contact before now, join together to fight a world/universe-shattering threat that no one hero could defeat.

This movie can take inspiration from such origin stories as the New 52 Justice League: Origin, JLA Year One and others, although one thing that struck me as unusual was the fact that in Justice League Origin, Superman and Batman had never met before then, but Green Lantern and the Flash not only had met but knew each other quite personally to the point of secret identities. I'm okay with something like that being present in the Justice League movie, but to me, it feels like Superman and Batman would have met and worked together before (or shortly before) Green Lantern and the Flash meet.

In the movie, keep basic information clear without interrupting the plot or flow of the story. Superman is an alien and considered the world’s greatest hero by most. Batman is a myth and obviously the brains behind the team and their operations (but needs characters like Superman and Wonder Woman to be the team’s icons). Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess from an only recently discovered mythical island with gods-given superpowers that rivals that of Superman himself. Green Lantern is a superpowered cop from a galaxy-wide alien police force armed with the world’s most powerful weapon. And the Flash is a “Speed-Force” powered super-speedster who is the love and light of Keystone City (like Superman is to Metropolis). Throw in an evil inter-dimensional conquering Dark God looking to take over the world with the vast resources at his disposal, and you have a movie that can very realistically trump the Avengers movie franchise.

Batman movie:

The reboot of a new Batman movie franchise spun out of the Justice League movie, one that won’t be a slave to wildly gothic and dark themes like the Tim Burton era (don’t get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Burton and his work), the corny/tacky colourful work of Joel Schumacher (admit it, those two movies were terrible), and the overly realistic material of Christopher Nolan that was way too far away from the source material that we all know and love.

Hopefully, this Batman movie franchise will be one more routed in Batman as a superhero and the world’s greatest detective, and hopefully will include a cameo appearance of a young Richard “Dick” Grayson (young, and not a young adult/adult like Chris O'Donnell). Sorry, but that’s me hoping for a lead-into a potential Teen Titans movie.

It seems only fitting that Batman be the first movie to follow a Justice League movie, mainly because of his solo success in the past. I know most would think why not Superman first, but Superman to me is so tied to the Justice League from their level of threats that he should be the movie that precedes a Justice League sequel, kind of like how Captain America the First Avengers preceded the Avengers, almost like a lead-in. I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself properly, but I hope I am.

Wonder Woman movie:

One can only hope that the person that portrays Wonder Woman in the Justice League movie will do such a great job that she’ll gain a large enough cult following to demand a solo movie, one that will retell her origins and tie deeply into ancient mythology and magic, and one that will flesh out Themescyra and the Amazons.

My ideal thought is a trilogy of Wonder Woman movies with the Cheetah, Giganta and Circe as each movie’s major antagonist, starting with Wonder Woman’s classic archnemesis and ending with her most powerful and dangerous villain (Giganta can be replaced in my opinion, and I would love one or more of the movies to feature Doctor Psycho as a villain in the background).

And please, please have Donna Troy utilised as Diana’s little sister and second Amazon warrior princess, even if it’s just a cameo. Not only is she drastically underused and under-appreciated but there’s so much potential and she can be a founding member for a Teen Titans movie.

The Flash movie:

I’m sure many of you will agree, the Flash needs and really deserves his own movie. Not only is he a great iconic and unique character, but he has an immense array of villains/Rouges that have so much potential.

One idea: retell Barry Allen’s origin as the Flash when his nephew Wally West attempts to recreate the accident, incidentally becoming Kid Flash and his new sidekick, as Batman has Robin.

Teen Titans movie:

(My favourite Teen Titans incarnation)

You guessed it. What better way to utilise the success of a Justice League movie than creating a “Junior Justice League” movie. With Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash’s appearances in their respective mentors’ previous solo movies, they can easily come together and form their own teenage superhero team.

Whether you tell a story starring the classic Teen Titans founding members (Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and maybe Speedy or Aqualad), or a more modern story based on the Judas Contract with Raven, Beast Boy, Starfire and Cyborg as founding members (less likely considering Cyborg’s New 52 Justice League status), utilising the idea of a junior Justice League would be great.

My idea: Robin/Dick Grayson investigates the disappearances of teenage metahumans across the country without the involvement or knowledge of Batman, and enlists the help of the only other two teenage sidekicks of Justice League members: Wonder Girl/Donna Troy and Kid Flash/Wally West. The three discover a secret government organisation (N.O.W.H.E.R.E./CADMUS) kidnapping teenage metahumans to develop a way to combat the Justice League encase they ever go rouge (the organisation can possibly be headed by Amada Waller).

When they find the base of operations, they discover dozens of imprisoned teenagers that resemble future Titans members (Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg? Etc) and the badguys release their secret weapon, Project Superboy, created by the DNA of Superman and an undisclosed human donor. Superboy fights the Teen Titans, matching strength with Wonder Girl and speed with Kid Flash, and Robin shows his moxie as a capable leader for the team and the most dangerous and skilled of the Titans despite his lack of superpowers.

Superboy gets turned to the side of good, badguys’ base blows up and Teen Titans and prisoners all escape relatively unharmed. Founding members Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash welcome Superboy and name themselves the Titans with the news reporters mistaking their name for Teen Titans. (This was the shorthand version of my idea)

Superman movie:

A good Superman movie with Lex Luthor and/or Brainiac as the main villain with possible plot threads leading into the second Justice League movie.

Justice League movie 2

You’ll notice in “Phase One” there was no Green Lantern movie; solely my personal preference, as well as the idea that not too many movies can be released between the first Justice League movie and its sequel.

One idea I have for a second or third Justice League movie is the five founding members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash fight their Crime Syndicate counterparts: Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick. A bonus is all these villains can be played by the same actors (e.g. Henry Cavil plays both Superman and Ultraman, etc). This can avoid the complications of a large ensemble cast of actors, as well as test the actors’ acting abilities. Simple CGI, stunt doubles and camera magic can have the counterparts interact and fight with one another.

That’s all I got so far. The sequel movies that encompass “Phase Two” would be determined on the success of the respective solo movies of “Phase One”. Justice League and Batman are obvious ones that will most likely gain sequels, but ones like Wonder Woman and the Flash are up in the air for me.

What’re your ideas?