Don’t expect to see any kinds of connectivity with the upcoming slate of DC Films.
That’s the word from Warner Bros. head Kevin Tsujihara, who says the DC superhero films won’t aim to be as connected as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That sounds like a smart strategy considering the MCU has six films in the top 20 highest grossing films of all-time.
In an interview with the LA Times, Tsujihara said he feels like WB is on the right track with its upcoming films Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey.
‘The universe isn’t as connected as we thought it was going to be five years ago. You’re seeing much more focus on individual experiences around individual characters,’ Tsujihara said ‘That’s not to say we won’t at some point come back to that notion of a more connected universe. But it feels like that’s the right strategy for us right now.’
I still think that’s the wrong lesson learned from Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s success. Audiences didn’t respond so well to them because they avoided tie-ins to the larger DC Universe, it was because the characters were handled properly.
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Aquaman saved his father instead of watching him die to save his identity. Wonder Woman was a beacon of hope and inspiration while Superman was oblivious to the people dying around him in his fight with General Zod. And The Flash on the CW series was treated far more heroically than the insecure racer depicted in Justice League.
It’s odd that Tsujihara thinks the shared universe isn’t the right play when all along it was a matter of a shoddily thrown together connected universe that doomed the DC Extended Universe. The autopsy made it clear that audiences will go for darker storylines (see Captain America: Civil War) if there’s enough of a connection to the characters beforehand.
Shoehorning a Batman/Superman feud in only the second film and tossing in questionable cameos by Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash didn’t help make the universe feel connected, but rushed.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman showed the benefit of properly developing the characters without rushing to play catch up to Marvel. That doesn’t mean linking the characters is a bad idea, just that it’s important to get them right before connecting them.