The much-hyped WB Discovery earnings call was yesterday, and while the news is a bit less bad than initially predicted, aka maybe every HBO Max show not was killed, one thing became clear. WB is going to really, really try to make its DC content work, and they’re now talking about a new “10-year plan” for the DC Universe, citing a model similar to Marvel’s MCU, though Marvel… never really a 10 year plan when it started with the MCU in the first place.
In the wake of the surprise scrapping of the completed Batgirl movie, WB’s new leadership said they won’t release movies they “don’t believe in,” meaning Batgirl was seen as so bad it would harm the DC brand. . But if you wondered if adjacent projects like The Flash would suffer the same fate, it doesn’t seem to.
During the call, Black Adam, Shazam 2, and The Flash were all listed as enduring and as projects that were indeed still “believed” in. This is despite the fact that Flash star Ezra Miller is currently on the run from the law, leading some to believe that WB might take an even bigger Batgirl-style write-off if they killed The Flash completely and didn’t release it. That doesn’t seem to be happening.
What isn’t clear is what exactly is the foundation of DC’s 10-year plan for future content. DC is currently split into a number of sub-universes between Titans, Doom Patrol, Superman and Lois, The Batman, Joker, and Harley Quinn. The Arrowverse is dead, but the DCEU, the one true connected universe of them all, still lives on, technically, with movies like Black Adam, Aquaman 2, The Flash, and Shazam 2 still on the way, and through shows like Peacemaker. It’s not clear if the overall plan is a major universe hard reset to unify everything like the MCU, or if the idea continues the DCEU but with some sort of higher quality bar to better compete with Marvel. As in, don’t let Batgirl-esque movies go out if they do more harm than good.
And again, I don’t think it’s correct to say that Marvel built the MCU with a grand 10-year plan or even that they’re planning that far ahead right now. The first montage of The Avengers took place in a few years, and now Marvel usually operates in phases that usually last about one to two years. Yes, they may be more progressive now than they used to be, but right now the MCU has: already existed for a decade. With DC, this feels like the second or third time they’ve promised something like this, and yet we’re left with a wide variety of universes of varying quality, and the beleaguered DCEU that doesn’t seem like the right foundation for future DC investment at this point. But we’ll see.
Hopefully this news means more shows can live on, but skepticism is high about what this new regime has planned for DC from here on out. And many more dead projects will follow.
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