Every time you turn around, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are announcing yet another project. The DC Extended Universe is currently four films strong, with its latest offering, Wonder Woman, being the biggest hit of the lot. It was a great win for both the studio and this growing cinematic universe this summer, as it delivered their first critical hit. Things were looking up.
Are they still? I’m not sure anymore. Sure, we have Justice League to look forward to in less than three months. We also have Aquaman, which is currently filming, due out in late 2018. At the moment, their 2019 slate consists solely of Shazam and Wonder Woman 2. The former has a director and a script, but currently lacks a star. The latter has a star and a director, but currently lacks a script. Here’s hoping that all four can come together coherently and avoid turning into messes like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.
That’s all of the (mostly) good news. Now onto the more troublesome side of things. The DCEU has an announcement problem.
At first it felt like they were simply being enthusiastic. They burst out onto the Comic-Con stage, announcing all kinds of future projects like The Flash, Justice League 2, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League Dark, and Cyborg. They seemed deadset on catching up with Marvel and were hiring interesting filmmakers such as Rick Famuyiwa, Guillermo Del Toro, and even Ben Affleck himself to tackle their future films. They’ve all since dropped out as directors, but that’s fine. It’s Hollywood. Things change faster than you can blink.
Their slate was pretty full already with the above projects, but still they persisted. Man of Steel 2 was promised, along with The Batman. It was beginning to become hard to see how they’d fit any sequel in-between their ever-growing list of projects, but I’d happily watch both, so that’s fine. There was also renewed interest in long-gestating projects like Lobo, Metal Men, and Booster Gold. Sure, whatever. I can dig it.
It didn’t stop there, however. The spin-0ffs were next. Loads of spin-offs. Multitudes of spin-offs. A plethora of spin-offs. Hell, even spin-offs of spin-offs!
Many of these films have writers and directors attached to them already. Some even have stars. At this point, however, it’s hard to believe that more than 20% of them will ever get made, if even that many. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are announcing projects and names attached to them so often that it’s become impossible to get excited about any of them. It has also become impossible to take any of them seriously. Not when they can’t even seem to get their current higher-priority projects (i.e. Flashpoint, Suicide Squad 2, The Batman, Justice League Dark) off the ground without retooling them from scratch every few months.
Sure, on paper, it’s cool that Todd Phillips has signed on to develop and direct a Martin Scorsese-produced Joker prequel. But will it ever actually see the light of day? At this stage, I remain utterly unconvinced that it ever will and the same goes for the majority of the other 24(!) projects that they supposedly have in development.
Congratulations, WB and DC. You’ve made me stop caring about any and all future talk about proposed projects. From now on, unless it’s already filming, it doesn’t truly exist as a project. I will watch any and all of these that actually manage to get made. I will do so with an open mind as well. But don’t ask me to take your promises seriously anymore. Not when you’re more concerned about bombastic announcement than you are with actually making films. Any sensible studio would stop the press train and get their production slate in order before continuing to run off at the mouth like this. I honestly feel embarrassed for them at this point. End of editorial rant.
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