Warner Bros. seriously messed up when it came to Justice League. Having regarded Marvel Studios’ The Avengers success with envious eyes, they set out to replicate it. But where the MCU established their heroes across five movies before going for the team-up, Warner Bros. opted for just two.
Then there was the famously chaotic behind-the-scenes drama, with Zack Snyder being booted from the project after executives got cold feet based on the critical mauling of Batman V Superman. Large portions of the movie were reshot with Joss Whedon – with the finished product limping into cinemas under a cloud of bad vibes and proceeding to disappoint pretty much everyone that saw it.
The after effects of this chaotic production are still being felt to this day, too, with fans clamoring for the release of the (possibly fictional) Snyder Cut, as well as mourning the loss of the ongoing story Snyder would have told. And all of this means that we’re not going to see Justice League 2 anytime soon, if ever.
DCEU Producer Peter Safran was asked about whether they’d try to get it right with a sequel by THR, and replied:
“I think that when you’re making really strong stand-alone movies, there’s really no need to bring them together. You want to give these characters room to breathe and live, and tell their stories.”
That’s a really nice observation. What a pity that Warner Bros. didn’t come to the same conclusion back in 2016, eh?
“Wonder Woman has shown what a great stand-alone property that is. And in Aquaman, we feel the same way. We think that there’s a great sequel and beyond to tell.”
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The DCEU focusing on individual stories rather than trying to weave them into some grand multi-movie tapestry is, in my opinion, the way to go. We already have the MCU doing its thing and I’d rather see Warner Bros. trying something different with their heroes. It’s a philosophy echoed by the Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros Pictures Group, too, who recently said:
“We all feel like we’ve turned a corner now. We’re playing by the DC playbook, which is very different than the Marvel playbook. We are far less focused on a shared universe. We take it one movie at a time. Each movie is its own equation and own creative entity. If you had to say one thing about us, it’s that it always has to be about the directors.”
And if the results are as good as Aquaman, who’s to argue with that?