The biggest mistake Warner Bros. and DC Films made during the formative years of their shared superhero universe was trying to mimic the formula that had brought Marvel Studios such unprecedented success. Kevin Feige’s method of connecting each movie together as one piece of a much larger puzzle was as groundbreaking as it was influential, but the majority of would-be competitors all fell at the first couple of hurdles by rushing to play catch-up.
The dismal reception to Joss Whedon’s Justice League made it abundantly clear that WB was wrong in trying to get to the team-up as soon as possible, and it’s all been downhill for the SnyderVerse since then. Zack Snyder’s four-hour HBO Max event may have given the fans what they wanted, but it was the performance of the theatrical version that convinced the boardroom to move in another direction.
We’re still not sure what that direction is, though, with many key members of the SnyderVerse set to headline their own solo blockbusters in the future, while J.J. Abrams’ Superman reboot isn’t expected to be part of any shared continuity despite the studio outlining their intentions to start having everything connect once again. Now, a new rumor is claiming that to differentiate themselves even further from Marvel, the majority of DC adaptations moving forward will be R-rated.
Of course, the DCEU‘s only canonical R-rated effort so far was Birds of Prey, which flopped at the box office, but The Suicide Squad will be hoping to turn out much more like Joker. Of the six comic book blockbusters the company has on the way between now and the summer of 2023, James Gunn’s soft reboot is the only one skewing directly towards an older audience, but there are a number of in-development titles that could feasibly get an R-rating, although it would be a bold move to risk alienating such a large and lucrative part of the audience.