The DCEU Will Focus More On Standalone Films After Aquaman

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The cinematic universe model has worked out very well for Marvel Studios in this past decade, allowing the MCU to tell elaborate, overarching stories over the course multiple films. For the DCEU, however, this interconnectivity has generally proven more burdensome than beneficial, lumbering already busy works like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice with the obligation of shoehorning in a few setups to future releases.

You could therefore take it as a sign of things to come that the saga’s biggest feature to date, James Wan’s Aquaman, exists in relative isolation from the rest of this fictional reality, and sure enough, recent statements from Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich indicate that the studio is starting to realize what works for them, rather than what’s worked for Marvel. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the producer suggested that Aquaman marked the start of a pattern of focusing primarily on standalone films:

“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.”

One of the drawbacks of telling interconnected stories is that individual filmmakers are often forced to rein in their own creative visions and artistic personalities in service of whatever larger narrative the cinematic universe is trying to build. Emmerich, however, indicates that Warner plans to give more creative control to their directors, telling THR:

“If you had to say one thing about us, it’s that it always has to be about the directors.”

Honestly, these are some pretty encouraging comments. With Marvel already dominating the box office with their elaborate brand of storytelling, there’s definitely room for DC to take their own distinct approach, and if that means giving directors the freedom and the budget to offer their unique takes on various comic book properties, then all the better.

In any case, the relatively self-contained Aquaman looks to have put the DCEU in a much better state than ensemble actioner Justice League left it in, and we’ll find out if Shazam! can maintain this success when the film hits theaters on April 5th, 2019.

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