Ever since Iron Man exploded onto the scene in the summer of 2008, we’ve seen countless studios attempt to replicate the Marvel recipe for success, but the overwhelming majority of them are missing one key ingredient. Numerous efforts at launching a shared universe have opted to deliver a first installment that’s all setup and no payoff, crossing their fingers in the hopes that audiences will want to see more without actually giving them a reason to invest in the mythology.
The MonsterVerse and The Conjuring Universe have succeeded, but others including the Dark Universe, Sony’s ambitious Amazing Spider-Man plans, Guy Ritchie’s six-film King Arthur series, the Power Rangers reboot and many more all failed. The DCEU is going strong, though, even if Warner Bros.’ superhero saga is still struggling to settle on a unified creative direction eight years in.
In a new interview, Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer, who also contributed to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, explained why Marvel has been much more successful than DC in the shared universe era.
“I think one of the issues is that Marvel’s had consistent leadership for the last fifteen years or more, whereas DC hasn’t. There have been all of these changes in terms of who is running DC. That is fundamentally very hard. It’s hard to make any headway when leadership is changing. One of the other things that’s made Marvel incredibly successful is all of their adaptations are true to the source material. Ant-Man feels like Ant-Man. The Hulk feels like the Hulk. They don’t try to change things up. I would say, try to hew closer to what was the original intent. So, it’s having a consistent universe, having consistent leadership and staying true to the source material.”
You can’t really argue with that assessment, looking at nothing but the facts. Kevin Feige has always been the person with the final say on what happens in the MCU, but the DCEU has undergone several major creative and personnel reshuffles. At various points we’ve seen Jon Berg, Geoff Johns, Zack Snyder, Toby Emmerich, Ann Sarnoff, Jason Kilar, Walter Hamada and others hold a vested stake in the series, often to the detriment of the movies themselves.
The DCEU is forging ahead with more new movies in the pipeline than ever before, with seven blockbusters in various stages of production and development all scheduled to arrive before the end of 2023, but a lot of them are marching to the beat of their own mythological drum.