Marvel may have got a leg up on its competition before the superhero bonanza engulfed the movie landscape, stringing its cinematic properties into a series of interconnected Phases all under the one umbrella, but Warner Bros. matched the company’s vision late last year by going all-in on its own expansive movie slate, with 10 DC-based projects set to arrive before 2020. It was a magnificent moment for fans of the source material and even the neutral, as these two comic titans prepared to go toe-to-toe on the silver screen.
However, if a behind-the-scenes study from The Hollywood Reporter is accurate, this ambitious plan isn’t as cohesive as Warner would have you believe. Adopting a “filmmaker-driven” strategy, WB’s approach is allegedly individualistic, lacking the omnipresent, Kevin Feige-like supervisor to ensure that all scripts and ideas dovetail with one another in the final cut.
In fact, sources claim that Warner Bros hired multiple writers for both Wonder Woman and Aquaman, pitting the embryonic scripts against one another in order to conjure a broad canvas of ideas, before cherry-picking the best and brightest. This has, reportedly, lead to friction within the walls of Warner. THR writes that the company “commissioned scripts from three writers, one of whom followed the studio’s direction only to be told the rules governing the universe had changed and his work no longer was usable.”
“They just haven’t been thorough about their whole world and how each character fits and how to get the most out of each writer’s time by giving them direction,” says a rep with knowledge of the process.
There’s certainly evidence that lends credence to this report, particularly when you consider that Michelle MacLaren’s departure from Wonder Woman doesn’t exactly add up for a director well versed in the art of fusing action with character drama.
The closest comparison is, of course, Marvel. And despite reports of internal friction between directors and Feige – which allegedly resulted in Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man – the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, by and large, a cohesive unit, with various narrative branches interlocking to create a shared space that feels real.
Does Warner Bros. have the creative wherewithal to build a universe that can emulate the MCU? Or does the studio lack a defined leader as THR suggests? Let us know your thoughts on this as-yet-unconfirmed report through the comments below.