In the dozen years since Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, countless rival studios have tried to replicate the formula, with the vast majority of them falling at the first hurdle. The Dark Universe was a total bust, the future of the MonsterVerse hinges on the success or failure of Godzilla vs. Kong, and the disappointment of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 led to Sony sharing their most marketable character with Marvel Studios.
During the formative stages of the DCEU, it felt as though Warner Bros. were trying too hard to catch up as quickly as possible, and the desire to get to Justice League as fast as they could ended in disaster. Since then, the franchise has changed its approach, with Joker telling a standalone story set in a pocket of the universe, while The Batman will also operate independently from official canon.
Then there’s the roster of CW shows based on the company’s comic book back catalogue that have a fanbase of their own, and in the eyes of Zack Snyder, the fact that the DCEU or any DC properties in general don’t need to be directly connected has made them more popular than the MCU.
“Well frankly, I just love that they decided to kind of embrace their personality. I think that there was always this sort of criticism and or the middle step. What’s the middle step? You know, trying to be like Marvel? Trying to do your own thing? Like, what are you going to do? Even when I was doing Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League, there were DC animated films that had nothing to do with what we were doing, and there were DC TV shows that had nothing to do with what we were doing, and there was no way to seam those up without alienating a giant fandom by saying ‘your Flash doesn’t count’ or ‘your animated show doesn’t mean anything’.”
Continuing on, he said:
“I think that Marvel, they’ve built over a long period of time, so by the time they got to their later movies, everything had kinda locked in, and it was all sort of moving in the same direction. But that was just never going to happen with DC because the DC TV shows were so popular and because their animated shows were so popular. I mean that was a success that they had. So there was no way that those things were going to ever like, ‘Okay, we’re going to say those things don’t exist now, and it’s this’. And I think there was that thinking for a while, but I’m glad that it kind of settled into a much more diverse approach.”
Disney Plus’ upcoming schedule has confirmed that all upcoming Marvel Studios projects are part of MCU canon whether they be live-action or animated, while HBO Max is focusing on broadening their horizons to offer something for everyone that isn’t necessarily part of one overarching story. The comparisons between the two will never go away permanently, of course, but at least now they offer two different methods of tackling the shared universe model.
Tell us, though, do you prefer one over the other? As always, let us know down below.