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As Marvel’s Phase Four Fizzles, DCU’s Future Sizzles

Marvel’s Phase Four was a disappointment.  There is no getting past it.  Thor: Love And Thunder released to mixed reviews.  Shows that were well received by fans such as Moon Knight outdid Hawkeye with viewers,with 415,000,00 views .  But that was forgotten when She Hulk concluded and became one of the most divisive television shows in recent history, never even breaking into the Nielsen top ten.

Jane Foster and Thor

Thor: Love And Thunder was a disappointment at the Box Office.

While all of this was happening at The House of Mouse, David Zaslav has been at Acme Acres plotting on how to develop a counter attack to Kevin Feige’s now fleeting Midas Touch.  The Zazz has had an uphill battle.  The DCU has been chaotic. 

Joss Whedon dropped the ball with The Justice League with his abusive and toxic behavior on set.  Ezra Miller has been a constant distraction.  Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck’s respective roles within the Universe have been unclear at best.  It has been one thing after another, after another, and after another.  I am shocked that David Zaslav hasn’t lost his hair and morphed into Lex Luthor.

Then the skies opened up.  The fog cleared.  Little rays of hope started breaking through the storm cloud encompassing the many maladies on the DCU front.

David Zaslav has been searching for a way to go toe to toe with the MCU. He may have found a match for Kevin Feige in James Gunn.

Black Adam has exceeded expectations financially, by passing $350,000,000.00 at the box office.  The fact that a character that is not exactly on the radar of casual comic fans is performing well above average at the box office is a great sign.  Dwayne Johnson is a workhorse. he will make his projects successful by any means necessary.

This is a spark that could lead to  an explosive charge that launches the DCU past Marvel and into the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised fans who have been patiently waiting for signs of life from an IP that has been on life support since the implosion that occurred shortly after the Justice League debacle.

Blue Beetle Will Keep The DCU Momentum Up

With the success of Black Adam this means that the doors are open for some of the other lesser known, yet compelling characters in the DCU to have a moment to shine.  The Blue Beetle will make his film debut in 2023.  The outlook for the film is good, with Xolo Mandruena, of Cobra Kai fame playing the title role. This incarnation of the Blue Beetle is a relatively new character, with Jamie Reyes debuting in 2006.  This will be a big step for DC, since they lack in the diversity department and Blue Beetle is a Latino superhero that can tap into a market that has lacked representation in the genre.

Blue Beetle isn’t the most popular character in the DC lineup. But he represents a proud community that takes pride in its representation. So he’s sure to be a hit.

Bringing In The Big Gunn

David Zaslav finally addressed the elephant in the room and answered all of the questions that DCU fans had for him.  Yes, The Flash is still happening. No, Ezra Miller will not return (as of now).  Then he found somebody to run this dysfunctional ship and all of a sudden the DCU wasn’t the laughing stock that it has been for the last five years. 

James Gunn, who already has his toes dipped in the water with the reboot of Suicide Squad  and the hit HBO MAX series Peacemaker has been chosen to take the reins. James Gunn is a great choice to take charge of this vast Universe.  He has hits on both sides of the rivalry.

Guardians of the Galaxy  is a massive hit for the MCU and  James Gunn coming over to this side is sure to compel a respectable number of MCU fans to come over with him and see what the DCU has to offer.

James Gunn already has a hit with the DCU fans with Peacemaker.

Within weeks, the installment of Gunn at the top seat has had  positive consequences.  Henry Cavill has gotten off the fence and will return as Superman.  Ben Affleck is rumored to have agreed to return as Batman.  There is no word yet as to whether or not Ray Fisher will return as Cyborg but with Walter Hamada’s ousting, Fisher may be willing to reprise his role.

While all of this looks great, and things are finally looking up for the millions of DC fans who have been waiting a long time for good news, things still need to be addressed for this to actually work.

  • Egos need to be set aside.  Since Gunn was brought on board, rumors have been swirling that he and Dwayne Johnson have been butting heads over the direction of the DCU. Its not a secret that Johnson was pressing hard to be in charge of the DCU. I don’t see this as anything to be alarmed about yet.  Both men are reportedly amicable.  However, it would be very reassuring for a resolution of differences to happen sooner rather than later.
  • Give fans the Green Lantern movie that they deserve.  It’s been too long and the neglect of this property is shameful. 
  • Find an actor to replace Ezra Miller as The Flash right away.  That should be priority number one.
  • Play down the Snyderverse.  Just do it in a respectable manner.  Zack Snyder is a very respectable director.  He knows how to make a movie.  He is also very hit and miss.  While the Snyder cut of Justice League was superior to the Whedon cut, it was also four hours long.  You have to keep in mind that kids want to see these movies too.  any movie that extends past two hours and thirty minutes is box office poison.  Let us also not forget that Not all of Snyders films have been spun from gold. Watchmen was released to mixed reviews, Man of Steel was poorly received by Superman fans to the point where Aquaman has gotten a sequel before Superman has.  Last but not least, WonderWoman 1984 is regarded as one of the weakest entries into the DCU.  Zack Snyder had his time, now we need to move on from him.
  • Keep the TV Universe intact.  The Arrowverse might be on its last legs, but the shows that HBO MAX is giving us are fantastic.  Doom Patrol, Titans,  and Gunn’s very own Peacemaker are all solid shows that are very well written and entertaining. The fact that Titans and Doom Patrol are also set in their own universes is refreshing in the sense that the casual fans won’t need a scorecard to keep up if that is all they want to watch.  Down the road, maybe it can all be briefly tied together in a Flashpoint style movie ala Multiverse of Madness.  For now, the tv set up is perfect just the way it is.
  • Let each director use their own style.  James Gunn is great at what he does.  Noy everything needs to be done his way though.  If everything is made the same way as Guardians of The Galaxy or The Suicide Squad then nothing will stand out and moviegoers will lose interest.
  • Focus on Golden Age characters like Jay Garrick’s Flash or Alan Scott’s Green Lantern.  That would be a cool glimpse into history.
  • Take chances with the lesser known properties once established.  I would love to see more attention paid to Vertigo.  Y: The Last Man would be interesting to see.  You also have cult favorites like Blackhawks and Grifter  who might make decent aditions to the TV universe.

Final Thoughts

After years of waiting, and lamenting about how DC Comics has been mishandled on the big screen, we finally have something positive to look forward to.  David Zaslav seems committed to competing with Marvel on the grand stage. He looks to be making all of the right decisions in order to make that happen.

The DCU has a long way to go to earn the trust of the fans back.  If all of the right pieces of the puzzle keep falling into place, that will be as easy as a hundred yard dash for Barry Allen.  With Cavill back and Ben Affleck rumored to be returning, we are already off to a good start.

Let’s all get ready for the beginning of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

What do you think, Geek Faithful?  Is the DCU finally on the right track?  Sound off in the comments!

Thank You for reading.  When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time with my wife Barbara, my two year old daughter Frankie, and my hound Marbles.  Sadly, this is the first article that I have written without my trusty ferret, Ms. Farrah Pawcett by my side.  She has leveled up to the next world, and will be missed.  This article is dedicated to her.

For more insightful discussion and thoughtful takes, please check out our YouTube channel. Stay Geeky Everybody!

 

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