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The DCU Can Have A Path To Success

The dawn of a new era is drawing near for the DCU. As I look back almost two years and 88 articles ago, I remember my very first article. I was a fresh faced new writer tasked with writing about DC; one of my favorite properties. As I go through the egregious number of missteps made by Warner Brothers, I have only one solution for them.

Burn down the DCEU. 

Nuke it, launch the ashes on an express route to Pluto, and rebuild it with a new foundation. “It’s the only way to be sure.”

With Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom looking less like a blockbuster and more like something that Amber Heard has left on Johnny Depp’s side of the bed; I dare say that Warner Brothers is taking my solution to heart. The Snyderverse took one last pathetic gasp for air, and now we can move on with our lives and forget that any of this ever happened.

James Gunn And Peter Safran Have The Ability To Give Us A Great Experience With Their Rebooted DC Universe.

However, I remain cautiously optimistic. As a DC fan, I know this feeling too well. Like Charlie Brown lining up to kick a football; you are brimming with hope. All of the other times you’ve suffered heart break don’t matter. The time has come for your faith to be rewarded.

Only for you to be greeted yet again by failure as it rears its ugly head.

It doesn’t have to be this way. James Gunn and Peter Safran have a chance to bring it home for us and win back our hearts. Here are essential things that Gunn and Safan need to address to ensure a long and fruitful life for the upcoming reboot of the DCU.

Strong Roles In The Relationship Are Needed.

Without Roy Disney, Walt Disney fails. That’s not to say that Disney isn’t built off of Walt’s vision or that Walt wasn’t capable of producing a good product. The fact of the matter is that Roy was a very good businessman. Roy stayed grounded. The older Disney brother had a realistic view of how things should be done. Walt was the eccentric artist that had to stay tethered to Roy to avoid falling victim to his own whimsical nature.

It is arguably the best working relationships in the history of American business. Gunn and Safran would be wise to model their current situation after Walt and Roy.

The Disney Brothers Had A Business Partnership That Gunn and Safran Should Take Note Of.

James Gunn is a brilliant director who works wonders with projects. Guardians Of The Galaxy was a step above cult status and Gunn turned the property into a household name. Gunn is a gifted artist with big dreams full of creativity and possibilities.

A common problem with artists; however, is that they are dreamers. Their heads remain in the clouds while the real world passes them by. Enter Peter Safran. As the producer in the relationship, Safran is there to ground Gunn and put an end to any unrealistic expectations.

Safran has a successful history of business management. As a manager of A-list stars such as Brad Pitt and Adam Sandler; Safran knows how to handle egos and manage expectations. Safran has experience as a producer. His name is even attached to some Snyderverse films. He has intimate knowledge of what does and doesn’t work.

Respect The DC Source Material.

A problem that plagues the MCU is the horrendous treatment of Marvel’s source material. Years of brilliant writing bring these beloved characters to life. Marvel doesn’t use any of it.

Secret Invasion director Ali Selim was instructed to disregard the comics when he undertook the project. It led to failure.

That isn’t an isolated incident over at the MCU. This video from the Geeks And Gamers Youtube channel (NSFW, language) shows a clip that features multiple writers from multiple projects. The writers openly admit they are either instructed to disregard the source material or don’t care about the source material. In turn, they just wrote what they wanted to write.

This is why the MCU is sinking. Not dedicating yourself to the source material lowers your standards for hiring. Lowering your standards for hiring allows activists to sneak in and provide themselves with a huge platform. Once that happens, it becomes an infestation of creative bankruptcy and ham-fisted politics. If this happens, Warner could lose the core audience for the DCU. Maybe even for good this time.

The Roster OF DC Characters Is Important To Literary History And Should Be Handled With Reverance.

You aren’t directing Moby Dick without knowing what drove Captain Ahab to madness. Nobody is writing Wuthering Heights without embracing the complexity of Heathcliff and his inner conflict. Comic books are pieces of literature that are just as important as the traditional classics.

It is unacceptable to ignore these beautiful, well drawn out stories only to obtusely think that you can do a better job. These characters are not yours to play with. You have the privilege and; more importantly, the duty to faithfully execute their stories. The Flash is not a catalyst for your political message. Wonder Woman is not a stand in for your egotistical self-insert. The characters that make up the DCU are an institution that is beloved world-wide.

These properties need to be treated faithfully and with respect.

DC Should Assemble A Looser Universe Than Marvel

In its infancy, the MCU was revolutionary. Early on, you have great characters with interweaving storylines that tie together seamlessly. Each story leads the moviegoers into one theater after another.

Now, the MCU continues to bloat and crush itself under its own weight. To fully understand what is going on, you have to sift through hours upon hours of content. Quite frankly, a lot of this content is awful. You shift from having an audience be willfully led from one project to another, to strapping them down and force-feeding them content like a French duck.

I have no problem with major film events. Journalists continue to speculate that Gunn is setting up the Kingdom Come storyline. You can lead all of your characters to your epic event without making every single piece of content required reading. 

Allowing Your Franchises To Be Serialized, As Opposed To Being Tied To One Convoluted Universe Allows For Writers To Provide Fans With More Variety.

One “big bad” villain isn’t necessary. It works well with Thanos. That shouldn’t make it the rule. Write a movie with The Flash fighting Captain Cold, or Batman fighting Clayface.  After that, start setting your inevitable Justice League team up. 

You maximize longevity this way. Bloating of your storyline is avoided. Your writing staff doesn’t adhere to a strict timeline of events. They have the freedom to actually explore the source material. In turn; they write more creatively. The staff puts out a better, more consistent product. Everybody wins.  Now, you free up excess manpower. The people required to maintain a rigid cinematic universe are being allowed time for passion projects.

Maybe one writer does a one-shot episode on Jay Garrick’s Flash from the golden age of comics. Perhaps another does a project on The Phantom Lady. The time is there. You are satisfying fans with cool Installments. If you use these opportunities to take certain risks, the fans will love it.

Hire The Best People For The Job At DC

Quality craftsmanship will breed a quality product. Going back to the early days of the MCU, quality was the number one priority. Directorial masters such as Jon Favreau and Kenneth Branagh directed Iron Man and Thor respectively. Gunn himself took on Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Then Disney stopped hiring quality directors. They hire directors that have no business being put in charge of movies that have budgets of up to a quarter of a billion dollars. Directors that are qualified to helm these projects lack dedication and admittedly just do it for the paycheck. As we see from the MCU’s latest output of content, this strategy won’t sustain itself.

Kenneth Branagh Working On The “Thor” Franchise. He Has Expressed Interest In Working On More Comic Book Movies.

Gunn and Safran need to target and lock down the best, most enthusiastic people for their DCU roles. Hire competent directors who care. Take on actors that have the same enthusiasm for the source material that Henry Cavill does. Carefully select people that fit into the role you’re casting them in. If you’re casting for The Flash hire someone who can actually run. Don’t hire an insufferable goofball who runs like Steven Seagal.

Observing Gunn’s casting choices for the DCU, he is hiring great actors and casting them in very fitting roles. Rachel Brosnahan as Lois Lane is very reminiscent of Margot Kidder. David Corenswet looks the part as Superman (apologies to Henry Cavil). Nathan Fillion as Guy Gardner is a brilliant choice. Gunn seems to be looking at his casting through the lens of a fan and he is making really solid choices.

Gunn’s casting process alone makes me think that maybe Warner and the new DCU can actually go toe to toe with Marvel.

Final Takeaway

I have no reason to give Warner Brothers another chance to satisfy me as a DC fan. Yet, hope springs eternal. I find myself wanting the DCU to succeed because these characters are deserving of better treatment than they have been given.

It sounds strange if you’re a casual fan, but these characters mean a great deal to a lot of people. I grew up reading these stories and watching everything from the George Reeve’s episodes of Superman that I rented from my local video store; to the abysmal adaptation of The Flash that made me sit through not one, but two variations of Ezra Miller on screen for two hours.

These characters and these stories drive us. When you hear that something that you’ve held dear to your heart for your entire life is getting one more chance to get it right, you’re going to root for it and pray that you won’t be let down this time.

As the hype ramps up for the DCU and I continue to observe sound decision making from the team of Safran and Gunn; my optimism increases.

Lace up your shoes one more time Charlie Brown. You’re going to kick that football this time.

I can feel it.

What do you think, GNN Fans? Sound off in the comments below and let your voices be heard!

Thank You for reading! When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my wife Barbara, my four year old daughter Frances, and my loyal hound Marbles.  For more hot takes, follow me here and on our brand new YouTube channel.  You can also check out more of my content on my author’s page.

Stay Geeky Everybody

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