Director Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has now properly kicked off the DC Extended Universe, building on the foundation laid by Man of Steel and paving the way for future DC movies like Wonder Woman, Justice League Part One, and Aquaman. However, because Batman V Superman was neither a runaway success nor failure, it has raised the question: exactly what impact will its reception have on the future of the DCEU?
One such related rumor claimed that David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is undergoing reshoots in order to lighten its tone in response to criticisms that Batman V Superman is too dark – though, that rumor was seemingly refuted by the darkly comical Suicide Squad trailer that was released not too long thereafter, before the reshoots were fully underway. There is also the rumor claiming Warner Bros. Pictures executives are being more “hands-on” with Snyder’s Justice League Part One – and it is possible that increased studio interference was what prompted Seth Grahame-Smith to step down as director on the DCEU’s The Flash solo film. However, there is one filmmaker who has now come forward to clarify that they are not considering stepping away from the DCEU as has been rumored: Aquaman helmsman James Wan.
The rumor that Wan is currently considering stepping down as director on Aquaman originated as part of a report in response to Grahame-Smith leaving The Flash. According to that report’s sources, Wan has been feeling “a tremendous amount of trepidation” about the Aquaman film and is leaning towards sticking with making lower-budgeted movies (like his previous horror films and the upcoming horror sequel The Conjuring 2) rather than continuing further down the path of directing blockbusters that he started on with Furious 7 in 2015.
Wan, who is currently lined up to helm a big-budget, live-action, Robotech movie after he makes Aquaman, has since taken to Twitter to (essentially) dispute this rumor, by posting the following image of himself:
Wan also posted a second comment on his Twitter account, asking fans to refrain from harassing Birth. Movies. Death‘s Devin Faraci – who reported the rumor that Wan was giving thought to leaving Aquaman – and other film news writers, stating “There’s absolutely no need to attack Devin, or anyone.” As was mentioned before, BMD‘s initial report didn’t claim that Wan had dropped out as director on Aquaman; beyond that, Batman V Superman‘s mixed success is (for the time being) only going to continue to fuel similar rumors about the potential shakeups behind the scenes on the DCEU besides Grahame-Smith dropping out as The Flash‘s director. However, Wan is sticking with the Jason Momoa-headlined Aquaman film until further notice, so it’s best to follow Wan’s lead and let bygones be bygones in this case.
As it stands, Wan is working alongside his Conjuring 2 co-writer Davie Leslie Johnson on the screenplay for Aquaman and has expressed his excitement about getting to show the title character’s origins on the big screen multiple times now, while he’s been out and about promoting the upcoming release of his Conjuring sequel. For these reasons alone, it’s reasonable to take him at his word and assume that the DCEU film in question is something that Wan remains committed to making for the time being.
Aquaman will undoubtedly pose substantial filmmaking challenges that go well beyond studio control (namely, its many underwater sequences and sea monster villains), but after he had to work around the death of costar Paul Walker part-way through filming Furious 7, Wan now has experience when it comes to dealing with significant obstacles on big-budget tentpoles. Similarly, although Batman V Superman was not the runaway hit that WB no doubt wanted, between Suicide Squad and the in-production Wonder Woman generating positive buzz (and the same rumors about WB being more “hands-on” with Justice League Part One also claiming that the movie is a “crowd-pleasing” blockbuster in a way that Batman V Superman was not), the future of the DCEU actually seems more promising than not right now. Wan’s continued involvement with Aquaman is only going to help in that respect.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.
Source: James Wan