Although Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has grossed around $872 million worldwide to date, it failed to pass the $1 billion (as some had predicted) and was far from being a critical darling. Since the film’s release, there have been changes made behind the scenes on the DC Extended Universe that Batman V Superman and the upcoming Justice League movies (including director James Wan’s Aquaman) are part of; most notably, DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns being appointed the architect of the DCEU.
Ahead of his latest directorial effort, The Conjuring 2, Wan has expressed his thoughts on the DCEU ‘shake-ups’ that’ve been making headlines of late. He also spoke highly of Johns, a well-respected comic book industry figure who brings with him a wealth of experience to the DCEU (having previously worked on other DC projects in film, television, and the comic book medium alike).
Wan spoke about Johns’ positive influence and how he feels that the media had blown things out of proportion with respect to the current state of the DCEU, when he spoke to Cinemablend during the press day for The Conjuring 2:
“To be honest, it’s not as dramatic as the press is making it out to be – from what I’m seeing. And right now I’m seeing everything as more an outsider looking into this box. So from that perspective, it’s really cool that it’s not crazy, crazy dramatic. I think it’s great. Geoff Johns is super talented, super smart. Part of what got me excited about the Aquaman character is his re-envisioning of Aquaman, the character, with The New 52. And that’s super exciting. And I’m working very closely with him, and I want to work with him very closely to shape the story that I want to tell.”
It’s reassuring from a DC fan’s perspective that Johns is taking such a keen and vested interest in individual films like Aquaman, as well as the DCEU in general. He also went on to pretty much brush off the idea that Warner Bros.’ appointment of Johns was a rash decision and that any such DCEU personnel changes are interfering with pre-production on Aquaman:
“Whatever these “shake-ups” are, I don’t actually see them. If anything, like anything to do with my fricking career, I read about them in the trades, I read them all over the internet! And people are asking me this and I’m like, ‘Huh? What?’ [laughs] Just like I found out all these things. And so I’m not privy to necessarily what’s going – partially because I was so busy with trying to finish up Conjuring 2.”
It’s perhaps easier for Wan to turn a blind eye to anything that does change in the DC filmmaking machine due to his focus not only on Aquaman and his lack of access to what the big wigs are really thinking, but also because he’s been preoccupied promoting The Conjuring 2. That said, Wan’s the sort of director that, if things aren’t turning out planned or indeed how he wanted, would have no issues with walking away, regardless of the ongoing, successful relationship he has with WB. The Insidious helmer’s one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood, and with his continued enthusiasm for both the future of DC’s big screen life and how Aquaman will turn out, everything seems to be in safe hands right now.
Suicide Squad will hit theaters 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 July 24, 2020.