DC Universe Reboot & The Future of DC Comics Movies

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 31st, 2011 at 9:17 pm,

dccomics1 DC Universe Reboot & The Future of DC Comics Movies

Here’s an update on the DC Universe Reboot.

DC Comics is currently in the midst of rebooting their comic book universe in the hopes of attracting new readers. This news comes as little surprise, as we’ve known that DC was in for a bit of overhaul ever since their restructuring venture with Warner Bros. created the DC Entertainment brand earlier this Fall.

DCE’s primary goal has been to streamline their brand into a cohesive multimedia package, where comic books, video games, TV projects and feature films are all being planned and coordinated under one creative umbrella to optimize brand appeal across all media formats.

On the comic book front, DC will soon be debuting Earth One, an ongoing series of graphic novels that will re-imagine classic DC Universe superheroes in modern context, much the same way Marvel did with its “Ultimate” brand. So what does re-introducing audiences to the DC Universe and its heroes mean for future DC superhero flicks? Let’s take a look…

AICN had a chance to interview J. Michael Straczynski and Geoff Johns, two acclaimed DC Comics writers who will be tackling the two biggest names on the Earth One slate, namely Superman and Batman, respectively. If you want to know what this Earth One universe is all about, here are a few choice quotes from the Q&A with Straczynski and Johns:

AICN: Tell me a little bit about the premise behind SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE.

J. Michael Straczynski: Clark [Kent] comes to Metropolis in his 21st year to decide what he really wants to do. And this is someone who can be anyone, do anything. If he keeps his background secret, as he’s done for the preceding 21 years, he can be the best athlete the world has ever known, he could be the next Stephen Hawking, could take away the golf crown from Tiger Woods, create patents that could earn billions. He can finally step out of the shadows and into the light.

By contrast, if he chooses to become Superman, then Clark must live forever in the shadows, dedicated to a life of service and self-sacrifice that could eventually get him killed. That’s a hard choice for anybody to make, let alone a 21 year old kid who wants to look after his mom and is lured by the idea of money and success and fame. So the story is about Clark’s…moment, when he has to finally make that choice, why he makes it, and what follows after.

This is probably one of the most often told and re-told stories in comics history…But I’ll be straight up with you: I’m not here to change his story into something it was never intended to be so that I can “make my mark” on the character. It’s about respecting the character and his origins…

superman batman earth one DC Universe Reboot & The Future of DC Comics Movies

Will we ever see these Earth One versions of Supes and Bats on the big screen?

AICN: So what is BATMAN: EARTH ONE all about?

Geoff Johns: BATMAN: EARTH ONE allows [artist] Gary Frank and I to break the restraints of any continuity and focus on two things: character and story. Add to that the idea of working on a line of graphic novels instead of being limited to twenty-two pages, it’s a challenge and I love a challengeOur Batman is a decidedly different Batman yet it is, of course, Bruce Wayne.

I want to let the book will speak for itself, but Batman, Alfred, Detective Gordon, Arkham Manor, the twisted origin behind Gotham City, the Bat-Mobile and, of course, the world’s greatest group of villains are all a part of the world we’re creating. Some of it the characters will more closely resemble the classic interpretations while others will be wildly different. We’re introducing a lot of new characters and elements to this Batman…The first graphic novel features an entirely new villain.

For the full transcript of AICN‘s interviews with Straczynski and Johns, go HERE.

Ok, so like I said, this kind of venture sounds a lot like Marvel’s “Ultimate” universe, which was introduced a few years back. But what does this mean for the superhero films that DCE/WB hopes to make in the next few years?

Well, Chris Nolan has already succeeded in lifting the Batman lore out of its traditional comic book origins, re-introducing the character to movie audiences in full modern, real-world (some of you argue dark and depressing) splendor. However, Superman needs a fresh cinematic start right about now, and you can bet that DCE is keeping that fact tucked somewhere in mind when launching this new graphic novel series.

Just as a fun little bonus, here’s some concept art for the Superman: Earth One version of Clark Kent, as drawn by hot new artist Shane Davis:

Click image for hi-res version

Earth One Clark Kent Sketch DC Universe Reboot & The Future of DC Comics Movies

Understand: Straczynski and Johns are two of DC Comics’ hottest writers at the moment – Johns in particular has done an almost miraculous job catapulting the characters of Silver Age Green Lantern and Flash (that’s Hal Jordan and Barry Allen) from the second-tier status of dead and irrelevant, back into the comic book industry limelight. Johns’ work with the characters has been so celebrated that he’s now branched out behind the scenes, lending his wisdom and guidance to DC/WB movies like The Green Lantern, The Flash and Shazam!

If Johns and Stracynski are being given the free reign to re-imagine the most carefully-guarded characters in DC’s stable, it’s a small leap of deduction to say that they (and other eventual Earth One creative teams) could ultimately become key players in envisioning forthcoming DCE/WB movies according to their Earth One mythos. In a lot of cases, what is done on the comic book page serves as the preliminary storyboards for an eventual feature film; when you think about it like that, it’s easy to wonder if we aren’t seeing the future of DC Superhero movies being plotted out before our eyes…

For now, we’ll keep you posted on how DC’s Earth One venture develops, and what (if any) affect it will have on DC Superhero movies. Stay tuned.

Sources: Comic Book Resources, AICN, Slash Film

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  1. I guess this is the DC response to Marvel Ultimates. I think it’s a good idea. Maybe we will start seeing some more DC titles soon.

  2. Im just watching the first Reeve Superman flick right now, and I have to say it is without a doubt the greatest superhero movie of all time. Just a fabulous and wonderful piece of classic cinema.

    I am a fan of Johns work, I also love that he writes Smallville episodes as well. He clearly loves the character, in whatever incarnation he can get his hands on.

    The world needs Superman, now more than ever.

  3. This is just awesome! And I am betting it will be better than the Ultimate line of books. Hope they do a Flash, GL, and JLA, I am loving Johns work on Flash and GL.

    And thanks for the post, Kofi! :D

  4. Nolan’s batman is different from the comics? I heard that his movies were thematically similar to the Year One and Long Halloween graphic novels. I’m planning on reading them and I was hoping they had a Dark Knight/Batman Begins kind of vibe to them. Do they at least play up the vigilante, intimdating criminals stuff in those comics?

  5. Neontiger, Batman Begins/The Dark Knight is indeed thematically similar to the Year One and Long Halloween graphic novels, as well as the 1970s comics.

  6. There’s always been too much backstory for me to get into the DC Comics properly…but with this reboot, I think I’ll finally have my chance! At the very least, the art will be gorgeous.

  7. Very exciting stuff indeed. Now, as long as they keep Mark Millar way the hell away from it, it could be very promising. Hopefully it’ll lead to a rehash of the whole Justice League which will Segue into a movie. We shall see.

  8. I just hope that if they ever get to the Doomsday battle they leave out all the redundant mini-stories that was in the collected novel, and make the fight more emotionally driven, somewhat similar to the animated movie.

    I’m mostly worried about how they will explain Superman’s power origins without referencing Krypton, freakin Siegal and Shuster heirs had to go and get greedy.

  9. Sounds very interesting – might actually get me to buy a few DC titles again. Of course I’ve just cut way BACK on Marvel titles… $4 a pop, yikes!


  10. another dc reboot? what a surprise…not.

    This is one of the reasons I was always a marvel guy…although marvel has started messing up enough that a reboot wouldn’t be out of the question there either.

  11. I’ll be picking up Batman: Earth One. Thanks for highlighting this. I would have never known otherwise.

    The only thing is I’m not liking Batman’s costume. It’s omitting the underwear over tights look that nearly every interpretation of the character has….

  12. @ORI

    At least it looks like a costume, not a mismatch of body armour like a recent incarnation.

  13. Ok and I dont recall reading this, skimming over again, nope. So this runs as another Universe… (53?) Or are we still looking at 52 of them with “our” Batman (BW) gone?

    That is the big issue with DC. They have so many “heroes” and no place to keep them all.

    IMO Marvel said pffft this is a completely separate line of stories somewhat like a “What if” yet as a series.

    I love the Bat but DC has toyed with their Universe too much to really keep me interested. I will pick up one or two and maybe the Batman run but I dont think I can ever get back to DC.

  14. dc comics ar really going in… ive been reading the new blackest night green lantern series and its brilliant!! really sheds some new light on the green lantern corps series.

    so im excited to see what they do with the year 1 stuff.

  15. I am currently in the middle of the Blackest Night story arc that is a DC Universe story arc…Geoff Johns is absolutely amazing and that story has been unbelievably great thus far..I have bought all the cross-over issues and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of great story telling and the DC mythos..They are doing some ret-con work but for the most part it’s truly great!! I can’t wait for the rest of the arc to be finished and read it all again..It heavily involves Green Latern and the GL Corps but they will play a much bigger role in the new DC Universe.

  16. Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnn…..

    Another DC Earth.


    “These would make great movies”

    Look, whenever characters are brought to a live action (and even animation) context, they are always, more often than not, given updates in the timeline. Let’s say we finally get a new Supey film. Are they going to simply bring the character up to the times but keeping the essence of the origin? Or are they going with this lame “earth one” reboot which might not be familiar to the masses?

    And…nobody sees the problem?

    As a stand alone series of graphic novels, Earth One might be a good read. They might be interesting. The promise of introducing a new villain for any classic hero does get the blood pumping.

    Stay far, far, far away from live action films at this time.

  17. Reading Batman has become annoying. Is Bruce Batman or is Dick Batman?

    Kevin Smith’s The Widdening Gyre is a good read. I think Bruce is Batman

  18. Dick is Batman in the regular book,for now.

  19. @ Seely

    I don’t see the problem

  20. I was under the impression that Wayne is dead for now..unless the zombie corpse in the Blackest Night series counts as wayne

  21. Actually I have just read Wayne isnt dead, and will be back, but not as Batman?!

  22. sounds like fun

  23. Here’s one for Ya. Does any of this art remind you of any actors?

  24. Reading this is kind of strange, I thought that bounce back to the past thing was dead already. I think Mark Wiad had the right Idea, taking us away to the ending of the known DC. I mean all the best stuff DC ever did was in the JLA, how ever… If you want me to buy comics you got to put more work in guys. You should know that a lot of your fans have developed ideas what those hero's of yours should be like, The new generation isn't going to fall for the New and improved version agian. I mean the basic's of story telling is to show your readers why they should care. I think all the industry needs is to get used to the excellent Ideas that are available now… Ok how does this sound, forget everything you read or know about Superman cause its all going to be centered around Smallville TV show fans. I mean if you think whats been done already wasn't worth doing then well, make completely new hero's. Why have Superman explained to us again, your competing days are over because as developers you finally have the rights to the biggest hero's in the world and your shutting it down… I dreamed of doing art for this for so long and now your saying its done, that is what Lex Luthor would want.

  25. If WB plays there cards right they have a lot of oppertunity here with a DC Verse re-boot; both in the comics and the movie world.

    I for one would love to see more closer to reality based versions of these classic heros.

  26. If WB plays there cards right they have a lot of oppertunity here with a DC Verse re-boot; both in the comics and the movie world.

    I for one would love to see more closer to reality based versions of these classic heros.

  27. “a 21 year old kid who wants to look after his mom”

    Wait, they’re killing off Jonathan Kent again!? Stupid Smallville ruining everything.

  28. I mostly dont like what they did making Dick Grayson Nightwing again, if anyone ever earned to be Batman it would be him. He is Bruce Wayne’s greatest success. With Jason Todd being Bruce Wayne’s greatest failure seeing the former Robins battle over Gotham would have been biblical. They could have had a rivalry that could match The Joker and Batman.
    To me Dick Grayson is the finest Dc character of them all. Certainly the most popular of the Robins, greatest acrobatic of all time. The most beloved of the Teen Titans, his command of aero movements was most magnificent. He transformed the… pain of his tormented life into ecstatic justice. To use your passion and pain to protect the mantle and legacy of your mentor, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that oprhan little boy who roamed the roofs of Gotham and step out of the shadow of Batman was not only one of the world’s greatest heroes, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.

    -Reginald Prime