Geoff Johns: DC Movie & TV Universes Will Be ‘Separate’

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Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Header1 Geoff Johns: DC Movie & TV Universes Will Be Separate
In some alternate universe, Warner Bros. and DC’s 2006 Superman Returns was an extension of their 2005 reboot Batman Begins, ushering in a new interconnected movie universe ahead of Marvel Studios. That didn’t happen, of course. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy exists as an Elseworlds-type of self-contained story, standing apart from the newly established DC Movie Universe created by last year’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel.

Marvel, in contrast, patiently and carefully built up their own universe, starting with Iron Man (2008), peaking commercially with the 2012 Superhero All-Star Jam The Avengers, which was then augmented by the ABC television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now that DC and Warner Bros. is continuing their Man of Steel world-building with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and have big plans for their interconnected movie-verse, fans have wondered – will their TV shows ever cross over into the movies?

According to DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, we can rule that notion out. IGN reports that during a panel for The CW’s upcoming Arrow spinoff The Flash during the Television Critics Association press tour, Johns asserted that fans should not expect any crossover between the DC film and TV continuities, stating flatly that each of them are “their own universes.”

When asked if we might expect some form of the Justice League to appear in both the movies and on television, Johns elaborated, saying:

“You’ll see a lot of DC universe characters [on 'The Flash' and 'Arrow']. You won’t see Batman or Superman. We’re on production on ‘Batman v Superman’ now. So you’ll see characters like The Atom or Firestorm, but no not Batman or Superman right now [on TV].”

justice league movie release date Geoff Johns: DC Movie & TV Universes Will Be Separate

So despite the ongoing teasing of such a thing by Arrow star Stephen Amell, we can presumably close the book on such speculations. Johns went ahead and further clarified the matter, if his above comments seemed too vague, saying:

“It’s a separate universe than film so that the filmmakers can tell the story that’s best for film, while we explore something different in a different corner of the DC universe.”

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you that Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman will NOT be rubbing shoulders with the TV version of Green Arrow and The Flash, Johns stated: “We will not be integrating the film and television universes.”

Given that the DC adaptations Constantine and Gotham would be airing on NBC and FOX, respectively, few really expected any kind of crossover there, despite Gotham serving as a sort of Batman origin story. Still, with the CW co-owned by Warner Bros. (who, naturally, owns DC Comics), and in an entertainment industry increasingly obsessed with franchise-building across multiple platforms, it didn’t seem too far-fetched to expect the Arrow and The Flash to appear alongside Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in some form down the line.

Batman V Superman Wonder Woman Costume Rumor Geoff Johns: DC Movie & TV Universes Will Be Separate

And what about Diana of Themyscira? With her background as an iconic TV character in the past, could she appear on the small screen? According to CW president Mark Pedowitz, if they “get the right script,” they’ll do it.

Given Wonder Woman’s pending big-screen introduction, it’s safe to say she won’t appear on television anytime soon. While Pedowitz acknowledged that the success of Arrow has opened many of their competitors’ eyes to the possibilities of an ongoing comic book-based series, he would neither confirm or deny The CW’s plans to develop another comic-based show, saying:

“So for our purposes, it is a rich source material, we know what the mythology is, and if you have the right superhero character you go for it.”

Johns seemed to echo this sentiment, saying: “There’s room for everything.” And, apparently, one property Johns would like to find room for is Shazam. That’s a tricky IP, given its mystical themes, aspects of the DC Universe which have yet to appear onscreen. Still, Shazam is the next rumored release after Batman v Superman, and since Warner Bros. has yet to officially debunk that leaked schedule, could the exploits of the once-named Captain Marvel really hit theaters in some form?

Given the flexible nature of such “definitive” statements within the ever-changing Comic Book Movie genre and multitude of red herrings we’ve seen in the past, this may or may not be the last word on the subject. With fan anticipation for Batman v Superman likely to hit a fever pitch come 2016, and with such positive early reviews for The Flash, if fans want some kind of crossover it may very well happen at some point.

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is it too early for DC and Warners to rule out a movie/TV crossover? Sound off in the comments.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on May 6th, 2016. The Flash premieres Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 @8pm on The CW.

Source: IGN

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. I was never a big green arrow fan but the series is great and look forward to it every week (when its on)!!! And from what I have read a lot of other people are arrow fans, so amell not being the arrow in the JL movie will suck for me at least. Will I see the movie, i’m sure I will but for the green arrow at least, I don’t think it will be as good because I am used to amell, could I be wrong?? Yes but I think amell has nailed that part. I have to wait for the flash, though I enjoyed the pilot.

  2. Why do people keep saying “Arrow” is a hit? It is not! It only scored a 0.9 last season in the key demographic and a pitiful 2.4 million viewers overall. This show would’ve been canceled on any real network. Also, Stephen Amell is awful! He would be so out of his depth on the big screen with real talents it isn’t even funny. Why would anyone think the WB would want a billion dollar movie franchise to touch a mid to low level show like this. Thank God they had the brains not to do this. Get some actual talent to play the film versions of Green Arrow and Flash and stay as far away from these (pretty good for a crappy teen network but not for Hollywood blockbuster films) shows as possible. Anyone who thinks these tv shows and the film universe should be tied together doesn’t have a clue.

    • That’s assuming that these movies are gonna be hits. And no it would NOT be better to have same characters on TV and the movies at the same time because it confuses the casual audience on who’s who. We make an unnecessary debate on which character is better, the movie version or the TV version? If The Flash ends up being a hit you don’t think people aren’t gonna clamor for that character to mix it up with the movie JL? It would be awesome! They have a perfect chance to do something that hasn’t been done before and the producers want to act like it doesn’t happen already in the comics. Way overthinking the issue…

      • Assuming these movies are going to be hits? “MOS” made $668 million world wide. Add the name Batman to that, and “Batman V Superman” will make a billion. “Justice League”, who knows but safe to say it at least hits the ” Avengers” numbers. Sure, who wants to “overthink” messing that potential money up by hinging it to a poorly rated TV show and its spinoff….

        • Also, different versions of the same characters in movies and TV would “confuse the casual viewers”? What casual viewers? The pitiful 2.9 million that watch “Arrow”? Im sure those few will be able to tell the difference. That’s 2% of the 100 million that will see ” Batman V Superman” and “Justice League”.

          • You keep countin viewers as if Mad Men doesn’t get the same amount on AMC yet that show is considered a hit with around the same amount. Shame how “pitiful” the viewership is. All of the best shows are on cable anyway and don’t get network numbers but no one considers them pitiful. A show doesn’t have to have network numbers to be considered a hit. CBS’s Intelligence had quadruple Arrow’s numbers but yet what show is still on the air and what isn’t? Yup, the one with the “pitiful” viewership…

            • Do not compare “Mad Men” and AMC to “Arrow” and CW. Because they aren’t even close. Mad Men is a hit because it is actually great and a huge CRITICAL success. Arrow is neither of those things. Let me know when Arrow is winning Emmys every year or even bominated . Also, all that film companies care about IS NUMBERS. That’s how they make money. Is bytts in seats. So yeah, no way they would want their huge billion dollar event film tied to a TV show with small viewership and even smaller critical acclaim.

              • Yeah, ok. Whatever you say. Superhero movies don’t get nominated for Oscars either so your Emmy argument makes no sense. Arrow goin on 3 seasons and a spin-off which must mean the network thinks highly of it. Your argument is weak. A corporation doesn’t continue to spend money on a product that is “pitiful” and much less spin it off with something. Does that make sense to you? I thought not. Bottomline it’s a “hit” for The CW and athe Flash is primed to do better. And Amell definitely isn’t terrible. If that was the case he wouldn’t have a show 3 years in. There’s been too many review about how good Arrow is so yes I can compare the viewership to Mad Men…

                • Comparing “Arrow” to “Mad Men” just proves you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to what is actually great tv. But, to talk about the show getting a spinoff and being around for 3 years…That doesn’t mean a show is great. It just means its doing better than the other crap on the network. If a guy decides to date a girl for 3 years it doesn’t mean she’s a supermodel, it just means shes the best he can do. Even if she’s ugly. As far as Amell, he’s awful. He just happens to be on a show the CW wants on. You could replace him with almost any other in shape TV actor and the show would be exactly the same. He brings nothing.

                  • But it does mean it’s successful. Just because you don’t like doesn’t mean “pitiful” but you haven’t every right to your opinion. 3 seasons and a spinoff does make a show successful last I heard. I was only using Mad Men as a viewership comparison. They both generally avg the same but one is considered great. I don’t know where you get your (.09) stat.

                    • I’m getting the “0.9″ from the Nielson Ratings website. I never meant that “Arrow” was pitiful as a show. I actually watch it and like it for the most part (even if I don’t like Amell). My point was mainly that a company looking to have a world wide billion dollar success probably doesn’t want or need to be attached to a tv show with relatively pitiful viewership numbers that wouldn’t mean anything to the film universes overall success.

                  • And also this whole argument is bein proven by what Marvel is doing with their TV and movie universes. Agents Of Shield is certainly not bringing down the movie franchises despite its ratings and it’s all connected. They are about to put out the Netflix shows with minor league characters but feel confident in their success. My point is it can and should be done by DC.

        • Poorly rated? I don’t think there would be a spin off made of Arrow if it wasn’t a hit for the network. It serves the audience it needs which I guess is good enough for the CW. And it is the same audience that will be going to see the BvS movie. And please don’t just assume the movie is gonna make Avengers numbers. It will definitely get great first week numbers but Avengers had sustainability plus it was the first of its kind. As Steel-Hearted said these universes can exist together without having some overall giant narrative like Marvel us doing with the Thanos thing. Just like it the books have a passing reference stated on the TV side then continue with whatever individual story you have going on. Simple. The TV shows aren’t gonna bring the movie stuff down because audience aren’t as stupid as networks would think. It still could be done anyway the profile of these shows get raised enough in the press. Arrow is not know nearly as well as the Flash. Take advantage of the opportunity in front of you, DC..,

          • Yes, poorly rated. 0.9 in they key demo and 2.4 million overall is a poorly rated show except for on a network like CW. ” That’s the audience who will go see Bat v Supes”…yes they will, but they are only a VERY SMALL number of the total people that will go see the film. Most of whom have no idea there is even an Arrow or Flash tv show or would care if they did. Also, like I said before…Stephen Amell is a TERRIBLE actor! Why would anyone want that wet blanket smothering the life and charisma out of every scene in a huge movie when you could easily get a much much much better actor to play the role.

  3. I think Artsy actually has a point. This is how I see it from the I-want-them-to-connect point of view.

    The BIG Catch

    If either tv-verse (TVV) or movie-verse (MV) falls, it would take the other with it. I can understand why it would be a really huge risk to connect the two. BUT if they had indeed done that, here’s what could happen:

    Advantage for TVV:

    Well, for starters, MV would have pulled in more viewers for TVV. Everybody knows the big screen has more viewers than the small screen. The big screen universe will actually be free marketing for the TVV.

    Batman v. Superman has a wider audience. They should use that platform to let people know about Arrow and Flash. If they do this, more people would have been interested in the TVV. Even if they haven’t watched it in the allotted show time in CW/Warner TV, there’s always the Blu-Ray/DVDs to collect. So pros for DC/WB would be increase in sales. Fan-service-wise, on the other hand, would be nerdgastic moments to know that the heroes are united.

    A more cohesive universe is simply a dream come true. People want it. It’s proven fact. Why do you think a lot of Marvel fans keep pining for an Avengers/X-men/Spiderman crossover? Why do you think a lot of Avengers fans want Fox and Sony to give up their rights so that Marvel Studios can get them all back? Why do you think shared universe ideas are popping up? From Disney’s Fairy Tales to Universal’s Monsters to different studios’ comicbook movies. Hollywood knows this. I’m just wondering why WB/DC isn’t utilizing this advantage to their full potential, especially since having all the DC heroes under one roof is one thing they have over Marvel Studios.

    They don’t see that they don’t have to make movies based on origins for the TVV heroes and instead would be freer to start in the middle where anything goes.

    Remember Power Rangers the movie? It started out as a tv series, but fans did not question when it came out in the big screen and it was a continuation of their adventure. It wasn’t an origin movie, but (despite the critical reception) was a big hit and earned more than 4x its budget, and that’s not yet even putting the merch sales into account.

    You know why people are more interested now in Arrow and Flash? It’s because they heard about the budding DC universe that MOS started and are waiting to see if it’s true that there will be a DCCU. They are curious if there will be Easter eggs related to the MV.

    It’s one reason why AoS is still on air. Fans aren’t watching it not because it can stand on its own, but because it’s connected to the bigger picture. The reason why AoS isn’t as watched, however, is due to them doing it the other way. They made the TVV the free promo makers for the MV. They clung to Thor 2 and Captain America 2 right before the movies were released, but I’m not sure Marvel’s big screen returned the favor. Marvel’s TVV is the one pulling the weight for the MV. The tv writers can’t catch up because they’d be mindful of what’s still to happen in the MV, which they are not suppose to say much. Marvel would have been more successful of this symbiotic relationship of the MV and TVV if they had exerted more effort with the TVV. Instead, the shows are just treated as training grounds, not as battle fields.

    DC, despite this confirmation from Johns, is exerting equal effort to both. And if WB/DC did it the other way around Marvel did it, that is, from what I’ve mentioned earlier, the MV hauling both its ass and the tv show’s asses, DC would achieve better results. The disadvantage to this is that writers from both sides would need to have regular weekly meetings to be consistent.

    The MV writers should be the ones more mindful. That’s not to say they should be the one revolving around the TVV, however. That’s to say the two revolves around each other. The movie writers should only incorporate tidbits of what had already happened in the small screen as Easter eggs in the movies. They don’t have to focus too much on the tv shows, and vice versa. A comment here and there would be enough to ensure fans that the heroes they love exist in the same universe.

    The TVV writers would be freer with creativity. BUT they shouldn’t meddle with what is yet to come. They don’t even have to guest the movie stars. Most importantly, they shouldn’t write plots that are too in-your-face, i.e., “This is going to happen in the future DC movies! If you don’t watch this, you’ll not understand a whole chunk of the films’ plots!”

    Just nods and acknowledgement to tease the fans would suit everyone fine. A passing comment would create the intended results without going too much into it because it leaves people speculating and imagining. Remember how the internet reacted when in Arrow they mentioned something about the League of Shadows and also Diggle’s “What’s next? Aliens?” They immediately connected it to Batman and Superman.

    Advantage for MV:

    Once BvS has pulled its own and Arrow’s/Flash’s weight and had solidified their mark in the big screen, there would be constant fan service every week in the small screen. The two then becomes symbiotic. Free advertising and recap for what had already happened in the MV, and if people keep getting reminded, interest would not wane. Keeping fans constantly interested would also mean higher sales for Blu-Ray/DVDs and other merchandise items for BvS. It would also mean keeping the fire burning until the next movie (which is JL) comes out.

    So far, Arrow and Flash are making good reviews. Most of the complaints, however, are about acting (especially on Arrow’s side). But characterization and story and stunts are great. They’ve built a solid foundation for the shows, and even the actors have their own steady fanbases. Wish they’d interact more with their fans in social media (CB and CBM sites, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Youtube, etc.). I’ve noticed Marvel has been using that to their full advantage. Feige has giving regular interviews. The Avengers stars have been tweeting and posting pics. Hell, Ruffalo has his own blog in Tumblr. On DC’s side, it’s only Amell I think who has been actively reaching out to his fans through Youtube and FB.

    I really wish Johns could retract his statement. Count me as one of the guys not happy about this.

    • Ehhh…this is in response to Slade from the previous page. Clicked the wrong reply button.

      • Help.

        Send coffee.

    • I think one of the biggest problems, which you’re not adressing, is the timeline.

      Take for example Man of Steel. They started filming in 2011. So they had a script down 2 years before the release. If it had been connected to a tv-show that was running at the time, it would get 2 seasons ahead before the movie is released, so any type of hints to events of the tv-show would be old news.

      The Batman v Superman is schedules to arrive in 2016. That’s 3 years after Man of Steel. Another 3 seasons of the tv-show would pass in that time. So that’s a total of 5 years for the tv-characters. But do you make the story of the sequel take place 3 or 5 years after the first one to account for years that has passed for the tv-characters?

      It might force the tv-characters to not develop too much. But that would be a shame, because that’s excactly what tv-characters should do when you’re following them so closely week after week. It’s almost real-time, so you expect them to live a full life.

      So even without adressing all those other issues about different budgets, stars, audiences and so on I simply think that the biggest show stopper is the impossibillity of synchronizing the timelines.

      When you take an existing tv-show and decide to make a movie from it, you still only have one timeline, so that’s not a problem.

      You could also have two or more tv-shows that are connected, because they have timelines that are running at the same rate. It’s the synchronizing with one or more movie timelines that’s a problem.

      • “The MV writers should be the ones more mindful. That’s not to say they should be the one revolving around the TVV, however. That’s to say the two revolve around each other.The movie writers should only incorporate tidbits of what had already happened in the small screen as Easter eggs in the movies. They don’t have to focus too much on the tv shows, and vice versa. A comment here and there would be enough to ensure fans that the heroes they love exist in the same universe.

        The TVV writers would be freer with creativity. BUT they shouldn’t meddle with what is yet to come. They don’t even have to guest the movie stars. Most importantly, they shouldn’t write plots that are too in-your-face, i.e., “This is going to happen in the future DC movies! If you don’t watch this, you’ll not understand a whole chunk of the films’ plots!”


        Like I said, just nods and acknowledgement to tease the fans would suit everyone fine. They have to do the opposite of what Marvel is doing, which is the MV writers are the ones more mindful of what’s happening of MV, not TVV of MV. And the ones they’d just incorporate as Easter Eggs are the ones that had already happened in the series, not what is yet to happen.

        • Like what? Can you give me an example? Just make something up. I just need to understand what you think the movies should do and how.

          • Top of my head, on BvS, Oliver Queen (Amell) will be an Easter Egg on the Daily Planet newspaper on the Business Section. A photo of him there would be good. Barry (Gustin) can appear as an Easter Egg too on the tv, as a CSI being interviewed on a case or what. Stuff like that. Easter eggs for other heroes/villains being introduced on tv will make make subtle hints in the movie too.

            Like I said, just passing Easter Eggs. Not too in-your-face. The movie doesn’t have to revolve around them. Just hints to show that they belonged in the same universe.

  4. Hahahah this article broke about 1,ooo,ooo hearts of fanboys and only I saw it coming

  5. Marvel is right and DC is wrong here. TV series allows writers & producers to introduce lesser known characters and test the waters, without having to tailor create a movie and risk millions & precious movie minutes.

  6. The Crisis ten years in Flash’s future could be a way to cross over the different networks and cinematic “Earths”.

  7. Dc you ain’t taking my money! Marvel mixes movie and tv – shut up and take my money.
    Marvel actually keeps the actors playing the character (most of the time) – shut up and take my money.

    Forenote: Dc just cause your making connection films. Your doing the whole James Bond s*** (mixing actors). So Dc you ain’t getting my interest or my money.

  8. When i saw the chapter on Flash where the doctor looked on a journal cover of the future, where Flash dissappeared during a “crisis” i really thought (and became happy) that Warner and DC were planning to make a crossover with Flash, Arrow, and upcoming movies (with a Crisis Saga)…. For a moment i thought; “OK may be in DC/Warner are not as stupid as i thought, this is a good chance to equal or even defeat Marvel on the big screen” …… now i read this and i think; “OK, false alarm, they are still stupid”