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 think it’s a mistake, but whatever. i’ll still watch the shows and see the films. disappoint.

    • I second that its a mistake, arrow would have fit
      Perfectly into their dc cinematic universe and so would
      The other shows. Geoff and warners just gave a very
      Good reason not to be in a hurry to watch their dc

  2. I knew it would be a stretch, but I’m still disappointed. Makes me wonder if WB will even announce any DC cinematic universe news at CC or if it will just be TV show focused.

  3. Wasted potential

  4. Well crap. I love Arrow and The Flash seems to have every potential to be just as good if not better. I would have enjoyed seeing those actors appearing on the big screen.

  5. As someone who wanted the TV characters to cross over to the movies, I’m disappointed. Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin have gotten praise from both the fans and DC/Warner Bros’ TV division, and deserve the upgrade to film. Having The Flash and Green Arrow be on the Justice League would have been two less characters to develop in BvS and/or JL because of their TV shows. Putting them in the movies would have promoted the TV shows AND pleased many of the fans. Yet apparently Warner Bros. thinks it’s better to establish two different, but totally compatible, universes.

    I get that they didn’t want to feel like they were artistically restricting the writers by having to take the TV shows into consideration, but damn, this was a missed opportunity indeed.

    • I wonder if the lackluster reception of Agent of SHIELD didn’t scare WB off of trying this?

  6. That cheeky coc********. Not only a waste of potential, not only he’s rulling out on winning a lot of fans, not only there are plenty of reasons why this would be an awesome idea, but the fact that he has some dumb excuses as to why it’s not going to happen sounds like he should be fired.

    • +1 for you

  7. I was secretly hoping they’d connect but I was also hoping they don’t. I think that the two universes should stay separate, as we’ll get characters who aren’t as likely to be introduced on the big screen to being introduced on the small screen. They don’t have to do what marvel does. And as one comment said, they could make the TV universe earth two and the movie universe earth one. Its not a loss for wb/dc in my opinion.

  8. This is insane! While Marvel can’t unite all their comic book properties as some of them stick with Sony and Fox, DC / WB simply doesn’t want to create one united franchise! This is madness! The new TV shows not being interconnected with the new movies renders BOTH worlds pointless! I’m having a hard time accepting the “discanonizing” of the TDK trilogy and the old Supes movies, but why should I bother watching the TV shows at all when I know they don’t matter for the new universe?

    I’m not a huge TV show buff at all. I used to be but most of those TV shows are a waste of time. There are about 30 interesting shows out there, thematically speaking, but with 10-22 episodes per season each, I can’t watch all of them. So I’m going to pick! And yeah, DC’s out…for good…no Arrow anymore, no Flash, no Gotham and definitelny no non-smoking Constantine…

    • It’s not really insane. Come on. This is the way it has always been. Movies and tv-shows have always been seperate things. Now all of a sudden we claim it to be madness when they aren’t connected?

      You ask why you should bother? Well, it shouldn’t be about bothering, but about wanting. If you don’t want to watch a tv-show, I think you should be happy, that you don’t have to bother either.

      If they had connected them, you might feel that now you’d bother, but wouldn’t you also then be forced to do something you wouldn’t have otherwise?

      As far as other tv-shows goes, it has never been about it being connected to something else so people would bother. People watch tv-shows if they like them for what they are themselves.

  9. It’s unfortunate. They really had the ground laid to have a better run at it than Marvel did.

    I say nothing is definitive until the properties explicitly contradict, which they don’t, yet.

  10. Should be noted that Geoff Johns said that TV and Movies were in separate universes. Not that they were separate from each other. Could be an Infinite Crisis event. Thats a way to completely differentiate yourself from Marvel. Have Earth 1 movies and Earth 2 tv shows.

    • I was wondering if anyone else would notice this as well. The paycheck size differs for sure, so if they crossover onto TV, they’d need to make Affleck’s bank account happy. I think they’ll instead bring an infinite crisis angle onto the big screen.

    • Yeah, Like Ray Palmer in “Arrow” is actually Superman from an alternate universe.

  11. I for one am glad they are not crossing the shows and films. I believe its the right decision. I think Marvel took a huge risk with AOS. And while it’s pretty cool that it’s All Connected, it’s not even close to the feel of the movies and I feel they are boxed in terms of the stories they can do (this coming from a fan of AOS). I think for DC to try this at this point in their Universe Building would be a mistake.

    • Finally, someone who speaks some sense. I mean come on, do they really have to connect the two universe? No. It’s better off keeping them separated.

      • Yep, the amount of comments up until this one that seem to miss the bigger picture and who wanted this crap to happen is unbelievable.

        I said it days ago when I mentioned this news on a SR article but I’m glad they’re not connected because it wouldn’t make any sense and it also opens up possibilities.

        Think of it this way. We can have two distinct variations of characters, one on TV, one on the big screen. Isn’t that better than having a character’s origin changed for TV and having to stick with it in the films? Isn’t it better than a TV show killing off a character and making the films go without?

        The only wasted opportunity would’ve been if they DID connect the shows with the films.

  12. Smart decision, though a difficult one I’m sure. Arrow is running on high success going into it’s third season, and the tie in to The Flash will only further excite it’s audience. However, the shared DC movie franchise has yet to kick off and establish itself comfortably. Dawn of Justice will be the first attempt at doing so and the introduction of such big heroes in one movie is already a very ambitious attempt. There’s no guaranteed success with Dawn of Justice, or even whether the film will properly set up and ignite the cinematic shared universe going forward. With so much uncertainty, and characters with such demanding presence like Superman in Man of Steel, a most likely gritty, weary, 40 year old Batman, it would be difficult to include a 26 year old Green Arrow in the mix. The events in Man of Steel as well as whatever events take place in Dawn of Justice will overshadow any conflict that Oliver faces in Sterling City and would seemed extremely forced on the storyline in the show. Though It would be fun to see, as great as Amell is and as interesting as Arrow and The Flash will likely be, disabling the crossover of the shared universe for DC’s TV/Movie products allows for more freedom for creators to explore their universe in their own worlds. Which in my opinion, is necessary considering that both sides still haven’t fully developed their approach to a shared universe.

    • Well, said. These are basically the same points I was preparing to make.

      The DC Tv-Verse is developing a pretty rich mythos, and trying to unify that with what Snyder and the film universe are doing would just mean a lot more middle men and red tape on both ends.

      “Too many cooks in the kitchen” and all that.

      • I totally agree.

        Another issue would be that tv-shows are running every week. So you have two more seasons of Arrow, and perhaps two seasons of Flash as well before BvS comes out in 2016. But it’s too late for them to take any event from those future episides into account because they’re already shooting now.

        And between BvS and the JL movie, the tv-shows would get further ahead by a few seasons. It would be extremly hard to synchronize the timelines and you’d just end up not really refering to anyhting happening elsewhere anyway.

        I must admit I haven’t seen much of AoS but I think it also only stands a chance of kind of working in that one because none of the characters are the main heroes of the movies, so it minimizes the risk of conflicts.

        • That’s true.

          Plus it’s not just the continuity issue with the series and movies but audience/fan expectations as well. When you have the two biggest characters in DC comics appearing in a TV series, you’ve got to justify their appearance, probably in the form of a really huge event that necessitates their appearance. How does the TV producers top that going forward? What if the series fans are calling for more appearances from Supes and Bats as well as WW? It may actually ruin the very the story of the main character the series is telling in the first place.

    • I think it’s a bad move. Your reasons are logical but you’re basically saying the TV universe is successful so don’t mess with it and let the cinematic universe struggle. I think this is backwards. DC is more successful than Marvel on TV and not in cinema. Why not use that to its advantage? Marvel’s A.O.S. is considered a mild failure because it relied too heavily on The Avengers as a springboard. Arrow and The Flash clearly do not (or will not) have that problem. Connecting the universes will excite the fans and get the general public more excited. The downside? How much restriction does the Cinematic Universe place on the TV shows? In my opinion, that really only matters to hardcore fanboys who will nitpick the continuity. DC missed the opportunity here because it wanted to be lazy and not cater to those fans.

      This makes me LESS excited about BOTH The Flash tv series and BVS:DOJ. The real problem? Christopher Nolan. His Dark Knight Trilogy was so good that no one wants to mess with it and/or he won’t let anyone mess with it. Had he been on board with using DKR to springboard the DCCU this would all be different. I’m not saying that was a bad decision. In retrospect, the Dark Knight trilogy will be viewed much more favorably than anything that comes from Snyder’s shared universe. But who’s to say what would have come if Nolan had taken charge of the DCCU?

      • IMHO they could never have used DKR to springboard the DCCU. I think Nolan’s universe is so rooted in reality that it would be wrong to introduce heroes with superpowers. His Batman is a Batman that could actually exist.

        I expect Snyder’s Batman to be a Batman of a world where heroes with powers also exists. Of course Batman himself won’t have them. But still it’ll be a world that is a little more flexible and a little more comic book-ish.

        I am certainly not gonna compare it to Nolan’s trilogy. It’s just stand on it’s own. As do Tim Burton’s Batman & batman Returns also to me. I can enjoy different takes on these heroes for different reasons. I won’t need to pick a favorite.

        I enjoyed Snyder’s Watchmen and I think I’ll enjoys his Batman v Superman too.

        • I agree. I was just saying Nolan put an end to any attempt at a shared DC universe. Snyder is having to use the older version of Batman to avoid too many comparisons to Nolan and since we are less than 2 years from the last Batman movie. Imagine if Marvel had to start its shared universe with a different version of Iron man after Robert Downey Jr’s first Iron Man movie in 2008.

          • Yes, it makes good sense for Snyder to make his Batman a clearly different version because plenty of moviegoers that aren’t comic books fans might otherwise be wondering if he is supposed to be the same guy.

            Also, it looks like we’ll be getting a more classic version in the sense that he won’t be wearing body armor, just tights. I’m actually hoping for grey and blue/black as long as they use dark shades.

            I agree about Iron Man. They could probably get away with re-casting him, like they did with Hulk, but it should still be that version with that history as long as they’re running this storyline.

      • @Jdthom1,That’s why I’m not going to watch any DC TV shows now.

  13. This is why they so many jokes made about them and why Marvel is making them look like s***.

    • Oh,when? DC always dominate TV. Marvel not able to surpass or match DC legacy,success in TV yet. DC also dominate games and animation. Marvel also not even near to DC success in these fields. You know what is the reality for Marvel? They only exist in live-action films (big screen). But DC in that field also ahead than Marvel,not by quantity of films but by quality of films. No.1,the best superhero film is DC property. We know which film it is. If you look entirely DC and Marvel you will clearly see DC is ahead. Far ahead than Marvel. Marvel only in position to talk in live-action films. Beside the field Marvel is a new born baby in front of DC.

      • Not going to lie but i’ve got to disagree with you there. Marvel is kicking a lot of arse on the movie front. While I agree DC dominates in other areas they aren’t even close to catching up with Marvel on the Big screen yet. The Avengers statistically would be the best superhero movie ever made as it is the 3rd Highest grossing film of all time, and Iron Man 3 is 5th. DC’s nearest contender is The Dark Knight Rises at 10th. Now true the Nolan Batman series is pretty unmatchable quality wise. But DC has completely abandoned that in order to follow suit with Marvel and create a shared universe. Not only is Marvel now boasting 3 separate Shared universes that may or may not intersect but nowadays they are dominating the box office on at least two of those fronts. I can’t help feeling that despite Marvel being as you say ‘a new born baby in front of DC’ DC is trying to copy Marvel’s winning formula. And in my personal opinion I feel like they’re going to rush it in an attempt to catch up instead of giving it grounded foundations like Marvel did. Just look at how many characters BVS:DOJ is going to be introducing. If there’s anything learnt from Spiderman 3 it’s that more characters can be detrimental to the plot. And yes, DC may have been making films for a hell of lot longer. However that’s no guarentee of quality. Man of Steel was at times laughably series. Completely forgetting that this is a fantastical superhero people watch for fun. And don’t even get me started on Green Lantern. Quite funny seeming Zac Snyder himself said that “That should be the question you are asking Iron Man and Thor. How is it you can feel you can be making a superhero movie in a world where Superman and Batman exist?” and yet MOS wasn’t able to hold a candle to Avengers or in fact any of Mavel’s phase 2 movies so far. Sorry. Rant over. I do love DC, but theres no denying that right now they can’t compare to Marvel on the film front.

      • No. 1 Superhero film? Last time I checked The Avengers was Marvel not DC.

  14. *shrug*

    You really want more shows to have their hands tied?

  15. Good to hear this has been clarified officially by DC…

    Some fanboys just couldn’t stop wishing this would happen, eventhough it’s rather obvious if you observe the shows properly, especially with Arrow taking lots and lots liberties with many things. Remember Smallville? Personally, I’m glad, not saying the shows are bad, but they don’t exactly stand on par with the movie-verse. Though somehow I kinda have a weird feeling, the TV-verse will be more successful than the big screen, let’s see about that.

    And I think it’s also has been confirmed that at least Constantine will not be in the same TV universe, Gotham is unlikely too. Only Arrow, Flash and any future CW shows will.

  16. So short sighted… which explains why they’ve never been able to get their “shared universe” act together.

    IF WB/DC was smart they would use TV to build up lesser known Justice League members (well, lesser known then Batman and Superman anyways) like Green Arrow, Flash, Wonder Woman, Etc. That way they could spend less screen time having to set them up in a film. Then they could spend more time on other far more interesting things rather than shoehorning a bunch of origin stories into the Justice League movie.

    It’s absurd that Time/Warner, owns a comic book company and can’t create a shared media universe before Marvel did! WB/DC had so many opportunities over the last, what, 30, 40 years to build a shared media universe, or even just a cinematic one. They’re just now trying to pull it together because Marvel did it. DC/WB don’t have the foresight to see the potential foundation they’ve already established… which is probably why it’s take them till now to even try to get it in gear.

    Actually, it’s down right pathetic when you stop and think about it.

    • 30, 40 years?

      Let’s be fair now. There wasn’t really anything existing at the same time that could share a universe back then. Each hero had it’s own era. And it also wan’t considered a guaranteed succes in the same way as today.

  17. I don’t think these shows,like AOS, should revolve around their movie counterparts, but it would be nice for them to be in the same universe. Instead of having contradictions when the characters that have appeared on TV show up in the movies, WB should just use the TV continuity to build off of. Like keep the CW self contained, but acknowledge them in the DCCU rather than redo everything.

  18. Saw this coming a long time ago, not surprise

  19. I have gone back and fourth in my thinking on this subject but I have decided that it is probably for the best that they keep them separate. I think if you connect the two it puts way too much pressure on the show to be as expensive and grand as the movies. Vise-versa, for the movies, it will shackle the film development since there are so many episodes of a tv show. It is likely that the TV show would screw up some of the continuity of the films which come out every year (or every other year yikes!!!). TV shows are usually never on the same level of spectacle that high-budget block busters are (see “Agents of Shied”). It is best they remain separate. However if one show could break that trend it would likely be Arrow. Arrow has a spectacular vision which could translate to film since it is not too CGI heavy. The Flash on the other hand requires too much CGI to portray in live action, which is never gonna stack up to a high budget “Flash” motion picture. But hey I would love to be proven wrong….. DC is my religion. Endeth Rant.

  20. If you listen real carefully, you could hear Kevin Feige clapping in the background.

    Such a wasted potential IMO.

    • You think it’s the worst decision, but no it isn’t. I may be in the minority that are against the idea of connecting the movie and TV shows, to be honest it would be a complete mess. You don’t want Arrow/The Flash to be handcuffed to what is happening in the movies nor vice versa.

      • It seems like you are pathetically attempting to persuade a variety of SR Users into the indulgence of this announcement. In both perspectives of the creative AND the financial aspects, it could be beneficial since if these two universes were related in any way, not only would it boost the TV ratings for the ‘Arrow’ and ‘Flash’ series, it would also the converge the fans (which I presume is in the millions) to also view the films of the DCCU thus adding cash into the pockets of WB. Now, in the creative perspective, of course the writers would loathe to lay as a slave among the writers of any cinematic film, but it can rather be beneficial if these two universes were SEPERATE but RELATED at the same time (think of a ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ proposition, kind of how Marvel is setting up their ‘Infinity Gaunlet’ storyline) thus it would be a vastly different approach for the creation of a cinematic universe for DC AND earning WB a grandiose quantity of cash at the same time.

  21. If agents of shield can do it, I don’t see why DC can’t do it

    • Perhaps they could’ve chosen to do it with Flash and Arrow, since they are on a network owned by WB, but Gotham and Constantine are different stories.

      A “shared universe” is a bit of a circus.

    • I think Agent of Shield is the strongest argument for why not to do it.

      It all felt so forced with no lead or hints in the backstory without which people suddenly feel their are no rules in the storytelling or universe, meaning things can simply happen by the stroke of a pen.

      It comes off as cheap and easy at that point which it is.

      Even something like a super hero story has to be grounded in some established rules for the universe for it to work.

  22. This makes me happy, this way the films can do what they want without having too see if it affects the shows and vice versa. I watched the Flash pilot and although its not bad i didn’t want Gustin as Barry in the film universe, I think its a smarter choice in the long run.

  23. Bad move.

  24. Connecting TV universe to the movies won’t help the DCCU in any way. Arrow has 3 million viewers. Big budget movies [like MOS] have 40 million + viewers. Assuming all 3 million arrow viewers watch the movies , there will be atleast 37 million more people who haven’t see the show. Majority of people who go to the movies are people who don’t watch these shows and they will anyway have no idea about who Green Arrow, Flash are. For the general audience to understand they will have to develop their characters in the movies anyway, so why box yourself in to a corner?
    Avengers was a stand-alone movie in itself, you didn’t require to have seen every other marvel movie to understand it. Most general audience didn’t see every other movie in Marvel Phase 1 before the Avengers. Joss Whedon said that we can’t expect general audience to follow each movie before the Avengers hence the movie has to stand alone. He even said Avengers 2 will be its own thing and people who haven’t seen any other movie will still enjoy it. While people who watch all movies in the MCU will enjoy the experience more but it is not a requirement. Same goes for DCCU. batman v Superman will most probably stand-alone. Justice League will stand alone. Every movie can be watched before watching the previous movies. So it doesn’t matter. Green Arrow and Flash even if they were incorporated you would have to develop them anyway

  25. I think that is a much smarter move.

    I tried to get back into Agents of Shield after Winter Soldier but it felt so forced and tacked on. Granted that show was a turd to start with but I think there would be too many headaches trying to balance it all by fitting in tv as well.

  26. Good that!

  27. I’ve known this for a while now. Even when it was “in-limbo” as a ‘possibility’, I still knew they weren’t crossing over because you’d think if they were, it would’ve been announced when they asked the producer(s) of Arrow.

    People being ‘shocked’ by this news is funny. You REALLY thought Arrow/Flash would cross over with the films? Not everyone watches it. Same goes with Marvel and their Agents of “N.O.T.H.I.N.G.”, you don’t need to see the Arrow show, or Flash show to understand whats going on in the film. Flash will get his shine in the Justice League film, or his ‘rumored’ appearance in BvS.

  28. I think I officially hate the word “universe.”

    Am I the only freaking one?