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

Published 9 months ago by

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. Good move. After Agents of shields, and the lackluster reception is got most if season one, this isn’t surprising. It was only until they could use the winter solider as a springboard, that the show improved. The first part of season one was full of fillers, uninteresting characters, and etc.

    They don’t want to artistically limit the producers by having to keep track of so many universe rules that can change literally every movie. The last thing we need is contradictions all over the TV shows and movies. It puts stress on the producers to try and fit everything in, that they can do what they WANT to do, but what they HAVE to since the universe is one. I’m of the opinion that the higher ups should have a hands off approach to creative development in comic book movies.

    • That’d be great….if Man of Steel or anything else in this new universe had anything going for it artistically at all. They have David Goyer, a man whose made his living writing comic book movies as their head of universe, when he’s proven he doesnt understand any of the characters other than Batman.
      And Batman is piss easy to get right, and done to death.
      This move is absically
      “We know what the fans want, but yet again were gonna do none of that.”
      Man of Steel was terrible. In my mind, they need to redo that abomination before moving forward with an obviously rushed movie universe no one cares about.
      Making Wonder Woman a cameo, instead of giving her her own movie first? An absolute disgrace.

      • What a disgrace to give a character a cameo in a film before there own film. Dang what a disgrace for hawkeye, black widow, falcon, scarlet witch, quicksilver, vision, doctor strange, possibly black panter and anyone else hinted out in a cameo role or easter egg in any movie.

        Look she has a cameo, that’s a HUGE step than they were 2 yrs ago. Let’s see how they incorperate her in bvs before calling it a disgrace. Also man of steel was great imo. So as I say with every film let’s wait and see. As to the seperate universes I’m ok with it. Would I have liked to see amell and gustin in their roles yes, but I can live with it, does it mean we won’t see green arrow and flash in justice league or the movie universe? I think we definitly will see them in the movies….least the flash or one of his incarnations.

    • This is how comic books are, though. The Flash and Green Arrow have their own books, and they appear in Justice League and occasionally there’s a big event that everyone pops up for. I think they’re making it more complicated than it needs to be.

      But whatever, at least we know now. I, for one, am more interested in the TV side of things. If I compare the the first two seasons of Arrow against Man of Steel, Arrow wins every time.

    • Artistically limit? They are way overthinking this and I think its just a cop out to not integrate the TV & film universes. Agents Of Shield didn’t work well because NONE OF THOSE CHARACTERS are comic book characters with history. I hope they are not using that show as a way to judge whether this kind of thing works. HELLO, DC! YOUR SUPER HEROES IN THE COMICS DONT EXIST IN DIFFERENT UNIVERSES SO WHY PRETEND THEY DO ON THE SCREEN?? The Flash & Arrow can very well have their stories exist on their own without having to cater to the movie stuff and vice versa. I swear if they are gonna do a movie version of the Flash with Barry Allen at the same time as the TV show do you know how STUPID that would be?? Talk about confusing an casual audience. Don’t overthink this DC. When Marvel puts these Netflix shows out that will give everyone a better indication of how these universes connect without having to compromise stories. Please don’t use Agents Of Shield as a barometer…

      • Amen, amen, AMEN!!! Agents of Shield is a poor debating tool when it comes to this topic, because it’s really an extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe rather than an important piece to the puzzle. Arrow and Flash could be main pieces to DC’s Heavily Rushed Cinematic Universe and could alleviate a lot of the pressure of casting big name stars for the roles of Green Arrow and Flash when they already have men in the role who fans have clung to and not have air of unnecessary cameos in a movie that’s already huge in scope by having Batmab and Superman in the same title. The one chance DC had to one up Marvel and they blew it before it hit the table.

        • But to executives at WB, Ben Affleck as Batman needs to be miles away from whoever Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin are…or whatever a CW is.
          Separation of A list and C, D list.

          • 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! 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 didn’t.

      • @Krayzerman

        I think you are overthinking it.

        They made Superman Returns with a different version of Superman at the same time as Smallville was running. They also started filming Man of Steel a few months after the last episode of Smallville had aired.

        If you are a comic book fan, you should simply think of a movie as a special issue or limited series. Comic books writers are making stories all the time that are a sort of what-if stories and not connected to the main storyline of the same characters.

        The charcters exist in so many versions and worlds in the comic books already.

  2. Good!

  3. This really sucks. Why would you have two different universes? Geoff Johns, I hope you are reading the fan reaction and take it back to DC. Fans want one interconnected universe!!!!

    • Oh please, no!

    • Why would you have two different universes? Maybe because there would be limitations in story telling. In Gotham Gordon and Bruce meet when Bruce is 12, what if they would have a different story in mind and wanted them to meet during the first stand alone Batfleck film, what if they want a blond haired, joke cracking Green Arrow instead of a Batman type Oliver Queen (Arrow). The creators of the shows and films need their own creative freedom. When we are gonna get Barry Allen in the JLA movie, he won’t be a 24 year old skinny brown haired kid. We are never gonna have a 42 year old Batman alongside a 24 year old Flash, and rightfully so.

    • Pretty much no one wants that.

  4. I’ll say it once, I’ll say it twice.

    Bad move.

    Wasted opportunity.

    From the comments I see a lot of fans thinking that the TV-verse will pull the movie-verse down. I would have thought the movie-verse will move up and bring along the TV-verse with it.

    • Right? How so? Why should they connect the two universe? Go read what timdrake14 said in the comments, he put up logical points why it shouldn’t connect.

      • @ Slade the Deathstroke

        I agree that they shouldn’t be connected but I think that once DC begins to lose it’s velocity it will begin to implement a new strategy… Now I could be wrong (and most likely am) but I think that if they need to that DC could make the TV universe Earth 2 and the Movie universe Earth 1. If that is the case than the two universes are still separate but can be connected in a economic emergency for WB.

    • +1 That would of been awesome. Glad to hear that Batman and Superman will show up at some point!

  5. Rank bad move by WB/DC. Hardly surprising though. This has come from the same people who brought us the abomination that was MOS and cast Affleck as Batman.

    • Actually it’s a good move. And what are you talking about “abomination”, I thought the abomination WB did was Batman & Robin and Green Lantern?

  6. So does this mean there will be NO Flash in the Justice League movie? Can you even imagine a JL without the Flash? After all the JL: Flashpoint Paradox and JL: War movies in which the Flash plays a such important role? Whoa! That is just some awesome idea!

    To be honest, I can ignore/accept the “separate universes” thing as long as they cast the SAME ACTORS in both films and TV shows. Just put Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin on the big screen, update their outfits, change or ignore their background stories as you like!

    • “So does this mean there will be NO Flash in the Justice League movie?”

      Sometimes i wonder how people even make such conclusions.

      • But it does mean we’re getting two different possibly concurrent versions of Flash.

        • 1. Your answer has nothing to do what he wrote and i answered
          2. So what? What if we’ll have 2 Barry one in TV show and another in a movie, the universe will suddenly become flat so that we could enjoy TV+movie+comics universes as the shared ones?

    • I think it’s the right decision.

      The problem is the timeline. Tv-shows are running every week, but movies are years in the making, and that makes it harder to synchronize the timelines. It would just put unnecessary restraints on each media with only a few to none upsides.

    • You honestly think that they’d include Gustin and Amell in the movies as Flash and Arrow and say “yes, these are the actors from the TV shows, and yes, they’re playing the same characters, but like, they have different histories and costumes but don’t be confused because they’re not the same characters, they’re just, you know, the same charcaters.” It would be ludicrous. It would do nothing but confuse people. They’re better off having different actors play them, say a blonde, bearded Green Arrow who is less of a moody Batman knock-off and more of a wise-cracking Robin Hood knock-off, and then there’s no mistaking the two iterations really. That’d be easier to handle than using the same actors in different versions.

  7. I was really hoping to see Batfleck enter at the end of season 3 or 4 to help Oliver Queen get his company back just in time for the movies to start. bad move indeed

    • There is a zero percent chance an Oscar winning director/writer and A list actor would ever waste his time by associating himself with some middle road CW show. Also, less than zero percent chance the CW could afford him. And no, his film contract in no way would require him to do an appearance on a relatively poorly rated tv show. If Arrow was a highly regarded HBO show, maybe. But a so-so CW show. No chance it ever would happen.

  8. Thinking about this I am both gladden and slightly disappointed by this

    Good first:
    - Its about time someone from DC actually comes out and say one way or the other, now we know for sure
    - personally it’ll be nice to have the separate universes so that the tv shows don’t risk suffering from AoS syndrome
    - it allows the writers on both sides to focus on making a good tv show/movie
    - 2 versions of some characters (flash for instance) increases the chances of people liking at least one of them (rather than say not liking Gustins flash and then using that as a reason to immediately hate on JL film)

    Slightly disappointed though as I have been a fan of the idea of the DCU bridging tv and cinema (Amell on the big screen with Affleck and Cavill could have been awesome)

    I do think though that there is a hint that could reopen this discussion a long long way down the line without causing continuity issues between tv and movies

  9. 99% of the people that will see BvS: DoJ have never seen Arrow or know that there will be a Flash TV show, so while I love Arrow and am looking forward to Flash in the end none of this matters. Only us, the vast minority, sweaty nerds really care either way haha.

  10. This statement is meaningless. [Shame on you Geoff Johns : you pretend to not know your own product or worse you take your readers for fools]
    The DC Universes are always connected. DC consists of a multiverse. There have always been alternate Earths with different versions of the heroes.
    Even today within ‘The New 52′, there are already at least 2 well established ‘Earths’! They just don’t know each others existence,yet. So, anything is possible. Now or later.

    • There’re 3 known universes in New52 and some beings from either of them knows about existent of others. Batman and Superman from Earth1 seems to be the only ones who knew about all 3, atleast for now.

  11. I love that Marvel started this whole shared universe thing because now we are getting a higher level of interconnectivity in certain franchises.

    I hate that Marvel started this whole shared universe thing because now everybody seems to genuinely believe that it HAS to connect or it’s not worth watching.

    And to whoever asked the question….
    No. You are not alone, I too am SICK TO DEATH of the word “Universe.”

    • I totally agree. It can be good. It can be bad.

      And I must admit that I do not get that comic book fans (of all people) would be having problems with universes that aren’t connected.

      I mean, not only are we familiar with multiverses within the officiel timeline of this or that franchise, we’re also used to ultimate versions, special issues and any number of reboots, so it’s not like we can’t handle different incarnations of our beloved heroes. We should be champions at this.

  12. I’m disappointed. This seems like a bit of a cop out from DC, to me at least.

  13. Bad move by WB they could have used this to bring arrow and flash more easily into it and tbh i think the character cyborg should be brought into the movie instead of being thrown into it through one of these 2 shows i could imagine it working
    Just picture these 2 scenes

    Bruce helps oliver get his company running up again they both eventually find out about each other that they are arrow and batman he tells the arrow that they are forming the justice league and that they want him in it imagine batman and arrow fighting alongside each other
    and then amanda waller could bring flash into it telling him that the government are forming a group called justice league

  14. I think it would have been cool to see this with how popular Arrow has gotten and the early reception from Flash. I love Stephen Amell. I think he does a great job and would have success on the big screen.

    I like this concept of Earth One and Earth Two you guys are talking about. Not making them completely separate entities, but just separate universes within a larger DC Universe if that makes sense. It’s a way of connecting them without actually connecting them with character crossover (immediately that is i.e Infinite Crisis potential). I feel it would be a great way for DC to market it as opposed to just a “TV universe” and “Big Screen Universe”. Literally come out and call it Earth One and Earth Two and get the comic fans foaming at the mouth.

    • JB : That is a great idea!!!

  15. Great decision for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that Stephen Amell is an awful actor. He can barely hold the screen on my TV let alone a massive movie screen next to actually talented stars. Also, there’s the problem of if “Arrow” exists in the same universe as “MOS” why hasn’t anyone even mentioned what happened in Metropolis or the flying alien, and where has Supes been when all these different events have been destroying Starling City?

  16. I am so glad Geoff Johns clarified the matter.I’m so sick of people saying there should be crossover wah waah.

  17. I disagree. I think using the TV shows to introduce characters and keep people interested in the DC universe is the right way to go. Use the movies for Superman, Batman, GL, Wonder Woman and keep Arrow and Flash on TV but use them to cross over for stories. Batman appearing on the tv shows from time to time would make those shows better.

    they can use the shows to continue to introduce other DC characters the way they’ve done so far with Arrow and plans for Flash. Atom, Black Canary, Huntress, etc.

  18. I for one am glad they wont be interconnected. I watch Arrow, but I don’t get why anyone would want anything on the CW influencing what happens in the movies. Arrows worth watching about 10 minutes of every episode, the rest is tween drama just like the rest of the CW’s lineup. I can’t believe so many comic nerds would want that influence on future endeavours. Also, the shows characters are rather weak. Canary’s actress is awful, Gustin looks like a 12 year old boy, Dead shot looks B movie… The only casting I think is movie quality is Deathstroke being Manu Bennett, but they ruined hus character with the usual CW writing for young women.

    Arrow isn’t even Green Arrow, he’s just a broke rip off of Batman in the show. Also, the shows limited budget really restricts what they can have the Heroes doing. Any of you watch the Flash trailer? You really want the Flash stuck moving like that? No way they could even afford Ben Affleck as a cameo.

  19. I still hope they crossover in a multiverse kind of way.

  20. Both have shows that are just shows, they have no ties with the movie counterparts. DC just so happens to have a lot more animated shows than Marvel. I find this article hilarious though so thanks.

    • Why is this article “hilarious”? You do know that it has been a long and contentious debate about if the DC/CW TV universe would tie into the movie universe. Don’t you? These quotes finally provide definitive answers for the fan base of both.

  21. I think its for the best in the long run

  22. It’s a good idea to keep them separate. Gotham takes place before batman so it would’t make sense to interconnet with the movies.

  23. I think it’s good to keep them separate. Because
    1. TV doesn’t have the bugdet to give movie quality shows.
    2. It would handcuff a weekly TV show to slow their pace with the movies.
    3. They have several shows on different networks.
    4. Stars from the movie wont go on the TV shows.
    5. Writers from the TV show would have to collaborate with the movie writers and have to follow their vision of the character.

  24. I’m indifferent to this news. Merging it into one continuity would be problematic and could potentially be disastrous from a writer’s perspective. Giving both the TV and film teams the freedom to tell their own stories seems like the right idea. Shame because Amell has come a long way as an actor and Gustin has enough charisma to hold the Flash down.

  25. It’s funny how some think this idea of TV characters appearing in movies has been around for while and DC are going against the norm for some reason. No they aren’t! They know when things don’t work and even though I love it Agents of Shield doesn’t work, it just doesn’t. DC have made a good practical decision.

    I say “well done”.

  26. I personally think that they should crossover into a multi-verse. I watch Arrow and plan in watch in the Flash series when it begins to air. I think that if they cross over that the ratings would increase for the series and for any future movies that they would make afterward. But I do agree with how they are handling things. I think they should continue to take their time with the decision. If they do crossover, I think that fans of the series would enjoy that very much.

  27. As always, WB/DC takes one step forward and two steps back. Such a wasted opportunity. Hahahahaha….. whatever. It makes NO kind of sense to have two versions of Green Arrow and the Flash floating around. Especially in light of how popular those characters are now because of their TV persona’s. By now, I shouldn’t be surprised when WB makes a dick-move like this, but alas – the CB fanboy in me is always hoping. Sad really.

  28. Thank goodness!

  29. I honestly didn’t want to have to start watching Arrow and Flash regularly. Glad they’re separate. I’m not the biggest CW fan. Looking forward to Gotham and Constantine tho.