David S. Goyer’s name gets tossed around a lot these days. Most fanboys now know him as the guy who wrote the Dark Knight Trilogy alongside Chris and Jonathan Nolan – and more recently, the Superman reboot Man of Steel. But hardcore fans (or just older ones) know that Goyer’s comic book movie resume goes WAY deeper than that: He wrote the Blade movie trilogy, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the superhero-themed Jumper, and even directed Blade 3, the spinoff TV series, as well as the 1998 Marvel TV movie Nick Fury: Agent of Shield with David Hasselhoff – just to name a few.
With a filmography like that, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for Goyer to find a prominent place within the order of big business comic book movie-making; however, a recent report suggested that Warner Bros. could be advancing Goyer up the ladder of creative oversight – and today brings further conformation that that is indeed the case.
Last month Goyer signed a first-look deal with WB to help bolster him to the studio. As stated, the man is known for keeping a full plate of work in front of him – and that hasn’t changed. The upcoming Batman vs. Superman and Sandman movies – as well as a possible Constantine TV show - are just some of the geek-friendly projects Goyer currently has in the works. However, even while trying to expand the DC/WB brand on both the big and small screens, Goyer and Co. are also up against another challenge: trying to appease a rabid and impatient fanbase with Marvel-style expectations of a shared universe.
There’s been recent debate about whether the Arrow TV show will be part of the Justice League movie continuity – and subsequently, whether the version of The Flash that show introduces will be incorporated into films, as well. Such rumoring has rekindled the fiery debate about DC’s lack of cohesiveness when compared to its biggest competitor, Marvel, which has its fully-established Avengers movie universe in place, and has clearly tied to that movie world to its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV experiment. Man of Steel was supposed to be the big beginning of the DC shared universe – but so far, beyond the promise of Batman and Superman in one movie, there’s been little evidence (actual evidence, not rumor) of a DC Universe to speak of.
As Bleeding Cool now tells it, Warner Bros. and DC Comics seem to be getting their ducks in a row by handing down the mandate that any DC movie project needs to go through Goyer. As reported by the website:
I understand that people looking at making films based on the likes of Suicide Squad, Booster Gold, Deathstroke and even Team 7 have been told that they have to partner or work with Goyer as producer.
The website goes on to explain that not everyone at WB is happy about that mandate, which could be why Goyer’s Sandman movie might be coming sooner rather than later. There are also those former rumors of Goyer being involved either writing and directing (or both) the Justice League movie – though with his questionable directorial track, and guys like Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck fully connected to the WB/DC brand, we’re betting (read: hoping) that Goyer’s efforts stay on the writing/producing side – which will already be too much for some fans.
Look, love or hate Goyer (sentiment seems to change by the project; the discrepancies in opinion between The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel still baffle me…) there’s no denying that, these days, this is how the franchise universe game is played. In my own guidelines for how to build a good DC movie universe, I pointed out that DC/WB having a master architect – like Marvel does at both the creative level (Joss Whedon) and producer level (Kevin Feige) – is the only way to go.
What did we all learn from DC/WB in the last five years? During all the back and forth about Nolan’s standalone Batman continuity or how Green Lantern and Man of Steel fit into the picture? Well, I for one learned that having too many cooks in one kitchen – especially when they have differing meal plans in mind – does not a good shared universe make. Now that some growing pains are out of the way, and projects like Man of Steel and Arrow are showing good returns, it’s time to take the right step forward. But is Goyer the man fans want at the helm?
There will be endless debate, but personally speaking, I’ve enjoyed the darker and more serious attempts to realize Batman and Superman on the big screen – and even though Nolan’s influence is often attributed to those projects’ success, Goyer has had just as much to do with it. DC and WB have also been sitting on a possible treasure-trove of non-traditional superhero projects – films that could radically differentiate the studio from the Marvel brand – and if there’s someone with enough variation in experience to make projects like Booster Gold, Suicide Squad or Team 7 into realities (while still keeping loyal to their respective sources AND fitting with the demands of a shared universe), it’s probably Goyer more so than Nolan.