It’s been a busy couple of years for the DC Extended Universe. Aside from just introducing a majority of the Justice League team members for the first time last year in Batman V Superman, Warner Bros. has been busy filling out and announcing their entire DC slate, including this year’s Wonder Woman standalone film and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. With Aquaman and Batman solo films all already on their way, in addition to Flash and Green Lantern Corps, it’s almost strange to think about where the DCEU was back in 2013 when it all began with the Henry Cavill-led Superman standalone film, Man of Steel.
Back when Man of Steel was first released, there wasn’t any real way of predicting where exactly the DC films were going to go from there. Sure, there were LexCorp and Wayne Security Easter eggs planted throughout, but fans were still busy speculating about what Christopher Nolan’s involvement in the future may or may not be, to even consider the possibility of say, Ben Affleck being cast as The Dark Knight.
Some have even speculated that the plans for the DCEU came after Warner Bros. released Man of Steel. Considering the fact that Batman V Superman dealt so heavily with the backlash and complaints people had with Man of Steel, fans were never sure when or where exactly the plan for the DCEU came from. But while speaking with Comicbook.com recently, producer Charles Roven assured fans that the plan was always to kickoff the universe with Man of Steel, before going on to tease the future films fans can expect to see:
“When we started with Man of Steel, we knew that we were going to expand the universe. From the moment that we started with Man of Steel, we knew that once we opened up the Superman … You can’t do Superman without talking about aliens existing in our universe. We knew that we were going to have to really consider what the world building would be beyond the unique film. Then, as soon as Warner Brothers announced that slate, we really got intensive about it.
But the thing is, each unique film in the DC pantheon is going to be unique because the directors are different except for Zack directing Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the two Justice League movies. Each one of those directors, whether it be David Ayer or Patty Jenkins or James Wan, they are bringing their sensibilities and a different production designer and different costume designer, et cetera. That world building will still be of the same DC Justice League universe, but have its own unique point of view.”
Looking back on it, it becomes clearer what exactly the plan Warners had for their DC titles in the coming years. But with The Dark Knight Rises coming out just one year prior to Man of Steel, the first solo Superman film since 2006 came at an interesting, transitionary period for DC fans that made it difficult to think about the future. Coupling that with the fact that the DC TV Universe was continuing to blossom and grow at the same time, and it’s easy to understand where a majority of the confusion came from amongst the fandom.
Despite the divisive initial reactions to Man of Steel upon its release, the film has gone on to serve as a strong starting point for the rest of the DC cinematic properties, even if some of them have struggled to find a strong footing from time to time. Right now, it’s been confirmed that DC is currently working on developing a sequel to Man of Steel, though there’s been no news on when exactly fans can expect to see Henry Cavill get his own standalone again. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the hero who started it all finally gets a chance to shine again.