After a 20 month-long battle with the U.S. Justice Department, AT&T's $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner has finally been approved - meaning that all of Warner Bros.' DC properties now fall under the AT&T umbrella. News of buyouts, acquisitions and mergers can understandably make some fans nervous about the fate of their favorite characters and franchises, but the AT&T/Time Warner deal is (probably) good news for the DC Extended Universe.
The franchise already has a considerable number of projects in development. Aquaman will release later this year, followed by Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984 next year, and beyond that the films that Warner Bros. has in the pipeline range from a solo Batman movie (and possible reboot) to a solo Lobo movie. Fans who have a keen interest in seeing one or more of those projects come to fruition may be concerned that Warner Bros.' new owner will want to start over from scratch, but the chances of that happening are slim.
DC Films, the production company behind the DCEU, is some way down the corporate chain. It's a branch of DC Entertainment, whose parent company is Warner Bros., whose parent company is Time Warner (now called WarnerMedia), whose parent company is now AT&T. However, just because DC Films is just one of a great many assets acquired in the deal, it doesn't mean that the change of ownership won't shake things up a bit. Things are only just starting to move ahead, but here's what we know so far about how the AT&T buyout may affect the DCEU.
- This Page: Why the AT&T/Time Warner Deal May Have Saved the DCEU.
- Page 2: The Current Plan For the DCEU
The Deal Might Have Saved the DCEU
Earlier this year it was reported that, if the AT&T/Time Warner buyout ended up getting successfully blocked by the Department of Justice, Time Warner would most likely be broken up into Warner Bros., HBO and Turner and sold off individually - putting DC Films and the DCEU in an uncertain situation. As it stands, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara will be remaining at the head of the company and, as far as we know, the DCEU will continue along its current path. In an email to Warner Bros. employees, Tsujihara wrote:
While this is truly an evolution of our business, [AT&T CEO] Randall Stephenson and [WarnerMedia CEO] John Stankey have both said the WarnerMedia companies will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what we do best.
While that's not quite a promise that absolutely nothing will change for DC Films, it does sound like AT&T will be fairly hands-off when it comes to Warner Bros.' individual movie franchises. Moreover, it's possible that Warner Bros. was deliberately keeping certain projects in limbo until the deal went through (the plans for the buyout were first announced in October 2016), which is why we've heard about so many different movies in development, but so few have appeared to be moving forward.
Page 2: The Current Plan For the DCEU
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020