After the DC Extended Universe got off to a divisive start with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice polarizing both critics and fans, DC's biggest heroes have been in a state of uncertainty, and a Batman and Superman team-up might be the thing to stabilize it again. In an effort to course correct for the complaints about Batman v Superman's tone, Suicide Squad saw massive reshoots, ultimately making the movie a mess, with Justice League taking even more drastic actions, removing Zack Snyder as director, cutting continuity to his past films, and permanently altering the future trajectory of the DCEU.
In the time since Justice League, the future slate of movies has been significantly altered, with release dates being pushed and new characters rumored to get their own movies, but news on Batman and Superman's next outing has been scarce, with even Matt Reeves' slow gestating Batman solo film reportedly telling a story about a younger Batman instead of continuing Ben Affleck's arc.
Couple this with repeated news that there are currently no plans for Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill to suit up as Batman or Superman again, and the future of the characters is in doubt.
- This Page: The DCEU Doesn't Know What to Do With Batman and Superman
- Page 2: How a Batman and Superman Team-Up Could Solve the DCEU's Problems
The DCEU Doesn't Know What to Do With Batman and Superman
After years of failed attempts to get a Superman story off the ground, Bryan Singer's Superman Returns was a major letdown for many fans as it attempted to serve as a spiritual sequel to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, leading to a full reboot of the character with Zack Snyder's more serious take on the character in Man of Steel. Of course, this version wasn't as well received either, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to turn many detractors around on the character before Justice League tried to "course correct" with a cringey smiling and jokey version of the character with awkward CGI mustache removal, also failing to ignite excitement over the character's future.
Batman, on the other hand, was coming off a massively successful trilogy from Christopher Nolan, and Ben Affleck's casting was met with mass hysteria before his more violent, fallen Batman was also rejected by many in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, despite his redemption and turn at the end. Justice League reshoots also turned his character into a smiling, quipping verson of the character as Ben Affleck abandoned his writing and directing duties from the Batman solo movie, leaving his future in doubt as well.
There's clearly baggage with both characters and actors, but paired with Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa's Aquaman, both of whom saw massive success in their own solo movies, simply recasting the actors is a difficult proposition after they've already appeared on screen together.
Batman v Superman is Too Big to Ignore
The biggest problem is that Warner Bros. can't simply ignore or retcon Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The movie made $870 million worldwide, drew endless headlines, has a strong fan following, and introduced every single current Justice League member, including Momoa and Gadot.
The MCU didn't have much difficulty recasting Rhodey or Bruce Banner because Terrence Howard only appeared in one Iron Man movie before Don Cheadle took over in Iron Man 2, where the character became more prominent, becoming War Machine, and Edward Norton's Incredible Hulk was barely even seen, only grossing $260 million worldwide.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced Batman to the DCEU, brought him through an intense character arc where he ultimately confronts Superman, and has Superman sacrifice himself at the end. One of Justice League's biggest faults was trying to pretend, as much as it could, that Batman v Superman never happened. Outside of the obvious plot points that needed to be resolved, like Superman's death, nearly everything else that would have tied it back to Batman v Superman was cut, removing much of the build-up and making Justice League ultimately feel like a smaller movie than it's predecessor.
In order to truly leave Batman v Superman in the past, the DCEU will need to resolve it, first. That means rounding off the major events and bringing closure to Batman and Superman's arcs, making them into the versions of the characters their trajectory was leading them towards - the versions its detractors have been begging for all along.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020