It turns out that the title the entire pop culture sphere has been using to describe Warner Bros. shared universe based on DC Comics characters isn't - and never was - official. Instead, "DCEU" was all the result of a joke made in a 2015 EW column that caught on thanks to an ironically placed trademark sign. Nobody inside WB or DC uses the "Extended Universe" moniker and, by all accounts, actively discourage its proliferation. So what's the alternative?
This isn't just something for the company to consider and decide on eventually. With the franchise culminating its inaugural Superman arc in November's Justice League and a dozen different projects in various stages of development, there's going to be a lot of press and fan discussion in the coming months and years that requires a unifying name. Sure, there's plenty of fun joke titles to be made - Marthaverse, the DCNU, the "Justice League But Also Suicide Squad Especially Joker And Oh So Many Bat Family Movies"-verse - but if we're going to take the franchise as seriously as it takes itself, there's needs to be something clear.
We've dove deep and come up with some serious suggestions - as well as tried to crack how DC officially regards the universe.
Can We Still Use "DC Extended Universe"? (This Page)
Can We Still Use "DC Extended Universe"?
While it's been revealed the DC shared universe franchise isn't officially called the DCEU, does that still mean we can't call it that? It's tricky. Obviously, knowing it's not approved by the creators is a blow that makes it hard to use genuinely, especially when it comes to reporting official developments; and, after all, it only took off because everyone assumed it was the decreed title and begrudgingly got used to it. But that final concern highlights one thing "Extended Universe" has that any other replacement won't: integration.
"DCEU" may be a joke, but it was an accidentally effective one. EW gave us a shared shorthand for the franchise, and - after the eye-rolling reaction period had passed ("Extended Universe" is a rather nonsensical phrase) - DCEU has become the default. It's what we've used here at Screen Rant and according to Google Trends has only increased in usage in recent months (both the phrase and shortened version were more prevalent during this year's SDCC than they were at the release of Suicide Squad or Wonder Woman).
That sort of widespread awareness means that many fans are sure to keep on with it regardless of the latest development and further suggests that it may be in the best interests of DC Films to just embrace it. Ignimonious origins aside, it's provided two years of consistency to something rather fundamental. Given how long DCEU's now been in circulation, it's unlikely anything introduced now wouldn't be met with similar upturned noses.
So, yes, DCEU remains an option should you want. But, nevertheless, the question remains - can we provide a stronger alternative?
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020