Warning: Spoilers for Justice League
Warner Bros. has been seeking its footing with the DC Extended Universe for several years now. Originally launched out of the divisive Superman solo film, Man of Steel, a number of fans and critics have called for the films to shift tone, including more humor, a lighter color palate, and smiling heroes. It didn't happen right away, though. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was even more polarizing than its predecessor, introducing a gritty Frank Miller-eque Batman and leaning into the darker tone, bringing the Caped Crusader to blows with the Last Son of Krypton before introducing Doomsday, bringing about Superman's death.
While a number of things were criticized about Batman v Superman, one thing most people seemed to agree upon was that Gal Gadot's debut as Wonder Woman was the best part. This sentiment carried through to her Patty Jenkins directed solo film, which was the DCEU's first major success from both a critical and financial standpoint, leading many fans of the movie to say WB should forget about Batman and Superman and just focus on Wonder Woman, making her the center of this universe moving forward.
After Zack Snyder departed Justice League's production and Joss Whedon stepped in to complete the reshoots, the official word was that he would simply be following the same blueprint as Snyder, but a number of rumors were swirling suggesting Whedon was being far more invasive, that he was brought in to lighten the tone, rewriting and reshooting significant chunks of the film to remove the traditional Zack Snyder trappings, and the reshoots were capitalizing on Wonder Woman's reception to make Diana a bigger focus in the final film.
While most of the rumors about Whedon's involvement ultimately proved to be true, and he had in fact significantly altered the movie from Snyder's original conception, the Wonder Woman role in the movie was mostly the same other than the addition of a romantic subplot with Bruce Wayne, a major missed opportunity on the part of Joss Whedon. Not only should he have made her the central figure in the film, but it would have been easy to accomplish with reshoots, and would have been a much clearer signal to audiences that Justice League learned the right lessons from Wonder Woman's success.
Page 1: (this page): Wonder Woman is the Only Character Audiences Care About
Wonder Woman is the Only DCEU Character Audiences Are 'All In' On
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is the only DC hero audiences had widely accepted before Justice League. Sure, Henry Cavill's Superman and Ben Affleck's Batman have their followings, but both have also had a number of detractors from day one, and Batman v Superman didn't drastically tip the scales in either's favor.
Wonder Woman is also the only movie in the DCEU that didn't see a divided reaction or any kind of severe backlash. While it was much brighter than Batman v Superman and included more humor, it was still visually impressive and the jokes didn't detract from the gravity of the plot - an issue many fans were concerned would be a side effect of more humor.
While Batman and Superman are classically bigger names, they are the characters carrying the baggage of the previously divisive films in the franchise, so making the story more about Wonder Woman is the perfect way to pivot into a new era without abandoning tones or themes from the previous movies.
When it comes to the new characters, audiences don't know Ezra Miller's Flash, Ray Fisher's Cyborg, or Jason Momoa's Aquaman yet. Sure, they got face time in the marketing campaign and the movie effectively establish a basic origin story for each of them, but none of them have the recognition or the draw that Gal Gadot benefits from after making Wonder Woman the most popular origins story of all time. Since audiences want more of her character and appreciate Wonder Woman's tone more than other DCEU films, then when it comes to drastically altering Justice League to appeal to an audience that disliked Zack Snyder's previous installments, changing it to focus on Wonder Woman's corner of the universe makes sense. And it would have been easy.
- Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019