Kevin Smith shares his thoughts on the future of Warner Bros.' live-action Justice League universe (unofficially known as the DCEU). The studio officially launched their comic book shared universe with Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice last year - a follow-up to Snyder's previous film, Man of Steel - and they continued to expand the franchise with David Ayer's Suicide Squad later that year and Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman earlier this year.
Now, the world's finest heroes - Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) - will unite for the first time ever on the big screen in Snyder's Justice League. And over the next few years, Warner Bros. will release adaptations of Aquaman, Shazam!, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps, with Wonder Woman 2 and Suicide Squad 2 also following. Beyond those movies, though, things are a bit murkier. The studio has several DC Comics-related projects in various stages of development, some of which won't even connect to the overarching DC universe. Some might find that disturbing, but not Kevin Smith.
Smith sat down with Screen Rant recently and shared his thoughts on DC's future. When asked what his thoughts were on the studio's seemingly convoluted plan, Smith said, "All of ‘em are good. There’s no such thing as a bad comic book movie. Even the ones that people say are quote-unquote bad are better than no comic book movies." While that's certainly true, many people may find fault with becoming accustomed to bad comic book movies, but Smith explained his reasoning on that.
"I’m a forty-seven-year-old man, so I grew up in an era where there were no comic book movies. And then every once in awhile you’d get one, and it was like water in a desert. You’d get Batman in 1989, or Blade or something like that. So now, we live in an era where they’re like, 'Hey, we’re not even gonna do an interconnected DC universe. We’re just gonna let Martin Scorsese produce a flick where Leonardo DiCaprio might play the Joker.' That’s exciting. So, to me, I’m like, the more the merrier."
Smith's referring to the recently announced Joker origin movie, which has Todd Phillips directing and Martin Scorsese producing. Furthermore, reports have suggested that Scorsese is looking at Leonardo DiCaprio to portray the Clown Prince of Crime himself. And considering how frequently Scorsese and DiCaprio collaborate with each other, it's certainly possible this could be the impetus to get the actor finally to join the comic book world. Smith then discussed Warner Bros.' approach to their universe:
"I know they’re deviating from the Marvel template of, like, 'We’ll make a bunch of characters, and then a reunion movie. Buncha characters, reunion movie.' Instead, Warner Brothers seem to be going with, 'Well, we tried that, and we’re gonna keep doing it on the side, but we’re not gonna limit ourselves. We’re gonna do a bunch of other interesting things.' They’re trying to forge their way in the superhero space. So I think it’s interesting, I’m not against that at all."
It's no secret that Warner Bros. has deviated from the established Marvel formula. Rather than start out with solo movies and then have characters team-up later on, the studio is using the overarching narrative to build upon the universe, and that's what sets them apart from the crowd. Moreover, their filmmaker-driven approach is something that's continuously praised by the franchise's directors. However, Smith still wants the movies to remain connected wherever possible:
"And then you have some people—I’m a purist, so I love when things are interconnected, as well, but I grew up in an era where there was a Batman movie, there was a Superman movie, and they didn’t really reference each other. One time George Clooney was like, 'This is why Superman works alone' and we got our nipples hard, we were like, 'Aaah, they know each other.' So now we live in a world where these movies can cross over and stuff, I’m happy to get the ones that can, but if they don’t cross ‘em over that’s totally okay with me. As long as they’re good, as long as they try.
"And think about—some people get kinda crappy, like, 'Come on, man, these cats, they don’t know comic books.' Comic books and characters have been handed to so many creators over the years. You never know what you’re gonna get in the hands of any particular person. I still get crap for making Batman pee his pants in a Batman book once, which is, you know, kind of reducing it to something it wasn’t, but still, regardless, you gotta respect the fact that a creator can come on, maybe take that character [to] a place that you’ve never seen that character be taken. And I gotta imagine, if Martin Scorsese jumps onto a Batman movie, we’re gonna see some sh*t. Not bad sh*t, the good sh*t that we all dream about. Goodfellas in a DC universe movie? I’m there, take all my money."
Although the comic book movie trend doesn't seem to be stagnating at this point, over-saturation can certainly turn off many viewers. What's more, when the vast majority of superhero movies resemble one another, they start to blend over, and that can lead to dissatisfaction. While we may never see Scorsese take on a Batman movie himself, allowing for these Elseworlds-type stories to exist means more distinctive films can release without affecting the main continuity.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020
- Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019