The days of the DCEU's 'failure' looming after each movie release may finally be over, now that Geoff Johns is handling DC's creative vision instead of Zack Snyder - but are the pair's ambitions all that different? And even more importantly, will Johns be looking to undo any of the foundation building Snyder accomplished from Man of Steel to the upcoming Justice League?
The head of DC Films isn't likely to outright answer the question, or even explain just how much input Zack Snyder has on Justice League with Joss Whedon completing the production. But discussing what HE values in superhero stories when translated to the screen at San Diego Comic-Con, Johns did use some words that Snyder critics will point to as evidence of a changing of the guard.
Where Zack Snyder looked to tread new ground by "deconstructing" DC's biggest icons prior to his Justice League extravaganza, Geoff Johns wants to celebrate them instead... but is that the whole story?
During a spotlight panel on his entire career, Johns was asked about how his skills as a creative officer - inspiring other creators to tell stories true to the heart of DC's heroes - translates into TV shows and now, major motion pictures. Explaining how his knowledge of the DC Comics characters and history shifts into a leadership role, Johns used a word that may stand out to Zack Snyder fans and critics - a point or pursuit they may not agree on:
I work with so many talented people. So there's people that love it, and understand it, and embrace it, and then there's people that don't know that and you want to help them learn it, and you want to tell them why a certain storyline for a certain character might not work. Or why a take on a character might not work, or what Superman really should be.
But the whole thing is to craft and shape the story and the tone to fit the character. And to celebrate the character, instead of deconstruct the character. I think you want to celebrate the character, because you've got to celebrate something and build it up, I think, to really make it into something that represents who that character truly is.
And also, the fact that I've written all these comic books gives me a lot of crediblity coming into the room because it's hard to argue sometimes. Like, people can tell me what Aquaman is, but if I've written the book - literally - it helps me out.
Johns's comments can and will be taken a number of ways, since his words now carry weight across more than just one or two forms of entertainment.
For those who have never responded to Zack Snyder's visual style or form of storytelling, Johns's comment could be hailed as 'proof' that Snyder's exit from the DCEU is all but confirmed, and his past interest in "deconstructing" will not continue under Johns's leadership. For those spectators, this distinction will be added to recent rumors that Johns is now the creative visionary for the DC Films universe moving forward and not Zack and Deborah Snyder.
But drawing such a line between the two storytellers' approaches isn't as easy as some would claim - let alone setting them as diamterically opposed in a 'right' or 'wrong' way to adapt superhero stories to film. For instance, Snyder's directorial style may turn some moviegoers or devoted comic fans off completely, yet in his role as 'creative visionary' for both Batman V Superman and Justice League, his efforts to reimagine DC's greatest heroes have, more often than not, proven to be conceptual home runs.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017