Zack Snyder’s days as the primary creative engine of the DCEU appear to be coming to a close. Reports indicate the Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice director will be taking on a much smaller role going forward, and may end up stepping aside altogether as DC rethinks its cinematic approach.
Snyder’s vision of the DC universe has been polarizing from the start. His initial DC outing, Man of Steel, saw a version of Superman ravaged by self-doubt and a strong suspicion of humanity, values instilled in him by his well meaning but overprotective father, Jonathan Kent. Batman V Superman was even more divisive, showcasing a paranoid, lethal Batman engaged in a dark, morally complicated battle with the somber Kryptonian. The latter movie’s poor reviews seemed to indicate change was likely.
That change is apparently here. Mashable is reporting that Snyder and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, will take a backseat in the DCEU’s creative braintrust going forward. The pair will likely still receive producing credits on future films, but the creative direction of the movies will be dictated by DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Johns is reportedly working closely on the future of the DCEU with Joss Whedon, the Avengers director who stepped in to finish the upcoming Justice League following the tragic death of Zack Snyder’s daughter earlier this year; Whedon will start work on a Batgirl film next year. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and upcoming Batman helmer Matt Reeves will also reportedly be part of Johns’ DC Films braintrust. David Ayer — whose Suicide Squad was largely viewed as an extension of Snyder’s aesthetic — is also likely to part ways with the studio, which could leave his announced Gotham City Sirens film in an uncomfortable limbo.
This is a significant, if somewhat predictable, change for the DCEU. The Snyders have been at the helm of this universe from the start, but they could never quite manage to achieve the universal appeal that their friendly rivals at Marvel have enjoyed. Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was the studio’s breakthrough, and largely discarded the dark deconstruction of the Snyder films for a more earnest approach. It was both a critical and financial smash, the success of which make it an appealing formula for the studio to model future films after.
Snyder is not without supporters, however, including an extremely vocal and active fan base on social media. It’s probable there will be something of a minor backlash to this news, but if this report is indeed true, then it will be interesting to see what the future has in store for the DCEU.
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