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  • Brian Flinchbaugh

A Shake-up at the DCEU

To the surprise of nobody, Warner Bros. is shaking up its DC films, both on screen and off.

First out is Jon Berg, co-president of production at WB. He’s stepping down to become a producer. The official line is that this is a voluntary move on his part, but that sounds too convenient.

Geoff Johns will stay on as chief creative officer. He’s really more involved with the DC television shows than he is with the films, but WB may want to change that. The series’ airing on the small screen have a much better history of audience and critical success, so it may be worth giving Johns more input into the film universe. Certainly couldn’t hurt.

The bigger news, or rather, non-news, is that Ben Affleck will not return for director Matt Reeves’ solo Batman film. This was entirely expected, as I predicted this in an earlier article. I also predicted that he would make one more appearance, in the upcoming Flashpoint movie, and that seems to be coming to fruition as well. Affleck wanted out of the role and Reeves didn’t want him either. The writing was just all over the wall for how this was going to go down.

Though not yet confirmed, it sure seems like Zack Snyder is done directing DC movies. That’s sad news for a lot of DC fans, because Snyder has a huge following of people who think he’s been done wrong. But it does appear to be the reality of where we’re heading.

WB is re-evaluating their DC movies in development. That’s good, because regardless of how much some of us disagree with the critics, some adjustments have to be made from a financial standpoint.

I’ve written in the past that the state of the DCEU is strong, and I stand by that. A creative shake-up isn’t a doomsday scenario; it’s a birth of new life. It’s a chance to refocus and reorganize. Primarily, it’s a chance for WB to stop micromanaging and let their directors to their jobs.

And they have some good directors on board. James Wan is in charge of next year’s Aquaman and Patty Jenkins has proven brilliant with Wonder Woman, the most successful DCEU film yet. The studio must learn to stay out of the way and allow the production teams to do their thing. Allow the characters to excel on their own and then get them together for the occasional team-up. Make them connected to but not dependent on each other.

It doesn’t sound like a hard DCEU reboot is on the immediate horizon. I didn’t think it would be because it wouldn’t make good sense. The entire brand would risk becoming like the Fantastic Four, simply too damaged to save. WB has smartly recognized this and is making changes but not scrapping what they’ve built. Can we view the upcoming Flashpoint as a soft reboot? Perhaps, but it’s acceptable because there’s a legitimate story behind it.

Here’s one big change they should make and one way they should be similar to Marvel; WB should separate DC Films into its own entity and allow Geoff Johns to run it as Kevin Feige runs Marvel Studios. Let the comic book people make the comic book movies. You can’t be exactly like your rivals but you can pay attention to what makes them successful. Disney stays out of Marvel productions, as it has its own entire creative and production team. Warner would be smart to move in that direction as well.

Yes, shaking up anything usually means things are less than perfect. But it doesn’t mean we’re on the brink either.

SO, Geoff Johns for president of DC Studios, anyone?


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