Well, it did not take long for the wild rumors and speculation to begin once it was announced last week that Discovery, Inc. and WarnerMedia. were merging into one company called WarnerDiscovery. The wildest rumor has it that allegedly the Walt Disney Company is going to buy WarnerMedia’s DC Comics or Warner Bros. Being that Disney already owns Marvel Comics this would mean that both comic book companies can be merged into one.
Think about that for a moment.
If this was somehow true, this would be the most shattering development for comic books and related media since comic books were created nearly a century ago. Of course, fans know that DC Comics and Marvel Comics are the two biggest comic book companies with legendary superheroes and other characters. The fact that the two giants are natural rivals adds fuel to rumor fire about the possibility of this merger.
Think of the team up and crossover events. “Crisis on Infinity Secret Wars” or some other overpriced and over-printed epic spanning hundreds of issues per month with spinoff titles and one-shots cluttering comic book shelves in stores. It would blow out recent events like Dark Knights: Death Metal and King in Black in the shear scope. Imagine trying to buy all the tie-ins for that event!
This could spillover into games, books, and yes, films and TV shows. Thought Avengers: Endgame or The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths were epic? Guess again and imagine a live-action version of the last, great DC/Marvel crossover, JLA/Avengers or the 1990s’ DC vs. Marvel that pitted the Hulk against Superman or Captain America fighting Batman! Imagine further and think of the possibility of Robert Downey, Jr. sharing the silver screen as Iron Man alongside Christian Bale as Batman. Or Henry Cavill’s Superman meeting Chris Evans’ Captain America.
Let’s come back to Earth now and face reality because it is doubtful any of this will happen. Sure, it is possible, but to date there are not any credible, confirmed sources to back up this claim.
Then again, it can be true that Discovery may unload some of its new assets such as Warner Bros. or DC Comics, but it would be foolish to do so. Sure, the DC comics, films and TV shows may not be as successful as Marvel but they are profitable, well known and beloved. Aquaman and Joker both made over $1 billion dollars in theaters, the Batman video games are some of the best ever created. DC properties continue to generate buzz and money, why would Discovery walk away from that? Just because the films of the DC Extended Universe are mismanaged? If that were so, they would allow a major rival (Disney) to acquire the IP and then turn around and make them even more successful? The DCEU is a genuine rival to the Marvel films and the same goes for the comics and other media, any CEO willing to let money-making assets like that go deserves to be fired. If WarnerDiscovery wants to be competitive against Disney and the other entertainment giants like Netflix, Universal or Amazon, they will hold onto DC. Now, if the DC properties were doing terribly then that would be another matter. But DC Comics sells well, though overall sales in the comic book industry are not what they used to be. And even if they sold DC Comics but not Warner Bros. then they can say goodbye to the DCEU and other DC-related films. This would create a legal quagmire that would be worse than the mess back in the 1990s of who owned the film rights to Spider-Man.
As for Disney, they accumulated a lot of debt when they bought 21st Century Fox and the company took a big loss in profits thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is not capable of spending billions just to buy DC Comics. Some may claim that Disney owning both comic book companies would violate anti-trust laws but that may not be so. There are other legitimate comic book companies that could fill in the void of a defunct DC and become a major rival. Already, these other companies are producing quality books that sell well, have captured readers’ attention and successfully crossed over into other media.
Driving all this speculation and rumors is just the possibility of Warner and DC being sold. According to CNBC, the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger could be just to make selling the new company easier and Disney was only listed as a possible bidder in a hypothetical sale. There are other rivals ready to make their own play to acquire Warner Bros. or DC Comics.
So, all this hoopla is due to speculation.
Admittedly, the concept of both comic book/entertainment properties merging is exciting and even alarming, but it will not happen anytime soon. Then again, this speculation could be outdated a few days or weeks from now when it’s reported in major news outlets of the merger. Until then, let’s temper our excitement or dread.