Whether we’re excited for what James Gunn and Peter Safran have planned for their relaunched films based on DC Comics properties or lamenting the demise of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), it is clear by now that the DCEU has lost its way.
There are many reasons why the DCEU ultimately faltered and a common factor that many point to has to do with the schedule of its early films and who they were centered on. Many fans have griped that there never was a proper sequel to Man of Steel or that Batman never had a solo film, while other announced films have yet to materialize.
So, could the DCEU have succeeded early on? It is possible and there are many avenues the films could have taken. Some have suggested that the DCEU films should have taken a gradual approach in introducing the heroes before releasing Justice League in the same way Marvel Studios led up to the release of The Avengers. There were many reasons why Warner Bros. did not take this approach with their reps publicly stating they did not want to copy the formula used by Marvel Studios. But if they did try to emulate the formula, how would the DCEU have turned out? Let’s look further.
The first film of the DCEU, Man of Steel, is released in 2013 as it happened in real life. Except, this time the film would have more Easter eggs to a greater DCEU instead of a quick glimpse of a satellite belonging to Bruce Wayne. The film would have a post-credits scene which would show a news montage about the Kryptonian invasion of Earth and the revelation of Superman. As the talking heads would debate about an alien being walking among us, the images would pull back to show they are coming from a TV screen or monitor and we would see that this scene is taking place in the Batcave or in S.T.A.R. Labs.
Instead of waiting until 2016 to release the next DCEU film, Warner Bros. would release two films in 2015. A proper sequel to Man of Steel called Man of Tomorrow, which would be a solo Superman film, and a solo Batman film called The Caped Crusader.
Man of Tomorrow would have been very similar to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice except that Lex Luthor would have been recast and Batman/Bruce Wayne would only make brief appearances. He never would have fought or even met Superman. That opening in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice where Bruce Wayne personally witnesses the destruction in Metropolis from Superman’s fight with the Kryptonians would swap out Wayne with Luthor. This gives Luthor more of a reason to hate Superman because he saw firsthand the danger of this superpowered alien. The rest of the film would have explored the ramifications of Superman’s presence in the world with Luthor trying to discredit him. The film could have had references to other DC heroes who at this time are operating in the shadows or have not become superheroes yet.
Like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Tomorrow would have concluded with Superman confronting by himself a genetic monstrosity that Luthor created but instead of Doomsday it would have been an evil Superman clone, who we would know was a malevolent version of Bizarro. The film would include two post-credits scenes. One would show that Luthor had created another genetic opponent for Superman that was locked up. This creature would have been revealed to be Doomsday. The other scene would take place in another world and reveal that the recent superhuman activities have caught the attention of Darkseid.
The Caped Crusader film would be a proper solo film for Batman and it would have shown Batman to be coming out of semi-retirement. It also would have shown that Batman is largely considered to be an urban myth but by the end of the film, Batman would be revealed to be an actual person who fights crime. The Joker would not appear in the film or even be hinted at. Instead the villain would be Deathstroke as The Caped Crusader would have been based on Ben Affleck’s script for the scrapped Batman solo film where Deathstroke blamed Batman for the death of his son and tried to get revenge on Batman. As with Man of Tomorrow, the Batman film would have had references to the greater DCEU and possibly featured Superman in a cameo, probably as part of a newscast. It possibly could have introduced Diana Prince as a mysterious and potential love interest for Wayne. The film also would have post-credits scenes that set up a sequel and have Prince revealed to be Wonder Woman.Continue reading