The DCU is looking to make a fresh start of things after the disaster of the previous cinematic universe, the DCEU. Audiences everywhere failed to connect with the old universe, and The Flash’s box office numbers prove that fans have all but given up on DC. James Gunn’s new universe needs to find success where other attempts have failed.
DC holds some of the most iconic heroes and villains in comics, yet it has continued to squander them on screen. By sticking to the basics and following the source material, James Gunn and Peter Safran have a much better chance of connecting with hardcore fans and new audience members.
10 DC Heroes Need A Sense Of Hope
Despite the long and dark shadow that Batman casts, most of the DC heroes are incredibly hopeful. This is something that has been sorely lacking from the earlier films of the DCEU. The tone was grim, dark, and made it feel as if the heroes cared nothing for the people they were protecting.
While this was somewhat corrected later on in Wonder Woman, and even The Flash, it never felt organic considering their origins in the universe. Gunn’s DCU, and especially Superman: Legacy, needs to show audiences that the heroes believe in humanity and have hope for the future.
9 Gunn Needs To Bring Color To Superhero Costumes
For some reason, most comic book movies, especially the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Snyderverse, seemed to be terrified of adding color to superhero costumes. The MCU has a famously dull color palette, and the costumes that are brightly colored in one film are immediately diluted in the next.
The Snyderverse covered everything in tints of blue and gray, leaving everything feeling washed out. Gunn can set the DCU apart by adding splashes of color to the world and the costumes. Put Batman in gray and blue instead of black, and have Superman in bright red trunks and a golden “S” on his cape. Making the world feel bright and vibrant will help to also bring a sense of hope to the universe.
8 Respect the Comic Books
The DC films of the past seem to have gone out of their way to forget the source material that the characters come from. The comics are rarely promoted and even if they are, the films are so different they are essentially unrecognizable as the same thing.
While adaptations can obviously take some liberties, the comics need to be acknowledged. Gunn has already gone out of his way to promote the comics he is building his first chapter off of. This fills fans with a lot of hope that he will also be creating more comic-accurate films.
7 Focus on More Characters Than Just Batman
Batman is undoubtedly one of the most popular characters of all time, certainly of the DC franchise. There have been more Batman films than any of DC property, much like Spider-Man for Marvel. Batman took over the Man of Steel spiritual sequel Batman v Superman, and he did it again in The Flash with the return of Michael Keaton.
There is alsoThe Batman Part II still on the way. While Batman will factor into Gunn’s plans, the DC franchise has so many fascinating characters beyond just Batman. Exploring Swamp Thing, Hawkman, Vixen, or Wonder Girl is a chance to tell new and more interesting stories.
6 The DCU Should Embrace Sidekicks
Sidekicks are a huge part of comic books and DC’s history. Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash are just a few examples of the many sidekicks that live in the DC universe. These sidekicks have a larger function than just adding another superhero to the mix. In Robin’s case, he is the light that contrasts Batman’s darkness.
He allows Batman to see more than just the crime that consumes his city. Bringing more sidekicks to the DCU would certainly separate it from any previous iterations, which have avoided sidekicks religiously. If the DCU is looking to be drastically different from adaptations that have come before, then including sidekicks in a prominent role would do that.
5 The DCU Needs An Actual Plan
One of the biggest downfalls of the DCEU is that nothing seemed planned. Everything seemed to be happening for no rhyme or reason. The MCU has been meticulously planned out, even if Phase 4 doesn’t feel like it. This has been a key to its success. Gunn is already on top of this. He has laid out his plan for Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters and how each project will set the stage for the larger story.
This is fantastic news as long as the studio sticks to the plan. By carefully layering projects, it allows for more in-depth character development and for characters to better overlap with each other. Phil Coulson was able to have an impact on all the Avengers because he was layered throughout the films. The DCEU lacked that connective tissue that a plan would bring.
4 Don’t Rush The Justice League
The DCEU was in a rush to do everything. That universe felt it needed to catch up with the MCU and in doing so, it skipped many crucial steps. There was zero character development or world-building. The characters were introduced in one film, and their entire story was expected to be fleshed out, instead of just introduced. Heroes like Superman and Batman were taken out of the toy chest and tossed on the screen. The reason the MCU had so much success is that it was patient. It took its time building to The Avengers.
The DCU needs to take notice of this and not rush the Justice League. Let each character stand alone and find a way to organically bring the team together. Forcing the Justice League together makes it feel like a cheap experience. By having an organic catalyst for the team’s creation, it makes it feel more authentic.
3 Learn From The Arrowverse and The DCAU
DC has been down the universe building before and has found success, just not in the films. Both the Arrowverse and the DCAU created incredible universes that truly represented the characters and the comics. The Arrowverse built a successful multiverse and was able to tackle massive comic book events.
It kept fans intrigued for over a decade, before ending with The Flash’s final season. The DCAU brought together classic animated series and showed the power of the animated format. Gunn has already stated that the DCU will be including animation, with Creature Commandos being the first animated series of the new universe. This is a sign of growth for the DC brand.
2 Explore the Weird Corners of DC Comics
Beyond the Trinity, DC has so many interesting stories and characters that are weird and wonderful. There are the mystical characters of Justice League Dark, or the creepy characters like Solomon Grundy.
The DCU needs to be willing to take big risks on more unknown and weird characters. Creature Commandos and Swamp Thing are good steps in this direction. Yet, bringing in a character like Detective Chimp or Deadman, can add a whole new dynamic that DC hasn’t had before, and the MCU hasn’t had either.
1 The DCU Doesn’t Need One-Shot Villains
The old style of doing comic book movies, even in the MCU, was to have one-shot villains. These villains would show up for one film, be defeated, and never heard from again. This is a great way that the DCEU waste good actors and great characters. One of the biggest and most consistent complaints of the MCU is that so many great villains were used once and never again. Red Skull, Abomination, and Ultron are a few examples of how the MCU failed its villains. The DCU needs to be better.
Instead, the DCU should focus more on creating long-term villains. Lex Luthor, the Joker, Brainiac, Sinestro, and Darkseid can all be villains that appear repeatedly and have long-lasting effects in the universe. This will make it feel more authentic and far less wasteful.
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