It’s been five years since Joss Whedon’s debacle Justice League, but the DCEU is finally recovering. After Black AdamAfter the post-credits scene finally brought Henry Cavills Superman back to the DCEU, the universe can finally move forward after years of stagnation.
While many DCEUs have enjoyed critical and financial success in the years since, the universe itself found itself in a state of uncertainty and the individual films were not clearly on their way to a major climax. The universe still has a long way to go, but it has finally regained a sense of direction that had been absent since the release of Whedon’s version of Justice League in 2017.
The DCEU has abandoned Zack Snyder’s plan, but never replaced it
Zack Snyder’s DCEU movies were controversial, but there was a plan and the universe had a sense of direction. Snyder had a five-movie DCEU plan, supplemented by spin-offs like suicide squad, Wonder Womanand Aquariusand would follow Superman’s journey as he inspired the formation of the Justice League, eventually leading to a massive team to defend Earth from Darkseid’s invasion in Justice League 3.
When Snyder left Justice League deep into post-production and the studio hired Joss Whedon to rewrite the script and do key reshoots, Snyder’s plan was almost abandoned. Darkseid, the future of Knightmare and more were completely removed from the film and Superman’s arc was abandoned, replaced by a much lighter and simpler version of the character with nowhere to go on his hero’s journey.
Whedon’s Justice League Nearly Destroyed the DCEU
Whedon’s version of Justice League was a critical and financial disaster. The movie was a low point for the DCEU at the box office, and Henry Cavill’s bad CGI mustache removal became a viral meme, and not in a good way.
While universes are constantly rebooting, soft rebooting, or spinning, the Warner Bros. There was no alternative direction, meaning all creative decisions were aimed at eliminating Snyder’s influence on the brand, not building an alternative plan for an exciting future for the brand, leaving the DCEU in a state of uncertainty remains.
Whedon’s Justice League Not only did it ruin DCEU’s largest team and abandon the plan for the future, but it also drove several DCEU actors away. Henry Cavill was believed to have been done as Superman, with the character only appearing in faceless cameos, while Ben Affleck officially walked away from Batman, even abandoning his own Batman movie, openly blaming his experience for Justice League for his decision. Cyborg actor Ray Fisher also denounced his experience on the Justice League set, accusing Whedon and WB executives like Geoff Johns and Jon Berg of racism and other on-set toxicity. While a role was being written for him in The flashFisher’s refusal to cooperate with former DC Films president Walter Hamada (who he says prevented attempts to launch an investigation into Justice League‘s production) led the studio to cut Cyborg from the film.
It is certainly possible to tell DCEU stories without these characters or actors, but it would be almost impossible to Justice League continued, assuming there was even public demand for it at the time.
After Black Adam, the DCEU is finally moving forward
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Spent Years Hyping Black Adam with the claim “the hierarchy of power in the DC universe is about to change”, and while the film doesn’t rock the universe in any significant way, the fact that it even acknowledges a hierarchy of power or a larger DC universe is a huge step forward. The fact that it’s finally bringing Henry Cavill back into the role of Superman in the post-credits scene, implicitly putting him at the top of that “hierarchy of power” means the universe can finally stop treading water and actually move forward again.
Of course the credit can’t all go to Black Adam. The hatching of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, even thought WB said it was just a one-time event, got a big monkey off the franchise. In addition to exposing the DCEU’s failure to provide an alternative direction for the franchise, it also got Ben Affleck back in the Batman hood for additional photography, after which he signed up for a role in The flashand will now also appear in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. There’s still some recovery to go (like fixing the situation with Ray Fisher), but getting Affleck and Cavill back in their roles was essential to building the future of the DCEU.
Why it took the DCEU five years to recover from Justice League
Something as simple as getting Henry Cavill back as Superman and going ahead with plans for a new Superman movie might seem like an obvious move, so why did it take Warner Bros. got him back in the blue suit and the red cape? According to Dwayne Johnson, he actually had to fight for six years to get Cavill in the film. Walter Hamada has reportedly turned down several requests to include Cavill in the post-credits scene and it cost The Rock over his head to Warner Bros. bosses. Film Group, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, to make it happen.
This isn’t the first time that Hamada and other DC Films directors have opposed something that ultimately worked out well for the brand. joker director Todd Phillips said they were trying to stop him from making the film, James Gunn was not allowed to use Batman or Cyborg in his Justice League cameos in the peacekeeper finale, trying to prevent Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern from appearing in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (passes the latter) after fighting for years to stop the film from happening in the first place.
Getting Cavill back as Superman doesn’t necessarily mean the DCEU will just go back to Snyder’s original plan, nor is it proof enough that the studio finally has an alternate plan, but it does show a willingness and desire to move forward in some way. on which previous plagues, such as the headless Superman cameo in Shazam!, not. The DCEU still has a long way to go, but it’s safe to say they are finally taking steps in the right direction.
Next: So, is the Snyderverse officially reinstated now?!