The DCEU is growing at a rapid pace. Now fives films in and another thirteen in the works, Warner is gaining momentum and looking to totally revolutionise the comic book film industry, which up until now has been dominated by Marvel and Disney. However, despite the fact that DC owns the more popular characters and properties (the comic book sales reflect this), Warner has been willing to take bigger risks with the films than ever before. Why? Why would they run the risk of killing off important characters (like Superman, Jimmy Olsen, and the rest), reimagining classic villains (The Joker), and toying with alternate costumes and styles? The answer might be that they have something bigger up their sleeves.
Up until recently, the Watchmen comics and characters were not considered to be part of the DC Universe. However, Rebirth has changed all of that and introduced Doctor Manhattan as the new antagonist for the DC world. It’s revealed that Manhattan was personally responsible for alternating the DC Universe by entering it after the events of Watchmen and hence the dark and gritty world of the New 52.
Does this mean that perhaps Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie adaptation might be part of the extended DCEU already? That might be a subject of debate, though there are plenty of references to Watchmen scattered across Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and even Suicide Squad. But why? Are they just friendly nods to the director’s previous work? Maybe. But why would Ayer add references to Suicide Squad? There is a huge yellow smiley face in the department store window where Harley Quinn steals the bag and Deadshot stares into it before jumping into a flashback. This is an icon that is strongly associated with Alan Moore’s creation.
Also, the tone and texture of the Watchmen movie would certainly match what we’ve seen in DC movies so far. Superman and Batman have had their core values rewritten. Superman is more cynical of humanity just like Dr Manhattan. Batman is certainly more damaged and unhinged like Watchmen’s Rorschach. So what am I getting at?
Perhaps, just perhaps, DC and Warner have a contingency plan. Maybe they’re thinking that they could give their writers and directors free reign to experiment and if it doesn’t work, they only need to call in the Watchmen crew in order to reboot the series again. Of course, this might be Warner’s plan all along. Perhaps Rebirth was discussed earlier on in the franchise. Maybe this is an alternate timeline. Maybe this isn’t our Joker. Maybe this isn’t our Batman. Maybe this isn’t our Superman. Maybe they are the result of Doctor Manhattan’s creation.
When you sit back and look at all the pieces, they fit. Why did we need time-travelling sequence in Batman v Superman? Was it there because they wanted us to know that it’s possible? Or is there be something more to it? Could we see Wally West enter the world and go back to totally undo the storyline? Could it be the reason why Geoff Johns (the man behind Rebirth) was brought in to oversee the films?
It’s possible. And it would make sense. If the fans keep complaining, they’ll have no choice. That said, if all this is true, they might have veered off the track with their latest film.
Justice League doesn’t seem to have any touches of Watchmen, New 52 or Rebirth. Gone is the dark tone and all the references. If the above was their contingency plan, they’ll need another one to get the story back on track. Of course, simply introducing Flashpoint could still reset everything back in place. Perhaps that is where this is all heading.
Maybe Flashpoint will reintroduce a new Batman (and Ben Affleck can exit in a cool way). Maybe it will allow Superman to be Clark Kent again. Maybe it will fix the plotholes in Wonder Woman’s backstory. Maybe it will introduce Green Lantern to the Justice League instead of Cyborg. Maybe it will allow them to restart the DCEU and create a new timeline with completely different representations of the characters.