We know everyone has strong opinions about the current state of the DCEU. Whether or not you believe the rumours, things aren’t looking so good. With all the bad press, Affleck departing as the director of The Batman, and murmurs about Wonder Woman being a mess, something’s got to give. Surely Warner has a contingency plan? Surely there must be a way to undo all the ‘damage’? Well, there is. Fix it all within the story. Here is a list of 4 possible storylines for the DCEU moving forward.
While the upcoming Justice League film will probably be heavily influenced by Justice League: War, news that Affleck is considering leaving the role of Batman could ruin plans for the franchise. Recasting the character doesn’t seem enough either (besides how exactly are they going to explain that?). What Warner needs is to reference comic books and other material that have done really well in the past. For example, the animated movies or the Injustice games. While I hate all this doom and gloom talk, it’s probably the only way of saving the universe without a full-on reboot if Wonder Woman and Justice League don’t succeed.
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us
We’ve already had the idea teased in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when Flash appears to a sleeping Bruce Wayne and foretells of a doomed future. He repeatedly states “Lois Lane is the key” and that she must be saved. He also says Bruce “was right about him” and that he needs to find “them” before disappearing off screen. Could we possibly see the storyline explored in full in the future films? Was Snyder teasing an Injustice storyline? It seems so.
In the video game and comic book series, Superman goes rogue after the Joker tricks him into believing Lois is actually Doomsday. After plunging her into space, he realises that Joker has tricked him and that Metropolis has been completely destroyed, Superman goes into a blind rage. He kills the Joker and begins to rule over the Earth, vowing that no criminal will go unpunished. Of course, this leads Batman to put together a resistance army that attempts to stop Superman.
Lois dying, Superman’s rise as a dictator, Batman leading a resistance, an army of soldiers loyal to Superman, all comes straight from Injustice. The great thing about this story is that it involves multiple universes (Batman gets the help of Superman from another universe to defeat the rogue Superman). We could get more than one version of each of the characters on screen. In that way, we could be introduced to a different Bruce Wayne (see where I’m going here?). If anyone wants out of the DCEU this might be their ticket. Affleck’s Batman could die, while the other Batman (whoever that might be) could carry on. We could even scrap this entire world completely and continue with the other universe.
The truth is everything can be undone with Barry. All he really needs to do is time travel and change it all. He has done it before. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes intentionally. In the Flashpoint story, Reverse Flash travels back in time to change something which alters the present. Flash is the only one who notices the differences and tries to alter the timeline back. In that timeline, Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father) is Batman, Martha Wayne is Joker, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are at war, and we get vastly different interpretations of the character. Again, I feel like Batman v Superman alluded to this story by casting Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan as Thomas and Martha Wayne. Can you imagine Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Batman? It would be epic. Plus, they would again have the opportunity to correct whatever differences there are to the timeline currently by using this story.
Up until recently, the Watchmen comics and characters were not considered to be part of the DC Universe. However, DC Rebirth has changed all of that and introduced Doctor Manhattan as the new antagonist for the world of Rebirth. It’s revealed that Manhattan was personally responsible for alternating the DC Universe by entering it after the events of Watchmen. 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? Maybe. It could be. That might be a subject of debate, though there are plenty of references to Watchmen scattered across Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and 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. The icon is strongly associated with Watchmen.
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.
1. Introduce Batman Beyond and time travel
While I like the idea of Future’s End being introduced to the DCEU, the plot wouldn’t make any sense at this stage of the story. Imagine this instead: Things are looking pretty bleak for the Justice League while fighting Darkseid. Then out of nowhere, Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond) arrives from the future. He has been sent back by Batman to stop the disaster. Only he has arrived a little too late. He begins to work with Batman in order to overcome Darkseid, but ultimately Batman (inspired by Superman) sacrifices himself in order to save the world. Unable to return to his own time, Terry is stuck in the present and Superman rightfully takes the lead of the Justice League.