Why Is James Gunn Convinced the Future of DC Is a Shared Universe?
This has been one of the big differences between DC and Marvel. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko designed the Marvel Universe as a single cohesive entity. In contrast, the DC universe evolved in fits and starts. It was never designed to be a single shared continuity.
Characters were often shoehorned in after corporate acquisitions, creating all sorts of redundancies. In the comics, DC has had to repeatedly reboot to get its shared universe to align, and it has never consistently worked.
Even in the world of comics, it is arguable that many of the most iconic comic book stories were published by DC, but they occurred outside the continuity of their shared universe: Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, New Frontier, All-Star Superman, The Sandman. Marvel doesn’t really have any runs that are broadly accepted as measuring up to those in terms of quality and impact; the exception might be Alan Moore’s tenure on Miracleman, which is also outside continuity.
With all of this in mind, it is absurd that Warners seem intent on throwing a model that was working pretty consistently. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman grossed over $800M and earned rave reviews. While Wonder Woman 1984 underperformed, it seems unfair to blame Jenkins’ movie for being a sacrificial lamb and canary in the coal mine for the doomed “Project Popcorn.” James Wan and Jason Momoa took Aquaman, a pop culture joke, and made over a billion dollars.
Gunn and Safran have found themselves in the unenviable position of trying to get a house in order while the house is also on fire. However, there is also a sense that the pair might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater as they plan for the future of this gigantic enterprise. Given the company’s track record and the current state of the industry, why are they so certain that the brand’s future lies with the hottest idea of 2012?