Ricky Church on the rumours of trouble behind-the-scenes of the DC Extended Universe…
Ever since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out, it seems as if there has been no end to bad news for Warner Bros. and DC comics on film. Fans have been in a constant state of worry over the future DC films and while there is certainly cause to worry, some fans have gone to the extreme by petitioning for Zack Snyder to be fired, Justice League Part One postponed or a myriad of other ‘solutions’. With word that Seth Grahame-Smith has left the director’s chair for The Flash and rumours James Wan may leave Aquaman as well, it seems this is as low as DC has ever been right now. However, is there actually any cause to worry?
Let’s look at The Flash’s situation first. Though Grahame-Smith has written several screenplays, many of which have been for WB, The Flash would have been his first time directing a feature-length film. Frankly, when the announcement was made I was surprised WB would entrust Flash’s first foray onto the big screen to a first time director. In a way, this would be similar to when Marvel hired The Russo Brothers to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier as that was their first feature, but the crucial difference is the Russo’s had, at the time, a prolific career in directing television, most notably episodes of Arrested Development and Community.
Though it may look bad that Grahame-Smith is no longer directing Flash, it simply could be a case of WB not feeling confident enough in a first time director taking on such a big project, especially since The Flash film will have to at least live up to The Flash television series for the mainstream audience. Or it could even be Grahame-Smith who doesn’t feel up to the task. Either way, there doesn’t yet seem to be bad blood over these ‘creative differences’ since WB will reportedly still use Grahame-Smith’s script. Not only that, but he has also penning several other big projects for WB such as The LEGO Batman Movie, Bettlejuice 2 and the Gremlins remake. It’s a setback, but a relatively minor one, especially since this film isn’t even coming out until early 2018. In the case of The Flash, there really is no cause for concern at the moment. There is plenty of time for WB to find a suitable director so why worry about a movie two years away?
As for the rumour James Wan is considering leaving Aquaman, at the moment that is pure speculation, though Birth.Movies.Death, where this rumour originated from, does state Wan is feeling a “tremendous amount of trepidation” regarding Aquaman. Furious 7 was a very tough project for him, even before the tragic death of Paul Walker, since it was arguably his first extremely big budget film with a lot of expectation thrust upon him. Wan is also a filmmaker who has had an extensive career with WB, directing The Conjuring franchise and producing the Annabelle films and upcoming Lights Out. Currently, this seems more like a case of stage fright rather than wanting to flee a sinking ship, a rash conclusion many fans have jumped to.
If any director has to worry about their relationship with WB, it is Zack Snyder. Whether you liked or loved Batman v Superman, there is no doubt the film fell far below expectations. $850 million is a good number, but not near the plus-$1 billion WB hoped it would make. I’m sure there is some truth to the rumours of tension between WB and Snyder as they attempt to restructure their plans for Justice League and beyond and the studio won’t be giving Snyder near as much creative freedom on those films, but the DCEU still isn’t in quite the dire situation many think it is. David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is currently selling itself and has the mainstream and fan audience excited. There’s a great amount of anticipation for that film and all signs are pointing to it being a hit, whereas the writing seemed on the wall for Batman v Superman months ago. Not only that, but Wonder Woman is set to arrive in her solo-movie next year with director Patty Jenkins at the helm (taking over after Michelle MacLaren left over creative differences, ironically calling back to Jenkins leaving Thor: The Dark World over creative differences). Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has been one consistent positive everyone has liked from BvS and, based off the brief look of the film back in January’s DC special, it could be good as well.
Even though things seem bad for WB and DC right now, we don’t know nearly enough information to assume that is the case. Cooler heads should prevail since its pure speculation based out of panic. The DCEU is certainly in an interesting state right now, but it doesn’t mean we really have to worry over the future of its slate. So let’s not jump to hyperbole, calm down and just wait and see before we rush to rash judgments.
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