Following the rather unexpected announcement that DC has plans to start an auteur-friendly Elseworlds imprint with a Joker standalone done in the style of Taxi Driver, and that some of DC’s upcoming movies won’t emphasize connections to Justice League in favor of a more filmmaker-driven approach, fans have expressed concerns that DC might be mulling over ditching the “shared universe” aspect of their movies. DC President Geoff Johns, who also co-runs the film division of the company, has recently assured fans not to worry – future films will still be connected to the world established in Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman.
It was recently established that in spite of its widespread use, the DC Extended Universe is not internally referred to by that name; while the real name (if the setting officially has one) is unknown, other popular fan names for the setting include the Justice League Universe, the DC Cinematic Universe, and the Snyderverse after director Zack Snyder. And since Snyder seems to be taking a step back from the setting post-Justice League (aside from the other movies he’ll be producing), fans are more than a little curious as to where the future of the setting will go – will it remain DC’s answer to the wildly-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, or will this shared universe approach be abandoned so future directors can establish their own individual settings, like how Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Saga established a world where Batman was the only superhero?
When asked about this subject on Twitter, Geoff Johns has assured fans of the first four – and soon to be five – films in the series not to worry, as all of DC’s output universe is going to be part of one big setting going forward:
It 100% is. pic.twitter.com/CIxSh59x1r
— Geoff Johns (@geoffjohns) October 1, 2017
…With the only exceptions being the standalone movies for their planned mystery imprint, though those are far from being the focus of this particular question. Details, details.
So it seems as though future DC movies will operate on a case-by-case basis in terms of being heavily-bound to existing continuity or telling stories that put more emphasis on being focused on a part of the larger universe. Wonder Woman, for instance, did not rely heavily upon the shared-universe format – aside from a handful of Easter Eggs like Poseidon having the same trident that Aquaman will use in Justice League and his own movie, and the contact that Diana Prince established with Bruce Wayne at the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice paying off with Wayne giving her the photograph she had with Steve Trevor, the movie mostly stood as a complete narrative without relying on the greater DC Universe. However, if the story of a hypothetical Superman movie demanded that Green Lantern, Cyborg, and the Flash had supporting roles in it, there’s no rule against that, either – The Flash: Flashpoint, for instance, is confirmed to a different version of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman as part of the movie’s trip into an alternate timeline.
DC has a lot of movie projects in the pipeline, and a shared universe seems like the easiest way to go about expanding upon all of them. If it ain’t broke, then make it better anyway.
Justice League unites on November 17, 2017. The superhero epic features a cast that includes Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne (Batman), Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent (Superman), Gal Gadot as Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa as Orin/Arthur Curry (Aquaman), Ezra Miller as Barry Allen (The Flash), Ray Fisher as Victor Stone (Cyborg), Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Robin Wright as General Antiope, J. K. Simmons as Commissioner James ‘Jim’ Gordon, Joe Morton as Dr. Silas Stone, Amber Heard as Mera, Billy Crudup as Dr. Henry Allen, and Kiersey Clemons as Iris West. Julian Lewis Jones and Michael McElhatton are also in the movie in unspecified roles.