Despite the Watchmen comics shaping pop culture in the '80s through groundbreaking storytelling, the vigilantes have never come across DC's biggest hitters (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) in a comic book storyline. That changed with the release of #DCRebirth in June of last year.
Throughout the first issue, we got several teases for an unknown player in the story messing with the universe. In the end, he was revealed to be Doctor Manhattan:
The Watchmen's inclusion in the DC Universe has just given Warner Bros. an opportunity: Making the Watchmen movie part of the DC live-action multiverse and, most importantly, of the #DCEU. Here's why it isn't out of the realm of possibility.
How Did We Get Here?
We need to look at a source away from DC's main continuity: Before Watchmen. In this storyline published in 2012, Dr. Manhattan is the focus of issue #4. At the end of this journey, Doc details his plans to create new universes, or, as he puts it, "boxes":
That correlates with what he said to Ozymandias in his last appearance in the original Watchmen comic book:
Before Watchmen clearly takes advantage of Dr. Manhattan's plan by expanding its premise and this allows for a very smooth integration of the Watchmen movie into the #DC live-action universe.
How Could It Happen So Easily?
The setup in #BeforeWatchmen and DC Rebirth serves as a jumping off point to what Dr. Manhattan's live-action version did after he decided to leave Earth: The DC multiverse could be his experimental playground, so how do you explain the same Watchmen we saw in 2009 meeting the modern versions of #Batman or Superman in a way that makes sense? With the multiverse.
Head of DC Entertainment Geoff Johns revealed that the live-action multiverse was intentional in the grand scheme of things. He stated during an interview in 2014:
"Arrow and Flash are the same universe, and we get a lot of great story out of that — especially when we have episodes that cross them over, but that’s also where our superhero universe lives. We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist." (via BuzzFeed)
The multiverse is a tough subject to comprehensibly explore in a movie. Fortunately, DC's already explored almost every corner of what multiple realities are in #TheFlash - granted, usually because Barry Allen can't leave well enough alone.
Even though the DCEU hasn't dealt with that, traveling through Earths need to have the same set rules, no matter which reality a character's traveling to, so the lore is already there for them to take advantage of.
At the end of Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan leaves Earth for other galaxies to find and possibly create new life. Given how Watchmen came out in 2009 and the DCEU started in 2013, this gap would allow for the DCEU to have been created by Billy Crud— excuse me, Dr. Manhattan, in a reasonable way that doesn't come out of nowhere for the viewer. This also allows the film to explain the many reused actors between Watchmen and the DCEU:
- Patrick Wilson: Nite Owl II (Watchmen)/ P.O.T.U.S. and Ocean Master (DCEU)
- Billy Crudup: Doctor Manhattan (Watchmen)/ Henry Allen (DCEU)
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan: The Comedian (Watchmen)/ Thomas Wayne (DCEU)
By the way, if #BruceWayne is already traumatized by his parents' deaths, just wait until he meets his daddy's Watchmen double... yikes.
DC already has Watchmen. Watchmen - besides a few changes - is a panel-to-screen adaptation of its graphic novel, one that fits the darker tone of the DCEU. You might think the film is too old, but its age is the best part about the franchises coming together.
Think of it as when you need to eat something but aren't in the mood to stand in front of a stove for half an hour to cook a meal. There are leftovers from the day before so you decide to cook a small portion of new food (which would take you five minutes) and blend it with the already-prepped food. The leftovers are Zack Snyder's #Watchmen for Warner Bros. Yes, it's from 2009 but it's already there and just needs a little warmup to taste amazing once again. Blending it would make your small new portion of food (the DCEU) taste a whole lot better.
Does The Adaptation Really Need To Be Based On DC Rebirth?
Short answer: No. Would it make sense to adapt it? Yes. Up until DC Rebirth, DC's main characters never met the Watchmen. The event is definitely among the most ambitious DC has tackled, so ignoring it in favor of an original storyline for #liveaction would be a missed opportunity.
If the storyline between them were not to involve multiple universes, the basis of reusing the Watchmen movie to their benefit would be non-existent: You would have to wonder why the world treated #Superman as a rarity, even though they'd previously witnessed the rise of a group of crazy, violent vigilantes started by a walking-talking nuclear weapon decades ago:
Adapting the DC Rebirth storyline in a film would pose very interesting existential questions: If a naked blue guy created Earth's most powerful beings as a twisted experiment to learn more about life, then what are we, non-rooftop-running-in-tights individuals? What is our relevance in the universe?
Still, regardless of whether the film is based on Rebirth or not, there's no doubt in my mind that...
The DCEU Needs This Crossover
Let's be straight: The DCEU needs to become more consistent fast. Warner Bros. might be succeeding financially but their movies' constant critical struggles will eventually take a toll in their financial performance. With no clear direction for their franchise, their bad times could continue. What they need is a powerful endgame for the cinematic universe, a storyline at the end of the road that people can look forward to.
A crossover between the Watchmen and DC characters would be that: Each DCEU movie teasing a God-like figure like Doctor Manhattan and a depressing universe where superheroes are a sad joke would have us counting the days to see the event.
Right now, there aren't rumblings about this crossover getting made. But like I said before, DC Rebirth is an important event, and when/if adapted, would give a great boost to the DCEU. Hopefully, if this ever becomes a reality, it will give us the epic event we've always desired from DC.
- How Will DC Comics' "Rebirth" Transform The Future of the DC Extended Universe?
- 5 Ways Watchmen Could Tie Into DC's Rebirth!
- Will 'Watchmen' Return On HBO?