Two weeks away from the release of Wonder Woman, something slightly surreal is happening. People are being cautiously positive about the DCEU, and the early buzz around the Amazonian warrior's first solo adventure is all good (the review embargo lifts soon so we'll find out how good in a matter of days).
It's new territory for a universe which so far has been repeatedly mauled and shot down by critics, and perhaps that's because Zack Snyder isn't in the director's seat (he did actually co-write the story, but not the screenplay).
But as the #DCEU's controversial overlord, Snyder is in the driving seat for Justice League, and this week a rumor hit the internet suggesting that Justice League has already gone an extensive round of reshoots which "have essentially remade the film" — the clear implication clearly being that Warner Bros., having seen Snyder's first cut of the film, have opened the safe hidden behind a giant portrait of Christopher Nolan and hit the top-secret panic button.
DC promptly shot those rumors down (standard reshoots will happen later in summer, as on all blockbusters), so any alarm on that score has been postponed a few months. Call me naive, but looking ahead to November and #JusticeLeague, and past it at what's still to come in the DCEU, has got me wondering...
Is Wonder Woman The Beginning Of DC's "Second Wave"?
Here's what I mean by that — if #WonderWoman is as good as it needs to be to win over critics (and casual fans who haven't been sold on the DCEU so far), could it be seen as the beginning of a new phase for this universe, and perhaps also the movie on which future DC films are loosely modelled?
While Marvel are now making three movies a year, DC's schedule looks shockingly open right now — there's Justice League in November, Aquaman next December, and that's it. Countless other movies are in development, the most high-profile being Matt Reeves's solo Batman adventure, but even that won't begin shooting until 2018. But rather than making it advantage Marvel, that very free schedule is actually a really good thing for DC.
It gives the studio six months to figure out why Wonder Woman worked better than Suicide Squad and BvS (assuming it's a hit), and apply those lessons to movies which are currently in the early stages of creative development.
Justice League still feels like a massive question mark, being a direct sequel to a movie whose lasting legacy is the word "Martha," but the early omens are good, and everything about Aquaman — the casting of Jason Momoa, the choice to film in places like Australia and Italy, a left-of-field director — feels much more in line with Wonder Woman (and even Thor: Ragnarok) than the grimdark Snyder epics.
It might be that the DCEU "consciously uncouples" into two distinct territories — the darker regions occupied by Justice League, The Batman, and Doug Liman's Dark Universe, and the more colorful territory of "adventure" films like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash (especially if directed by Matthew Vaughn) and the Nightwing movie being made by Lego Batman's director.
So while everybody prays to the DC gods that Justice League is great, it could be that Wonder Woman is the movie which decides how this universe looks going forward. We'll find out if Patty Jenkins has made something special when Wonder Woman hits theaters June 2.
Do you think Wonder Woman could be a turning point for the DCEU?