Yesterday, Geoff Johns turned what we knew about DC's future projects (their television shows and movies, mainly) completely upside-down by implying that there's absolutely room for TV/Movie crossovers, and that the DC universe exists in a sort of "multiverse".
There’s been discussions over the years for both, obviously. You never say never. Maybe one day we’ll link a show to a film if it makes sense, but the creative process we’re going through right now is to let the stuff live and breathe and be its own thing and own it.
This is radically different from what Johns told Comic Book Resources a while back, of course:
CBR: So you don't want to integrate those two?
GJ: No, we will not be integrating the film universe with the television universe.
Which, well... times change, I guess! With that said, allow me to catch you up to speed with how the TV and movie universes of the two biggest comic houses exist right now.
While it has been explicitly stated that the movie and TV universes under the DC and WB flag are completely separate, Johns' statements seem to have cancelled that very strict code out and moved along similar lines to that of the team behind the new Star Wars films, who are passionate about giving their creators the freedom of either picking scenarios from the Expanded Universe, or creating new stories altogether.
The disconnect between creatives and the Marketing/Shareholder arm of DC seems to be culturally gigantic, but Johns has been an important staple in DC for as long as I've been alive, and is one of the people who has stuck with DC that seems to want to do some real good. So when Johns' mind changes, mine changes with it - because he knows what he's talking about.
While he could have easily meant that (because of [Gotham](series:1127075) taking place long before Arrow and The Flash) these could just be different instances in time, the very notion that Johns followed up with a mere notion that a massive crossover could happen set the internet on fire. It was dampened by the release of the [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) trailer, sure, but it was still a fire.
The Multiverse theory in comics isn't new, after all: DC already seemed to be setting up the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline with the first episode of their latest hit TV show, [The Flash](series:1068303), and with Stephen Amell's [Arrow](series:720988) conquering the hearts of men and women everywhere, bringing these beloved TV characters to the big screen might be a great idea for a company that still seems to struggle with problems like their own wavering fandom demographic.
All that aside, leaving the option open gives DC creatives a bigger field to play in. While I doubt we'll see TV-verse easter eggs in the upcoming film release on the DC/WB slate, it's still much more appealing to give creators that leeway and keep the doors open for something as massive as Crisis.
The tl;dr Version: DC was previously strict on how their TV and Movie universes are separate, but with the massive expansion of their TV Universe and the word of Geoff Johns, that is no longer set in stone.
This Marvel Movie Rights graph just saved me about eight paragraphs, though something to consider here is that these universes aren't really the end-all, be-all of movie rights: Marvel is reportedly in talks with Sony over Spider-Man, after all. Instead of delving into a massive Civil War dissection (which Alisha is so much better at than me, really) let's keep it simple and talk about what that means for the universes of Marvel.
While the internet seemingly poo-pooed DC for its decision to keep it's Movie and TV entities separate, Marvel's combined universe is limited to the properties owned under Disney and Marvel. This means that if, say, a Quicksilver spinoff show were to be produced under FOX (which is apparently something that's being considered, and something I totally welcome with Evan Peters as the lead) it would not fit into the MCU's combined universe with its TV properties.
Granted, Marvel/Disney has it's own Quicksilver with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but the same applies to any character not within the properties of Marvel. While DC has an [Aquaman](movie:264237) movie on the way with Jason Momoa, Marvel's Namor sits dormant under Universal.
So the downside, here, is somewhat out of Marvel's control for now, but Disney Dollars can make for some magical changes, especially if they break the mold with this alleged Spider-Man deal.
The tl;dr Version: If it's not owned by Marvel/Disney, it's not within the Marvel/Disney Universe. There go all of my hopes of a recast Kitty Pryde and Star-Lord ever hooking up.
At any rate, I hope this article caught you up on the not-exactly-complicated-but-still-slightly-weird world of movie rights, and why certain things can't cross over with others without a lawsuit or five.