If you haven't heard by now, you must be living under a rock: Marvel and Sony have made a deal to include Spider-Man in the MCU. Despite the fact that it won't be Andrew Garfield playing him (I really would have liked to see him interacting with RDJ's Tony Stark), this is extremely good news, and it also sets a huge precedent. For the first time in superhero movie history (I think), two studios are collaborating to create a cohesive universe. Granted, this essentially just amounts to Sony loaning Spider-Man out to Marvel and may still mean they will continue with their own Spider-centric universe, but it is huge nonetheless. And if there's anyone I hope was paying attention to this, it is DC.
Just as Marvel is dominating the movie world right now, DC is dominating the television world. They already have four TV shows on the air (Arrow, Flash, Constantine, and Gotham) and at least two more on the way next fall (Supergirl and Titans). In addition to that, Flash and Arrow exist in the same universe as one another (with the possibility of another spinoff for next fall), and will soon be joined by Vixen, who will be getting an animated show on CW Seed. The greatest achievement of all, though, is that all of these shows (the ones we've seen so far, anyways) are fairly good, and some are even great. The one drawback, however, is that although Flash and Arrow share a universe, none of the other shows so far exist within that universe or even within each other's universes. This could all change with the Marvel and Sony deal.
What the deal proves is that two big studios can work together, and (I assume) make a profit together. Now, we won't really know that until we see how Captain America: Civil War does, but even before the inclusion of Spidey in the MCU, the movies have been doing incredibly well and making tons of money, and I'm sure Cap 3 will be no different, especially since it is shaping up to essentially be Avengers 2.5, with Iron Man, Cap, Black Panther, Black Widow, Falcon, Spiderman (I suppose this isn't confirmed, but what other movie would he fit into before he gets his own?), and Winter Soldier all appearing.
The situation for DC is a little different, since one studio (WB) owns the rights to all the characters, but it is similar in that all of their shows have wound up on different networks. Gotham is on Fox, Flash and Arrow on CW, Supergirl on CBS, Constantine on NBC, and Titans on TNT. However, if studios have found a way to work together, why not networks? Why couldn't they all collaborate to create one cohesive DC TV universe?
Now, I've heard people argue before that this will somehow limit each of the respective shows, but I disagree. I think that it can only open those shows up. Look at Flash and Arrow? Do either of those shows seem limited by the other? On the contrary, they are able to share villains, heroes, and other characters between the shows rather seamlessly. Just look at what we've had since Flash was announced: Barry appeared in two episodes of Arrow to introduce the character, Cisco and Caitlin were introduced in a second season episode of Arrow, Barry and Oliver made cameos in each others premieres this year, Felicity guest starred on an episode of Flash, Clock King appeared in Flash, there was a crossover event, and now Cisco and Joe are going to be heading to Starling City to help deal with a meta-human created by the particle accelerator explosion, and Felicity and Ray Palmer are going to head to Central City to get help with the ATOM suit. As time goes on, I anticipate even more fluidity and continuity between the two shows. Also, if you watch both shows, you can never really ask the question "Well, why didn't one or the other hero go to the other hero's city to help them with X" because you see that both heroes are dealing with their own problems at relatively the same time.
And then there's the fact that all of the shows are already limiting each other! Arrow and Flash can't mention Metropolis or Gotham, and can't have appearances by Batman or Superman. This is in part due to the movies, I'm sure, but part of it also has to do with the other shows. Gotham can certainly mention Gotham, so why can't Arrow or Flash? If the studios could all collaborate, they could create a world to rival or even surpass the MCU. TV shows can introduce far more characters than movies can, and between all the shows, current and potential, a combined DC TV universe would be at least as expansive as Marvel's. Below, I will talk about the ways in which each the shows could be connected together. I will use Flash and Arrow's world as the base world, since it already is a combined universe and features far more heroes and villains than the other shows combined.
Gotham is the tricky one, isn't it? After all, it's set in the past, so it would be difficult for it to connect to Arrow and Flash. However, I say it could be the Agent Carter to the rest of the show's Agents of SHIELD. Or it could sort of be like the flashbacks from Arrow, with characters from Gotham appearing in other shows as older versions of themselves. Also, this could connect a lot Titans since it will feature Nightwing. Hell, last episode we were introduced to his parents! Also, a couple of Batman villains have appeared in Arrow already, most notably Deadshot. Perhaps Gotham could provide us with an origin story for him like it is doing for its other villains.
Now, some of you may have some concerns, so let me try to put them to bed. First and foremost, we have Anthony Corrigan. Anthony appears in both Gotham and Flash, but the problem is he plays different characters. In Flash, he is Kyle Nimbus AKA The Mist. In Gotham, he is Victor Zsasz. How could this problem be remedied? Well, Zsasz and Nimbus are removed from each other in time, so if Zsasz were to appear in Flash or Arrow, he could be portrayed by a different, older actor. Or, they could continue to use Corrigan and simply ignore the issue and never have to two characters appear together. They could even make some kind of meta joke about it, with Flash seeing Zsasz (though why they would be interacting at all is beyond me) and saying, "You look really familiar..." or something like that. All in all, not the biggest problem.
Next, you might say point out that one villain, the Dollmaker, has already appeared in Arrow and been mentioned on Gotham. These one is a fairly easy fix: make the Dollmaker from Gotham the father of the one from Arrow. This seems to be the trend with Gotham recently: they introduce they father or other relative of a villain instead of the villain himself. They have done this with Black Mask, Scarecrow, and Electrocutioner. It would not be much of a stretch to think that the Dollmaker who likes little kids passed on his psychopathic tendencies to his son, who then decided he liked grown women better. Once again, a fairly easy fix.
I can't think of any other possible inconsistencies in continuity right now, but I'm sure some of you can, so feel free to comment with them and I will address them if possible.
Constantine comes with its own set of problems, however those problems are less related to continuity (I can't think of anything in any of the other shows that contradicts Constantine at this time or that Constantine contradicts) and more related to the show not currently having a home. NBC is still undecided on renewal, and Daniel Cerone, the show runner, is going to pitch him the second season in May so they can make the final decision. If they renew it, then they will have to be worked into the inter-network deal, but if not, there might be a chance for it to wind up in the DCwU without the need for network cooperation.
The obvious possibility is that CW will pick it up if NBC drops it, but with a third superhero show possibly already on the way, that might be unlikely. The CW still wants to have non-superhero programming, and there is only so much space in the schedule. However, they could may be able to convince the show runners of Constantine to just sell them the world. What I mean by that is that the world and characters would be merged into the growing DCwU, with the characters making appearances in episodes of Flash or Arrow. This might not satisfy them, however, so the CW could possibly give them a web show to play out smaller scale stories and expand the world of Constantine a little bit until some other place could be found for them. In the meantime, the characters could make guest appearances in the bigger shows.
The next possibility would be for Constantine to go to CBS, which, being the sister channel of the CW, has the highest chance of wanting to work with them. If this happened, you would have at least 4-5 shows (Flash, Arrow, Constantine, Supergirl, and maybe another Flarrow spinoff) operating in the same universe, and that would still be a pretty big win.
Next, you have smaller networks. They may also be more willing to work with the CW, if only because, being one of the bigger networks, it could well give that networks superhero shows a boost. I'm thinking mostly of TNT, which already has Titans, but also of Sy-Fy, which NBC reportedly approached about the show, and already has Krypton in the works, and was once rumored to be involved in a Booster Gold show. Either of these networks would be good for the show, especially if they are willing to work with CW.
Lastly, there are always digital mediums, which are perhaps the most likely of all to collaborate. After all Netflix is working with Marvel for a number of shows, so why couldn't Amazon or Hulu get on the superhero train and partner with Warner Bros and the CW? Constantine is already a better show than half of what the digital mediums have put out, and if you take out Netflix, Constantine shines brighter than most of the rest.
I think that Constantine would go well with Flash and Arrow, because it could become the third point of the triangle: Arrow deals mostly with they realistic side of things, Flash has science-y meta-humans, and Constantine centers on the magic side of things. Together, the three form the holy trinity of comic books, and just as Flash and Arrow intersect despite their different realms, I'm sure the creators of the shows could find ways to cross Constantine over with the other two.
As I said, CBS is probably the the most likely studio to want to work with the CW, at least of the big networks. Since Supergirl has yet to air a single episode, that removes the possibility of any continuity errors between this show and the the others. In addition, it would have the benefit of introducing Superman, another founding Justice League member, into the Flarrow universe. While he may or may not appear directly in the series (one would hope they don't dance around him awkwardly for the whole series), the fact that Supergirl exists would imply that her cousin does as well. This series might also provide a launching point for a fourth comic aspect that I hadn't considered above: the cosmic aspect. Perhaps it could be responsible for bringing Martian Manhunter or Green Lantern, other founding JL members (do you see where I'm going with this?), into the fold. In any event, it would certainly help to flesh out the DC TV world a bit more, and it might be fun if we got a Flash vs. Supergirl race (Flash would obviously win, but it would be cool nonetheless).
Once again, I've discussed this briefly above, but TNT, being a smaller network, might be more likely to want to work with one of the bigger ones. This one, too, does not come with any continuity problems, and would serve to introduce, directly or not, a founding JL member into the world (i.e. Batman). Also, some of the characters already introduced in Arrow would be perfect for guest appearances in Titans. For one, Slade Wilson AKA Deathstroke, who was the primary antagonist of the animated TV series, has already been introduced, and would likely be more than a match for a bunch of semi-trained teenager superheroes. He might need a little backup, but perhaps he can get that from HIVE, another element from the animated show that already has been mentioned in Arrow, albeit in a bit of a different form. Then, of course, there is Roy Harper AKA Arsenal and Thea Queen who will inevitably become Speedy or Artemis. While they may not necessarily be teens, they are still pretty young, and a guest appearance or two in Titans would be awesome. Then, there's the possibility of Wally West (Kid Flash) appearing once he has been introduced in Flash, and Supergirl, if her show were also connected into the universe. Titans is perhaps the show with the most potential to fit into the already established universe and to tie together all of the shows (Supergirl, Flash and Arrow, Gotham) and I really hope it at least is roped into the DCwU.
Last and kind of least, if only because it has the least potential for crossover, is Krypton. In the same vein as Gotham, it would be a sort of pre-Superman story. It would likely have a lot of ties to Supergirl, with characters from it somehow making their way to the modern day, either by actual time travel or being trapped in the Phantom Zone. Other than that, I don't know where exactly it would fit, but it would still be cool just to have it as a part of the universe.
DC has the potential to make a huge TV universe if it can only get the various networks its shows are on to come together. A huge universe like this would allow for a lot of awesome crossovers, and probably even some huge events. An event like Flashpoint could be done as a huge crossover event where each show that would conceivably be affected would have a piece of the story, or the other shows could go on break for a couple of weeks so their characters could guest on the Flash during the event. The possibilities are endless, and while it would be hard for DC to top what Marvel has done with their movies so far, they could use their TV universe to some amazing new things that would be just as impressive as Marvel bringing the Avengers together.
Thank you all for reading, feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on the matter.