At the end of the day, when it's all said and done, and DC is stepping into phase two of their cinematic universe, the event that propels the characters and films going forward should be the death of Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, and along with that, the death of Superman. Think about the shock and awe the audience will be in as they witness the most iconic and well known characters in all of comics meet their fates, and give in to death. It would be an incredibly bold step forward, not only for the DCCU, but also comic book films in general.
Marvel's biggest problem has been the death of their characters, only to find out later that they never actually died. Big budget action films in general have this inevitable issue of setting up these characters as bigger than life bad asses, and in doing so, they don't give the audience a reason to question their safety, if only for a moment. Now, imagine if DC propels this movement forward by killing tow of the most well known characters in all of comics, and two of the biggest pop culture icons.
Of course, there needs to be a better reason to kill off these two characters than shock value, and there is. First, let's talk about the death of Bruce Wayne, and I say Bruce Wayne for a reason. In comics, and especially in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, the cowl and persona of Batman is viewed as a symbol, and when Wayne himself could not carry the mantle any longer, somebody else always took it up. Well. in this new universe that Snyder is setting up, he could go all the way with this idea and, after Bruce Wayne's death, further down the line, we could see another man carrying the mantle and wearing the cowl (possibly Dick Grayson).
Now, with Bruce Wayne's Batman, his death would have to come in his own solo movie, and it would have to be at the hands of The Joker. The two most iconic characters in all of comics would have to be the downfall of each other. How it happens is a different story, and one that I cannot answer. But let me just throw this theory out there: Joker's only goal is to get Batman to kill him, because in doing so, it would prove the Joker right. So, what if Batman does just that, and kills Joker in his solo film. However, Joker has one last joke planned for Batman after his death, and it ends up killing Batman as well. The beauty of a film like that is that the villain, in the end, wins, making Batman not only break his one rule, but also, Batman would be dead, unable to redeem himself. With that one film we have taken care of the most recognizable and iconic hero-villain pairing in all of comics, and it would shake up the universe as we know it.
As for Superman, he has a death in the comics, and his death is delivered by a very specific entity. Yes, I am talking about Doomsday. In the Man of Steel sequel, after both Justice League films, Superman could battle Doomsday, accidentally created by Lex Luthor by experimenting on Zod's body, and from there we have one of the greatest comic story lines come to life, with the potential to become one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Just imagine, at the end of the battle, as Doomsday perishes, Superman lies in the street, bloody and beaten as he slowly waits for death to overtake him. The ripple through the universe, along with the emotional impact on the universe as a whole would be insurmountable, and change everything we know about superhero films, and action films in general.
Why would DC kill off their two most profitable and well known heroes you ask? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. Let's start off with the easy answer, which would be because, if DC/WB crafts this universe correctly, then they should be able to profit from any hero they put on screen, hence why Guardians of the Galaxy was as profitable as it was. If that was Marvel's second or third film, it might have bombed, but because it was the tenth film in a proven franchise, that film soared and exceeded all expectations.
After Superman and Batman's death that far into the universe, DC should be able to profit off of their lesser known heroes such as Martian Manhunter and Lobo, and maybe we will even get that Legion of Superheroes movie. In phase two of the universe, DC will need to introduce more, lesser known heroes, but first they must build their universe before completely reconstructing it.
Now, for the more complex answer, DC/WB should kill both Batman and Superman at the end of phase one because it will not only show the audience that anything can happen and that nobody is off limits, but also because it will treat the audience with some intelligence and respect. The biggest issue with all of these superhero films is that we, as the audience, never feel that the heroes are in any real danger. We need smarter superhero films that feel like they matter in the grand scheme of things. Think about it like this. When the heroes don't feel like they're in any actual danger, then the events and ideas in the film itself will feel inconsequential and meaningless.
Taking a look at [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), the most recent superhero film, did any of us actually believe that The Avengers were in any real danger, at any point during the movie? We expected them to survive at the end and set up the sequel. Now, imagine if, at the end of the film, Ultron killed Captain America before disappearing into the internet. Imagine how gut wrenching and impactful that ending would have been. But they played it safe, just like all of these major studios like to play it safe, and in the end we end up with the same old stories and same old structure to tell these stories.
DC/WB are already switching things up and being innovative when it comes to jump starting the villain movement with Suicide Squad, and if they decide to take the leap forward and kill some of the most beloved characters in all of comics, then it will not only leave the audience in awe and wanting more, but they will also revolutionize the genre going forward.