Although technically, Man of Steel is the first film in the saga - we didn't know it then - this year will see the official beginning of DC's Cinematic Universe with the releases of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. In the past, DC have produced countless superhero movies but they have never been confirmed to take place in the same universe to other DC films - however, this year DC changes that. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has the vast majority of comic book fans eagerly anticipating as to what DC's outings will be like and thus, what their entire cinematic Universe will be like. Marvel's Cinematic Universe has been a glorious success and continues to produce action-packed adventures each year. Thus, after years of anticipation, we finally get to see how DC's universe will fare on the big screen.
However, this isn't the first time DC have carved their own successful universe. From 2012, they have successfully amassed a television empire, owning TV with their hit shows Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Gotham. The former four of those shows are executive produced by TV Guru Greg Berlanti and take place in at least variations of the same universe/multiverse, revealed through multiple crossovers. Thus, with these incredibly successful superhero shows, many fans were hoping that DC would announce that their Cinematic Universe would take place in the same "universe" as their TV Universe. But alas, DC confirmed that both universes are completely seperate. Some people like this curveball, others don't. Here are some of the reasons why DC Should have interlocked their cinematic and TV Universes.
The Television Universe is Amazing
A lot of people are anticipating DC's upcoming clash of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as they believe it will be DC's first big successful offering. It isn't. Don't get me wrong, I am a massive Batman fan and am so excited for this film's release, but to claim that DC has finally brought an offering worthy to compete with Marvel for fan supremacy is ridiculous because DC have been giving us amazing offerings of a universe over the past few years. Just because it's on Television does NOT mean that it isn't worthy. Arrow has all the dark and gritty action worthy of a Batman film and completely reimagines and reinvigorates one of DC's most underrated heroes. While shows like The Flash and Supergirl reimagine the heroes in a bright and colourful style, making them more relatable and "human". The television shows are very cinematic in their own right and deserved to be explored further on the big screen.
Having said that, like many, I am eagerly anticipating DC's Cinematic Universe and all the awesomeness that comes with it. To see all of these iconic heroes team up on screen will be downirght spectacular. But it could have been equally as spectacular if they added their already well-established TV heroes to the mix. I know that Superman has been referenced multiple times in Supergirl but there is nothing to dictate that it couldn't be Henry Cavill's man of steel. Or if that Superman incarnation doesn't fit into the Supergirl world, there is always the "multiverse" angle explored in The Flash. That multiverse storyline could literally be used to explain any connections in the universes. Thus, with an epic cinematic universe set to begin, it would have been wise for DC to include their equally as epic TV heroes within their movieverse.
The Flash of Two Worlds
Neat title huh? Anyways, everyone is aware of the infamous Flash debate going on among DC fans. In fact, it was DC's decision to choose a different Flash for the film that was really the final nail in the coffin of the whole TV/Film crossover debate. The vast majority of fans seem to disagree with DC choosing to step away from the TV Show universe and instead casting Ezra Miller to portray The Flash/Barry Allen. Thus, Grant Gustin's Flash will remain in a seperate universe. Many have been critical of the decision for many reasons: particularly because it's unfair on Gustin and the TV series. Another prominent criticism is of DC's decision to once again focus on Barry Allen - why not a different Flash? Wally West? Jay Garrick? Anyways, I'm not going to get into "this is better" and "that's better" because A) I love TV shows and am very happy that Grant Gustin's Flash is on television because that means we see him all year round and not just in a 2 hour film... and B) the film hasn't been released yet so it's pointless to judge something that we won't see for another few years.
However, taking everything into account, it probably would have made far more sense for DC to stick with Gustin in the films. Why? Because now they are going to fork out money to tell a different interpretation of Barry Allen's origin...AGAIN. It would have made much more sense to not have a solo Flash film and instead just feature Gustin's Flash in the Justice League film. All they would have had to do is set the films after The Flash TV Series - that way they still have freedom to tell their own stories on the show. Marvel have adopted this formula with the charater of Peggy Carter, who appears in many of their films, but has total freedom in her own show Agent Carter as it is set before the majority of the Marvel films.
As the decision was announced not long before The Flash's TV debut, it makes us wonder if DC hadn't anticipated that the show would be so successful. The series has officially been announced as "The CW's Biggest Hit EVER", premiering to amost 5 million viewers and continuing to garner record-setting numbers for the network well into it's second season. Had DC stuck with Gustin for the films, they would have instantly attracted the show's gigantic fanbase. And the show has a strong family-centred fanbase. Including the TV Show in their universe would have been incredibly beneficial for them. But I am not judging Ezra Miller, he didn't make the decision and he seems like a nice guy, genuinely excited to play such an iconic role - I wish him all the best of luck and am sure he will do a stellar job in the film!
However, with The Flash's current multiverse storyline, there is still hope that it could eventually lead into possibility of crossovers with the cinematic Universe. It's not the most far-fetched idea and stranger things have happened in comic-books. Never say never, right!
Dawn of the Justice League
After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there will be Suicide Squad, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and finally Justice League: Part One. This will include many major DC heroes: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Miller), Aquaman and Cyborg. Now obviously, that is some star power when it comes to heroes. But had DC included their TV universe as well, it would have opened up so many doors for potential heroes to join the Justice League. As one of the most underrated heroes, Green Arrow would have been a welcome addition to the Justice League. Had they gone down the multiverse route, then seeing Grant Gustin's Flash on the big screen would have been a downright treat!
The endless possibilities would have made for incredible scenarios...imagine Stephen Amell's hardened Green Arrow crossing path's with Ben Affleck's Batman. Or imagine them disagreeing or fighting over something. Based on Batman's fighting skills in the most recent trailer and Oliver/Green Arrow's League training, those two could put on an epic battle. Furthermore, Supergirl and Gustin's Flash could have been streaks of light in what is looking to be a very dark (but epic) interpretation of the mythology. Moreover, J'onn J'onzz's appearance in Supergirl could have been used incredibly effectively in the cinematic universe as J'onzz is considered a prominent member in the vast majority of Justice League adaptations and interpretations.
Marvel Have Done It Successfully
I applaud DC for daring to be bold by starting their cinematic universe with a clean slate. Marvel however, have shown us that it is not only possible to interweave their cinematic and television universes but that it can be done successfully. In fact, Marvel's shows almost act as companions to their films, adding more legacy and background to this world they've created that doesn't get enough exposure in the films. They broke records with their Netflix juggernaut Daredevil which was a step away from all of their colourful films. However, they did throw in a few illusions to other "heroes", maintaining the fact that these worlds are linked. Moreover, Marvel execs are open to the possibility of Daredevil appearing in future Marvel films as well. To be honest, Marvel have done it so well that I much prefer watching the shows - I find both Daredevil and Marvel's Agent Carter far more interesting than most of Marvel's films. That's a testament to the strength of television and Marvel is using the format to assist with their vision for the MCU. DC really could have benfitted from doing the same!
It's a WIN WIN for EVERYONE!
This is quite possibly the most important point I am going to make here. But before I make it, let's take a look at some statistics: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the most anticipated film of the year. Suicide Squad is arguably the second most anticipated film of the year. Arrow broke records when it made it's debut in 2012. The Flash broke those records and went on to become "The CW's Biggest Hit EVER" after a mere two years. Supergirl became the highest rated premiere this season, watched by a STAGGERING 12.96 million viewers! Those numbers speak for themselves. By having the shows and the films crossover from time to time would not only be beneficial for the shows/films in question but for the entire cinematic and television universes. Fans from each respective universe would be drawn to the other one in order to see what happens. More crossovers = more money and more ratings.
Once again, I am and always will be a DC fan at heart, I have grown up reading their comics, watching their films and now I revel in their amazing TV universe. I am incredibly excited about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as we have all been anticipating this big-screen clash of the titans for a very long time. And I look forward to enjoying every other film they produce in their extended cinematic universe. I also look forward to seeing Ezra Miller do a great job in the Flash solo movie. And finally, I applaud DC for daring to be bold by keeping their universes seperate, even though for many, it would have more sense to have them remain as the one extended universe.
Either way, this will be DC's year.
Supergirl airs on FOX on Monday Nights
The Flash airs on the CW on Tuesday Nights
Arrow airs on the CW on Wednesday Nights