If you've somehow missed the huge news coming out of the DC Universe: Rebirth launch then what? Where have you been? But worry not, we're broken it down for you here.
Basically the big takeaway from DC Universe: Rebirth #1 was that Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel Watchmen from the mid 1980s became part of the DC Universe. The God-like Doctor Manhattan was revealed as the force behind Rebirth, seemingly erasing ten years of events and memories from the lives of the Earth-One superheroes, and casting Flash/Wally West outside of time itself, into the Speedforce.
There's a few things we can take from this event in the comic books, but the most likely explanation is that Watchmen — which was distributed by DC but had never been in any way connected to the wider DC Universe until now — forms part of the DC Multiverse, meaning the events of the graphic novel take place upon an alternative version of Earth.
The multiverse has existed since the very early days of DC comics, consisting of a theoretically limitless collection of parallel worlds, and was properly brought to bear during Crisis on Infinite Earths, which attempted to establish some form of continuity across the multiple Earths. Now it seems that the world of Watchmen also forms part of this multiverse.
Which begs the question, does this mean the live action Watchmen movie from 2009 is now part of the DC Extended Universe — the movie franchise which started with Man of Steel? After all, Watchmen was directed by Man of Steel and [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) director Zack Snyder in one of his finer moments, so can we count it as part of the DCEU?
Is Watchmen Now Part Of The DCEU?
The short answer is: no.
Watchmen was created a good few years before Man of Steel, at a point when the concept of the property ever being part of the DC Universe was still seven years away.
DC's attempts to create a shared universe were in progress as far back as the 1990s, with the cancelled Superman Lives featuring Nicholas Cage as Superman alongside Michael Keaton's Batman from Batman and Batman Returns. But it wasn't until Man of Steel in 2013 that it became a reality, four years after Watchmen was released.
But the slightly longer answer is: no, Watchmen isn't part of the DCEU, but it could be. And this is where the DC Multiverse — a.k.a. a comic book writers wet dream — comes back into play.
A Cinematic Multiverse?
We're not yet sure if the concept of the multiverse will be carried over to the DCEU, but the CW TV shows Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl have already started playing around with multiple Earths — most noticeably The Flash Season 2 which focused heavily on characters moving between Earth-One and Earth-Two.
It's still very early days for the DCEU, and critical reviews show that that the franchise is still having trouble finding its feet, but it wouldn't be at all a surprise for the multiverse to enter the ring at some point.
Indeed it's possible that it already has, in Batman v Superman.
When Flash appears during the Knightmare sequence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice he seems to be phasing in and out of a Speed Cannon between two different or timezones, or two different universes. Funnily enough, his appearance here is very similar to that of Wally West/Flash in DC Universe: Rebirth.
It's not fully clarified whether the dystopian world Batman sees in his dream is a possible future, or a different universe altogether, but it certainly seems as though DC are already taking steps to create a cinematic multiverse. Which means that, following the events of Rebirth, Watchmen could potentially be said to join the DCEU as an alternative Earth. Whether or not the characters will cross over is another question, one which seems less likely.
Sure, Watchmen was released prior to the creation of the DCEU, but a staple of comic books — DC in particular — is the retconning and changing of past events. It wouldn't exactly be a huge surprise for Watchmen to be retroactively added into the DCEU somewhere down the line.
But of course a lot of this depends on how Rebirth plays out, as the how and why of Doctor Manhattan's appearance in the DC Universe is only just beginning to be told. For now, we'll just have to keep an eye on the comic books, and keep watching the Watchmen.