After recent DC films like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad were met with a less-than-enthusiastic response, this summer’s Wonder Woman felt like a breath of fresh air. While previous DC films set up sequels, teased spinoffs, and connected to a larger cinematic universe, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was an entirely self-contained story, focusing solely on Gal Gadot’s Amazonian warrior — with only a few tiny nods to other movies. The film was a massive hit, outgrossing every other DC extended universe movie at the domestic box office and becoming one of the best-reviewed superhero films in years. Now, DC is trying to replicate that success.
Vulture’s Abraham Riesman has published an in-depth feature about the DC universe’s past and future, chronicling everything from the rise of Greg Berlanti’s CW universe to DC’s big-screen race with Marvel. The entire story is a great read, but the biggest news is that DC is taking away a key lesson from the success of Wonder Woman: Going forward, the studio will be downplaying its cinematic universe and letting the standalone films, well, stand alone.
“Our intention, certainly, moving forward, is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn’t make sense,” DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson said. “But there’s no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe.”
DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns added that the upcoming Aquaman movie, which stars Jason Momoa, will be in the same standalone vein as Wonder Woman
“The movie’s not about another movie,” he said. “Some of the movies do connect the characters together, like Justice League. But, like with Aquaman, our goal is not to connect Aquaman to every movie.”
Johns and Nelson also confirmed that they’ll soon be launching a new slate of DC films that are unconnected to the existing universe. First up is a new drama about the Joker, to be directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips. Jared Leto played the role in Suicide Squad, but Phillips’ film will cast a different actor as the grinning supervillain.
“They’re outside the mainstream film universe and they feature different actors and worlds and takes on the characters. They’re most likely all going to be one-offs,” Johns says. “We’ll be announcing the name of it soon-ish, but those films and the approach to those films is going to be a very different approach. The Joker is the only picture to date that is under the banner — it’s a very different take on the character, it’s a very different type of movie, and it’s unconstrained by continuity.”
For more, read Vulture’s full story here.
The next film in the DC extended universe is Justice League (out Nov. 17), which stars Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Momoa’s Aquaman, Ben Affleck’s Batman, Ezra Miller’s Flash, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, and Henry Cavill’s Superman.