It’s busy time over at Warner Bros right now. They’ve laid the groundwork for the entire DC Extended Universe with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not only does that film set up the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, but it also gives us our first glimpse at heroes like Ezra Miller’s Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Each of these heroes are currently scheduled to have their own solo films, but it seems that the shadow of Dawn of Justice’s critical reception and dwindling box office figures looms tall over the DC Extended Universe.
Though Justice League is currently in production in London with director Zack Snyder, there seems to be a creative upheaval of sorts happening behind the scenes. It was reported previously that Seth Grahame-Smith would be stepping down as director of the Flash movie, citing "creative differences" as the reason. Now Birth. Movies. Death’s Devin Faraci has sources that tell him this may just be the first director looking to drop out, and that James Wan, director of Aquaman, may be next.
According to multiple, reliable sources James Wan is feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation about Aquaman. With The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out (which he produced), Wan will be owning WB's summer slate, bringing in a lot of money with movies that cost a fraction of Aquaman. Aquaman needs Wan, and right now Wan is trying to decide if he needs that hassle.
As the report further points out, James Wan only recently began directing big budget blockbusters like Fast 7, and he usually delivers high-performance films that work on a micro-budget like The Conjuring. Thus, he really doesn't have anything to lose if he drops out of Aquaman and he has plenty of other projects to work with.
It’s a safe assumption to believe that Warner Bros is feeling the pressure after Dawn of Justice. Though the movie has made $900 million, its slow crawl to the billion mark can be seen as a failure by Hollywood, based on other blockbuster performances. The departure of Seth Grahame-Smith on The Flash also isn’t a great sign regarding if people are on the same page about the direction of the films. According to the same sources, Warner Brothers executives have "found themselves at odds with Zack Snyder over his vision for Justice League and the DC movieverse going forward." With all of this going on, James Wan might not want to deal with the drama. And if he’s going to jump ship, then sooner is better than later.
Of course, it’s possible that James Wan will stick with Aquaman and make the cool, fun movie about the DC underdog that he’s been talking about in interviews. It’s also possible that sources are right, but that Wan will stick it out anyway and ride this train until the end of the line. Only time will tell, but it seems like some updates on the DC Extended Universe are just right around the corner.
Regardless, we’ll know some of these answers when Justice League Part One hits theaters in November 2017. It’s performance and reception will more than likely play a huge part in deciding the fate of the entire DC Extended Universe.