While it took five solo films before Marvel Studios started putting all of its characters together for The Avengers, the growing DC Cinematic Universe is taking a bit of a shortcut. With a Justice League movie scheduled for release in 2017, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (a sequel to Man of Steel) is responsible for a lot of heavy lifting and introductions of characters who will get their own films in the next few years. So how are the studio and filmmakers behind the project keeping the continuity strong and all of their ducks in a row? By keeping lines of communication very open between directors, and constantly talking about the future direction of the main heroes.
Producer Charles Roven explained this process to me when I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with him last week during the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice press day in Los Angeles. While discussing the quick growth of the DC Cinematic Universe and all of the directors who are now involved, Roven explained that everyone is working as a team to create something that is both cohesive and creatively open to new ideas. Said the filmmaker,
From the moment we bring a director onto a project, we make sure that we collaborate with that director - so you know, Patty [Jenkins], David [Ayer], James [Wan], they all saw work in progress of Batman v Superman, before they started to work on their individual movies, right, just so they would know where we were coming from. Then we would talk about it: ‘Ok, here’s kind of what I want to do. Am I bumping up against something that you’re doing? If I am, let’s talk about it. If I’m not, great, I’m going to go here.’ And fortunately everybody has been really into it. All of the filmmakers have their corner of the sandbox, but they actually all know how to play well together.
For those not up to date on the progress of the DC Cinematic Universe, Patty Jenkins is helming the upcoming Wonder Woman film; David Ayer is the director behind this summer’s Suicide Squad; and James Wan has been tapped as the man behind Aquaman. Along with Charles Roven, Zack Snyder (who is attached to direct Justice League), producer Deborah Snyder and others, they will be the ones responsible for the future of the franchise as it unfolds on screen.
What will be interesting to see from all of the titles under the DC Cinematic Universe banner is how they will all fit together visually and tonally. Marvel Studios has certainly been great at maintaining variety in both of those areas (Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are wildly different films), and it will be interesting to see if DC goes in a similar or opposite direction. As things stand, both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have painted the franchise as being incredibly serious and dour, but Suicide Squad could completely upset that apple cart and be an entirely different flavor.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will advance the DC Cinematic Universe with its release this Friday, March 25th – and you can expect to read a great deal more about the films in the coming weeks, months, and years.