The DC Extended Universe Is Getting Another Major Reset, For Better or Worse

Word arrived from The Hollywood Reporter earlier today that Wonder Woman 3 would be at a standstill as the new creative heads of James Gunn and Peter Safran might have some words of choice in their (desperate) attempts to spray Clorox on a universe to revamp it entirely and guide the next era of DC superhero heroes another way.

Gunn and Safran are expected to meet with CEO David Zaslav, who hired the duo in October to lead a newly launched film and TV division. Although not much is known about their concealed efforts, some rumors have started swirling out that may disintegrate this franchise’s trajectory…again. And while many of us are perspicaciously aware this series needed something reinvigorating, a hard reset can do a lot of good for the IP going forward, or worse.

Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers

According to Hollywood Reporter, some sources claim that Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 3 is not moving forward as expected and is considered “dead” in its current pre-production incarnation. Jenkins reportedly submitted a treatment, but management might’ve crushed her propositions for the third ride with Gal Gadot’s onscreen hero (after she directed the first two). No final decision has come to light yet, but optimism isn’t high. It should be noted that costs have not been a tremendous issue in Wonder Woman’s case, as the first installment garnered $822 million while the mediocre sequel collapsed with $170 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apparently, the third installment would’ve given Gadot a $20 million payday and Jenkins $12 million (minus bonuses). Gadot’s recent tweet on Tuesday signified it could be the last time we see her play the titular hero, so it would be a terrible shame if executives do not pull her back.

Everything else is also in flux, including Man of Steel 2, The Flash 2, and even the potential shutdown of the Aquaman outlook with Jason Mamoa at the forefront (who might become a different character or speculated antihero in the universe altogether). Henry Cavill’s situation is also supremely hairy, as the actor had quietly been away from the franchise and recently popped up in the end-credits of Black Adam to confirm his return. And yes, people did want Cavill to return, but the fact that a sequel for him is quashed and the SnyderVerse is “reportedly done,” where else will management put his red and blue character? Another cameo in The Flash (which is the report)?

Photo Courtesy of IMDb and Warner Brothers

Oh, speaking of Black Adam (review here), the Dwayne Johnson-helmed story will reportedly lose Warner Brothers $50-100 million for failing to break even (although many sources are iffy about this matter due to the feature’s marketing). And a sequel for it also appears unlikely, even when Johnson promised “a change in the hierarchy of the DCEU.” Even eking out a potential profit means the rising costs dim the idea of a sequel. For all those naysayers out there, this feature was not crushed by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as it had over two weeks to crush the competition. All the online praise indicates an implacable fanbase for an uneventful origin story.

Listen, all these plans may become severely disheartening for diehard fans, especially as some of them were well-casted for these roles. But, when examining the whole infrastructure of the DC Extended Universe, maybe it’s best for an outright reset. Many features in this franchise (Batman v. Superman, 2016’s Suicide Squad, 2017’s Justice League, Black Adam) have become painfully tricky to maintain positive thoughts for, and yet, folks still clamor they’re the best things offered in the superhero genre. The SnyderVerse dealings have become DC’s crux and Achilles heel because they can’t satiate all parties when they’re shooting themselves in the foot over high costs, endless reshoots, actors/actresses backing out of from all future plans, and more mayhem with directors (i.e., Joss Whedon’s reported behavior onset for Justice League reshoots). The dichotomy over the audiences’ and critics’ standpoints becomes the only fascinating aspect each time a DC film jumps into theaters now.

And yeah, there are more lingering matters. Batgirl was (surprisingly) canceled, The Suicide Squad (despite its brilliance) disappointed at the box office, and Ezra Miller and Amber Heard got in significant trouble that caused upheavals for the upcoming releases of The Flash and Aquaman 2. Oh, and David Ayer wanted to release his untainted version of Suicide Squad (in another attempt to spark a diversion of the #RestoreTheSnyderVerse campaign). The continued cultural toxicity for the DCEU becomes grossly burdensome on every front, and not much can further salvage this type of universe or its direction. Shazam!, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Peacemaker TV series can only do so much on their ends.

Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

The Marvel Cinematic Universe might have its issues nowadays. Still, it got the ball rolling exceedingly well for over a decade by steadily constructing the universe and paying it off with remembrance and phenomenon. From the start until now, DC’s case has been grating and drags its narrative on par with the art of solifluction. Zack Snyder was considered the pioneer of this franchise; that sentiment seems like a distant memory now, even if folks on Twitter claim he will be back or the SnyderVerse will return.

Thus, James Gunn and Peter Safran must have a game-changer plan if many of the initial proposals are now sitting on a local shelf. Having no baggage from the previous regimes entails a new vision, even with Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, Blue Beetle, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom rolling out in 2023. The riveting question, it seems, is will forging on without these actors/actresses inhabiting those characters and recasting them prove successful or detrimental regarding the next phase?

We’ll get more definitive responses in the following weeks, probably sparking more Internet shenanigans or rants on Reddit. Your moves, higher-ups, but it might stand respectful if some remnants remain for the next DC rebirth or genesis. At least it appears that Warner Brothers is not messing with the continuation of Matt Reeves’ The Batman plans, which is a mighty thumbs up.

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