Apparently I’m about to write an optimistic article on the DC Extended Universe? 2019 is wild, y’all.
While promoting I Am the Night at Sundance, Patty Jenkins all but confirmed Wonder Woman 3 and dropped some pretty significant hints about the future of the DCEU. Specifically, how she hopes it remains Justice League-free for a long while.
Jenkins referenced a THR piece published Friday suggesting that Wonder Woman 3 should go to the future, and she seemed receptive to the idea.
“It’s definitely one of the things we talked about,” said Jenkins. “I’m not planning to put it in the past again, because where are you going to go? You have to go forward. It’s definitely a contemporary story. That’s all I can say. Where we put it and how that gets figured out, I haven’t totally nailed down.”
Here’s why this information is significant: Setting Wonder Woman 3 in the present day creates an opportunity for Jenkins to continue ignoring the backstory set up in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and potentially render that movie, along with its god-awful sequel, moot. Jenkins clearly has more creative freedom than she did with the first Wonder Woman, which jibes with Warner Bros.’ recent pivot toward championing directors instead of forcing the DC films to follow the Marvel playbook. And in the aftermath of Aquaman’s box office success, the studio has grown even more comfortable saying, “You know what? F*ck a shared universe.”
Case in point: Here’s Jenkins wasting no time shooting down rumors that she’ll direct Justice League 2 and in the same breath championing standalone films.
“The Justice League movie, I find those movies to be extremely challenging. I think they are fantastic when they are well done,” said Jenkins. “But taking on all of those characters at the same time in the timeline. … I sort of hope that we don’t do a Justice League movie for a little while because I’m excited to see all of their movies. I want to see Aquaman 2, I want to see Flash.”
She added: “Never say never, but I think everyone should have their moment to shine.”
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the DCEU is actually in a good position right now. Which is incredible considering just last month I referred to it as “a cinematic universe where nothing matters because it’s a raging dumpster fire of reboots, revamps, and non-canonical Joker movies.” And that’s still the case to a degree, except I’m slowly coming around to this being the only path forward even if I have serious doubts about Joaquer.
For starters, all signs point to the DC films slowly pretending the Zack Snyder Funeralverse never happened, which is smart. “Batman tried to murder Superman in the face then they cried about their moms? Haha, what are you talking about?” Granted, it’s a little weird that they’re harvesting pieces like Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but the alternative is to stay the course, and no. Don’t do that. Goddammit.
But the smartest thing the DCEU can do is ignore Marvel altogether and stop chasing The Avengers formula. It had a chance to do that, and it blew it by letting Zack Snyder slap together a shared universe on the backs of a Batman and Superman who act like mopey, self-absorbed dicks. So that window is shut. However, that failure also created an opening because here’s an interesting wrinkle: Marvel is about to shoot its wad with Avengers: Endgame, and then guess what? It has to pull off another ambitious 10-years-in-the-making event that doesn’t have diminishing returns. That’s not an easy thing to do, and Marvel is by no means infallible.
Long story short, the DCEU took its well-deserved lumps, and now it’s primed to enter a field where even the competition is regrouping. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for DC to start firing off self-contained, auteur-driven films that give audiences a break from tracking magic stones across 20 goddamn movies. And it’s making all of the right moves:
Poaching directors like Ava DuVernay who were burned by Disney.
Giving female filmmakers the reins.
Cutting Twiztid Joker loose.
Focusing on Gotham characters besides Batman. (We’ll work on the Joker thing.)
Having a blast with characters who should be a blast.
Continually pushing the Untitled Batman Project back until the character no longer smells like vape smoke and Jack in the Box. 2030 sounds good.
As much shit as I’ve gotten over the years for dunking on the DCEU — like all stans, Zack Snyder’s are a plague upon the earth — it has always come from a place of wanting these movies to be awesome. DC Comics have been my jam since I ran around the house in my underwear and a red cape, so it’s been a shame to watch them become butt-chinned punchlines while the Marvel movies almost effortlessly nail their cinematic universe. And I’m not even asking for a pendulum swing. I’m just excited for a moment in time when all of these movies are pushing each other to kick ass.
Plus, it’d be nice to take my kids to a movie where the camera doesn’t give Margot Robbie a colonoscopy and Superman isn’t a depressed lump on a log who hates saving people. I guess I’m a narc that way.
Header Image Source: Warner Bros.