Warner Bros. Discovery’s disappointing and shocking decision to shelve Batgirl has led to plenty of speculation and rumors, including reports of widespread carnage through the DCEU. The good news for DC movie fans is that regardless of what the future of DC movies is, they do have a future. This week CEO David Zaslav revealed there’s a 10-year-plan for DC movies moving forward, with the films based on the heroes from what the late Stan Lee called the “Distinguished Competition,” more blatantly taking inspiration from their old Marvel rivals.
As reported by Movie Web during Thursday’s Warner Bros. Discovery earnings call, Zaslav announced “There will be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horn and Bob Iger put together, very effectively, with Kevin Feige at Disney.” The CEO referred to past failures, saying, “We’re not going to release a film to make a quarter. We’re not going to release a film unless the focus is going to be, ‘How do we make each of these films in general as good as possible?'” He also referred to the upcoming slate of DC movies, saying, “We have some great DC films coming up — Black Adam, Shazam, and Flash – and we’re working on all of those. We’re very excited about them.”
Zaslav’s words seem to fall in line with reports from Deadline that surfaced shortly after the announcements of the cancellations of both Batgirl and Scoob! According to the outlet, part of the reason for Batgirl‘s shelving was that Zaslav wants DC movies to focus more on cultivating event films like Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and Avengers: Endgame. Those kinds of films are only made possible by years of build-up and planning, and apparently Batgirl somehow clashed with those goals.
Exactly who will be a part of this DC movie 10 year plan or what that plan will be remains a mystery, but at least one name has been brought up already. Back in June there were rumblings that Zaslav was hoping to recruit Joker director Todd Phillips to be the DCEU’s answer to Marvel’s Kevin Feige. If true, it’s an interesting and somewhat baffling move. From a dollar and cents standpoint it may seem to make perfect sense since Joker remains DC’s biggest financial cinematic success of the last ten years (Aquaman made about $74 million more than Joker, but it made it with a much larger production budget). But assuming the 10 year plan is meant to build a cohesive cooperative narrative between the movies mirrored by the similarly cooperative narrative of DC Comics, it seems strange to pick the director who made a movie completely detached from the DCEU — and who took every chance he got to insist he borrowed no inspiration from the comics while making it — to forge that narrative.
Whatever the 10 year plan proves to be and whoever winds up in the team driving it, it looks like Batgirl will sadly not be a part of it. There are also indications that beyond his involvement in next year’s The Flash, Michael Keaton‘s return to the role of Batman will be short-lived. The actor was meant to act as a Nick Fury type “elder statesman” going forward in the DCEU — filming scenes for The Flash, Batgirl, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — but now there seems to be indications that instead Keaton will be replaced by the guy he was meant to replace: Ben Affleck.