There may be hope for fans wanting to see Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck return to their superhero roles soon.
To describe the universe where Justice League and Man Of Steel take place, we sometimes use the term DC Extended Universe, or DC Cinematic Universe, or of course, Snyderverse. It often feels complicated when referring to a universe for DC though, since so few of their projects are connected anymore. The movies that took place in the same universe were largely engineered by director Zack Snyder. With his involvement at DC over, many fans are worried about the future of the Snyderverse. In many ways, Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman were both Zack Snyder’s characters as much as they belonged to those individual actors. Will we ever again see a movie starring Affleck or Cavill in their roles as DC rolls out more disconnected films? According to Geekosity, there may be room for fans to hope yet.
WarnerMedia and Discovery are merging, to create Warner Bros Discovery, which is putting new voices in charge of executive decisions. According to Geekosity, the CEO of Discovery, David Zaslav, sees the value in what Marvel has created with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When a casual viewer goes to see any Marvel movie, they know it connects to all the other Marvel movies they’ve seen or series they’ve watched on Disney+. It’s easy watching, and that means big money. Dedicated fans will go watch it, but so will someone who’s only seen one or two other Marvel films. It’s not as simple to understand what’s happening in a DC movie. Seeing Henry Cavill as Superman in one movie, and then someone else as Clark Kent in another, is confusing even for fans who pay attention and follow studio decisions.
While Joker did exceptionally well at the box office, ticket sales on that movie don’t do as much to lift up ticket sales on other DC properties, since Joker has nothing to do with the Gotham that Ben Affleck’s Batman lives in. It makes DC, as a company, less valuable than Marvel. We can see this most clearly in the box office sales for Avengers: Endgame. That movie earned $2.8 billion worldwide. Anyone who had seen any of the Marvel movies leading up to that eventful climax wanted to show up and be part of the big event that was Endgame. There isn’t really a DC equivalent to Endgame.
Geekosity, a site that often seems well in the know on industry happenings, believes that the CEO of Discovery sees more value in the connected universe Marvel has created. They believe that this merger will lead toward decisions to create a more unified DC Cinematic Universe, one where Zack Snyder’s characters, specifically Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman, could thrive.
This is a scenario that many fans have begged for. Many people who love Batman want to see the development of one version of the character across several films. In part, this is because audiences like to become attached to an actor in a role. This is also in part because they want to see new stories. As exciting as The Batman starring Robert Pattinson is, and as fun and interesting as the new take on the villains for the movie looks, we have seen Batman’s origin story told multiple times. The fun of a unified universe is in becoming attached to Iron Man over ten years and seeing his character change over time. As interesting as the new Superman project from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates is, it’s disheartening that we’ll never see Henry Cavill move past Man of Steel into a sequel for his solo films.
Unless, of course, the new merger means they’ll be picking up these neglected characters and moving forward with them again. One big question there is whether it will simply be too late. If the merger means more people in power who understand the value of a unified vision, and want to create that, when could we really see it happen on screen? With so many new independent films for DC, some of them featuring new Batmans and Supermans, will audiences have moved past a Henry Cavill Superman long before DC is ready to release a movie with him again? Will the studio see the value in creating a unified vision, but be forced to leave the Snyderverse behind in order to create a brand new take on events? These are big questions DC will likely be wrestling with as they find their way forward.