As we gear up for the return of The Flash and Arrow in the next few weeks, many fans are still wondering why Warner Bros. and DC refuse to roll the beloved small-screen heroes into the big-screen Justice League. Well, now we have an answer.
DC Entertainment boss Diane Nelson chatted about the company’s strategy during Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit and noted that though the shared universe has “worked beautifully” for Marvel, they didn’t feel it was the right approach for DC’s properties. Across the gamut of DC projects, Arrow and Flash are a crossover anomaly. The studio also has Gotham and Supergirl on the small screen to go along with the shared film universe surrounding Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
So why not put all those eggs into one super-basket? According to Nelson, the studio feared a shared universe would hamper the company’s “talent drive” approach by “handcuffing [the] creators into trying to work with the same storyline or force them to hold back characters or introduce certain characters.” Which, yeah — fair point.
The Fox series Gotham has gone buck wild with the Batman villain roster, and has even featured some of the same canon villains as Arrow and The Flash (albeit reimagined). The unconnected approach has also give The CW’s superhero universe the freedom to introduce its own versions of the Suicide Squad, Ra’s al Ghul and other mid-tier hitters in the DC lineup. If this were a shared universe, virtually all of those would’ve certainly been off limits. I love Marvel’s shared universe, but as I’ve argued before, it’s probably not the right approach for DC at this juncture.
Having all these separate shows as self-contained versions of the DC universe gives much more freedom than something like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. enjoys, though you have to admit that when Marvel crosses a storyline between the film and TV media, it can create a level of buzz and synergy that is hard to match. So to each their own.
What do you think? Are you pleased with DC’s approach? Does Nelson’s explanation make sense?