Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav talked about the future of the DC Extended Universe, teasing that recently appointed co-heads of DC Studios, James Gunn and Peter Safran, will work on unifying every film and TV show soon. As Zaslav tells The Wrap, there will be a single Batman in the future of the DCEU.
When Zack Snyder was still planning the future of the DCEU, Ben Affleck took over the cape and cowl to play a gritty version of the Dark Knight. Affleck seemed to be done with the part after the failure of both Batman v Superman and Justice League, but the actor is set to return to The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, both expected to be released in 2023.
Affleck is not the only Batman showing up for The Flash, as Michael Keaton returns after playing the World’s Greatest Detective in Tim Burton’s Batman films in 1989 and 1992. Keaton was also supposed to show up in the canceled Batgirl, raising questions about how DCEU would deal with concepts such as alternate realities and the multiverse.
Finally, earlier this year, director Matt Reeves released the acclaimed The Batman, starring Robert Pattison in the leading role. After making a great run at the box office and gathering the universal appraisal of critics, Reeves received the green light to develop a spinoff TV show focused on the Penguin and a theatrical sequel. So far, fans just considered that each DCEU Batman belonged to a different timeline and that they wouldn’t cross over in the future. However, as Zaslav says, the plan is to simplify the Bat-franchise. In the CEO’s words:
“I think over the next few years, you’re going to see a lot of growth and opportunity around DC, there’s not going to be four Batmans. And so part of our strategy is to drive the hell out of DC, which James and Peter are going to do. I think they’ve thrilled the fans. I think they’re going to thrill you over a period of time.”
After Warner Bros. Discovery merged and decided to rethink the DCEU, the company revealed it wanted to develop a 10-year plan to unify its superhero universe. So far, we hoped that Reeves’s corner of the DCEU would be untouched, as Gunn and Safran took care of the main line of movies and TV shows. That’s no longer the case, as it seems, and Pattison should take over as the one and only Batman in the next few years. That raises many new questions, as The Batman is a standalone story that doesn’t dialogue with a bigger superhero universe.
Besides that, fans might wonder what will happen with Todd Phillips’ Joker in this context. The filmmaker is currently developing a sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, that also features Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn. Since Margot Robbie has been playing Harley Quinn in multiple DCEU movies, Zaslav’s comments might spell doom for one of the actresses. However, we do hope Gunn and Safran come up with a clever solution to join movies that are so different in tone. And whatever happens, you can expect to read all about it here at Collider.
The latest DCEU to hit theaters was Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson in the leading role.