Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
One of the more interesting topics of conversation at the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice press conference revolved around the creation of the DC movie universe. Director Zack Snyder revealed that the idea of one cinematic universe was not influenced by Marvel (sure…) but instead was the result of the story he wanted to tell in his Man of Steel sequel. The universe came from that idea, and evolved into a much much bigger plan.
Snyder revealed during the press conference that there were no plans for a shared DC movie universe until they had come to the idea of doing a Batman v Superman sequel to Man of Steel.
Once we had committed to that idea, it was only then that it implies that a whole universe exists for Batman and Superman to exist together. I know it seems obvious in the comic book world, but it had not existed in the movies, but once that idea took root and existed as reality, it was then and only then.
But the addition of Wonder Woman came out of Snyder’s obsession over DC comics’s trinity:
I am and have been obsessed with the trinity and have wanted to see the trinity, that being Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, in a single moment. That’s a thing that I was really interested in trying to get in this movie, not that I didn’t have enough to deal with already — but I thought that would be a cool scene. And those conversations are what led to this Dawn of Justice subheading for the film.
It was with the “Dawn of Justice” subheading that the DC movie universe was born. Snyder said that once that door had opened they began to have conversations about how the Justice League entered the DC universe and could evolve from this film. As for how you create a cinematic universe, it’s complicated. Snyder continued to explain:
Frankly I thought it was a difficult notion, especially in a city like this which is filmmaker driven and sort of project to project, its a difficult notion to say: oh okay, you’re making a movie but its actually connected to that guys movie and that guys movie and they’re all going to be this great big fun sandbox and we’re all going to play nice in it. Its a great thing, but a difficult thing to just make appear. Thats the luck and serendipitous nature of this movie thats sort of allowed the worlds now to coalesce. It became a plan, and its becoming a thing, but it was only in this infancy that we realized, yeah oh my gosh, this can be a thing.
Zack’s wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder added that they “wanted to set-up and introduce these characters, but we also had a rich story to tell.” She continued:
So it was a careful balance about telling this Batman and Superman story and giving a little hint and tease to the story of Justice League thats yet to come.
Producer Charles Roven, who has been involved with the DC movie adaptations beginning with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, explains that the DC movie universe was designed as a collaboration.
Its a team of us, and the team is obviously Debby, Zack, myself, Geoff Johns is part of it and obviously the [Warner Bros.] creative guys… are all a part of it.
And he admits that it’s something new and challenging, as on the Christopher Nolan Batman movies they never planned for future stories, concentrating on the current film and only that.
It’s a very interesting challenge but it’s also a lot of fun because even in the past when we were making films that might have sequel possibilities, we never really thought about what The Dark Knight would be when we were making Batman Begins and ended it with the Joker, we never really had a story. Here we’re constantly thinking in the future, not only how to make all the individual film stand on its own, be compelling, be fun, be thought-provoking, have great characters, but we’re also thinking about way down the road, how will these things connect and make sense, while leaving room for other great filmmakers to be involved and to make sure that while we want to get to a certain place, we don’t want to stay too rigid or too fixed to exactly the methodology of how we get there. We have to leave room for the creative process to evolve. And its just really exciting and challenging every single day.
Even Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige likes to say that beyond the order of the film releases, they try not to plan too much in terms of long-term story. I have a feeling some of that is more out of public respect for their filmmakers and writers, as the continuous Infinity Gems storyline leading up to the company’s mega two-part film Infinity War event seems far more strategic than Feige would have us believe. Planning long-term movie universes may take some of the control out of the directors’ hands and put it in the producers’, much like in the world of television.
I’m interested to see what Warner Bros. will be able to achieve with their DC movie universe but was worried from the Batman v Superman marketing that it may be more of an afterthought. Wonder Woman just appears to be thrown into the story, and it’s been reported that the other Justice League members would also have appearances in this film, which already seems to have an overstuffed story. On the other hand, Ben Affleck mentioned at the press conference that Gal Gadot‘s appearance as Wonder Woman was his single favorite part of Batman v Superman.
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