The superhero genre has really taken Hollywood by storm in the past 15 years, but the concept of “shared movie universes” is still a fairly modern beast, one that allows studios to combine and link their movie properties to TV efforts that exist in the same realm. You could say that Hollywood has been doing it for years, but nothing has been quite as bankable or lucrative than the superheroes fans know and love.
While Marvel have already combined their TV and movie efforts through the likes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones (each contain regular mentions to The Avengers, and other popular characters), DC, thus far, have kept theirs separate. With several high profile castings and decisions that seem to indicate the two exist on a separate level — Ezra Miller’s movie casting as The Flash while Grant Gustin successfully plays him on the small screen is one particular story — DC seems to be taking their time with introducing the two entities to one another. However, director Zack Snyder — who many see as responsible for making DC a valid competitor to Marvel in recent years — has confirmed that not only is he aware of the TV characters, and also keeps an eye on them to see how they develop, but also respects them a great deal.
“The bottom line for me is: I have 100% respect and love what they’re doing on TV. I think it’s amazing… and it speaks to the iconographic nature of these characters – these characters are bigger than any of the actors that are playing them. So that’s the thing that I’ve embraced, and as opposed to just trying to shoehorn all these story lines into a single universe, we let the characters exist in multi-universe, and therefore it’s a lot more fun and it’s a lot more value for the audience.
“They get to see their favorite and most beloved characters on different adventures at the same time, in different universes. And it really makes the meal a lot richer and a lot more fun. And I think that’s really the joy of what we’re trying to do over here at DC.”
Snyder makes some valid points, but the most obvious is a simple one: Without the diversity of both universes — TV and film — excellent superhero shows like The Flash and Arrow simply wouldn’t exist. By keeping the two separate, it means we get to see the best of both worlds, and the creative canvas is spread a lot wider. Some characters might not be deemed lucrative enough for the big screen, so utilizing the small screen in this way — Arrow, The Flash, and even Gotham have all received critical acclaim during their existence — not only benefits the viewers, but also exposes the DC universe, and different aspects of it, to the wider audience. For example, Gotham, which details the transformation of a young, grieving Bruce Wayne into the Batman fans know and love, simply wouldn’t work in a film format, but more than excels in a serial TV spot.
It also means crossovers are easier to create. Arrow and The Flash have combined on several occasions, which also helped spawn a third spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow. Constantine — which was cancelled after one season by NBC — has now appeared in the Arrow universe too, and Stephen Amell has been very vocal about getting the show back on the air, as revealed by Den of Geek. In fact, Amell has been vocal to a high degree since turning Arrow into a must-see television show, and strongly advocates for the DC TV universe he helped build. When the actors get involved like this, you know DC is doing something right.
Let’s not forget the incoming crossover of The Flash and Supergirl too, more proof that, despite being separate from the movie universe, the TV shows are more than capable of holding their own with the big boys of Hollywood. This potential crossover shows just how popular the shows are; it marks a network crossover between CBS and The CW, something practically unheard of in modern television. With Barry Allen/The Flash able to travel across different dimensions — the storyline reason for the two networks combining — who knows, there’s still a chance that Grant Gustin and Ezra Miller could share the screen in the big screen adaptation, making the inevitable, and exciting, link between the two universes finally happen.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne and Amy Adams, will swoop into U.K. and U.S. cinemas on March 25, 2016.
[Image via The CW]