The DC Extended Universe Is Dead — Long Live The Justice League Universe?

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In 2013, the reboot of the Superman franchise, Man of Steel, was set to lay the groundwork for future DC films. The fact that the film was being produced by Christopher Nolan, the mastermind behind The Dark Knight Trilogy, was all fans needed to jump onboard. Planning to follow the success of the MCU, Man of Steel contained references to other characters from DC Comics, such as Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. Therefore, if the film were a success, Warner Bros. could launch their own shared universe.

The hype for this shared universe was further elevated when just days before Man of Steel’s release in 2013, it was reported that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer would be returning for a sequel! The sequel was fast-tracked by Warner Bros. and at San Diego Comic-Con the next year, it was revealed that the sequel would include Batman in a main role, thus confirming their plans for a shared universe. In the Fall of 2014, Warner Bros. announced a slate of 10 DC films to be released over the next six years, including:

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Wonder Woman (2017)
  • Justice League: Part One (2017)
  • The Flash (2018)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam! (2019)
  • Justice League: Part Two (2019)
  • Cyborg (2020)
  • Green Lantern Corps (2020)


After the announcement, fans and the media commonly called the new shared universe the “DC Cinematic Universe”. Keeping in line with the naming convention of the already established Marvel Cinematic Universe. A writer for Entertainment Weekly named Keith Staskiewicz eventually coined the term “DC Extended Universe” as a joke in one of his articles about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This nomenclature and the abbreviation DCEU quickly spread among the media and fans who began to use it as the official name of the shared universe over the following years.

In 2014, however, President and CEO of DC comics, Geoff Johns never actually used the term DCEU when explaining DC’s difference in approach to their cinematic universe as opposed to Marvel Studios and the MCU, saying the following

“We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all coexist. For us, creatively, it’s about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world. Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through … It’s just a different approach.”

CW Shows

As part of DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League!, both Geoff Johns and Kevin Smith referred to the shared universe’s name as simply the “Justice League Universe”. Once again not using the term DCEU, that the media and fans have been using for a few years now.


Recently, Vulture writer Abraham Riesman‏ confirmed that the term DCEU is not used internally at Warner Bros. and they do not consider it as official nor did they know who came up with it. While the MCU includes productions across multiple television networks, Netflix and Hulu, the DC Cinematic Universe is a shared continuity for films only. Several TV series featuring DC characters and storylines have their own shared continuity, with the CW shows frequently referred to as the “Arrowverse”. Other shows such as GothamiZombieLucifer, and the upcoming Titans and Watchmen each belonging to their own universes.

Moreso, Warner Bros. president of creative development Greg Silverman expanded on DC’s approach to their cinematic universe, saying,

“We … take these beloved characters and put them in the hands of master filmmakers and make sure they all coordinate with each other. You’ll see the difference when you see … the things that we are working on.”

This coordination of the DC Cinematic Universe has since become a little muddled. Following critical failure of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad and the overwhelming critical success of Wonder Woman, Geoff Johns stated that “moving forward the films will focus on the heart, humor, hope, heroics, and optimism of the characters.” The original slate of films has been discarded and the following new slate has been released.

  • Justice League (2017)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam! (2019)
  • Wonder Woman 2 (2019)
  • Green Lantern Corps (2020)
  • Flashpoint (2020)
  • Suicide Squad 2 (TBA)
  • The Batman (TBA)
  • Justice League Dark (TBA)
  • Batgirl (TBA)

Wonder Woman

Many of their other recently planned films such as NightwingGotham City SirensCyborg, and the Untitled Joker-Harley Quinn Movie were left off of the slate. Leaving fans wondering if the films have been canceled. DC Films has also started working on implementing films under a currently unnamed new banner in which Warner Bros. can expand upon the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing their iconic heroes and villains. The first film planned under this new banner is an origin story for the signature Batman villain, The Joker. The studio has set The Hangover’s Todd Phillips to co-write a script and direct the film with Martin Scorsese possibly producing.

At this point, it is unknown what direction Warner Bros. and DC Films will go with their shared universe. But solidifying the name would be a good place to start so the media and fans can start using the proper hashtag. Whether they decide to call it the DC Cinematic Universe, DC Extended Universe, DC Multiverse, or Justice League Universe, as long as they start showing some stability fans and critics should continue to flock to their films in droves.

What do you think the name of the DC Cinematic Universe should be? Are you excited for Justice League? Do you think it’s smart for Warner Bros. to implement DC films under a new banner? Leave your comments below!

(Source: DC Films, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture)

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