Why DCU Chapter One doesn’t need a huge crossover event like Marvel

DC Studios has unveiled the first of the DC Universe Chapter One slate, consisting of 5 movies and 5 TV series. It’s still early; we know next to nothing about the mythos of the franchise universe, or the specific plot points of the individual projects. We have titles and standalone properties for each of the projects – as well as some of the comics that inspired these new works. None of that has stopped DC fans from going to town already with theories and speculation about the DCU and what James Gunn and Peter Safran are up to with it.

The latest installment of our ComicBook Nation podcast show was devoted entirely to tearing down the DC Studios slate, as well as speculating on what the DCU could build on in the second half of Chapter One, and what kind of major crossover event the franchise can do first. That’s where the discussion turned into an interesting look…

Why DCU Chapter One DOES NOT need a major crossover event

(Photo: DC)

ComIcBook Nation host Matthew Aguilar made the point that DC has one clear (and untapped) advantage over Marvel, which stems from the comics:

“It’s more of a thing in the Batman and Superman worlds – and Wonder Woman world – I like when DC does standalone events with the character. So I like Superman events – where you get the whole Superman family and characters accompanying them and it feels like an event because it draws everyone there but you don’t have to have everything [comic] book participate, and each character. Sometimes it just seems forced.

Then we get [Marvel things like]… “Fear Itself,” which is like, “Oh, that could have been an event, but a smaller thing.” Batman does it all the time: how many classic Batman stories have just been the Bat-Family? Or Gotham? As “No Man’s Land” is a perfect example; the “Knightfall” stuff really all happened in Batman’s world. Sure, some people come along, like Superman, but even recent events like Tom King’s entire run, right? The Batman family was really involved in that, and there’s plenty of character in the Batman family… you can get involved, make it feel like an event while keeping it contained, and you don’t have to cross. ”

(Photo: DC)

Therein lies the main advantage DC Studios may have of differentiating its characters and franchises while still “earning” that big event crossover faster than Marvel Studios did on three stages of the story. While Marvel has its fair share of famous character storylines, it’s also arguable that Marvel is better known for its major crossover storylines (Secret War, Infinity Gauntlet, Secret Invasion, Civil War, etc…), while DC has indeed landed major storylines for individual characters that are now fan favorites (All-Star Superman, Batman & Son, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow – countless others).

In the 2010s, the debate between DC and Marvel’s respective universe-building strategies revolved around whether or not solo character origins were necessary before team-ups; by now, with so many core characters already known and established on screen, DC Studios could indeed use each individual character as a franchise “event” all their own – complete with tie-in or interconnected TV series. By the time a full crossover event is introduced, it really could be more than just a two-part event movie (Avengers: Infinite War And Endgame) – it could be a true comic book crossover, with every character franchise, movie line, and TV series coming together into one big connected story.

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