Will DC abandon multiverse strategy in film and TV?

Historically, DC Comics has used the concept of a multiverse more and more successfully than their competitors at Marvel. It’s arguably one of the few areas where DC routinely outperformed Marvel, and it was a staple of storytelling as DC moved into live action with the “Arrowverse,” The CW’s interconnected universe of superhero shows, including Arrow, The flash, super girl, and more. In the recent past, even the feature films have gotten a little involved in the action, with Ezra Miller’s Flash appearing in The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event and multiverse travel reported as the main plot of the series. The flashcomes out next year.

So why do fans assume that the DC multiverse, as fans have come to understand, is in danger right now? Well, it goes back to comments made by Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav. Discovery.

As part of aggressively building a series of interconnected DC Universe movie and TV projects, Zaslav joked during a recent interview that there “won’t be four Batmans,” a comment seemingly aimed at Walter Hamada’s “a little bit of everything” philosophy. Under Robert Pattinson’s previous management, Batman was allowed to exist in a reality separate from the DC Universe movies, in which Ben Affleck was the Dark Knight. In The flashfans will reunite with Michael Keaton’s Batman for the first time since 1992 Batman returnsand further Titansis there a version of Bruce Wayne/Batman known to pop up for cameos.

Animated interpretations aside (which seems to be the Warner Bros. Discovery philosophy in general), it’s been pretty common for years now to have two or more live-action Batman stories happening at the same time. Fox Gotham also overlaps with the Ben Affleck movies – and The CW is gearing up Gotham knightsa story set right after Batman’s death.

At Marvel, the TV and Movie divisions served different executives for years, and it showed. While Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the Marvel/Netflix shows were ostensibly set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they rarely (if ever) used that connection to build a story, and some of the characters and concepts have been roundly recast in time since, again designed or ignored Kevin Feige took charge of Marvel TV.

Shortly after Zaslav Warner Bros. took over, reports emerged suggesting he wanted to more closely emulate Marvel’s strategies. To that end, he was looking for a “Kevin Feige type” for DC, and settled Guardians of the Universe veteran James Gunn and his partner Peter Safran. This latest round of comments suggests he may also be interested in tightening the reins around how alternate universes play into DC’s plans.

The curious thing is, of course, that for all his talk about the DC Universe and having a grand plan, the biggest movies on Zaslav’s priority list seem to be Joker: Folie a Deux and The Batman2, neither of which will take place in the “main” universe. So it’s entirely possible that fans are reading too much into the comments. Yet with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, star girl, and The flash all end, fans of Superman & Lois can’t be too sure of what’s to come.

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