DCU Chapter 1 Gods and Monsters could probably face a problem that MCU managed to avoid in its early days. James Gunn revealed the new slate of DCU projects on January 31, 2023, proving that he and Peter Safran plan to completely revitalize DC studio’s shared superhero universe, after years of criticism surrounding previous projects in DCEU.
The new DCU will see many things that can change under James Gunn and Peter Safran’s watch. Actors in leading roles will be replaced, and there will be major shifts in the storytelling and comics that are adapted to the screen. While there is excitement about the new direction of DCU, this also poses some significant problems.
On January 31, 2023, James Gunn revealed 10 new projects in development at DC studios, with a new era set to kick off in 2025 after DC Universe is reset in 2023’s The Flash, Superman: Legacy, and Batman The Brave and Bold will provide new takes on Superman and Batman while other projects including the Authority, Creature Commandos, and Booster Gold will experiment with very different tones and genres, to what audience DC audiences might be used to.
While the DCU and MCU, have often been seen competing, James Gunn has worked in both franchises MCU as a director of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, and now as the Co-Chairman and CEO of DC Studios, this enables him to learn valuable lessons when developing the new DCU.
The DCU is way more diverse than MCU
Marvel Studios’ 2008 release of Iron Man kick-started the started the profitable Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in years since, Marvel Studios has been met with some scrutiny for following its tried-and-tested formula with its projects.
Until quite recently, projects in the MCU shared a similar, comedic tone, and didn’t really divert from what was known to be successful. It’s only been with projects such as the comedic Thor: Ragnarok, the old horror inspired by Werewolf by Night, and the more-character-driven Black Panther that the MCU has branched out into different genres.
The DCU’s chapter 1 ‘Gods and Monsters’ includes a much more diverse slate of projects from the get-go, with James Gunn seemingly unfazed by the challenges that lie in developing several projects with widely different tones.
Projects like Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow and Swamp Thing are set to take on much darker tones than the likes of Booster Gold, which is billed as an outright comedy. Paradise lost is taking inspiration from HBO’s Super hit Series Game of Thrones, and in Lanterns will see John Stewart and Hal Jordan in a True Detective-style mystery series. This extreme level of diversity in the DCU could be a brilliant plan, but might also be incredibly risky.
Why DCU tonal Variety Could use a Problem?
The fact that no two projects in the new DCU seem to share the same genre could pose a serious problem for DCU going forward. It took Marvel Studios a number of years to develop a formula that was solid enough for them to feel able to branch out new into genres.
While its recent experimentation has been driven by new stories `it has been telling, the MCU still has come under some scrutiny in recent years as some believe that MCU’s Phase 4 projects have also not done great in recent times.
The DCU is also running the risk of being met with the same criticism that the MCU has faced by including so many disconnected projects. This apparently is true as James Gunn did not provide a clear endgame for the first Chapter of DC Universe.
This means that viewers won’t know the stories are eventually leading, which has been a major criticism of recent MCU projects, even though is part of the fun of experimenting with an intricate shared universe. The wildly different tones of the DCU’s upcoming projects might mean that viewers won’t have a clear idea of the overall story for potentially years to come.
The DCU’s Genre could be its secret weapon
While the genre-hopping nature of the DCU Chapter 1 could be a risk, there are also some huge positives, especially considering the darker tone of DC and the poor reception that most of the projects received.
Mixing up Genres and tones of upcoming projects, and branching out new stories that haven’t yet been told in live-action, could be the perfect choice to move forward, but not least because that’s what Marvel Studios is also experimenting with MCU. That’s not to say that the two comic franchises are competing, but the DCU will need to stay fresh in order to become successful.