Frontlist | 10 ways comic book event could impact DC cinematic universeFrontlist | 10 ways comic book event could impact DC cinematic universe
on Feb 01, 2021
By all accounts, 2021 is going to be a huge year for the DC Universe. Besides the huge array of films and TV shows that are set to be released throughout the year, January and February also marks the launch of DC's Future State, a brand new comic book publishing initiative. Taking place in the future, most of DC's comic books have been paused in order to make way for Future State titles. These stories introduce brand new characters in the roles of some of the world's most iconic heroes, and completely shifts the universe as fans currently know it. This has the potential to be a huge deal for DC, so much so that Future State might impact its cinematic slate in a number of different ways.
New CharactersDC is always looking to develop new characters. Its cinematic universe constantly requires new blood to make it feel fresh and allow its stories to continue to evolve. Many DC projects have gone as far as to create original characters that has never been seen in the comics. With Future State offering up a completely new roster of heroes and villains though, it gives the DC film and TV division a chance to go in a completely new direction. There's a lot of exciting characters that fans are only just getting to meet, but there's no doubt that any that take off in popularity will probably be heading to the big or small screen.
Defining The Legacy HeroesThe DC cinematic landscape is a little bit behind its comics. Considering the never ending timeline that has been created in print, it's not that surprising that many of DC's main characters are considered to be legacy heroes; those that have been in the business so long that they have become legends. Legacy heroes always have to pass on the mantle at some stage though. A similar thing is occurring over at Marvel, with the Captain America role for instance passing on to Falcon. Future State gives DC an opportunity to define their legacy characters on screen and find a way to hand over the torch to the next generation.
Big EventsDC is doing a great job of creating a number of individual projects. Some of these may occupy the same cinematic landscape but share very little in terms of narrative connections. 2021 will see a great array of highly anticipated films and TV shows brought to screen, although very few are aiming for the kind of events that the comics achieve. Crisis On Infinite Earths was perhaps one of the few occasions where DC really pulled off a large scale event like this on screen. Future State could demonstrate the need for these larger event crossovers, paving the way for DC to try to bring more of these moments to the screen. It may even develop Future State down the line.
Shifting The Creative VoicesIt's no secret that there are a few big names that are largely controlling the direction of the DC universe currently on screen. People like Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, James Wan and Greg Berlanti have all been responsible for much of the company's brilliant on screen content, introducing main stream audiences to DC's classic characters. The idea behind Future State is that some new voices can be heard,as the comic book industry continues to try and define what its own future will be. It's an inspirational angle that Warner Brothers' cinematic division could take note from. Maybe fresh ideas are needed behind the camera as well.
RepresentationRepresentation absolutely matters, perhaps more than ever. As the entertainment industry continues to try and catch up to the 21st century shifting, the comic book industry is doing a superb job of making sure every story and background is heard from. Future State will create perhaps the most diverse roster of heroes in DC's history. Whether these characters will be adapted to screen or inspire some casting changes, there's no doubt that Future State's reception will surely lead to further developments.
A Larger MultiverseThe idea of DC's on screen Multiverse is not a new one. Indeed, there's already talk of Earth-2 characters being introduced into the canon, not to mention the many reality bending crossovers seen in Crisis On Infinite Earths. Future State might take place in DC's main timeline in the comics, but the cinematic division of the company could take some creative liberties. If this idea is popular, there's no reason Warner Brothers couldn't use the Multiverse to have both Future State and original comic book stories developed to screen.
Heading To The FutureDespite that, there's also the possibility that DC takes the general idea of Future State and aims for something similar in their own timeline. One of their movies may just jump into the future, so that audiences can witness what happens to the beloved on screen versions of these characters. The Arrowverse has previously attempted something similar, and the return of Michael Keaton's Batman feels like it fits into the same concept. Ultimately though, pitching Future State as a movie unto itself would be an interesting strategy for DC.
Costume ChangesUsually in the event that a different actor takes on one of these iconic roles, there's often some kind of costume shift. From season to season, characters like the Flash or Supergirl have had big wardrobe changes. On the other hand, nothing has reinvented the visual designs of these characters quite like Future State. There's plenty of design choices that can be taken from these comic book titles and moved into live action in some capacity. Even if the characters themselves aren't brought over, in terms of costume there's plenty of inspiration to base some new heroic looks on.
Taking Bigger RisksFuture State was definitely a risk for DC Comics. Moving around its line up of titles in this way, giving new talent opportunities, and introducing so many different stories at once was certainly a bold maneuver to make. Risk usually gives the best rewards though, and there's a lesson here to be learnt for the DCEU. There is nothing wrong with taking a swing and missing; audiences will be bored if the company doesn't take a swing at all. Risks are part of the entertainment business, and in the superhero genre they have usually paid off. Maybe it's time to dust off some abandoned projects from the past too.
Ongoing NarrativesFuture State is by definition the culmination of multiple ongoing narratives. It's playing off of years of story telling since it is set in DC's far future. The comic books use these types of overarching story structures to continue to create their interconnecting canon. The big and small screen of the DC Universe don't rely on these same techniques. Their properties are separated in so many ways that it seems like narratives like these aren't really an option. The Arrowverse is far better for this kind of technique, and maybe the big screen adaptations can follow suit.
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