In case you somehow missed the news, DC Comics and Warner Bros. have some pretty big plans from now until 2020, when almost every comic book character in the canon will hit the big screen in one way or another. But of course, they’ll be up against Marvel, who have not only had a few years head start, but are the envy of Hollywood, showing how to build a blockbuster brand not just at the multiplex, but on television too. And when it comes to DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, he’s got mad respect for his rivals.
“I love what Marvel does. I’m a huge fan,” he told Buzzfeed, but he’s quick to mention that DC will be taking a “different approach” when it comes to how their characters will co-exist (or not) between their big screen and small screen iterations.
“We look at it as the multiverse,” he explains. “We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. 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. I think the characters are iconic enough.”
But there’s also another reason to keep things apart—branding. As we’ve learned, Ezra Miller will be the big screen version of “The Flash” (with Grant Gustin in the lead on TV), and all of this has a grander design. “The key for all of this is to expose more of the DC universe and the Vertigo books to people so they fall in love with them too,” he says. “We share that love of these characters. So for us we’d rather expand than contract.” And not only that, having two different versions means you can tell different stories.
“We had talked about [‘The Flash’ movie] previously being distinct, but I can’t really talk about the films,” Johns says. “We haven’t really gone into detail about what that stuff is so I don’t want to get too detailed yet. The cool thing about what they’re doing with Grant and Stephen [Amell] on ‘Flash’ and ‘Arrow,’ respectively, is both shows explore different parts of the DC universe, but there is limitless potential there.” Intriguing stuff, and it no doubt will get the blogosphere buzzing about what kind of storyline the film version of “The Flash” could grab. And while those behind-closed-doors will likely be kept secret, once things are filming—either for the TV or movie—set pics eventually emerge. And Johns is pragmatic about it.
“That’s so fine with me. We live in a day and age where you can’t control that stuff from happening and so you just have to embrace the best part of it, and, for us, it’s that people are interested and they care,” he says. “If they get a picture of someone on set and they’re talking about it, that’s great, because they’re excited. We can’t get too upset about that stuff. You have to let the world evolve.”
It sure is a new world when an executive talks about the benefit of set pics. But what do you think? Can DC challenge Marvel without doing the interlocking franchise approach of their rivals? Or is having multiple ways to present stories and characters the right way to keep things going in longterm? Hit up the comments section.