Get those red sky warnings ready, DC Entertainment and/or DC Films may be heading into another Crisis.
Variety reports that veteran DC film producer Jon Berg will leave the unit for other parts of the Warner Bros. Pictures organization in the new year. The reason: the slow returns on Justice League. Berg will join The Lego Movie producer Roy Lee as part of his deal with the studio.
To some, this may come as a sigh of relief. Though touted earlier in the year as a new voice for the struggling DC Films division, Berg already had a hand in productions like Wonder Woman and was on-set for the duration of Justice League‘s principal photography. It now seems he is taking the blame for the continual reliance on director Zack Snyder, whose vision for the DC film universe has failed to produce the box office returns or cultural impact Warner Bros. desired.
The report also states Snyder’s days as the DC cinematic universe architect are over as well.
One truly unfortunate side effect of the shakeup will be DC Entertainment’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns’ reduced role in the feature films going forward. Credited as a full producer on Justice League, Variety suggests his position will be more “advisory” in the future, hearkening back to the days of Green Lantern.
Curiously, the report indicates Warner Bros. may take a more direct role in the making of the films and possibly dissolving DC Films as a separate division all together. As someone watching these developments from outside the lot, it seems the studio’s unwillingness to take charge or step away was always part of the problem. When creating a film universe first became a possibility, Warner Bros. struggled to take control of properties long-in-development by affiliated producers on the lot. For decades, producer Joel Silver was developing a Wonder Woman feature before studio executives wrestled the concept away from him. But after getting characters like Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, The Flash and more under their purview, the studio still struggled with finding an executive to take the creative helm. It eventually led to Snyder’s prominent role and the current situation.
Even now, the studio will conduct a search to replace Berg as that nominal creative executive.
According to Variety, one aspect of Justice League the studio was happy with was its introduction of The Flash and Aquaman. Which is good news for James Wan’s upcoming film and maybe even good news for Flashpoint, the moribund Flash feature set to star Ezra Miller. That project has had its own share of problems after losing three directors over the course of several years.
The site also reiterated its assertion that current Batman Ben Affleck will leave the role behind after he appears in Flashpoint, leaving director Matt Reeves to recast the role for The Batman.
So get ready for a number of new DC Films shakeups in the wake of Berg’s departure. It is doubtful it will impact Wonder Woman 2 or Shazam! too much, but don’t surprised if plans for Deathstroke, Cyborg and anything in the Suicide Squad orbit evaporate like a distaff alternate Earth.