A new strategy for DC’s various media worlds may arrive with Peacemaker next year.
While talking about a number of topics with The Hollywood Reporter, HBO and HBO Max content chief Casey Bloys discussed the plan for DC Comics related media content going forward. As it is currently understood, the HBO Max series Peacemaker will take place in the same film world as The Suicide Squad, itself related to the one which began with Man of Steel, while the in-development Green Lantern series will not. To be produced by Arrowverse impresario Greg Berlanti, it may even take place in the Arrowverse, although that is not clear yet. Meanwhile, the Arrowverse itself continues on at The CW with a new program, Superman & Lois, debuting later this month and three additional series in development. One of those programs, Naomi, may not take place on Earth-Prime, though, establishing the rules of the new Multiverse that all DC media content might share.
Or, as Bloys put it, “The idea going forward is that we’re talking with one voice about the DC universe.” This voice includes Bloys, Berlanti, DC Entertainment Chief Content Officer Jim Lee, Warner Bros. Pictures head Toby Emmerich, and — presumably — individual creative talents, and DC Films boss Walter Hamada.
Bloys said the change reflects the overall restructuring of the conglomerate over the last several years. “It’s one of the things in terms of WarnerMedia today vs. Time Warner five years ago, I have regular conversations now with Toby Emmerich and Jim Lee and we talk about all things in way that never would have been discussed before. That’s probably how you got a little DC over here, a little of DC over there, etc.” Indeed, the old Warner structure was akin to Game of Thrones‘s Westeros with division managers, producers, and filmmakers vying for resources and access to studio-owned IP. This is why a Suicide Squad storyline planned for Arrow was scuttled and why it was once forbidden to say the name “Bruce Wayne” on television outside of Gotham.
In terms of Peacemaker, he said the program will reflect this new sense of direction and communication across the WarnerMedia spectrum. “It’s been one of [WarnerMedia CEO] Ann Sarnoff‘s priorities to organize the DC world,” he explained. “She talks about the flywheel: that the movies speak to the TV shows that speak to the movies — that it’s all connected. There’s a lot of work going on in that at DC and Warner Bros.” Of course, connecting all those parts is not easy — even Marvel Studios is only now starting to make it work after merging all of its creative efforts into one office.
But as WarnerMedia also wants a group of creative people like Berlanti, Ava DuVernay, and J.J. Abrams to collaborate on these projects, an MCU-style cohesion may not yet be possible. Asked about this in regard to DuVernay’s Naomi project, Bloys said, “You see confusion, I see lots of opportunity for DC fans!”
Indeed, we can’t help but feel some of this messaging is already out there with DC FanDome’s emphasis on the Multiverse, a device and story engine Lee, Hamada, and Berlanti all talked up during their virtual panel this past August. It allows for the existence of a Superman film and Superman & Lois simultaneously; both connected via the strands of the Multiverse if not in a more direct MCU sense. It also allows for crossover while creating an amount of separation for a feature film director and a TV showrunner to tell their own stories with slightly different versions of the characters.
If using the Multiverse for all its worth is the “one voice” Bloys is referring to, it is ambitious. But it is also possible that, in the long run, the one voice will only be possible via moving all of the DC characters exclusively to HBO Max — a sort of second Crisis for the Arrowverse. Content silos are going to happen and, at this point, we wonder how long WarnerMedia can maintain its co-ownership of The CW with CBS/Paramount when they are also trying to silo content for Paramount+. Time will tell, of course, it always does. But for the moment, it is interesting to speculate on what a cohesive vision for DC Entertainment will look like.