DC ELSEWORLDS: It Doesn’t All Have to Connect

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Co-CEOs of DC Studios  James Gunn and Peter Safran have announced their plan for the first phase of the new DCU — titled “Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters” — which consists of 5 feature films and 4 TV series for HBO.

Personally, I have very little interest in this new DCU which apparently will interconnect just about everything DC across multiple platforms and media.  Of the 9 projects announced, the only ones I do have some interest in are the new Superman film, LANTERNS, BOOSTER GOLD, and the animated series CREATURE COMMANDOES.  As far as the others, well, meh…and that includes what will be another live-action big-screen Batman, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

It appears to me that Gunn and Safran’s DCU version of Batman will be a caped crusader rather than a dark knight.  This Batman on film will lean heavily on the “Superhero Batman” and “Bat-God” versions of the character — which is especially evident in the fact that Grant Morrison’s take on Batman (of which I am not a fan) is a strong influence.

I’m just not a fan of Robins, Batgirls, kid/adult sidekicks, the Batman Family, Blue Batman, Bat-God, or Batmite.

But I am very fond of Ace the Bat-Hound.

Look, I totally get why they are going in this direction with the DCU Batman, OK?  They want this version of the character to be pretty much 180 degrees opposite of what Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson are doing in THE BATMAN film series.  That, and the fact that they want it to be more kid/teenage friendly and push DCU Batman merchandise, naturally.

While I have pretty much zero F’s to give when it comes to the new DC on film, I am very much interested and invested in what Matt Reeves has got going on with his BatVerse (AKA THE BATMAN UNIVERSE here on BOF).

With THE PENGUIN HBO series about to commence filming, the announcement that the sequel to last year’s THE BATMANTHE BATMAN: PART II – will be hitting theaters on October 3, 2025, as well as other HBO spinoff series in the works (ARKHAM ASYLUM, GCDP, CATWOMAN), give me as much of Reeves’ “DC ELSEWORLDS” BatVerse for as long as possible.

RELATED | The Case For a DC Black Label/Elseworlds Banner at DC Studios

During his recent announcement, Gunn mentioned that DC projects like Todd Phillips’ JOKER: FOLIE à DEUX, Reeves’ BatVerse, and other DC projects that are not part of the DCU shared universe stuff will come under the new and aforementioned “DC ELSEWORLDS” banner — something I’ve long advocated for here on BOF.

With that, I finally get to the point of this op-ed: The DC ELSEWORLDS banner needs to be a permanent fixture at DC Studios; not simply a temporary placeholder banner until JOKER 2 and TBP2 have been released.  Furthermore, Warner Bros. and DC Studios should welcome filmmakers and creatives to pitch and ultimately make ELSEWORLDS films and TV series based on DC characters other than those from the world of Batman.  Not only would that help differentiate Warner’s DCU from Disney’s MCU, but being able to helm a DC-based project without having to adhere to the restrictions of continuity and overarching storylines that come with a shared universe would likely be quite attractive to filmmakers.

To James Gunn and Peter Safran, I’d point out that there are a lot of Batman and DC fans just like me who aren’t keen on the shared universe thing but would love to see more standalone ELSEWORLDS projects on film and on HBO — not for just Batman, but anything DC.

I wish nothing but success for DC Studios and the new DCU under Gunn and Safran.  I believe that the old “DCEU” was — except for a few exceptions (WONDER WOMAN, AQUAMAN, SHAZAM!, THE SUICIDE SQUAD, and MAN OF STEEL, which I borderline love) — was a total shitshow.  Here’s hoping that the DCU fares better — even though I don’t care for a lot of what’s coming.  BUT…

I’ll respectfully remind the Co-CEOs of DC Studios that they created this DC ELSEWORLDS banner for a reason.

Everything DC doesn’t have to connect. – Bill “Jett” Ramey