While Disney/Marvel Studios should be credited for creating the first live-action superhero/comic book world with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), shared film and television universes are really nothing new. From the Universal Monsters films of the 1930s & 1940s to the ALL IN THE FAMILY UNIVERSE on TV in the 1970s & 80s, there has been a plethora of films and TV series that existed in the same world with shared continuity. Hell, Mork From Ork and Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzerelli were pals/adversaries in the HAPPY DAYS UNIVERSE (Or is that really the LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE UNIVERSE? 🤔).
When it comes to the superhero/comic book genre, the aforementioned MCU is the undisputed king when it comes to the shared film and TV universe. Warner Bros. and DC Comics had some moderate success on TV with The CW’s “Arrowverse”, but spectacularly failed on the big screen with what was incorrectly known as the “DCEU.” Warner is giving the shared universe another go with the newly created “DC Universe” (DCU) led by James Gunn and Peter Safran, the co-heads of DC Studios. The plan is for the DCU to be a connected world that will incorporate many different media platforms. It will commence in June of 2025 with a new Superman movie — SUPERMAN: LEGACY — which Gunn is writing and directing.
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It remains to be seen if the Gunn/Safran-led DCU will be a success, but there is a bit of “we’ve seen this already” as the MCU will have been around for nearly 2 decades by the time SUPERMAN: LEGACY kicks off the DCU in 2025. Will it feel like something new, or will it come off as an MCU copycat?
We’re fixin’ to find out.
Regardless, Warner Bros. has something going on at DC Films that absolutely hasn’t been seen already and ain’t a copycat of anything: Matt Reeves’ THE BATMAN SAGA.
When it comes to comic book superheroes, what Reeves is doing with Batman is unprecedented. Yes, there have been shared film/TV shared universes before including ones based on comic book superheroes (MCU, Arrowverse, DCEU), but there’s never been one built around one superhero and that superhero’s world.
Yeah, I know, Sony has tried — and seems to still be trying — to create a cinematic Spider-Man universe. The original Spiderverse plan involved THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films that starred Andrew Garfield with spinoffs, crossovers, and “versus” films including the Sinister Six, an Aunt May spy movie, and a team-up film with Black Cat and Silver Sable. That plan went kaput after TASM2 underperformed and Sony decided to reboot — as well as make a deal with Disney to use Spider-Man in the MCU — the character again. Recently, Sony has released solo films based on the Spider-Man characters Venom (two movies already and a third on the way), Morbius (bombed), and has ones with Kraven the Hunter and Madame Web coming. Regardless, their continuity is a mess and it’s not really sure if a Spider-Man — and furthermore, which Spider-man — even exists in those films.
While Sony may have tried the single superhero shared universe thing first with Spider-Man, it’s actually happening at Warner Bros. with Batman thanks to Matt Reeves.
What’s groundbreaking about THE BATMAN SAGA other than being the first of its kind is the variety of media platforms over which it can be found…
- Books: BEFORE THE BATMAN
- Comics: THE RIDDLER: YEAR ONE
- Film: THE BATMAN, THE BATMAN PART II (Coming in 2025)
- MAX/Prestige TV: THE PENGUIN
And who knows what other additions to THE BATMAN SAGA (THE BATMAN: PART III, Arkham Asylum and GCPD TV series, and likely more comics, books…and a Catwoman series/film???) are coming over the next few years…I’m sure y’all are just like me and excited to find out!
As Batman fans, it should be heartwarming — and really cool — to know that our beloved Dark Knight/Caped Crusader is blazing a new trail in the comic book/superhero genre…just as he’s done many times since 1939. – Bill “Jett” Ramey