'Snyderverse' out of DCEU continuity and fans hail franchise division, but does canon still matter?
DC's attempt to build up an MCU-like extended universe has not yet succeeded; should they abandon the attempt?
When 'Man of Steel' came out in 2013, just a year after Marvel's 'The Avengers,' there were no plans in place for an extended DC film universe like the one created by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the unprecedented success of the MCU led to a change in that plan, and instead of a sequel to 'Man of Steel,' the next big-budget DC film would introduce Batman, Wonder Woman and hint at the 'Justice League' film that came out next. While other DC movies have popped up since, Zack Snyder has recently said that the three DC films he directed now count as their own continuity, separate from anything else that DC puts out, leaving us to wonder: does the continuity of the DC Universe still matter?
The so-called Snyderverse would include 'Man of Steel', 'Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice' and 'Justice League', excluding 'Birds of Prey', 'Shazam!', 'Suicide Squad', 'The Flash', 'Aquaman' and 'Wonder Woman'. Aside from 'Birds of Prey' and 'Suicide Squad', none of the remaining DC films have any real connection to each other. In fact, if the Snyderverse films are in a separate continuity, then Wonder Woman has technically never made an appearance in the modern DC Universe at all - her solo films are all set in the past. Robert Pattison's version of Batman is also unconnected to the Snyderverse films - and now has a chance to be part of the new ones.
DC could start rebuilding its extended universe from scratch - building up to another 'Justice League' film involving different actors. However, one takeaway from the Snyderverse trilogy might be this: that continuity should not be the focus of DC's films going forward. Where Marvel build up to 'The Avengers' slowly, with great care, over years and multiple film franchises, DC rushed to its 'Justice League' film in only three movies and that strategy hasn't held up. In fact, with the announcement of the Snyderverse, it's harder than ever to see all of DC's disparate franchises fitting together - but is it important for them to do so?
It might be worth taking a look at DC's TV slate for inspiration. There is the Arrowverse which has managed to build up continuity in the way that the DC films haven't, but there are also shows like 'Stargirl', 'Titans' and 'Doom Patrol' - each occupying their own universes, but at the same time telling wonderful stories between them. Each of the TV series has a wildly different tone - something that Marvel has been unable to truly experiment with. The number one complaint that Marvel viewers have about the MCU is how similar all of its movies feel after a while. Nobody can compare 'Doom Patrol' to a show like 'Stargirl' or 'The Flash' and claim that the shows feel the same.
In addition, we have series like 'Strange Adventures' and 'Justice League Dark' set to premiere on HBO Max. It's unlikely that either series will connect to any of the current shows on television, allowing them to be their own thing. Even when it comes to films, breaking away from canon is what allowed movies like 'Joker' to follow such a unique vision. The film would not have won the critical and commercial acclaim it did had it dedicated itself to fit in with larger continuity, matching the tone of the DCEU, or with setting up other films.
Fans seem to be happy with the idea of separating film franchises already. DC fandom is divided when it comes to the movies and segregating pockets of the DC Universe might be just the thing to keep everyone happy. "I understand the dislike of the post, but all this name-calling is unnecessary. Sad, that DC Fans have NEVER been unified. Whether it is SnyderVerse, New DCEU, Arrowverse, DC Universe Originals, etc. Fans of one hate on another and I just do not understand," points out a fan on Twitter, responding to a fans' dividing of the DCEU films into separate categories. "Broke: The Snyderverse means all the other movies after are compromised ones by hacks!!!! Woke: DCEU and Snyderverse works been apart AND be the same thing, allowing everyone getting what they wanted," writes another fan. "I will just leave this here and you can tell yourself whatever you want to believe in but Snyderverse isn't in the current dceu," writes another, proving that the fans are definitely on board with the idea of separate canon already.