Dear DC, this is an open letter letting you know the DC universe has more to it than Batman.
For a little context on the situation, recently Variety reported that Joss Whedon, of Firefly and the Avengers fame, will be writing, producing, and directing a Batgirl movie for the DCEU. My initial reaction was much like everyone else’s, pure joy. The idea of finally getting a proper Barbra Gordon on the big screen with a truly passionate and dedicated fan behind the camera was incredibly exciting news. Whedon is a die-hard nerd who respects these characters to their core. Plus, no one writes strong female characters like Whedon. Proof of this is easily found in the likes of Buffy the vampire slayer and Black Widow from the Avengers. At first thought, this announcement actually made me excited for the future of DC films.
But then I had a second thought.
Since this thought popped in my head, it has been eroding my excitement for this movie. The thought is a simple one.
DC has no faith in their characters expect for Batman.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Batman as much as anyone. He’s my second favorite superhero behind Spider-man. Just like so many others, I grew up on Batman the Animated Series and I whole-heartily believe the Dark Knight trilogy is one of the best on-screen interpretations of any superhero ever. But the DC universe is so much more than just Batman.
DC has some of the most iconic superheroes ever created. When you think of the
prototypical superhero, you think of Superman. When you think of the most famous female superhero of them all, you think of Wonder Woman. When you think of the fastest man alive, you think of the Flash. The list goes on and on and yet DC, as a company, can’t seem to see past the pointy ears of the bat.
It’s understandable. Batman is their most profitable character. Whether it’s in movies, or the comics, or even video games, Batman is like sex, he sells. There is an appeal to Batman that is often cited as to why his popularity is so high. Batman, unlike most superheroes, has no powers, which makes him more relatable to your average fan. He’s just a man fighting to put an end to the crime in his city. He survives against his deadly villains only thanks to his wit, smarts, and his massive bank account. That is incredibly appealing when juxtaposed to a supreme god-like alien or even a warrior princess from another land.
But it seems that Batman’s relatability is making the DCEU into the Batman universe. When Man of Steel underperformed at the box-office and with fans, DC brought in Batman for Superman’s sequel. Now in the most recent Justice League trailer, it’s Batman who is assembling the league. Then there’s the in-development Gotham City Sirens film, which will star Batman rogues Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman. On top of that will be Suicide Squad 2, with a heavier emphasis on Batman villains Deadshot and Harley Quinn, a movie for Batman’s former sidekick Nightwing, a solo Batman movie, and now a Batgirl movie.
That is a lot of Batman for one universe, especially when it’s a universe with hundreds of compelling characters.
As the CW DC shows have proven, you can take lesser known characters and put them in the spotlight. Until recently, no one had heard of the Atom, Firestorm, Vibe, Killer Frost, Arsenal, or dozens of other characters that have been highlighted across the various shows. The creative forces of those shows have a deep love and passion for the DC universe, but, more importantly, they have faith in it.
With every new DCEU movie announced, it’s becoming clear that DC executives have no faith in their universe. In their eyes, people only want Batman now and forever. But that’s simply not true. Just because people will pay to see a Batman movie, it doesn’t mean they won’t pay to go see a Cyborg movie, or a Martian Manhunter movie, or a Hawkgirl movie. You just have to give people the opportunity to see these characters in all their glory.
DC, please focus on character other than Batman. Most of these characters have been around for decades, so they have fans out there waiting to see them on the big screen. Please realize that your universe is so massive and encompasses so much that focusing on just one character is a disservice to the entire universe. Please have faith in your heroes.