In Actuality: The First Comic Book Cinematic Universe(s)?

Posted: October 9, 2015 in In Actuality
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Warner Bros. and comic book publisher DC Comics are set to expand their shared universe (currently limited to a single film) with at least 11 new films over the course of the next five years. By now, we all know about Marvel Studios and their hugely successful lineup of shared universe films, including recent release Ant-Man. For the longest time, many people, fans and filmgoers alike, criticized DC for allegedly ripping off Marvel’s idea for their own gains.

However, did you know Marvel actually wasn’t the first between the two rival companies to attempt a crossover between their superhero characters on film? Actually, that honor goes to DC Comics, who tried for years to have previously unseen characters share the silver screen with those who have already had a successful run at the box office.

Believe it or not, Warner Bros. previously tried at least three times to get a cinematic universe off the ground, each time failing until 2013’s Man of Steel. The first attempt started in the late 1990s, with the then upcoming film Superman Lives. Written by Kevin Smith and to be directed by Tim Burton, the film was supposed to crossover with Burton’s Batman franchise by featuring a cameo by Michael Keaton’s version of Batman, as well as a reference to the alien world of Thanagar through the inclusion of a “Thanagarian Snare Beast” (aka a giant spider). However, due to the film’s script being a pile of garbage (no fault on Kevin Smith’s part, since, as he’s explained, it was due to “studio interference” that led to the overly goofy script), Superman Lives was shelved.

The next attempt was with 2006’s Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh. By this point in time, Christopher Nolan’s largely successful Batman Begins film had already been released, leading Warner Bros. and DC Comics to begin building connections for a crossover at some point down the line. In Superman Returns, as the camera pans across newscasts discussing Superman’s return to Metropolis and taking on all criminal acts throughout the city, one anchor specifically mentions Gotham City, home of the Batman. However, these plans were eventually scrapped when Superman Returns proved to be unpopular with moviegoers, leaving Batman to continue on as a solo franchise.

The third time involved the Ryan Reynold’s 2011 disaster Green Lantern. Before the film was released, Warner Bros. hired writers to draft a sequel, as many studios do. However, the studio and writers confirmed that Green Lantern, should it have performed well, would have been the start to a cinematic universe. It is unknown what would have happened though, since the film turned out to be terrible, and nothing else happened with it. Even so, it’s fun to think that Ryan Reynolds could have shared the screen with Brandon Routh and Christian Bale if everything worked out.

I realize I skipped past a number of scripts while making this list, including Superman: Flyby, the first Batman vs Superman, and 2007’s Justice League, but keep in mind, I was looking for spin off films that would lead into a full blown cinematic universe. Still, if you have a favorite DC film crossover, whether it’s long canceled, heavily rumored, or even on this list, let me know either in the comments below or with a tweet through that widget on the left. Better yet, like the Comic Books vs The World Facebook page, and subscribe to the official Youtube channel to keep up with all the latest on Comic Books vs The World.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s