The DC Extended Universe is a medley of chaos, contrasting styles, and untapped potential. Chaos for its lack of a proper direction. Contrasting styles for its wildly different movies having both muted palettes and brilliant colors. Untapped potential for the opportunities it has wasted in recent years.
Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was the stepping stone for the DC Extended Universe. Though the movie received praise for its modern and realistic approach towards Superman, it was heavily criticized for its muted colors and grim atmosphere. To set the DCEU in motion, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released in 2016 to widely polarised reviews. The subsequent release of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was again heavily criticized and mostly got negative reviews. What seemed like a rocky start was soon balanced with Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman (2017).
A sharp contrast from Zack Snyder’s cinematography, Wonder Woman received critical acclaim for its tone and direction. As everything had started to look good for the DCEU, the release of Joss Whedon/Zack Snyder’s Justice League was an absolute disaster, to say the least. What seemed like a lost cause was saved by James Wan’s Aquaman which became the first DCEU movie to gross over $1 billion in the box-office collections. James Wan’s skilful direction, brilliant cinematography, seamlessly executed fight scenes made Aquaman one of the biggest hits of 2018.
To keep the hopes of DCEU alive, David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! (2019) and Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn) (2020) performed fairly well at the box-office and received good reviews. With Matt Reeves on board for a Batman trilogy starring Robert Pattinson, things are finally looking bright from the DCEU.
The departure of Kevin Tsujihara from Warner Bros Entertainment was a welcome move for more artistic freedom and a streamlined vision for the future of the DC Extended Universe. After the release of eight movies, the DC Extended Universe looks bright and is on the right track. With future movies like Wonder Woman 84, The Batman, Shazam! 2, and James Gunn’s Suicide Squad on the roster, it is definitely an exciting time for the DC Extended Universe to showcase its true potential.
While there are many speculations regarding the upcoming movies, we have compiled a list of directors who should join the DCEU to release that untapped potential. Interested? Let’s hop in!
10. Matthew Vaughn (Man of Steel 2)
Matthew Vaughn is not new to the superhero genre. His movie Kick-Ass (2010) was well-received by critics and audiences which later amassed a cult following. Later, he directed X-Men: First Class which re-kindled the interest in the X-Men franchise. Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was praised for its stylised fight choreography and comedic timing, making it a huge success.
Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was a departure from the traditional portrayal of the Boy Scout. A gritty and dark take, it did not resonate well with most fans. Hiring Matthew Vaughn to develop the vision of Zack Snyder while adding his humour, stylised fight scenes, and a brighter color palette can work wonders. Currently, Matthew Vaughn is in talks to direct the Man of Steel sequel.
9. The Duffer Brother (Teen Titans)
Netflix’s Stranger Things is one of the best TV shows in recent times. A homage to the ’80s, Stranger Things is a wholesome show centred around kids, monsters, secret services, and everything interesting.
The Duffer Brothers’ masterful direction, tightly written plot, and irreverent humour made Stranger Things one of the most popular shows on Netflix. If attached to a future Teen Titans project, the duo can bless the DCEU with a massive box-office collection. A bunch of super-powered kids, teenage romance, aliens, and fight sequences. What can possibly go wrong?
8. David Leitch (Deathstroke)
Known for his widely popular John Wick series, David Leitch also directed Deadpool 2. A master of fast-paced fight sequences and breathtaking cinematography, David Leitch’s Achilles heel is a bad screenplay.
Deathstroke is one of the biggest villains in the DC Universe. A ruthless mercenary, any movie based on him is bound to have intense close-range fight scenes. With a tight screenplay, David Leitch can make this a memorable experience for DC fans.
7. Justin Simien (Cyborg)
Justin Simien is known for his Dear White People which was further expanded to a TV show bearing the same name on Netflix. Currently holding a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Dear White People was critically acclaimed for its portrayal of racial issues.
To rule out Simien for not having any experience with big-budget movies would be a mistake. If attached to the Cyborg movie, Simien’s tactful handling of the nuanced racial issues in one of the most popular black superheroes can revolutionize the superhero industry.
6. George Miller (Justice League 2)
The Australian physician turned director is considered to be one of the best action directors all time. His Mad Max: Fury Road is arguably the greatest action movie ever made. Minimal CGI and fuelled by pure adrenaline, Fury Road was critically acclaimed.
Back in 2008, George Miller was attached to the Justice League: Mortal movie which was supposed to be the first movie of the DCEU. Despite the movie never entering production, a future Justice League by George Miller will make fans go crazy for his breathtaking cinematography and tight script.
5. Edgar Wright (Plastic Man/Blue Beetle/Booster Gold)
Edgar Wright was attached to MCU’s first Ant-Man movie. Despite leaving the project for creative differences, his script material was used for the movie resulting in a massive success for a supposedly unknown superhero.
Edgar Wright is an auteur. His movies are fast-paced and satirical in nature. His usage of rapid transitions, whip-pans, and wipes makes his movies seem always in motion. His filmography includes Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Shaun of the Dead, and Baby Driver which was a massive box office success. A future Plastic Man or a Blue Beetle-Booster Gold movie directed by Edgar Wright can get the right graphic tone, which is often one of the weak points of the DCEU.
4. Denis Villeneuve (Batman Beyond)
One of the few directors who has been able to churn out critically acclaimed movies with massive box-office earnings, Denis Villeneuve has carved a name for himself in the industry.
Denis Villeneuve earned an Academy Award nomination for Arrival (2016). His other movies include Sicario, Prisoners, Enemy, and the modern masterpiece Blade Runner 2049. As a sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Denis Villeneuve’s artistic vision in showcasing a futuristic Los Angeles was universally acclaimed. Having established himself as an auteur for sci-fi movies, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is set to release later this year.
A future Batman Beyond movie must definitely be directed by Denis Villeneuve. His voyeuristic cinematography, thematically constructed color palette, and daring plot twists have drawn parallels with Christopher Nolan. His Blade Runner 2049 explored the nuanced relationship between a retired blade runner and a young blade runner. Does it remind you of Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis?
3. Greta Gerwig (Batgirl)
Greta Gerwig’s rise to stardom is nothing short of miraculous. With just two movies in her filmography as a director, Greta Gerwig has been nominated twice for the Academy Awards for Lady Bird and Little Women.
Known for her strong and sympathetic female characters, a Batgirl movie directed by Greta Gerwig would be incredible. Focusing on the storyline where Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon gets shot by the Joker and adopts the persona of Oracle can be handled adroitly by Greta Gerwig. A departure from usual tropes of vengeance, a sympathetic and forgiving Batgirl would be an innovative approach towards the superhero genre.
2. Ridley Scott (Green Lantern Corps)
One of the best directors alive, Ridley Scott’s filmography has inspired the new generation of movie directors. From Alien to Gladiator, Ridley Scott’s numerous works have ranged from science-fiction to historical drama.
Known for his marvellous world-building, strong female characters, striking visuals, and picturesque atmosphere, Ridley Scott should be the first choice to develop the first Green Lantern Corps movie. Showcasing the ancient Oans, all the Lanterns across the universe, and maybe introducing Jessica Cruz in one movie is the stuff of dreams.
1. Guy Ritchie (Lobo)
Known for his fast-paced and rapid transition shots, Guy Ritchie is one of the most accomplished directors of recent times. His filmography has critically acclaimed movies like Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Sherlock Holmes.
His usage of violence, dry humour, and profanity makes him the perfect choice for directing a future Lobo movie. A space travelling mercenary and a bounty hunter, Lobo is the epitome of trash-talking and violent anti-superheroes. With Guy Ritchie at the helm and Vinnie Jones reprising the role of Lobo, we can already imagine the box-office records getting shattered.