I‘ve now offered DC two solid pieces of advice for launching their Justice League movie but I don’t think they’ve even read them! (Incidentally, you can read my previous advice here and here). Now Marvel have launched “Phase 2” with Iron Man 3 and if what I’ve read so far is to be believed (I’m seeing it tomorrow), it’s another successful installment in their superhero franchise.
In comparison, DC don’t even seem to have an idea, let alone a script, cast, director or plan for their Justice League movie. I think they should give up on competing with Avengers at all but failing that, maybe they should take their fight to a different arena entirely.
With the success of the Avengers came the news that Marvel were launching a new TV show called SHIELD. It would follow the Agents of SHIELD as they battled new superpowered people/creatures in the wake of the events of the Avengers movie(s). This seems like a great idea and very good way of keeping interest in the series alive when the superhero movies take their inevitable “winter break.” It’s also the area that DC could monopolise and shine themselves.
They could take two different approaches to launching a successful TV series or range of shows. We can assume that Cavill’s Superman is tied-in to any Justice League movie and the film will give him the scale, scope and suitable introduction/reboot. Assuming again, that Man of Steel is a success, DC could then begin to introduce the rest of the Justice League with their own tv shows.
Lets simplify things by calling the Justice League line-up, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and, inevitably, Batman. Each of these characters, aside from Superman and Batman, could have their own, 13 episode tv series.
Wonder Woman’s show could be set on Paradise Island, where her origin lies, and would primarily take place here. She would fight the greek gods that are tied with her origin, as well as the competition for her title as Queen of the Amazon, and only come to Earth towards the end of her first season.
Green Lantern would be a complete reboot of the character, no Ryan Reynolds, no ties to the previous film. It would follow Hal Jordan as he is called up to join the Green Lantern Corps and train to become an intergalactic police officer. It wouldn’t be set on Earth but instead on other planets, with Jordan learning how to control the ring and his new powers. It would be a lot more science fiction than its two sister-shows.
The Flash would be set on Earth and would follow the adventures of Barry Allen as he comes to grips with his super-speed ability. He’d a police officer by day and superhero by night, taking inspiration from the newly discovered Superman. His show would be closer to those of Smallville or Arrow.
All three shows would run either at the same time or one after another. The idea would be that they would all end with the same villain emerging (Darkseid maybe) and then have to come together to form the Justice League. This would then open the way for a rival movie, which would have actually had much more ground-work and character development than The Avengers film ever did.
Add to this the fact that Henry Cavill’s Superman could cameo at least once in each series, bringing in viewers and interest, and you could have a very realistic way of bringing the Justice League together without actually having to take Marvel on head-to-head; a battle I think DC would definitely lose.
If three separate shows seems too many, one tv show, very much like the series Heroes, could encompass all three characters stories. Rather than three separate shows, you could very easily create DC Universe the series, a show that follows the three superheroes up to the Justice League film at the end of season 1.
The only issue with this is Batman. If it was me, I wouldn’t include the character at all. I don’t think he fits with these other characters anyway and it is far too close to the fantastic job Nolan did, to actually make a success of the iconic character. That won’t happen though, so I’d suggest a new film, a complete reboot of Batman, and the lead-in film for Justice League.
If I was in charge of DC, I would begin my “phase 1” with Man of Steel, three separate tv shows (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash), a new Batman movie and then the Justice League. Its different enough to Marvel and would mean that we could get all three of the newest characters introduced within one year, bringing the Justice League movie even closer.
Overall, taking on Marvel head-to-head with competing films will never work. Marvel have this far too well-planned and anything similar will look like a desperate attempt to copy. Launch the Justice League with three tv shows, each unique in style and setting, and then bring the different heroes together in their own team-up movie, and you have an approach that is unique and accessible. Use Superman and Batman films to guide the audience towards the Justice League movie and DC may even stand a chance of taking on the Marvel movie giant. Now where is that number for DC?