Following the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Warner Bros. tried to replicate the same success with the DC franchise by establishing the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) starting with 2013's Man of Steel and followed by the 2016 crossover Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
However, while some films have attained box office success, the entire franchise itself didn't reach the same height as the MCU and its attempt to establish its own shared universe wasn't able to resonate a lot with the general audience.
Now, the current iteration of the franchise is nearing its end with the upcoming release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and a reboot is currently on its way with the new DCU under the leadership of James Gunn and Peter Safran.
Man of Steel Writer David S. Goyer Opens Up About the Creation of the DCEU
In a recent interview on Josh Horowitz's Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Variety), Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer spilled some details on how Warner Bros. was eager to replicate the success of the MCU with the DC franchise back when they were making the film.
"I know the pressure we were getting from Warner Bros., which was, ‘We need our MCU! We need our MCU!’ And I was like let’s not run before we walk," he said.
"The other thing that was difficult at the time was there was this revolving door of executives at Warner Bros. and DC. Every 18 months someone new would come in. We were just getting whiplash. Every new person was like, ‘We’re going to go bigger!'"
Goyer added that he warned Warner Bros. about the danger of fast-tracking the development of the DCEU projects after hearing their plans for the next 10 years without writing anything.
He continued, "I remember at one point the person running Warner Bros. at the time had this release that pitched the next 20 movies over the next 10 years. But none of them had been written yet! It was crazy how much architecture was being built on air... This is not how you build a house."
In retrospect, Goyer's concerns back then were spot on as we've seen how the earlier DCEU films were met with polarizing responses and it took until 2017's Wonder Woman before they had their first project that had universal success.
However, such accomplishment was rare overall since only a couple of titles ended up being a legitimate success and the recent releases have unfortunately flopped at the box office.
Now that the DC franchise is being rebooted, it is interesting to see whether Gunn and Safran will be able to learn the right lesson from the previous iteration's attempt and perhaps they'll be able to formulate the right formula for doing a DC cinematic shared universe.
The last DCEU film Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is set to arrive in theaters this December 20.