10 DC Comics Properties That Warner Bros. Can Save the DCEU With
S.O.S.U. (Save Our Shared Universe)
The DC Extended Universe is a sinking ship. Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not living up to the tremendous potential it had. They’ve given the world a depressed and dour Superman, a murderous Batman, and a Justice League that feels rushed. Aside from Wonder Woman, the five DCEU movies released so far are objectively disappointing, both financially and critically. However, I believe that with a few tonal shifts, the right writers, the right directors, and these incredible properties, Warner Bros. could save their Great DCEU Experiment and make their game of catch-up with the MCU a bit more neck-and-neck.
Lobo is essentially DC’s Deadpool, given their shared penchant for being crass, foul-mouthed, and incredibly violent. Lobo is an intergalactic bounty hunter who once annihilated his entire race as a science fair project. He’s been a nuisance to the superhero community many times, both as an adversary and an unwanted ally, much like Deadpool himself. Deadpool and Deadpool 2 are very popular and well received, as well as major box office successes, due their special brand of vulgar humor and graphic violence. If DC can replicate that formula with an original story, a movie centered on the Main Man can be a huge win for Warner Bros.
9. Hawkman and Hawkgirl
Cater and Shiera Hall. Katar and Shayera Hol. Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara. The love shared between these two heroes cannot be stopped, not even in death. Bound together through time and imbued with powers by the otherworldly Nth Metal, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are reincarnated after they die, and in each life, they defend the innocent from evil. Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s situation is unique amongst superheroes, and a movie depicting an everlasting love story between these two would draw in both fan of comic book films and romance movies.
8. Doom Patrol
Doom Patrol are the goofier X-Men of the DC Comics Universe. Much like the X-Men, they’re a team of heroes with odd powers and limitations lead by a wheelchair-bound professor to defend the people that don’t like them. With the core team consisting of The Chief, Mento, Elasti-Woman, Negative Man, and Robotman, these characters as the underdogs of DC, often being featured in stories where they’re forgotten or overlooked, but end up saving the day in the end. If done properly, Doom Patrol could prove to be as socially conscious as the X-Men while being as weird and funny as the Guardians of the Galaxy.
7. Martian Manhunter
The heart and soul of the Justice League. Warner Bros really missed a great opportunity by not including J’onn J’onzz, The Martian Manhunter, in their film Justice League. With a weakness to fire and a myriad of super powers (including telepathy, shapeshifting, and every power Superman has), J’onn is one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe, as well as one of the most haunted. He lost his wife, daughter, and homeworld (Mars) to a war between his race of peaceful Green Martians and the belligerent White Martians. Finding his way to Earth, J’onn has made it his life’s mission to keeping his new home from making the same deadly mistakes Mars did. Despite David S. Goyer’s claims to the contrary, I believe fans would flock to a Martian Manhunter movie. And while the idea of an alien hero defending Earth is almost identical to Superman’s, Martian Manhunter has a different perspective than Superman. While Superman looks at humanity and sees the potential for greatness and hope, J’onn sees the potential for war and evil, giving readers a more depressing and pessimistic viewpoint that could be very intriguing for the moviegoing audience.
6. Adam Strange
Warner Bros. has yet to explore the cosmos of the DCEU, and Adam Strange would be a great way to open that door. Ripped from Earth to the planet Rann by the mysterious Zeta Beams, Adam Strange defends both his homeworld and his new world from intergalactic threats. Adam is very much like a more serious Star Lord, being from Earth but preferring his adopted home in the Alpha Centauri star system, and he also uses technology to fly and breath in space, and he uses ray guns in his superheroics, like Star Lord. Adam could be a great character to use to bring the cosmic stories of DC Comics to the cinema, as he’d be a stranger in a strange land experiencing this literally new world for the first time, much like the moviegoers would.
In October 2014, Warner Bros announced that the half-man half-robot character Cyborg would be getting his own movie. To put it plainly, I think it would be better suited for the DCEU to forego a Cyborg standalone film and morph that into a Titans movie. In the pre-New 52 continuity, Cyborg wasn’t a founding member of the Justice League, but instead he was a founding member of the Teen Titans, who would later become the Titans. The Teen Titans roster was filled out by Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Aqualad, Kid Flash, were led by Nightwing (the original Robin, Dick Grayson). They were young sidekicks who had potential to be great heroes, and the team itself was used to hone their skills and prepare them to become full-fledged members of the Justice League. Not to mention the popular cartoon series’ Teen Titans, which ran from 2003 to 2006, and Teen Titans Go!, a show geared toward younger audiences that premiered in 2013 and has a movie adaptation (Teen Titans Go! To The Movies) hitting theaters on July 27, 2018. A movie where the program was overseen by Cyborg, who would co-lead with Nightwing, would certainly bring people to the theaters, if not by name recognition alone.
4. Etrigan the Demon
A mortal cursed to be one half of a monster, the story of Etrigan the Demon is rather terrifying werewolf story. A young knight in the court of King Arthur Pendragon, Jason Blood was bound to The Demon to save his life, yet cursing him with immortality and the presence of a powerful hellspawn that only speaks in rhyme. The Demon is a horror story, and with the rising popularity of horror movies within the public at large, he could become an immensely successful movie for Warner Bros. They’ve already trusted two of their upcoming non-horror DCEU movies to established horror directors (James Wan with Aquaman and David F. Sandberg with Shazam!), so it wouldn’t be a stretch for Warner Bros. to trust other another horror director with an actual horror movie like The Demon could be. Not only could this work for The Demon, but also a team The Demon has been a member of…
3. Justice League Dark
Another horror-ish entry, I know, but hear me out. The horror genre is very popular right now, and Warner Bros. could take advantage of that to renew interest in their shared universe of DC Comics films. And Justice League Dark could scratch the horror itch that the public has and the superhero team movie itch that the studio has. A super team consisting of DC’s most popular magical characters sounds a lot like the Midnight Sons, a team I listed in an article about potential characters and teams Marvel can make great movie franchises out of. Where the similarities end, however, is while Marvel’s magic stories center largely around wizards, romanticized versions of devils, and Christopher Lee-esque vampires, the magic stories of the DC universe are injected with influence from the occult. The presence of real-world occultism gives the stories about Justice League Dark a slightly scarier and darker (pun definitely intended) feel. That story element would make for a unique and original superhero-horror movie that audiences would love to see.
2. Green Arrow
The Emerald Archer would make an amazing hero to center a movie around. I may be slightly biased, given the fact that he’s my favorite DC Comics character, but I truly think that the average moviegoer would love a Green Arrow movie. The CW show Arrow has proven very popular, spawning seven seasons and four related shows. And while I appreciate Arrow for making the titular character more popular, I also believe that Arrow has gotten him all wrong. While the show mistakenly treats him like Batman with a longbow, Green Arrow is quite literally the Robin Hood of DC, focusing more on fighting everyday crimes, greedy corporations, and corruption within the system. A superhero movie where the stakes aren’t the end of the world are what make movies like the Dark Knight trilogy so popular. An intimate, small scale story about Green Arrow dealing with cops on the take or a drug dealer terrorizing a neighborhood would be a much-needed change of pace from the DCEU’s world-ending stories they’ve produced so far.
1. Black Adam
Dwayne Johnson is the most bankable star in the business right now. His movies are constantly making incredible profits and they’re mostly liked by critics and fans alike, excluding the occasional bomb. He’s been tapped to play the anti-hero and Shazam adversary since 2014, and Warner Bros. has just sat on him, waiting for no particular reason to make this movie they’ve got The Rock for. A good way to get people to buy tickets to your movie is put Dwayne Johnson’s instantly recognizable face on all your movie posters. On top of that, Black Adam’s story is very compelling. He’s the king of a country that uses his powers solely for the protection of his people, whether that means fight alongside the heroes of the DC Universe or against them. Anti-heroes always make great fan-favorite characters, and Black Adam is no exception. There’s a reason he’s one of the most popular characters in DC Comics and he could be one of the most popular characters in the DCEU, if they keep his great story and finally commit to Dwayne Johnson in the role.