As DC Entertainment rethinks its universe movie strategy, putting an emphasis on standalone features that are less dependent on a wider universe (like Wonder Woman), another upcoming DC movie will stand on its own: Aquaman.
“Some of the movies do connect the characters together, like Justice League,” Geoff Johns, DC chief creative officer, told Vulture. “But, like with Aquaman, our goal is not to connect Aquaman to every movie.”
DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson expanded on the point, saying the intention isn’t to disregard continuity, but to play down the idea of ‘it’s all connected.’
“Moving forward, you’ll see the DC movie universe being a universe, but one that comes from the heart of the filmmaker who’s creating them,” Nelson said.
One such filmmaker is James Wan, who established the hit Saw, Insidious and Conjuring horror franchises, the latter having birthed a cinematic universe of its own for studio Warner Bros. As shared by cast member Ludi Lin, Wan has described his vision for Aquaman as “Star Wars underwater,” and production on the aquatic superhero’s solo film has apparently gone swimmingly.
With DC Entertainment deemphasizing the importance of a wider, shared universe — they even have plans to launch a separate branch of films that exist in their own bubble, away from the interconnected universe occupied by Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and soon Justice League — DC has “no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity” in this universe, Nelson said.
It should come as a welcome relief to fans: Wonder Woman was separated (by decades) from the rest of the It should come as a welcome relief to fans: Wonder Woman was separated (by decades) from the rest of the DC movie universe — aside from the inclusion of a memento sent courtesy of Bruce Wayne — and was better off for it; Aquaman, too, won’t be hindered by the idea of a shared universe.
From the sound of it, Aquaman may avoid going the way of the cluttered Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which suffered from the intrusion of set ups and teases included as a means of using the long-awaited Batman/Superman team up flick as a springboard for a slew of sequels and spinoffs, some which may never come to pass.
DC Entertainment is aiming for a filmmaker-driven brand of films over of a story-driven universe where each film impacts the next, each a separate part of a wider puzzle with a designated payoff and end game. With prime competitor Marvel Studios doing the latter so well, it makes sense for DC to differentiate themselves by backing off of the ‘it’s all connected’ idea, crafting films that operate as part of a bigger picture without focusing on the bigger picture.
Jason Momoa stars as Aquaman in Justice League, out November 17, before Aquaman swims into theaters October 5, 2018.