The future of the DC Universe movie franchise is wide open, now that fans have heard what Warner Bros. has planned for the franchise, going forward. The biggest reveal was that Michael Keaton is going to reprise his Batman role to star in The Flash movie, as an alt-universe Batman who becomes a mentor to Ezra Miller's Barry Allen/Flash. It's been hinted that Keaton will then go on and serve as DC's Nick Fury, showing up in additional films as a connective thread - leading to what? We don't yet know.
One theory is that DC and Warner Bros. could be building towards a "Crisis" event in the DC movie universe. While there's no confirmation of that, a DC Crisis movie (or movies) could be a big fix for many of the franchise's current problems.
What Is "Crisis"?
"Crisis" is the name of any number of DC Comics events, dating back to the 1960s. It started with an annual crossover of the Justice League of America of Earth-One and Justice Society of America of Earth-Two, and their battles to save the multiverse. Things changed in 1985 when DC Comics launched a year-long Crisis on Infinite Earths event, which rebooted the DC multiverse as one universe. Since the '80s, the "Crisis" term's usage has gotten murky, but it still basically relates to the idea of DC routinely "cleaning house" with its multiverse events, while also staging major character or continuity milestones.
In short, it's a time-honored DC device that Warner Bros.' DC film franchise desperately needs to employ right about now.prevnext
Cherry Pick the Best
The first benefit of a "Crisis" film event (or multi-film event) is the same one as "Crisis" comic book events: getting to cherry-pick the best elements of DC Universe and put them on a pedestal. Crisis events usually involve some major transformations of evolutions - or the passing of mantles (hero and/or villain alike). In a Crisis movie event, Warner Bros. could cherry-pick the best elements of the franchise and firmly establish them as the center of a new franchise.prevnext
Forget the Rest
...The other side of DC's cherry-picking cleansing process in a "Crisis" event is that it also cleans out a cluttered continuity. If there's one thing that's been holding back Warner Bros.' DC film franchise, it is the utterly cluttered and confusing continuity, which has resulted from half-executed and/or abandoned plans. A Crisis film event can clear out anything DC/WB wants to close the door on, be it Ben Affleck's Batman, Henry Cavill's Superman, or any other franchises, characters, or actors that no longer fit the franchise, going forward. That alone would be a game-changing fresh start for DC films.prevnext
Old Stars, New Films
The other benefit of "Crisis" is the collisions of the DC Multiverse allow for any number of alternate universe versions of major characters to make an appearance. In film form, a Crisis movie is a prime opportunity for any number of former DC movie stars of any era - aside from Michael Keaton - to make a reappearance. Be it Keanu Reeves' Constantine; Christian Bale's Batman; Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern - there's a long list of fun cameo possibilities. The Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths event pulled in some big surprise appearances - imagine what a full film could do.prevnext
One DC Universe
The reason that Warner Bros. and DC can pull in so many big former stars is because of the key difference between that franchise and Marvel Studios/Disney: Warner Bros. has always owned all of DC. With Michael Keaton returning as Batman in a new Flash movie, it's DC/WB is already dropping hints that any film the studio has ever made is now part of one big cinematic multiverse. That means a Crisis movie could revisit any old DC movie scene, or that any actor/character from those old franchises can reprise their role - and potentially help carry the franchise forward.prevnext
Clean Fresh Starts
For the characters that do make it through a Crisis movie event, the rebooted universe (or multiverse) offers a clean slate to build on, without worrying about connections to the past. For characters like Jason Momoa's Aquaman or Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, that could be key. A rebooted multiverse also means that certain characters whose stories come to an end get rebooted in new forms - for example: Ben Affleck's Batman being replaced by The Batman's Robert Pattinson, who can exist in his own franchise universe. It's basically dealers choice how the DC Universe gets re-started, and it all "fits" in one big sandbox of both standalone and inter-connected film franchises.prevnext
Marvel-Sized Event Films3comments
Finally, DC has yet to achieve the same kind of box office-breaking "Event Films" that Marvel Studios has mastered. Batman v Superman and Justice League tried to get that ball rolling, but ended dropping the ball. With the franchise now in such a fractured state, Crisis might be the only thing truly capable of pulling it back together in a way that also makes big bank.
Do you think DC movies need a Crisis event storyline? Let us know in the comments!prev
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.