Why DCU Chapter One Doesn't Need a Big Crossover Event Like Marvel
DC Studios has unveiled the first of the DC Universe Chapter One slate, comprised of 5 movies and 5 TV series. It's still early yet; we don't yet know virtually anything in terms of the franchise universe mythos, or the specific plot points of the individual projects. We have titles and loose premises for each of the projects – as well as some of the comics that have inspired these new works. None of that has stopped DC fans from already going to town with theories and speculation about the DCU, and what James Gunn and Peter Safran are planning for it.
The latest episode of our ComicBook Nation podcast show was entirely dedicated to breaking down the DC Studios slate, as well as speculating about what the DCU could be building to in the second half of Chapter One, and what kind of major crossover event the franchise can do first. That's where the discussion veered into an interesting take...
Why DCU Chapter One Does NOT Need A Big Crossover Event
ComIcBook Nation host Matthew Aguilar made the point that DC has one distinct (and untapped) advantage over Marvel, that stems from the comics:
"It's more of a thing in the Batman and Superman worlds – and Wonder Woman world – I like when DC does self-contained events to the character. So I like Superman events – where you have the whole Superman family and characters that accompany them and it feels like an event because it draws everybody there, but you don't have to have like, every [comic] book participate, and every single character. Sometimes that just comes across as forced.
Then we get [Marvel things like]... "Fear Itself" which is like, 'Oh, that could've been an event but a smaller thing.'Batman does it all the time: how many classic Batman stories have been just the Bat-Family? Or Gotham? Like "No Man's Land" is a perfect example; the "Knightfall" stuff really all happened in Batman's world. Sure, some people come over, like Superman, but even recent events like Tom King's whole run, right? That really involved the Batman-Family, and there's enough character in the Batman-Family... you can involve, making it feel like an event while keeping it contained, and you don't have to crossover."
Therein lies the key advantage that DC Studios may have to distinguish its characters, and franchises, and still "earn" that big event crossover in a faster time than Marvel Studios did in three Phases of the story. While Marvel does have its fair share of famous character story arcs, it's also arguable that Marvel is better known for big crossover storylines (Secret War, Infinity Gauntlet, Secret Invasion, Civil War, etc...), while DC has indeed put down major story arcs for individual characters that are now fan-favorites (All-Star Superman, Batman & Son, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow – countless others).
In the 2010s, the debate between DC and Marvel's respective strategies for Universe-building was whether or not solo character origins were each necessary before team-ups; by now, with so many core characters already known and established onscreen, DC Studios could indeed use each individual character a franchise "event" all their own – complete with tie-in or interconnected TV series. By the time a full crossover event is introduced, it could truly be more than just a two-part event film (Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame) – it could be like a true comic book crossover, bringing every character franchise film line and TV series into one big connected story.
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