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Warner Bros. Is Turning The DCEU's Multiverse Into a Cheap Plot Device


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Warner Bros. is turning the DCEU's Multiverse from an exciting storytelling concept into a haphazard, needlessly convoluted plot gimmick. Since 2020, the idea of the Multiverse has been at the center of all things DC in both movies and television, first getting rolling with the Crisis On Infinite Earths miniseries on The CW before getting extra seasoning with the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League. This elated many fans with the possibilities of older DC properties being revived, modern ones going in unexpected directions, or the crossover potential that anything with the DC label now brought with it.

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Unfortunately, a number of recent decisions and comments made in the press by Warner Bros. executives have begun to erode that excitement, which threatens to undo the goodwill they've built up by introducing the Multiverse in the first place. That latter point is especially pertinent, given how much the concept of a Multiverse has bailed the DCEU out of a number of decisions (particularly on the 2017 theatrical version of Justice League) that came close to ending it. In comments made in advance of the release of the Snyder Cut and a recent interview with Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, the studio's stance on the Multiverse has begun to devolve into vague generalities about a plan they have yet to provide any real clarity on.

RELATED:Every Future Justice League Member Teased In The Snyder Cut

With excitement for the future of the DCEU at an all-time high, the Multiverse was a key tool in unshackling filmmakers and getting DC films out of the rut they'd fallen into. With Warner Bros. latest decisions, the studio could end up killing that excitement by turning the Multiverse into little more than a plot device that simply cuts the legs out from under everything it was intended to build.

The Multiverse Is A Reaction To Broken DCEU Continuity

As with much of the DCEU's current state of affairs, the Multiverse is a byproduct of the disastrous theatrical release of Justice League. Arriving in theaters as a stitched together collage of reshoots with portions of Snyder's original footage, the fallout from the film's theatrical failure had a devasting impact on the entire franchise. Ben Affleck soon departed as Batman, numerous films were delayed or scrapped, and only Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa were spared the purgatory most of the film's cast fell into regarding their respective roles. Affleck had earlier stepped down from directing The Batman, with Matt Reeves subsequently stepping into the driver's seat, and from there, everything continued to change.

Robert Pattinson will assume the title role for The Batman, with the film itself severing all connective ties with the DCEU continuity. Todd Phillips' Joker also stood on its own as a one-off story, and while post-Justice League movies like Aquaman, and Birds of Prey referenced events in past DCEU movies to varying degrees, none were taking the franchise into any sort of culminating direction. Despite the films themselves being well-received, with both Aquaman and Joker soaring past $1 billion worldwide, after Justice League, the DCEU was essentially drifting along with concerns over continuity or a storytelling roadmap being mostly ambiguous. It was only through the introduction of the Multiverse that it began to evolve into something new.

The Arrowverse And The Snyder Cut Already Established The Multiverse

The idea of a DC Multiverse was fittingly brought about through The CW's Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover, which pulled in cast members, easter eggs, and references to every DC movie or TV show it could possibly get its hands on. Brandon Routh was able to don Superman's cape once more, while even Ezra Miller's Flash would meet Grant Gustin's version in the crossover's most unexpected twist. Over the course of five episodes, Crisis On Infinite Earths restructured the entire canon of DC movies and television to effectively include everything, with all now existing side-by-side on a collection of endless Earths.

The Snyder Cut also furthered DC's Multiverse in a more offhanded way. Following a long push by fans after the release of the theatrical version, the Snyder Cut of Justice League was released on HBO Max on March 18th, 2021. The movie includes references both to Apokolips existing in another universe, along with Steppenwolf explicitly using the term Multiverse in reference to the scope of Darkseid's plan that "All of existence shall be mine." The movie also showed Barry Allen utilizing his time-travel powers and referencing the Speed Force, key elements in his ability to travel throughout the Multiverse. Between Crisis On Infinite Earths and the Snyder Cut, DC was given free rein like never before both in cinematic and televised form.

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