DC May Have Found Its Kevin Feige

Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti may be the person to shepherd the DC Extended Universe into its next phase.

DCEU Opening Image
Photo: Warner Bros.

Let’s face it – it’s been hard to be a DC fan. Despite giving the world some of the first and best superhero movies, such as 1978’s Superman, 1989’s Batman, and the Dark Knight trilogy, DC has languished in popularity behind its rival Marvel. While director Zack Snyder certainly has his fans, his run on the three main films in the DC Extended Universe put off some who don’t care for his idiosyncratic style.

The franchise seemed to be settling into a groove by releasing movies only tangentially connected to each other (Shazam!, Birds of Prey) or not connected at all (Joker, The Batman). Recent developments have only complicated things, as new CEO David Zaslav suddenly canceled the nearly-completed Batgirl and left all other movie projects in question, save for Joker: Folie à Deux.

However, it’s clear that not even Zaslav wants this chaos to continue for long. In interviews and announcements, Zaslav has been explicit about his desire for a figure to shepherd DC projects, much like Kevin Feige does with Marvel projects at Disney. While nothing official has been announced yet, a recent event wrap-up published by Variety did offer an interesting tidbit. Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti “has been loudly whispered as a possibility for the role,” they reported.

It’s hard to think of someone better suited to jump into the job. Along with Marc Guggenheim and others, Berlanti has shepherded a coherent and wide-ranging live-action universe with the Arrow-verse, making fan favorites out of Z-listers like Vibe and Heat Wave. Berlanti was behind a crossover as ambitious as anything that Marvel put out, as Crisis on Infinite Earths involved not only every Arrowverse hero and their respective supporting casts, but also actors from other film and tv properties, including Burt Ward as Robin, Kevin Conroy playing live-action Batman for the first time, and Ezra Miller’s SnyderVerse Flash.

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While Berlanti could certainly take the job, Variety hastens to add that “no one from Warner Bros. has actually approached his camp, Berlanti has not pursued the job, and insiders believe that the superstar producer wouldn’t be interested in going in-house.” Furthermore, some observers may wonder if such a single strong hand is even necessary. DC was already behind Marvel when it began constructing its shared universe with Man of Steel in 2013 and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. A full reboot now would come as the MCU is completing its Fourth Phase, possibly burning off public interest in superhero movies.

Furthermore, a Feige-like figure may sacrifice the multiverse approach DC seemed to be taking, which set it apart from Marvel. The Batman and Joker have been two of the biggest hits for the franchise, neither of which connect to the DCEU. A controlling boss might limit the storytelling options for creators, opening them to the biggest criticism leveled at the MCU: a house style that renders every entry formulaic. But given the increasing chaos of the past few years, a strong single voice may be the only thing that can save DC’s movie properties.