Marvel Studios truly set the standard for an interconnected cinematic universe with the MCU, with its success in large part coming down to the man who oversees it all: Kevin Feige. As the MCU began to see such extreme success, particularly in the aftermath of The Avengers, all of Hollywood began looking to replicate the formula, most notably Warner Bros. with the DCEU.
The studio has been trying to get its interconnected world off the ground ever since Zack Snyder's Man of Steel - a film that started a DC tale that was planned to continue into Batman v Superman and a Justice League trilogy. Unfortunately, that direction was lost when Snyder departed 2017's Justice League and has yet to be found again.
Many blame the struggles DC is facing in creating its universe on the lack of a Feige-like leader to oversee its creation. To this day, the studio still lacks that leader, but it appears it almost had one several years back - Feige himself.
Marvel's Kevin Feige Almost Went to DC
In a recent column, Puck revealed that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige considered moving to DC several years back amid frustrations with the Marvel management at the time. Among Feige's frustrations was the apparent opposition to diversity in the MCU from Marvel Entertaiment's former CEO and current chairman, Ike Perlmutter.
Feige reportedly entered serious talks with Warner Bros. in the mid-2010s due to frustrations working under Perlmutter. The studio behind DC Films has supposedly since reached out to Feige's MCU deputies such as Co-President Louis D'Esposito to help run its universe, although these attempts have proven unsuccessful thus far.
The Marvel Studios President's talks with Warner Bros. may have been a factor in spurring the promotion he received in 2015, which saw Feige being promoted to Disney chairman Alan Horn as opposed to Perlmutter. Jeph Loeb, the former head of Marvel Television, continued to report directly to Perlmutter until the division was later merged under Feige in 2019.
In October 2019, Feige was named the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Marvel Entertainment, while continuing to occupy the Presidential position at Marvel Studios.
Having recovered from the fall of Zack Snyder's DC universe, Warner Bros. looks to be eagerly searching for a Feige-like figure to run the DCEU as he has done the MCU.
Does DC Need a Kevin Feige?
One can only imagine where Marvel Studios and the MCU would be today without Kevin Feige and his famous master plan. Perhaps the universe would have been in safe hands with Feige's many deputies, but it also could have all fallen apart years ago.
DC has always struggled with building a cohesive universe like the Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige have achieved with the MCU. For a time, it appeared as if that was the end goal, as Zack Snyder's DC flicks were clearly building toward a larger crossover. But since his departure, there has been a noticeable lack of connectivity.
To some extent, it's rather hard to tell if that's still even Warner Bros.' mission with the DC universe. After all, Joker and The Batman have both proven to be great financial and critical hits, even with no connection to any established universe or to each other - which has now led to both receiving sequels and possibly spin-offs.
So far, there have only been 11 entries in the current DCEU timeline since 2013. These include Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League, Aquaman, Shazam!, Birds of Prey, and Peacemaker, as well as both films in the Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman franchises.
There are a number of reasons for the poor cohesiveness, but the biggest is undeniably the lack of a Feige-like figure, with the closest being DC Films President Walter Hamada. Ultimately, DC needs to decide whether to pursue the interconnected universe or to stick with disconnected projects across multiple universes.
If the end goal is a DC Cinematic Universe, then a creative with the vision, commitment, and ability of Feige is what Warner Bros. needs; the solution to that is not poaching from Marvel Studios. DC has seen several clear candidates for that role over the years, including Snyder, DC Comics' Geoff Johns, and most recently Joker's Todd Phillips.
Perhaps the perfect candidate for the job may lie with Greg Berlanti - the producer who made The CW's Arrowverse what it was in its prime. The quality of the Arrowverse is absolutely up for debate, but there's no denying Berlanti delivered the most connected live-action DC universe to date, who knows what he could achieve on a larger budget.
As Warner Bros. completes its merger with Discovery, the studio is reportedly looking to restructure DC Films to be more like Marvel Studios. The Flash may set the course for this new path as it looks to offer something of a fresh start for this world, but to avoid previous mistakes, there needs to be somebody at the helm.
Only time will tell where DC goes with its big-screen universe, but the next trip into the DCEU will be with Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, which hits theaters on October 21.