The DC multiverse has been a staple of DC's comic book universe for decades, often bringing together multiple versions of the same characters in mega-crossover events, and allowing different iterations of beloved superheroes and villains to coexist. DC's live-action properties have been exploring the multiverse for a while as well, with DC shows like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow utilizing the idea of the multiverse for their crossovers.
The DCEU is set to soon begin its own venture into the multiverse, as the upcoming The Flash film will reportedly bring Ezra Miller's Barry Allen face-to-face with Michael Keaton's Batman. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is also poised to explore their own multiverse through upcoming films like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man 3.
With Zack Snyder creating an alternate version of 2017's Justice League for HBO Max, the director is revealing his passionate insights about how these multiverses will affect the future of superhero films.
DCEU director Zack Snyder recently spoke on a live stream hosted by TheFilmJunkee, where he was asked about the future of DC films and the multiverse, and how it was mirroring the precedent set by comic books with different authors and illustrators constantly bringing their own voice to DC's iconic characters. Snyder expanded by saying:
"Well frankly, I just love that they decided to kind of embrace their personality... I think that there was always this sort of criticism and or the middle step. What's the middle step? Ya know, trying to be like Marvel? Trying to do your own thing? Like, what are you going to do? But I think now, it's kind of locked in to this very specific trajectory where, I think and I hope, the idea is that it's filmmaker first... Which is basically what the multiverse allows for, filmmaker first and then, here's the characters, bringing the characters together."
Snyder was then asked if he had any involvement with Ezra Miller's Flash cameo on the CW series The Flash, to which he said:
"No, but I think it's more symbolic, frankly... If and when they do the Flashpoint movie, I think that concept to me, is that symbolic acknowledgement that... they're separate worlds. On one track, you can love this Flash, or you can love that Flash, and you don't need to fight about it. It allows them to exist at the same time. I think that was, to me, it symbolizes a way to say 'It's OK, we're gonna have this world where there's all these storylines going on at the same time.'"
Snyder went on to explain how he always saw the relationship of different DC properties while he was directing films:
"Even when I was doing Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Justice League, there were DC animated films that had nothing to do with what we were doing, and there were DC TV shows that had nothing to do with what we were doing, and there was no way to seam those up without alienating a giant fandom by saying 'Your Flash doesn't count' or 'Your animated show doesn't mean anything.'"
Zack Snyder then ended by bringing the dialogue back to Marvel's and DC's live-action history:
"I think that Marvel, they've built [their universe] over a long period of time, so by the time they got to their later movies, everything had kinda locked in, and it was all sort of moving in the same direction. But that was just never going to happen [with DC] because the DC TV shows were so popular and because their animated shows were so popular. I mean that was a success that they had. And [Christopher Nolan's] movies sort of had another tone and other universe. So there was no way that those things were going to ever like 'OK, we're going to say those things don't exist now, and it's this.' And I think there was that thinking for a while, but I'm glad that it kind of settled into a much more diverse [approach]."
The entire conversation can be watched below:
WHAT THIS MEANS
With both DC and Marvel set to build their own expansive multiverses, it's interesting to hear a DCEU filmmaker as prolific as Zack Snyder offer his own thoughts on how the future of the DCEU can both be impacted by utilizing a live-action multiverse, praising its potential to allow future DC projects to be more filmmaker-driven, and emphasize a director's unique voice in reinventing a character.
This effect can already be seen in some of DC's previous and upcoming projects, like Todd Phillips' Joker, Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey, Matt Reeves' The Batman, James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, and especially Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League. Through not following Marvel's path of creating one cohesive universe, and instead allowing for multiple tonally different live-action adaptations, Snyder believes that DC can more accurately embrace its comic book origins and provide content that will cater to a wider variety of fans.
Even though future multiverse-drive projects like The Flash are still a couple of years away, DC fans will still be able to get a taste of what the future of DC adaptations could look like by embodying the spirit of the multiverse through Zack Snyder's highly anticipated cut of Justice League, which is set to premiere on HBO Max in March.