Editorial

Editorial: DC’s Missed Opportunity – BATMAN V SUPERMAN / LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

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A missed film/TV opportunity recently began, involving two DC Entertainment properties: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Legends of Tomorrow. This editorial will look at this sizable forfeit and how it will evolve in the next few months (with the release Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice into theaters) because of DC’s decision that their TV and film universes will not co-exist.

When the non-cohabitation decision was made public about DC’s Cinematic and Television Universes, I thought it was an unforced error as I saw how the opposite strategy paid off for ABC and Marvel Entertainment when it came to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and later Agent Carter. The Marvel Cinematic and Television Universe was one of the first to successfully start the film and TV co-mingling strategy with CBS and Limitless being the latest.

DC Entertainment choosing a different path seemed dubious but then the first Suicide Squad footage was leaked and many had a change of heart, including me. The film looks spectacular and I don’t know if that would have been the case if the actors that portrayed many of the same characters on the TV incarnation (from Arrow) would have generated the same fervor, though they weren’t given the chance (nor would Suicide Squad have been given the budget that it was if they had been).

With the introduction of the Batman / Superman fight from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (spoilers are about to follow so if you have not read Frank Miller‘s graphic novel, what is below will spoil a major portion of it for you) and the future version of Green Arrow in Legends of Tomorrow, a gigantic opportunity was missed by DC that Marvel would have advertised, marketed, and capitalized on in a gigantic way: the future version of Green Arrow (played by the same actor – Stephen Amell) appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Legends of Tomorrow missing his right arm. Instead of that fantastic event happening, Green Arrow will not even appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and in Legends of Tomorrow, the future version of Green Arrow is old (obviously) but is not missing his right arm.

Bruce Wayne Oliver Queen Batman The Dark Knight Returns

Though inline with their non-cohabitation strategy, these were egregious mistakes and opportunities that DC Entertainment let slip through their fingers.

The people behind the DC Cinematic and TV Universes did not plan ahead properly, not like Marvel does and would have, for this seminal event. Marvel would have cross-promoted that event like mad men, giving to and getting the most out of both audiences (film and TV) while feeding them something consistent (the same actor playing the same character). Want to see a live story of how this happened (a retelling), watch old Green Arrow recount it on Legends of Tomorrow. Want to see how old Green Arrow gets his revenge, wait and see in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Unfortunately, Marvel is not shepherding Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Legends of Tomorrow, or the DC Universe, thus this fantastic opportunity was missed and Green Arrow is not appearing in the fight film between Superman and Batman.

Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Doomsday will be appearing in that film (but they shouldn’t). They should have been relegated to their own films or to other projects because they distract from the far better and more substantial main story-line in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

A Wonder Woman standalone movie, like Iron Man, should have been that character’s introduction, not in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

No one cares about Cyborg. I’m sorry but they do not. The causal movie-goer has no idea who he is, but to be fair, the same was said about Hawkeye and he turned out to be a formidable member of The Avengers. If handled properly, Cyborg can be the same for the Justice League.

Aquaman has a fan base but not as big as Green Arrow, not after what The CW has done with the Arrow TV series.

Doomsday has absolutely no personality, is an empty villain, like Ultron, and will be killed off in the third act of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with Batman and Superman uniting over his corpse. Doomsday is a dead unifier, that will be his function in the film, nothing more.

All four are in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to get audiences to The Justice League Part One but the appearance of a minor character from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, in this case Green Arrow, could have been spun into gold unlike any of the aforementioned, superfluous (to the main story-line) characters.

DC is in such a big rush to get to a Justice League film (and that hoped for, The Avengers-like pay day i.e. $1.5 billion world-wide at the box office) that they are stumbling over their own feet to get there, missing opportunities that others…ahem…would have momentously capitalized on while making errors that could have been avoided.

Update:

Comments supplied by Daniel have brought up interesting points that need to be added to this editorial, namely: The Flash would be old if Green Arrow (from the TV series) was in the film (and presented as old). In addition, the LOT team’s current mission and time period are in conflict with the timeline present in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

My reply to Daniel’s points and comments: “There are continuity changes all over the place in comic book TV shows and films. When material is translated from one medium to another, changes and alterations are made.

My point is that Marvel would have capitalized on Green Arrow and since you pointed it out, The Flash, as well. Marvel would have manipulated storylines and time so that everything worked together.

Marvel would have had many, if not all, of the continuity problems ironed out before LOT ever aired. The current LOT problems that you mentioned would not exist. LOT would have written that way, with forethought given to future films and the characters in them [, from the beginning].

But there is no overarching, long-term plan for the DC TV shows or the films hence all the problems that you have brought up and many others that weren’t disclosed.”

 

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

  • Richard Lyons

    stephen amell is nowhere good enough of an actor to be get that opportunity to be the green arrow on the big screen, hes not even the green arrow in the show, hes batman with a bow. Green arrow is supposed to be funny and witty, not hard and scary with an underlying rage all the time, they didnt miss an opportunity at all, the shows and movies kept separate is better in this situation

  • Richard, I can’t really comment on Amell’s acting ability. I have only seen the first few eps. of Arrow and from what I saw, he did an adequate job. From the sound of it, you have seen far more of his acting in Arrow than I have.

    Perhaps you are right. Maybe the Green Arrow present in Arrow shouldn’t have been in BvS or Legends of Tomorrow.

    From a marketing and narrative stand-point, however, a version of Green Arrow should have been in both projects (as outlined above). The producers could have easily had the loss of Oliver’s arm and prison change him and his personality into exactly the man you just described as the real Green Arrow.

    That new persona could have been the one inhabiting the older body of Oliver Queen in BvS and Legends of Tomorrow.

  • Daniel

    Arrow is terrible. You’re saying they should link them, I admit I thought that too until Arrow season 3 started. Whoooo boy. It’s awful. Ras al Ghul was butchered. There is nothing there that is worth saving. It’s barely even a Green Arrow show. It’s Felicity Smoak (and her incessant, needless hysterics) ft Oliver Queen.

    You wrote an article on something you know nothing about. Flash has to appear in the DCEU. So a geriatric Flash then? Most of his villains would be dead! The guy who plays Wally West struggles on the CW.

    Also Arrow gets less than 3 million viewers per week. Around 60 million saw Man of Steel.

  • “Arrow is terrible.”

    I hope that isn’t the case. Everyone is entitled to their opinion though.

    “Ras al Ghul was butchered.”

    That is a shame.

    “You wrote an article on something you know nothing about.”

    Untrue. Even if all the faults that say are present on the current incarnation of Arrow, that has nothing to do with Green Arrow in editorial. I am talking about a version of Green Arrow that does not yet exist on TV or film (except for the animated version).

    There are decades of development between the Arrow that you loathe and the Green Arrow that I was speaking of. They bare the same name but are different characters. Incarceration does that to a person. So goes losing a limb and having to adapt to life without it.

  • Daniel

    You didn’t mention anything about The Flash. Y’know founding member of the Justice League? He’d be in his 60s with this GA. You’d still have the butchered characters (Deathstroke, Ras). Also you do know that in LoT they’re trying to prevent that future from occurring. It really seems like you saw a picture from a series that you know nothing about and thought ‘I can write an article on this!’ Especially since this episode of LoT takes place in the 2040s.

  • Daniel, good point. I did not mention The Flash. I focused on Green Arrow and his omission from BvS.

    You’re right. If Green Arrow were old, The Flash would be old as well. Does age affect The Flash’s speed and healing ability?

    “Also you do know that in LoT they’re trying to prevent that future from
    occurring. It really seems like you saw a picture from a series that
    you know nothing about and thought ‘I can write an article on this!’
    Especially since this episode of LoT takes place in the 2040s.”

    Not true. Also, I was speaking of a story / marketing opportunity that was not capitalized on. There are continuity changes all over the place in comic book TV shows and films. When material is translated from one medium to another, changes and alterations are made.

    My point is that Marvel would have capitalized on Green Arrow and since you pointed it out, The Flash, as well. Marvel would have manipulated storylines and time so that everything worked together.

    Marvel would have had many, if not all, of the continuity problems ironed out before LOT ever aired. The current LOT problems that you mentioned would not exist. LOT would have written that way, with forethought given to future films and the characters in them.

    But there is no overarching, long-term plan for the DC TV shows or the films hence all the problems that you have brought up and many others that weren’t disclosed.

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