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.”

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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.

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