David S. Goyer, screenwriter of Man of Steel and the forthcoming Man of Steel 2 / Superman vs. Batman gave an interview to IGN and, well, his answers pretty much confirm what I already thought.
IGN: In very general terms, looking ahead, I’m wondering, in terms of working in television, DC’s certainly got a huge presence in TV right now. What are the conversations about how these shows in development are going to tie into the movies? Is that something you think about?
Goyer: I mean, it’s too early. I know that Warner Bros. would love to make their universe more cohesive. There have been a lot of general conversations about that, but it’s really, really early. I’m not sure. Marvel has had enormous success, but I’m not sure that everybody should try to emulate them either. It’s just been vague conversations so far.
IGN: So it’s not prohibitive to have Flash showing up on The CW and then perhaps in a Justice League movie – or something – as well?
Goyer: I don’t think so. You know, Smallville was running while Bryan Singer’s Superman came out, and no one had a heart attack over that. I don’t know.
First off, “it’s too early”? “Vague conversations?” Marvel seeded the idea of The Avengers in Iron Man a full four years before it happened and, honestly, with no idea if they could even pull it off. Imagine if Iron Man had been a flop? Wht if people had reacted poorly to Incredible Hulk or Iron Man 2? Avengers may never have happened!
But without the plan in place to weave the films all together Avengers may have happened but it’s a safe bet it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful.
Further, while it’s true that I don’t think that Smallville really hurt Superman Returns? That was 8 years ago and, depending on how you count, anywhere from 2 to 4 years before Marvel trained audiences to expect a shared universe.
Maybe DC should just stick to TV. Marvel is winning at the box office but DC is pumping out the shows (some of which, incidentally, share a universe) and regardless of whether you like them or not Arrow is already a hit, Flash will probably pick up a lot of that audience, and Gotham is Batman related so lots of people will check it out, at least at first.
I think maybe the most telling quote is this one though:
Goyer: Yes. Also, and [Superman] is alien. Yeah, I think it’s a lot easier to make Batman relatable than it is to make Superman relatable. I mean, writing the script for Man of Steel was a lot more challenging for that very reason.
I think this has a lot to do with how much I have come to loathe Man of Steel because David S Goyer completely doesn’t understand Superman. Superman is an alien by birth but he’s a human by the way he was raised. He has super strength and can fly and should be an example of someone we could all aspire to be not because he can fucking fly or has shiny toys but because he always does the right thing. It’s about who he is and not what he is.
This is pretty much exactly why Marvel is succeeding here and DC is, well, maybe not failing but certainly being left behind. Marvel understands their characters and hires creative teams who understand that it’s the characters that bring us into the theatres. DC doesn’t seem to be doing that.