The bleak future of the DC Extended Universe has come to be since it was always deprived of a plan. There was obvious anxiety for taking a chance on the money-draining opportunity that was the “Justice League” movie, and when it flopped in the box office, the entirety of the cinematic universe that was to come became a much riskier venture. Since then, it has virtually fallen apart with broken continuity and spotty movies scattered across the years with films such as “Birds of Prey” and the upcoming “Suicide Squad.” While there still seems to be at least some passion behind the universe’s storyline (especially with “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”), it is safe to say that there could have been more of a cohesive plan laid out for the films.
Superhero fans across the world have been enamored with Marvel’s stories and heroes over the last decade or so, as their DC counterparts continued to be overshadowed. The perspective has been heavily affected by the incredible assemblage that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, DC can turn the tides like Aquaman by simply imagining an “Injustice” storyline.
This is the plan, and therefore the cure for the DC Extended Universe. A story that ends in brutal psychological warfare and the threat of the galaxy falling into the hands of the best hero of them all. The slate of movies and tales that lead to this would need to be dynamic, intriguing, and most of all, different. There is a more serious tone in a lot of DC’s stories, and they would need to explore this to maximum effect in order to emerge as not only a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre but also as a rightful telling of the Justice League. With a mix of some of the most famous stories in comic book history, there is a perfect recipe for “Injustice.” Let’s take a look at this possibility, character by character.
Bruce Wayne will be in the prime of his career at the beginning of this trilogy, with Dick Grayson by his side as Robin. The first movie would follow the primary plot of Mr. Freeze’s tragedy, Gotham becoming more and more psycho-infested and the rise of Nightwing, all in a semi-horror psychological thriller. As the credits roll, the post-credits scene will blare on the screen: Bruce Wayne recruits Jason Todd as he hears about how metahumans are making their presence known around the world. The story would eventually conclude with the “Batman: Under The Red Hood” storyline that leaves Batman more conflicted than ever in his pursuit of justice.
This Batman would be much more similar to the comics than previous cinematic adaptations. There would be a supreme focus on the inclusion of most of his rogues’ gallery and the Bat Family. However, it would mimic the Christopher Nolan films in terms of its grounded nature. The stories would challenge the psyche of the audience, depict Batman as a true powerhouse of a hero and explore the darker themes that superhero stories tend to shy away from.
There are such vast possibilities to be had with Barry Allen and The Flash’s stories. While he is generally the upbeat, quirky hero of the Justice League, his stories are always dramatic with regard to their impact on the rest of the universe. While the first movie would introduce the world to the rookie hero just trying to help out the little guy, The Flash trilogy would conclude with one of the most beloved comic book creations of them all: “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox”.
While The Flash hasn’t had much of a spotlight shined on him on the big screen, this adaptation would depict a Barry Allen that turns from a lighthearted hero enjoying his powers to a troubled man pressured with the guilt of fracturing reality as he searches for acceptance. The Flash is an extremely important piece of the puzzle, as his mistakes will shape the entire story until he eventually finds redemption.
The trilogy of Wonder Woman films would closely follow the storyline of her most famous comic book run, “Gods and Mortals.” However, there would be a twist. Aquaman and Atlantis would also be a part of this trilogy as their problems with the Amazons grow until their tensions reach a climax in the third installment. As Wonder Woman struggles with her past and the post-traumatic stress of not being able to protect so many of her people, she will find comfort in the chaos of battle. She would essentially be the Thor of this story, as her godly powers become tested by her own damaged mind.
The world would behold Wonder Woman as the true match for Superman and the brilliant heroine that she is. Her complexity would be in her struggle with being virtually immortal as everything she loves seems to wash away in the winds of time. As she hangs on to her spirit through it all, her vulnerabilities cannot be denied. In this version of “Injustice,” she would be far from Superman’s primary ancillary.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern left a bad taste in fans’ mouths after the abomination that was the 2011 “Green Lantern” film. So, let’s try something different. An origin story tale of John Stewart as he goes from nerdy architect to total badass leader of the Green Lantern Corps. These stories would differ greatly from the rest as they would be mostly sci-fi inspired as Stewart duels the other Lantern Corps. As he turns from an attacker to a protector throughout the trilogy, the final movie will lead directly into “Injustice” as it closes with Coast City being absorbed by Brainiac.
Creators in Hollywood seem to be terrified of the challenge posed by Superman’s character. It is nearly impossible to pose real threats to him, which makes for boring stories. However, “Injustice” underscores the fact that the dichotomy of Superman contains his greatest weakness: the fact that he is Clark Kent. Superman must first face a match to his ego as Lex Luthor manipulates the public’s perception of the “perfect” hero in the opening movie. As Superman faces his past and family’s history in the second installment, Doomsday will pay the hero a visit in the midst of worldwide skepticism regarding the hero. The final movie will conclude with Brainiac’s invasion and Superman telling Batman about the pregnant Lois Lane.
As Superman learns the weakness that is his love, he begins to become more and more attached to what makes him human. Luthor and Brainiac will annihilate Superman’s psyche in this trilogy and in the end, he will fail to protect the people of Earth from Brainiac’s invasion.
The Justice League
A complex and slowly unraveling band of freaks will team up to save the world a few times. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Martian Manhunter will encounter many different characters, stories and threats throughout their trilogy. The character-driven tales that slowly become “Injustice” will begin in the fight against the Suicide Squad in Amanda Waller and Luthor’s attempts to destroy the Justice League before it begins as the Brainiac inflicts his final attack on Earth. The third movie will focus on the Justice League as they fight Darkseid, who leaves quite a scar on Earth before being defeated. In his failed attempt to infect the population with the Anti-Life Equation, he will succeed in his dying breath as he infects one person with it: Superman.
The Joker’s growing dissatisfaction with Batman’s willpower will turn him to other endeavors. As the story unfolds, he will trick the already imprisoned, in-pain Superman into killing his wife and unborn child and subsequently destroying Metropolis. There will be a complete civil war among the League, and fans can only imagine what could come of this. In the DC Universe, happy endings are not guaranteed. Will Superman succeed in ruling the Earth or will Batman be able to devise a strong enough plan to help stop Superman? For now, we can only imagine.