A Brief History of the DC Expanded Universe


The past decade has seen an increase in the presence of DC in television and film. At the same time, the idea of “universes” in television and film also began to increase in popularity. DC became one of the most notable groups in television when they began to merge the backstories for their shows on the CW Network such as The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and most recently Supergirl. As the fans are currently experiencing Suicide Squad for the first time, let’s take a look back at what started it all.

In 2013, the DCEU or the DC Expanded Universe was born with the film Man of Steel. There have of course been films about Superman in the past and many other DC films, but this one was different. Although most fans had no idea at the time, this film was the start of the journey to the beloved Justice League which also meant the introduction of each member in their own films.

Man of Steel did fairly well critically and at the box office. It was really the first gritty and dark Superman films the world had ever seen. What came next, however, would be even darker and unfortunately upset many fans of the series. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was released this year and was met with a very poor reception. Audiences has just parted ways with the phenomenal “Dark Knight” trilogy and Christian Bale as the caped crusader back in 2012. Only four years later we were told that Ben Affleck would be the new Batman, and people lost their minds.

From the initial trailers for this film, it didn’t look that bad and even looked like a pretty awesome blockbuster to start the summer off right. When the film was released back in May the film was a box office success as expected. Critically the movie was not received well at all and continued to anger fans the longer it remained in theaters. The big problem with Batman v. Superman was its lack of structure. Not only did it feel like a jumbled mess of characters and dialogue, it tried too hard to “make up time” in its own cinematic universe by rapidly introducing characters that fans will see later on in future films.

And now we reach DC’s latest film Suicide Squad which I was very much looking forward to as I know many people also were. I wanted this film to be a much-needed side step from the Batman/Superman storyline that would allow the audience to just enjoy these characters. In a way it was that, but of course there was a very large chunk of it that dealt with the overall “Road to the Justice League” arc. The bottom line for this film was that it was at the very least exactly what it was advertised to be: a fun action film starring villains being forced to help humanity.

Now that “Suicide Squad” is out, what comes next for the DCEU? There’s “Wonder Woman” coming in June of next year, which looks to be a very interesting and different story than we are used to. From the little that the fans have seen of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, I am hoping that we will continue to see how strong and bad-ass this character becomes. We also have the film that all of this has been leading up to releasing in November of next year, Justice League.

The reception of Wonder Woman and Justice League will be very telling for the future of the DCEU. Future films in production include The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps and a Justice League sequel. There is one fear that many fans, including myself, have about Justice League which is its director. Zack Snyder was the director of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and will also be directing Justice League. This will be Snyder’s second chance with a DC story. Not to be too dramatic, but in a sense he holds the future of this universe in his hands. No pressure, right?

Tyler considers himself to be a true lover of movies and the magic that goes into making them. He spends most of his free time watching and absorbing film and television. From a very young age, film was an escape and an adventure that Tyler could never get enough of. Throughout his high school years he had the honor of working on an award winning independent short film, hosting a film reviewing segment on a public access station, working at two movie theaters, and attending a film festival as a young journalist for his cousin’s local paper. He is the one person that would never turn down going to a theater or staying home and watching a movie and talking about it immediately after. Tyler’s goal in life is to one day be one of the great writers and directors of the entertainment industry like his hero Steven Spielberg.