While Marvel Studios has recently unveiled the plans for the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and doesn't seem to have any signs of stopping, DC has seemingly lost its footing. While Wonder Woman and Shazam have been well received, the franchise's history with mixed reviews, spotty release schedule, and rushed inclusion of many characters has resulted in DC's Extended Universe establishing quite the rickety foundation.
However, there is still hope. It's never too late to improve on past mistakes, innovate, and move forward. With eight decades of source material to work with, there are plenty of characters, ideas, and concepts that could greatly benefit the DC Extended Universe.
So without any further delay, here are 10 Things That Could Breathe Life Into The DC Cinematic Universe.
10 Green Lantern
It's a real shame that the only version of the Green Lantern that many filmgoers are familiar with is the 2011's version starring Ryan Reynolds. With powers of seemingly limitless potential, there's a great deal of unexplored territory, both visually and narratively, that Hal Jordan's first film failed to even touch.
Additionally, as a primarily space-based superhero, a new Green Lantern film could serve as DC's competition for the MCU's successful Guardians of The Galaxy films, especially as the latter starts to explore even more of the cosmic scene.
9 The Sandman Universe
If Marvel's Guardians of The Galaxy proves anything, there's a lot of potential in introducing audiences to lesser-known comic universes. Like the Guardians opened the MCU to an entire cosmos of possibilities, DC could greatly benefit by introducing "The Endless" and the Sandman Universe first introduced in Neil Gaiman's 1989 comic series, Sandman.
By adopting a universe that many are unfamiliar with, liberties can be taken that both play to the strengths of the studio and general audiences. Additionally, Sandman is home to a melancholic, otherworldly atmosphere currently absent in the superhero genre that, if utilized correctly, could result in something that could really set DC apart from Marvel.
8 The Justice Society of America
Something that we've learned from the MCU is that a large scale cinematic universe can greatly benefit from developing a sense of history and mythos. One way in which the DC Extended Universe could approach this is by introducing the Justice Society of America akin to its appearance in Darwyn Cooke's The New Frontier or how the Minutemen are used in Watchmen.
Utilizing the first-ever superhero team in comics, a JSA film could also introduce audiences to countless lesser-known golden age superheroes, including Sandman, Hourman, and Doctor Fate.
7 A Multiverse Crisis
Cataclysmic multiverse-based crises have become deeply rooted in the mythos of DC Comics. Following the success of Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there are many multiverse-based DC Stories that may be worth giving the same treatment.
Some of the more obvious examples would be Crisis On Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and the more recent The Multiversity. Each storyline carries a great deal of potential for a screen adaptation.
6 Kirby's Fourth World
During his stint with DC in the 1970s, Jack Kirby created a sub-universe within DC comics known as "Kirby's Fourth World." Most notable for containing the origin of Darkseid, this storyline was also responsible for bringing us characters such as Mister Miracle and Big Barda.
While the introductory of these otherworldly personalities could help set the stage for Darkseid's introduction in DC's Extended Universe, sort of in the same way that The Guardians of The Galaxy engrained Thanos into the MCU. They would also serve as a change of pace from the mostly Earth-based heroes currently involved in DC films.
5 Batman Beyond
Countless DC fans have been clamoring for a live-action adaptation of the 1999 sci-fi superhero series Batman Beyond for years. Similarly to how moving backward in the timeline to make a JSA film would add to the universe's sense of history, Batman Beyond's addition to DC's cinematic canon could open the floodgates of what is possible.
For all it has accomplished thus far, even the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to explore a timeline set in the future, far beyond the rest of their films.
4 Justice League Dark
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has spent a great time and effort building up the science fiction elements of the cosmic scene, they have neglected the magical aspect of their world. With popular mystical characters like Wonder Woman and Shazam, DC has the potential to capitalize on the surreal by doubling down on the more magical elements of their universe.
There is no better way to flesh out the magical aspects of DC than by introducing the Justice League Dark. This would be a means for DC to set themselves apart from their competitor, as opposed to emulating their past endeavors.
3 Doom Patrol
There isn't another show like Doom Patrol. Heavily influenced by Grant Morrison's run with the team, the show has been very well received by critics and audiences alike. While a second season has yet to be confirmed, the show is evidence that audiences are ready for a feature film starring the team.
As anyone familiar with DC Comics can attest, the Justice League are far from the only team of heroes in DC's repertoire, and the integration of the Doom Patrol into the DC Extended Universe could help give the world a greater sense of scope and diversity.
2 Embrace The Camp
As much as DC loves to try to forget it, they are the home to a myriad of bright and campy characters who are practically the complete opposite of the edgier direction the films tend to take. DC is home to characters such as the late Adam West's version of Batman and Captain Carrot, a character who is effectively Superman mixed with Buggs Bunny, cartoon physics and all.
While the DC Extended Universe needs to stick to a specific tone, integrating camp in a similar fashion to Grant Morrison's The Multiversity could be quite effective.
1 Embrace The Dark
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, it seems that DC's default approach for film adaptations is to try to give their characters a sense of grittiness.
While this is not always the case, with films like Shazam bringing a lighter tone to the table, the vast majority of DC films tend to air on the darker side of the tonal spectrum. That's fine, as long as DC is willing to actually touch on some darker subject matter.