Fans and critics alike have critiqued Warner Bros. for seemingly trying to emulate the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by applying a similar shared-continuity to its DC movies. However, following the success of James Wan's standalone film Aquaman, it appears DC and Warner Bros. are getting ready to take a step back and focus on more self-contained cinematic experiences.
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter about the implications of Aquaman's success, Warner Bros. Chairman Toby Emmerich said, "We all feel like we've turned a corner now. We're playing by the DC playbook, which is very different than the Marvel playbook. We are far less focused on a shared universe. We take it one movie at a time. Each movie is its own equation and own creative entity. If you had to say one thing about us, it's that it always has to be about the directors."
Mind you, this isn't the first time a de-emphasization of the shared universe aspect of DC's film lineup has been promised. Following the success of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman in 2017, DC Entertainment's then-president Diane Nelson said something similar in an interview.
With DC's big team-up film Justice League now out of the way, fans can likely expect the powers that be to follow this promise more closely going forward. After all, it's not hard to see why Warner Bros. and DC are adopting this new outlook. Standalone adventures like Aquaman and Wonder Woman have been massive successes for the studio, with the former recently crossing $1 billion globally.
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus and Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna.