With the MCU, Marvel Studios really established the bar for an integrated cinematic universe, with its success owing in large part to the man in charge: Kevin Feige. As the MCU’s success grew, especially in the wake of The Avengers, Hollywood as a whole started attempting to imitate the model, most notably Warner Bros. with the DCEU.
Since Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel – a picture that launched a DC story that was meant to extend into Batman v Superman and a Justice League trilogy – the studio has been striving to get its linked universe off the ground. Unfortunately, when Snyder left 2017’s Justice League, that direction was lost and has yet to be recovered.
Many attribute DC’s troubles in developing its world to the absence of a Feige-like head to supervise its construction. The studio still lacks that leader to this day, but it seems that it nearly had one some years ago – Feige himself.
Kevin Feige of Marvel almost joined DC.
Puck disclosed in a recent piece that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige pondered leaving Marvel some years ago due to problems with Marvel management at the time. Among Feige’s annoyances was Marvel Entertainment’s previous CEO and current chairman, Ike Perlmutter’s apparent resistance to diversity in the MCU.
Due to his dissatisfaction with working under Perlmutter, Feige allegedly began serious conversations with Warner Bros. in the mid-2010s. The company behind DC Films is said to have sought out to Feige’s MCU subordinates such as Co-President Louis D’Esposito to assist oversee its world, but these efforts have so far been futile.
The Marvel Studios President’s discussions with Warner Bros. may have influenced his 2015 promotion, which saw Feige elevated to Disney chairman Alan Horn rather than Perlmutter. Former Marvel Television president Jeph Loeb continued to report directly to Perlmutter until the division was unified under Feige in 2019.
In October 2019, Feige was appointed Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Marvel Entertainment, while remaining President of Marvel Studios.
After recovering from the demise of Zack Snyder’s DC universe, Warner Bros. seems to be looking for a Kevin Feige-like figure to govern the DCEU as he has the MCU.
Is a Kevin Feige needed in DC?
Imagine where Marvel Studios and the MCU would be now if Kevin Feige and his famed master plan had not been. The cosmos could have been secure in the hands of Feige’s numerous subordinates, but it might also have all broken apart years ago.
DC has long struggled to create a unified world like Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige have done with the MCU. For a while, it looked like Zack Snyder’s DC films were building toward a broader crossover. However, there has been a clear absence of connection since his departure.
To some degree, it’s unclear if Warner Bros.’ objective with the DC world still exists. After all, despite having no link to any known world or each other, Joker and The Batman have both proved to be huge commercial and critical successes, leading to both obtaining sequels and maybe spin-offs.
Since 2013, there have only been 11 entries in the current DCEU chronology. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Justice League, Aquaman, Shazam!, Birds of Prey, and Peacemaker are among them, as are both Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman flicks.
There are many reasons for the lack of cohesion, but the most obvious is the absence of a Feige-like figure, with DC Films President Walter Hamada being the closest. Finally, DC must decide whether to pursue the interconnected world or stay with separate initiatives spanning many realms.
If the eventual aim is a DC Cinematic Universe, then Warner Bros. needs a creative with Feige’s vision, devotion, and competence; the answer is not poaching from Marvel Studios. Over the years, DC has had various obvious contenders for the post, including Snyder, DC Comics’ Geoff Johns, and, most recently, Joker’s Todd Phillips.
Greg Berlanti, the producer who made The CW’s Arrowverse what it was in its peak, might be the ideal choice for the role. The quality of the Arrowverse is debatable, but there’s no doubting Berlanti created the most cohesive live-action DC world to date; who knows what he might accomplish with a greater budget?
As Warner Bros. completes its merger with Discovery, the company is said to be considering restructuring DC Films to be more like Marvel Studios. The Flash may chart the course for this new road, which seems to give a fresh start for this universe, but in order to avoid prior errors, someone must be at the helm.