A cloud of darkness has been cast over the future of the DC Cinematic Universe at Warner Bros after it was confirmed director Seth Grahame-Smith has left The Flash because of ‘creative differences.’
In what looks like a knee-jerk reaction to the critical and audience backlash to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros executives have clashed with their filmmakers, prompting a fallout in the shape of SGS leaving The Flash.
According to Devin Faraci over at Birth.Movies.Death, WB executives are still clashing with BvS director Zack Snyder over his vision for the Justice League, creative several high-level problems moving forward. According to Faraci’s report, WB would have perhaps taken Snyder off the Justice League had it not started shooting merely days after Batman v Superman’s release.
Graham-Smith is an unproven director (he would have been making his feature film debut) and it may perhaps be a smart move in the long run, especially considering that he was the ‘brains’ behind Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but it is certainly sending shockwaves through the DC Universe right now.
Aquaman director to follow?
In addition to The Flash losing its director, Aquaman director James Wan is reportedly feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation over committing to the project after feeling the fallout from Batman v Superman and the internal discord that remains both prevalent and disruptive.
The report reads: “According to multiple, reliable sources James Wan is feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation about Aquaman. It’s important to remember two things – Fast 7 was a very difficult process for him, even without Paul Walker’s tragic death, and James Wan doesn’t really need Aquaman.
— GeekFeed (@GeekFeedDotCom) April 30, 2016
Wan is currently wrapping up his efforts on The Conjuring 2 saying, “I believe in the story, I believe in the world, I believe in the characters.”
“It’s still early process,” Wan said of Aquaman. “It’s very important for me that I can put my stamp on it. If I can do that, I feel it will be pretty damn awesome.”
That’s a pertinent quote right there. It’s clear that Wan, a filmmaker with a burgeoning reputation and a growing fanbase, is determined to have complete creative control on Aquaman and, within the current climate, that may not be possible.
However, this week we reported that Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns had achieved just that for the Batman movie that’s currently in-development but it remains to be seen if Warner Bros view Wan in the same light and can entrust him in the same manner as the Oscar-winner director of Argo.
Negative publicity surrounding DC Cinematic Universe
Whatever happens, Warner Bros need to act fast to install a replacement for SGS with The Flash and curb the rising tide of negative publicity surrounding their attempts to mirror Marvel in creating a shared cinematic universe. It’s abundantly clear that the specific criticism of Snyder’s storytelling techniques in Batman v Superman has led to increased disquietude with Warner Bros. Although Snyder is currently filming the Justice League, we wouldn’t be surprised if a second director was installed for the second and concluding chapter of the two-parter.
A Silver Lining?
It’s not all doom and gloom for the DC Cinematic Universe, of course. As we reported, Affleck and Johns have complete creative control over their Batman movie, while the studio still has Suicide Squad on the horizon, which may be the most eagerly-anticipated comic book film in years. In addition to that, we’re hearing rumours that Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller is being tapped to direct Green Lantern Corps, slated to release in 2020. That would certainly be an excellent move for DC. Miller was originally supposed to direct Justice League: Mortal, before the project was shuttered and he is currently a producer on Snyder’s project. Having as much of his creative input as possible would be highly conducive for Warner Bros and DC.