DC fans are divided, perhaps now more than ever. As the DCU reboots and the MCU trundles on through poor reviews, you would think that it might steer us away from the conversation about comic book movies. Instead, DC fans have used this transitionary time to either divide themselves into camps, leave the DCU behind, or keep their fandom quiet in the hope they can still enjoy movies without antagonizing anyone.
A lot of DC fans are still rallied around their old hero, Zack Snyder. And despite his decision to move on with other projects at Netflix, those fans have found an enemy in James Gunn, the new co-CEO of DC Studios.
James Gunn, after leaving the MCU, brings his own fanbase with him to DC, thus inadvertently escalating the conflict. Zack Snyder fans believe he was slighted by not being allowed to finish his vision for the DCEU. And James Gunn fans are forced to defend themselves because of their excitement for a new cinematic universe. All the while, DC suffers.
Blue Beetle hit theaters to the second-lowest opening weekend DC has ever had. And fans have been confused by Gunn’s announcements as to when the reboot will actually begin. As the final films in the Snyderverse suffer, this internal fan war is tearing DC apart.
Snyderverse at War
In this brief moment of peace in the infinite stream of comic book movies, we can finally take a look inward at not just the films but the entire culture we’ve created to surround them. The DC and Marvel fandoms dominate a huge part of the experience of seeing one of these films. The connecting storylines, the fun facts from the comics, the little easter eggs, and references to other movies all weave together to form an experience that used to be as fun as watching the actual film.
Now, what it meant to be a fan has turned into a pledge to join a cult. Superfans fans have been known to threaten actors when a story doesn’t go their way, and entertainment journalists have cashed in on overly passionate opinions to stoke the fires of online arguments. It’s a culture that has alienated many people who are just here to enjoy the films and driven true fans out of theaters for fear of who they might be sitting next to.
As films like Blue Beetle, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and The Flash continue to perform poorly, James Gunn makes promises of a new cinematic universe. Some fans are excited to have something new to latch onto after a long series of movies that have been disastrous at the box office. But others who remain loyal to the Snyder-verse go so far as to spread rumors on social media defaming Gunn.
To which James Gunn responded:
And we find that online discussions quickly become a battleground for different camps of fans who refuse to move on. The current hashtag campaign is #SellZSJLtoNetflix, which is attempting to get Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League to follow the director over to Netflix. Some fans are trying to get his whole version of DC in different hands. Warner Bros. Discovery would never part with the films, but narratively, it raises an interesting question: where does the Snyderverse end and Gunn’s reboot begin?
Gunn’s New DCU
Amidst this divisive environment, James Gunn and Peter Safran are still launching their new cinematic universe. But people have become confused. Gunn has made several announcements, making the transition a bit more cloudy than usual, turning a hard reboot into a soft merger.
Snyderverse fans become enraged because when Gunn coops pieces of the old universe, it’s seen as either fixing something that wasn’t broken in the first place or just outright stealing. And Gunn’s fanbase (some left over from Marvel) become continually more confused as to where they should jump in.
Officially, The Flash was meant to reset the DCEU into the DCU. But does that mean Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are part of Gunn’s new story or not? To further complicate the problem, Gunn announced that Xolo Maridue?a, the star of Blue Beetle, would continue to play Blue Beetle in his rebooted universe. Worse yet is when Gunn and Safran both reportedly assured Gal Gadot that she would remain as Wonder Woman in this new storyline, but not long after that, the Wonder Woman 3 project was canceled with no confirmation of what this meant for Gadot.
DC is in a precarious place, not simply because of its transition but because of how many fans are backing away for one reason or another. It wouldn’t be such an outlandish thing to assume that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will probably flop as hard as everything else did this year. The franchise is likely to make a recovery once Gunn and Safran begin their reboot in earnest, but if this fan war doesn’t settle down before Superman: Legacy makes its debut, it could be just another target for Snyder fans to try and bring down.
DC is suffering due to a conflict between fans of Zack Snyder and those of James Gunn. Read More