Picture Marvel and DC like two college freshmen. Marvel is the anal organizer, ensuring everything has its place. He’s got pens and pencils in separate jars and a closet divided and conquered. Meanwhile, sloppy roommate DC has his goddamn laundry all over the place.
That’s how Marvel and DC have produced their movies and TV shows. Unlike Marvel’s consistent and structurally sound cinematic universe, rival studio DC have thrown stuff at the wall to see what sticks. And it’s been messy. DC has a handful of different “universes” on TV that aren’t connected to the movies, Shazam starring Dwayne Johnson will not be a part of the cinematic Justice League series, nor is Gotham connected to Arrow and The Flash. But Krypton on Syfy will be a prequel to Man of Steel, while Supergirl is ambiguously on its own.
Though it isn’t a big deal because how DC produces media doesn’t affect how you pay taxes or raise your kids, it still matters because, well, wouldn’t it be awesome? And there’s an easy solution to DC’s schizophrenic approach that can unite its disparate worlds, and it comes from its own show The Flash.
Presenting: The Multiverse.
The Multiverse, how DC Comics fans understand it and not scientists, posits that there is an array of parallel Earths that echo the Earth where the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman we know inhabit. On these worlds, Superman may have landed in Russia instead of Kansas (Earth-30), or the Amazonians of Themyscira dominated and thus Earth has Superwoman, Batwoman, and Wonderous Man (Earth-11) or a peaceful utopia have led the Justice League to become simply The Just (Earth-16). It’s all very weird and sometimes cool.
It’s been explored many times across DC’s comics, video games, and animated shows. But not live-action.
This season of The Flash, Barry and the rest of the Arrowverse discover they inhabit Earth-One and they’ve busted the door to Earth-Two wide open, allowing evil speedster Zoom to tear shit up. But at least there’s Jay Garrick, The Flash of Earth-Two who also came through and has been a lending hand to the S.T.A.R. Labs. of Earth-One.
Introducing Jay Garrick means multiple Flashes exist. If multiple Flashes exist, that means there has to be multiple heroes scattered throughout the Multiverse. This means there’s flexibility for The CW’s superheroes to be in the company of other heroes, so why shouldn’t the heroes of the Justice League universe be ruled out? (Besides lawyers.)
It’s not difficult to fathom, just a little dumb to imagine. For fans who have been watching Arrow, The Flash and soon Legends of Tomorrow, it’d be neat to see Stephen Amell’s Green Arrow and Grant Gustin’s Flash shake hands with Henry Cavill’s Superman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. That’s years of devoted fandom being rewarded tenfold.
But maybe they shouldn’t.
Just because DC can doesn’t mean it should. It’s fun to imagine, but based on the busy crossovers this year it’s unnecessary and downright excessive, treading on full-blown fanfiction territory. Watching this year’s Arrow/The Flash was like exercising, as the two hour-long specials were crammed with hardly a decent moment spent with any one of them.
To propose the Multiverse means dozens upon dozens of superheroes, all actors with expensive contracts. What kind of movie would that be? Probably not an exciting one. Which is why DC is not pursuing this route.
According to DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns in an interview with IGN, he explained succinctly why it’s just not in the cards to unite the TV universe with film:
“It’s a separate universe … so that the filmmakers can tell the story that’s best for film, while we explore something different in a different corner of the DC universe. We will not be integrating the film and television universes.”
So we can speculate until global warming finally overtakes us which makes DC’s Earth-31 a real thing (where the Justice League are pirates), but it’s not happening. Maybe in another universe.