The MCU and the DCEU are both heading towards a reboot, but each franchise will approach their respective reset point in a unique way. Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s dozens of movies have proved that the concept of a vast interconnected cinematic universe isn’t only a successful release model for superhero movies, but also an entire Hollywood era in and of itself. The DC Extended Universe’s 15 movies have followed in the MCU’s footsteps, though they have struggled to find the same consistent success. Now, as the superhero genre approaches a critical point, both Marvel and DC are aiming to make some drastic changes.
The DCEU’s streak of critical and commercial disappointments have forced Warner Bros. to rethink the DC franchise’s future. The DCEU’s poor track record discourages general audiences from keeping up with new releases, and behind-the-scenes controversies make it difficult for the DCEU to get back on track. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the MCU has been so successful that 2022 alone saw the release of three movies, four Disney+ shows, and two Special Presentations. However, the MCU’s sheer size will soon warrant a fresh start that streamlines the franchise and makes it more welcoming for new viewers.
What The DC Reboot Looks Like
Confirmed in 2022, James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU reboot aims to leave behind all the logistical and creative issues that kept the DCEU from reaching its full potential. Gunn and Safran’s ambitious change of plans requires all the DCEU’s Justice League actors to leave their roles in order to introduce a brand-new DCU cast, which will appear across movies, live-action shows, and animated series. The DCU will also be divided into chapters that expand the franchise across these mediums at a steady pace, starting with the first chapter, “Gods and Monsters”.
A few actors from the now-defunct DCEU are set to return, though they will play slightly different versions of their characters. Despite this, James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC Universe is undeniably a hard reboot, as it isn’t expected to acknowledge the DCEU in any capacity. Its continuity is entirely independent from all previous movies and shows, including self-contained DC Elseworlds titles like Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Todd Philips’ Joker. The DCU officially begins in 2024 with the 2D-animated Creature Commandos, followed by the live-action Superman: Legacy in 2025.
What The MCU Reboot Theory Looks Like
Given that Marvel Studios’ MCU has been consistently successful since its inception, the MCU’s rumored reboot doesn’t need to distance itself from everything that came before. In fact, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to incorporate previous franchises like Fox’s X-Men and Sony’s Spider-Man movies, which now belong to the same continuity thanks to the concept of the multiverse. However, integrating different universes into the same franchise while the main MCU timeline grows exponentially makes the franchise increasingly complicated. Therefore, Marvel may streamline the MCU after Avengers: Secret Wars through a soft-reboot.
The MCU’s soft reboot will likely keep many established characters and events intact so they can continue developing Marvel’s current continuity. Meanwhile, characters from other franchises could be integrated as their home universes are erased, thus leaving one single timeline that includes every character and storyline the audience needs to follow. Apart from housing every Marvel character within the same continuity, an MCU soft reboot could also retcon certain events in order to make it possible for new versions of retired characters like Iron Man and Captain America to return and share the screen with characters that didn’t exist in the MCU back when they were active.
Apart from providing Marvel and DC with a fresh start, the MCU and DCU reboots may also mark the beginning of a new stage in the superhero genre. Two decades of non-stop media domination can be overwhelming, even for diehard fans. Countless complex continuities and intertwining storylines only make the genre more volatile. So, instead of collapsing, the superhero genre can reinvent itself with a fresh start in both of its leading franchises. A new and definitive version of the MCU, parallel with a new and definitive version of the DCU, can make it more enticing for audiences to stay interested in superhero movies for at least another decade.
Key Release Dates
Captain America: Brave New World
Marvel’s Fantastic Four
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
Avengers: Secret Wars
The MCU and DCU reboots are slightly different. Read More