It looks like Steven Spielberg is the latest director pulled into the crazy train called “DC’s cinematic efforts”. Warner Bros. is looking to the director to helm Blackhawks under the DC branding. This union is exciting news for both parties for very different reasons.
WB Diversifying Their Portfolio
He joins Ava DuVernay, who has recently been handed New Gods, a project that at one point had no real comic-book movie equal. Additionally, WB just announced indie filmmaker Cathy Yan is being trusted with the upcoming Birds Of Prey.
What makes Spielberg an interesting choice among his new peers his previous comments regarding the superhero genre, being a bit of a nay-sayer to the sustainability of the genre. DuVernay has the exact opposite mentality and is very excited to be working with her comic-based property. Spielberg has already dipped his toes into the genre with Tintin, but Tintin is hardly from the same vein as Superman and Batman.
It’s not like he doesn’t have his plate full either. Spielberg has a fifth Indiana Jones movie in the pipeline, along with West Side Story and The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara already in pre-production. Where he would fit another directorial effort with Blackhawks has yet to be addressed.
What’s The Draw?
As mentioned above, Spielberg isn’t the biggest superhero proponent. What he is though is a fan of World War II. Multiple Spielberg movies already take place during that part of history. He clearly has a The Blackhawks (the original group) exists, at its core, as a WWII story. They’re a group of ace pilots from various backgrounds (yay for “woke” Hollywood) who reside on Blackhawk Island and routinely save the world from the Nazis. What’s not to love about that setup? It’s as much a comic book as it is something Spielberg can tone down and treat more seriously.
The interest in the property is likely more layered than it seems on the surface. Warner Bros. and DC tried a the coherent shared-universe with the DCEU, and it hasn’t worked. The next best thing is to throw everything against the wall and let them sink or soar on their own. Aquaman will likely still tie to the recent slate, but we already know Shazam and the solo Batman flick are their own separate things. Spielberg has an opportunity to work with a wartime tale, full of pulpy action heroes and add some fantastical elements to tie it all together; sounds like a match made in heaven. This allows WB to have a bright hero (Shazam), a dark vigilante (Batman), crazy space-Gods (New Gods), a team movie (Birds of Prey), and a WWII epic (Blackhawks) all lineup. Nothing will feel the same among that slate, that’s for sure.
No doubt Warner Bros. was impressed with Spielberg and the recently successful Read Player One and is ready to continue working with him. It doesn’t hurt that Ready Player One pushed the director past the $10b mark either. Maybe it’s just a case where, unlike the Western, Spielberg realizes that these movies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. He might as well get going while the going is good.
Warner Bros. has an overwhelming list of properties it can mine from DCfor the big screen. Their new strategy looks to fix what wasn’t working before. Instead of continuing to steer into the crash, WB looks to be ejecting entirely and going back to the way it was pre-MCU, if only a little smarter. Instead of picking properties that have to play nicely together, they seem to want to greenlight efforts that can just as easily ignore each other entirely. Time will tell if this pays off for the studio as continuity-fatigue sets in with the 20-plus chaptered MCU continues marching on.