One of the biggest differences between Marvel and DC’s approach to television has been that of how the properties are linked. Marvel has opted to include all its film and TV properties as part of the same cinematic universe, whereas DC is not only keeping its film and TV worlds separate but allowing the TV properties to go off into either their individual or combined universes.
The biggest difference is this allows multiple versions of the same DC character to appear at any one time – from both Grant Gustin and Ezra Miller playing the small and big screen versions of The Flash respectively, to a show like “Gotham” having essentially free reign to develop whatever villains they want. If Marvel’s “Daredevil” wants to use Thor, they’ll need Chris Hemsworth to cameo in the role.
That choice was one of Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara. Variety has done a feature piece which explains that when he took charge he allowed the vast archive of comic-book characters in the DC vault to no longer be under the tight control of the studio’s film division – Warners TV and interactive divisions could develop properties even if they were concurrently being eyed for movie projects.
This meant TV, video games and consumer products no longer take a back seat to film. DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson says: “If there are any issues or sensitivities, we hash it out in the room. It no longer feels like a hierarchical situation where film will trump television. It’s a basic example of communication. You have to have the CEO of the company actively involved to make it work effectively.”.
Every two weeks Nelson, Tsujihara, Warners top execs Sue Kroll and Greg Silverman, and Warners TV chief Peter Roth get together to talk about all things DC and coordinate strategies. The result has worked though, with seven primetime series currently on the air and ten films on the way.
One of the biggest fruits of this labor has been the mini DC universe over on The CW – a network that has been effectively saved by the success of DC properties like “Arrow” and “The Flash” both in their initial airings and as part of online streaming licensing on platforms such as Netflix and Hulu. Those shows are about to have their second major ‘crossover event’ next week which will simultaneously setup a third series on the network – “Legends of Tomorrow” – which will launch January 21st. Check out over forty new stills from said crossover episodes below: