While both DC and Marvel now have established cinematic universes containing numerous film franchises, one key difference aside from tone is that Marvel’s various TV series occupy the same universe.
DC on the other hand are keeping their film and TV properties quite separate. While the films have one universe, the various TV shows are distinctly separate aside from those interlinking ones on The CW.
Appearing at Variety’s Technology and Entertainment Summit this week, DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson explained why the company went with that approach:
“[The focus on a single universe of characters with connected storylines] could end up handcuffing our creators into trying to work with the same storyline or force them to hold back characters or introduce certain characters. Ultimately it hinders the ability for someone like (showrunner) Bruno Heller to come in and create Gotham.”
Nelson says that while the single universe approach works well for Marvel, it isn’t right for DC. By keeping these worlds distinct, it offers “maximum creative flexibility to the writers, producers and directors that Warner Bros. works with”.
That allows for wide tonal differences between shows like “Gotham,” “Arrow” and the upcoming “Supergirl”. DC shows also have the advantage that they can be spread around a much larger range of network and streaming services whereas Marvel is limiting itself to Disney (and Netflix) owned channels like ABC.