Warner Bros. is coming off of a big year at the box office for their superhero films Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but the studio is well aware of the critical response to those films and appears to be making the necessary adjustments to improve reception going forward. 2017 looks to lighten up the tone of the DCEU with this summer’s Wonder Woman (even though it’s a war film) and the fall’s highly anticipated Justice League film which will unite the superheroes on the big screen for the first time.
Will Beall, the screenwriter who did a very early draft on Justice League (for a script which was ultimately scrapped by Warner Bros.), is back at the word processor for another WB/DC property: the Fall 2018 release, Aquaman. Beall was in attendance at the ongoing TCA 2017 for his writing work on the upcoming CBS series Training Day, starring Bill Paxton and Justin Cornwell; he’s also an executive producer for the TV follow-up to the Oscar-winning film. Our own TV Editor Allison Keene was able to pull Beall aside for a few questions concerning Aquaman, Justice League, and the state of the DCEU.
Here’s what Beall had to say on the tone of Aquaman:
“It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be really fun. What we’ve come up with and James [Wan] especially — he has a really clear idea of the tone he’s going to have, and I think Aquaman is one that’s going to blow people’s minds, not just visually, but I think the story and the scope of it is really great.”
I don’t know that Aquaman has typically been described as a “fun” character, but rather the recipient of folks poking fun at the master of the seven seas and his chats with dolphins. With Jason Momoa in the starring role, the character can automatically be taken a bit more seriously thanks to the actor’s imposing physique; the decision to highlight scale armor and tribal tattoos instead of orange-and-green tights didn’t hurt either. So while Beall can certainly have fun with the writing of Aquaman, modern filmmaking technology can now let audiences in on the action:
“What’s interesting is that you couldn’t have done it before. You know, you could do Batman in 1988, but now you have the technology, and it’s going to be cool.”
Beall also wrote the initial script for Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated Justice League movie, though the story has certainly evolved since then. Keeping in line with the description for Aquaman, he teased more of the same for the DC Comics team-up movie and a tonal shift in that direction for the rest of the DCEU:
“I think Justice League again is, what you’re going to see — I hope I’m not going to get in trouble for saying this — but it’s much more fun, much poppier, than … I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, but Batman vs Superman was a little more somber. But Justice League is a lot more fun. And I think that feels to me like the direction those movies are heading now.”
2017 will certainly be an interesting time to observe Warner Bros.’ DCEU and to see if they’ve chosen to lighten it up a bit with their properties or if they’re just going with what works for each film on a case by case basis. By the time Aquaman‘s October 5, 2018 release date rolls around, we should have a pretty good idea of the state of the DCEU and whether or not they’re opting for some more fun with their comic book characters. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!