Why Is Zack Snyder The Only Director Of The DC Cinematic Universe?

Greetings, dear readers! I regret to inform you that the price of stamps is going up yet again. I know it feel like I — I mean we, the totally real U.S. Postal Service — just raised them, but our costs are unfortunately still rising. Mainly bullets. Bullets and food. It's the post-apocalypse out here people. You can spare ammo and pies for me to deliver your stupid letters.


Zack Attack

Chi:

Dear Mr Postman,

DC recently announced that they are actually going to make the Justice League movie everyone thought they were totally going to make. This is not a big surprise. They also said that Zack Snyder is slated to direct. This is... kind of a surprise?

Why Zack Snyder? Most of Snyders movies have had pretty mixed receptions, if not outright reviled. Batman/Superman isn't even out yet, so who knows how that one will go. Why does DC feel like they can trust their big mega-franchise tentpole movie to Snyder? Is he really such a bankable name?

Marvel's various movies have had many different directors, to the point where it's more common to see a brand new director than a returning one. Why does DC feel like they have to stick with one director the whole way through?

Because they want money. That's basically it. Now, you could say it nicely, like "They like to go with what they know works," or you can say it mean, like "They are cowards who only care about the bottom line," but either way, the answer is $.

To be fair, it's not like this is a new thing for Warner Bros. They've never willingly given up a superhero movie director that was making them money. They would have loved to have given Superman and Justice League to Christopher Nolan if he'd accepted them. They were happy to leave Batman in Tim Burton's hands until he decided to move on to other things. When it came time to make Supeman Returns, they looked for what seemed to be the closest thing to a sure bet — Bryan Singer of the very successful X-Men movies. And for Man of Steel, knowing Singer was a bust and Nolan was out, they looked for a guy with a decent superhero track record and one they'd worked with before — i.e., Snyder, who made them the smash-hit 300 and less smash-hit Watchmen.

It's not like WB doesn't have a point here; choosing a new director is always a gamble. It didn't pay off for Green Lantern, and even Singer botched Superman Returns. Snyder made Man of Steel commercially successful, and that's all WB cares about. They'll give him all their DC movies as his schedule allows, until he's had enough. And then they'll probably try to poach somebody from Marvel.

Speaking of, Marvel is obviously trying the exact opposite track, and it's paying off. They keep looking for new directors for their projects to give them individuality and quality, and it's paying off well. Of course, Marvel is quite happy making these gambles because it pretty much hasn't lost a hand yet, to continue the metaphor. Whenever they finally have a flop, it wouldn't surprise me if the studio gets a bit more cautious. And after the next flop, they'll get a little more cautious still.

Marvel Studios is a very young company. Warner Bros. — and Sony, who are happy to give the entirety of Spider-Man to Marc Webb, as well as Fox, who couldn't wait to get Bryan Singer back on board the X-Men — are older, and have had much more time to fuck things up. This is not a coincidence. The older companies have had time to get scared and will always look for the safest bet possible. Marvel's young and ready gamble. I'm afraid that it's much more likely Marvel will eventually turn into WB than the other way around.

For the record, I don't think Zack Snyder is the worst. I like Dawn of the Dead and 300, thought his Watchmen was the best adaptation we could hope fort, loathed the hell out of Sucker Punch, and well, you know my feelings on Man of Steel. I'm not ready to write him off, but man, let me join the list of people who have no desire to let him do Wonder Woman.


Why Is Zack Snyder The Only Director Of The DC Cinematic Universe?

Trek It Before You Wreck It

O.G. Trekker:

Dear Mr. Postman,
Do post-Apocalypse postmen like you have to be good with firearms to fight off attacks from the Fed Ex and UPS gangs? Or do you have kumbaya sessions with them?
Seriously, though, the success of the J.J. Abrams versions of Star Trek made me wonder about whether future TV series spinoffs are still possible. If the studio suits think they can extend the Star Trek franchise by doing more TV series, what version will they use? Will they spin off of nu-Trek (aka the Abrams version)? Or will they try something creative with the original Trek universe? Personally, if a dip is made back into the original universe, I'd love to see an "Adventures of Captain Sulu" show with George Takei narrating exploits of Sulu's career throughout the years.

I think we'll absolutely see another Star Trek TV series in our lifetime, especially since TV seems to be in a bit of a scifi-supernatural-fantasy craze right now (you can tell because Syfy is actually making scifi shows again). And I think it'll almost certainly be nu-Trek, because it's what the largest portion of the potential mass audience knows now, and it's also reasonably uncluttered. I can't see Paramount wanting — or allowing — a show set in the original Trek universe, which could potentially confuse viewers about the nu-Trek movies and keep them away. I am vaguely worried that the Trek show we'll eventually get is the nu-Trek version of The Next Generation, with the same characters and a new cast.

As it turns out, the UPS guys are kind of cool. They make their brown uniforms out of bear pelts now, and their iconic brown trucks are covered with spikes to keep out marauders, but at the end of the day they know we're all just folks delivering mail in a post-apocalyptic world that really should be focusing its meager resources on more important shit. But the Fedex guys are crazy. They try to kill any rival mail delivery they see. People set their Fedex pick up boxes miles away from their villages so the Fedex guys don't actually come to town. They make their delivery envelopes out of human skin. They are fucked up, dude.


Why Is Zack Snyder The Only Director Of The DC Cinematic Universe?

Dotted Lines

JD Douglas:

Dear Postapocalypticmaster General,

Thanks for keeping the postal service going in the future! It's probably not as rewarding as you thought it might be (except for the occasional food packages that fail to make it to their destination! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

I know many have decried the state of the movie Marvel Universe in its fractured state. Being that three separate studios have control of different properties (Fox: FF and X-'Verse, Sony: Spider-'Verse, and Marvel: Everything else). But what no one has done, at least to my satisfaction, is explain the terms of these rights in relation to said control. From what I understand is that all Fox and Sony have to do is make a movie every few years and they keep rights in perpetuity?!?!

There has got to be a way out of these contracts for Marvel and get them all under the same roof (if that is what Marvel really wants. Putting out four to five tent-pole movies a year is probably a few too many irons in the fire). Did this ever come to pass in the future, or did you go into the apocalypse in a movie world where Wolverine can't fight the Hulk or Spidey couldn't hang out with Johnny Storm on a lazy afternoon? Please clear up the confusion!

You understand correctly. All Sony needs to do is start making one Spider-Man movie every five years — which is why The Amazing Spider-Man was very quickly rushed into production for 2012, because Spider-Man 3 premiered in 2007. Now, I'm reasonably certainly that Fox has their Marvel character rights for seven years, because Marvel got the Daredevil rights in 2012, seven years after 2005's Elektra (technically part of the Daredevil franchise), and Fox fast-tracked the Fantastic Four movie this year since Rise of the Silver Surfer came out in 2007.

Look, as I've said before, Sony and Fox are never going to give up these rights because they will always have the potential to make them scads of money if done right. Sure, Fox can let Daredevil fall by the wayside, and Lionsgate gave up on Punisher, but X-Men and Fantastic Four? No way. The only way the rights are reverting back to Marvel is if Disney buys them, and/or Sony and Fox go bankrupt.


Why Is Zack Snyder The Only Director Of The DC Cinematic Universe?

Put a Ring on It

Donald S.:

Hey, I've enjoyed this small form of communication in an otherwise desolate future, in between the zombie attacks and fending off giant spiders.

I've noticed a lot of interesting Green Lantern questions over the last few weeks and one has occurred to me. Why isn't there a prominent human female Green Lantern? There are other aliens that are GL's that are female, and there are multiple human dudes in the DC universe that have received GL rings, but why hasn't there ever been a woman. If there was, she apparently didn't last long, but that could be a really interesting story, with very different character development (sorry for the run-on sentence).

I was just wondering because everyone is always talking about Hal Jordan, Jon Stewart, and that other guy who is kind of a jerk (his name eludes me). I just think it would be interesting, but what do I know?

Technically, there has been a female Green Lantern before — Jade, daughter of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scoot, who had a ring but was never originally a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Jade had Alan Scott's Green Lantern powers without needing a ring, and she was green, because her mother was a plant-based supervillain named Thorn, but she was human. She once lost her powers, was given a spare GL Corps-brand power ring, and joined the Corps briefly, but now she just mostly runs around as Jade.

There is also a new human female Green Lantern a-comin' — Jessica Cruz was teased in a flash-forward in the final issue of Geoff Johns' Green Lantern run last year. She's hinted at being super-important in that sequence, and she's actually going to be on the cover of Justice League #31. It seems like she's going to be a bit of a polarizing figure at first (SPOILER: It looks like the power ring she gets is the one from the evil Green Lantern of the alternate universe Crime Syndicate, currently ruling Earth. The evil GL is confusingly named Power Ring, and his ring is currently searching a new bearer).

As you can see from the panel above, very recently anointed Muslim Green Lantern Simon Baz will train her, although it's worth noting that although Baz was introduced as a major character a little while ago and he's been barely used since then. It would be pessimistic of me to say the exact same thing will happen to Jessica Cruz after her introductory storyarc is over, but I'm pretty sure they same thing will happen to Jessica Cruz after her introductory storyarc is over.

It's also worth noting that the second prominent female Green Lantern, period, is an alien named Arisia who, while underage, used her rings powers to become barely legal so she could have sex with Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan was down with that. Comics, everybody!


Why Is Zack Snyder The Only Director Of The DC Cinematic Universe?

Golden Oldies

Hooray For Harryhausen:

Dear Mr. Postman,

Given the state of special effects work, scripting, and acting in the best SF/fantasy films nowadays, is there any point in introducing SF/fantasy films older than 20 years or so ago to filmgoers who weren't around when those films were made? If so, how can you introduce these films without having these younger filmgoers do impromptu MST3K sessions of what had previously been considered masterworks?

Yes, this may sound like a "Get off my lawn" moment. I'm not excusing the sexist or racist attitudes or assumptions of films made decades ago. But for all the flaws that date those genre films, those films had ideas that inspired the future John Carpenters and Guillermo del Toros to make their own movies.

Do you have any ideas?


I have to think there is. I grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy and Blade Runner, but I still find it in my heart to love those old Ray Harryhausen films and giant and/or rubber monster movies (admittedly, MST3K helps). The idea that a modern kid couldn't handle the original trilogy is baffling and not a little horrifying to me, and surely as long as there are kids who grow up to really love movies they'll always be someone to appreciate 2001, Alien, Blade Runner, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and the rest.

Here's an interesting question, though: The kids who grew up knowing the Star Wars prequels first and foremost are more or less grown up now, and there's going to be a new generation of kids who grow with this new Star Wars trilogy, and, since it'll be their first experience with Star Wars, presumably love it the most.

But which trilogy will they love second-most? The original trilogy, featuring young versions of the cranky old characters they know from the new trilogy, or will they prefer the visual pizzazz of the prequels?


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!