After the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, every major studio wants to copy that model. There have been rumors of a Ghostbusters Universe, Transformers Universe and more Star Wars. Universal Studios was hoping to launch a new Monsters Universe beginning with 2014’s Dracula Untold, but that is in limbo. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg and the beginning of the mimicry. The biggest threat comes in the form of a massive experiment from Warner Brothers. DC Comics and Warner Brothers appear to be the only forces that could come close to dethroning Marvel. With the slew of announcements, the DC Cinematic Universe could be a breath of fresh air or a beautiful disaster with merit.
From the beginning, DC and Warner Brothers announced that the Justice League would be replacing founder Martian Manhunter with Cyborg. This minor change was just the beginning to something bigger when we learned that Jason Momoa was Aquaman. Stage actor Ray Fisher will portray Cyborg and also star in the solo film, which was announced before Black Panther. The interesting aspect to this is who will direct the film. Let’s look at other directing choices:
Patty Jenkins will direct Wonder Woman after only directing one real hit film, 2003’s Monster.
James Wan who is of Malaysian and Chinese descent will direct Aquaman. Wan has directed countless hits including Furious Seven (2015), which is one the highest grossing films of all time and one of the most diverse.
There is a strong chance Antoine Fuqua or someone else could direct Cyborg’s film.
All respect to the Pacific’s favorite son, Aquaman, and I don’t mean that to be facetious. Yes, Aquaman was the butt of a lot of water-based jokes for a long time, but the character has had a recent resurgence of respectability and, frankly, awesomeness. The I-Guess-We’re-Not-Calling-It-The-DC-New-52 has produced a lot of groan-worthy, controversial and just flat-out not-great books, but one really good thing that came out of it was Geoff Johns writing Arthur Curry back to relevance. Johns has since left the book with a few writers following him, but the Aquaman comic has continued to be of good quality since.
Even while Arthur Curry continued to be a straight white male (OK, fine male Aquarian) superhero in the newest iteration, like the vast majority of comic book heroes from the major publishers, it never raised any alarm bells for me. I mean, this was Aquaman, fam. Dude just got back into the big leagues, I had other diversity battles to fight. Then came the news that Aquaman was not going to be the movie star version of a lean and incredibly handsome white heartthrob who loves the ocean (Lord knows we’ve got enough of those running around Hollywood). Instead we got Jason Momoa, who 14 people might know from playing Conan, but you probably know him from ripping a dude’s throat out as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones. Or as Daenery’s husband. Surely one of those. At any rate, my first reaction that he was being cast as Aquaman was in the neighborhood of … “Oh.”
Fast forward to the first poster dropping and the Internet losing its collective mind over it. All respect to Kim Kar … I’m lying, I don’t really care, but Jason Momoa’s first poster as Aquaman kind of broke the (nerd) Internet that day. And you know what? It should have. It’s amazing. It also made me realize something — he kind of looks exactly like Aquaman SHOULD look. I mean, we’re talking about DC’s King of the Seven Seas, what is the likelihood that THAT DUDE would be a white guy from Maine? Nah, give me the Polynesian God who fell straight from Olympus and landed in an audition for some role across the Narrow Sea. All of a sudden, because Jason Momoa is in these panel streets lookin’ like Poseidon, let alone King of the Seven, he has instantly become DC’s most intriguing movie character and development (though Michelle McLaren directing Wonder Woman is still a hell of a draw for me).
Read more from William Evans at Black Nerd Problems