DC vs Marvel: How Summer 2022 Changed Both Studios’ Futures

Other than being centered on comic book superheroes, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) couldn’t be more different. From the beginning, the MCU has had a plan and executed it so well that it remains the most successful film franchise in history. The DCEU, on the other hand, just canceled Batgirl and appears to still be figuring itself out. It’s wild to think how much has changed for the two biggest comic book companies so quickly.

Marvel Phase 4 led some fans to wonder about the long-term plan

Following the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, MCU fans have wondered how the franchise would follow up on the game-changing events of Avengers: Endgame. The addition of Disney+ series like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki to the mix seemed to raise more questions than they answered. Some films flirted with the multiverse, while others – such as Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder – told disconnected stories. 

Regardless, the feedback from fans was “where is this all going?” With MCU fatigue perhaps starting to set in, Marvel Studios valiantly turned that perception around with its 2022 San Diego Comic-Con panel, in which the studio outlined Phases 5 and 6. The culminating event? Another two Avengers movies, both set for 2025. With an end goal in sight, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars restored fans’ faith.

DC, meanwhile, seemed to finally get into a groove with its films

Although the MCU has traditionally been on top of its universe-building, the DCEU has struggled to hit a solid stride. Yet, even though Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 underperformed thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, the franchise seemingly had identified a way forward. Movies like The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom overcame controversy to demonstrate a clearer understanding of the kinds of stories fans wanted going forward.

Michael Keaton’s Batman return and exciting new heroes like Blue Beetle indicated the DCEU had found a way to embrace the multiversal possibilities and inject some new blood into the upcoming slate. Then Warner Bros. Discovery canceled Batgirl – despite the completion of filming – and other projects in development. Suddenly, the DCEU seems just as in jeopardy as ever. A mysterious new 10-year plan – via MovieWeb – doesn’t instill much hope either.

Both Marvel and DC take risks with big movies in Fall 2022

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Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appears at the Warner Brothers panel promoting his upcoming film “Black Adam” at 2022 Comic-Con International Day 3 at San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California. | Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Following their summer 2022 about-faces, Marvel and DC are both making big moves in the fall. The MCU will debut both She-Hulk and a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+. And it will then wrap up Phase 4 with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on November 11, 2022. After the death of Chadwick Boseman, the sequel needs to redefine what this MCU series is.

As for the DCEU, Warner Bros. will release two new movies from that series in fall 2022. First up is Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson as the titular anti-hero, on October 21, 2022. That movie could affect whether Johnson becomes a major player in the DCEU going forward. Likewise, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is set to hit theaters on December 21, 2022.

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