Comic book fans 50 years ago would never have believed it possible that Hollywood could create two enormously successful film franchises that features both obscure and A-list comic book heroes. Comic books have become a central part of pop culture where they were once considered fringe entertainment. And what’s more in line with comic book culture than a good crossover movie? Marvel built their brand on interconnected story lines and expanded upon the aesthetic in film with their ambitious Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC has always been a bit behind in the crossover department, and they’re still struggling with the concept in their current slate of films, which have taken a lot of flak for their clumsy character introductions.
Could Warner Bros. and their DC Extended Universe correct course by teaming up with their rival studio, Marvel for the most ambitious crossover event yet? Possibly. Will it happen? Almost certainly not, but we’re going to speculate about how it might work out anyway.
1. Superman meets Thor…in outer space
Superman, or at least Clark Kent, has turned up in the background of a few Marvel comics, always as more of an easter egg for fans to spot than an actual presence. His appearance in a Thor comic provides enough precedence for the two bulky God-like aliens to meet in their respective cinematic universes.
Both characters typically reside on Earth, but I think a meeting on one of their home planets or another outer space locale might place the two on even footing and ease the strangeness of such a crossover. Starting off with something small could be the key to a successful DC and Marvel mashup, and the contrast of Thor’s roguish bravado and Superman’s moral idealism (not as present in Snyder’s portrayals as it should be) would be a great character dynamic to kick things off.
2. The Flash meets the Avengers
The Flash, played by the talented Ezra Miller, isn’t yet a major part of DC’s universe, since he’s only appeared for a shoehorned cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I may be judging a little prematurely based on the character history and a promising scene in the first Justice League trailer, but the super fast hero seems uniquely suited to blend right into the well-established tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Barry Allen has always been a lighthearted, high-energy do-gooder, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see how he might easily wisecrack his way through a fight alongside Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the crew. I imagine him swooping in on a villain mid-battle, using his super speed to win the fight before the others even know what’s going on.
3. Batman meets Black Widow
Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) is one of the most important characters in the Avengers ensemble, but she’s also a step removed from their lighthearted antics, lacking any powers and boasting one of the darkest backstories of the bunch. Her black costume design and conflicted sense of right and wrong (suggested by her past with the KGB) would make her fit perfectly into the world of the Caped Crusader, whose darkness and brooding would make Natasha Romanoff the cheery one for a change.
Maybe their paths could cross when Batman gets involved in the same case Romanoff has been assigned to, turning him into an adversary of S.H.I.E.L.D. (or whatever other government organization she’s is working for these days). It would be a simple, logical way to weave the disparate universes together without putting too many super powered people in the same room right away.
4. The Justice League meets the Avengers
The crossover method that gets me least excited is also, sadly, the most likely of the lot. If Marvel and DC were able to put aside their differences for the sake of the bottom line, their crossover would likely go big right from the start. Marvel generally finds ways to serve even the most overstuffed of casts (see Captain America: Civil War), but I have trouble seeing how even they could manage to create a cohesive movie that also finds time for every team member on either side of the DC and Marvel dividing line.
Perhaps the best way would be to begin with the villain’s plan already in progress, gradually crumbling society and forcing the two separate superhero teams to work independently and finally, as one. The group would have to band together to fix things even as they constantly disagreed on how to do so.
5. Superman meets (and fights) the Hulk
Say Iron Man and Superman existed in the same world. As narcissistic as he is, Tony Stark would likely hate Superman for his enormous power and his holier-than-thou moralizing, a direct contrast to his own manufactured superpowers and wisecracking cynicism.
But what could possibly force Stark to work with a hero so opposite himself? Only a force he himself couldn’t stop, someone that would require Superman himself: the Hulk. It would be a good way to give these heroes a quick history and reason to interact without creating a generic all-powerful villain. It would also set up the comic book fight to end all comic book fights — Superman versus the Hulk. If that doesn’t sell tickets, what will?
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