What Will it Take for WBD to Regain Our Trust?

Upon the news about the mighty conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery (henceforth known as WBD) being formed, the rumor mill has spun off the front axle of the comic book movie Winnebago. If DC Comics fans ever had faith in all the money they’ve spent on Dial-a-Prayer for a competent person at the helm, it was now.

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Then, we met David Zaslav, new chief executive officer of WBD, and the dreary skies seem to part a little over the barren desert known as DC Entertainment or Films or whatever the hell they call it these days.

Regardless of the appointment, why should anyone who has been through the greasy palm handshake deals of Warner Bros. and DC Comics experience care? Why should we look forward to anything? In short, do we trust them ever again? 

Zaslav, 61, known as quite the taskmaster with an affinity for the douchey zip-up vest and short-sleeved golf shirt look, is set to become the new king of content given everything Warner Bros., Discovery, HBO Max, and CNN have at their disposal.

What’s interesting is no one–and literally, no one outside of a handful of folks in the know–had knowledge this merger was coming. The deal was so clandestine, even former CEO of WarnerMedia Jason Kilar, had no clue it was being negotiated out from under his feet.

This past April, the $43 billion announcements combined WarnerMedia with HBO, CNN, Discovery’s cable and broadcast holdings, and Warner Bros. film studios to establish an absolute 800-pound gorilla of content. And Zaslav was given the keys to the kingdom. That news was followed by nerd hoopla when one of the first notes on his ledger was the cast iron clawfoot tub of turds known as the DCEU.

A reckoning was coming, but would it be one that would help us regain our trust in DC Comics and Extended Universe vision?

All That Zas

Will WBD bring back to the cool factor and money to the DCEU?
Source: Reddit / DC-Entertainment

It took just one week for Zaslav to make his feelings known for what he obviously believed could be a money-making juggernaut for his new empire. When Variety dropped the exclusive about “Zas,” as his partying pals call him, one of the first notes in the article was to have “the disparate elements more closely aligned” to bring it against Marvel in the Geek Wars.

In the article, ubiquitous “insiders” shared some knowledge of Zaslav would steer WBD to find a “Kevin Feige type” to lead the new revolution, which will be like the 18th iteration of the Warner Bros./DC Comics hook-up.

Insiders say that Zaslav believes that the success of the merger, one that has left the company highly leveraged, will rest in no small part on unlocking the full potential of the DC Comics universe of characters.

Variety, Apr. 14, 2022

Since Zaslav was given the golden reins of WBD, he has accomplished (or executed) the following:

David Zaslav told Walter Hamada to go buh-bye and WBD become worthy of trust.
Nah-nah! The witch is dead.
  • Leaked Emma Watts as his potential universe builder of DC Entertainment
  • Said he wants a similar structure like Disney with a network of creative heads-of-state over properties like WAG, New Line, DCAU, and DC Comics–all of whom will report to a “film boss
  • Shared films like Todd Phillips‘ Joker are a “prime example” of how second-billed characters should be exploited
  • Toby Emmerich was sent packing after a quaint luncheon at the bougie Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills with WB figureheads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy
  • De Luca and Abdy were appointed heads over Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema (and Emmerich’s body wasn’t even cold yet)
  • Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group COO Carolyn Blackwood “resigned,” and WB Chairwoman and CEO Ann Sarnoff was axed

And then, the Hallelujah chorus began, as the toxic toe fungus on the mangled hammer toes of DC Films was given his pink slip. Walter Hama-Lama-Ding-Dong (seen above in a suit that is two sizes too big) was no longer in the driver’s seat at the Warner Bros./DC Comics hot boxing party bus.

At that moment, something strange happened. That may be the first time in a long time that DC fandom realized the wait to get Zaslav may be worthy of our much-maligned and -misspent trust.

Hope on the WBD Horizon

Somehow, the Justice League will fly again in the WBD world
Source: DC Comics/Warner Bros./Seven Bucks Productions

From this point forward, the WBD pioneering phase of the DCEU has a few interesting hurdle directly in front of its path–most of which is Black Adam. A movie DC stans were drooling for, even before DC Comics and Warner Bros. tried to earn our trust back the last time with David F. Sandberg‘s triumphant Shazam!

However, no one saw Dwayne Johnson as the one with the power to resurrect a new Justice League? Yet, with Black Adam, the building blocks for the Justice Society of America are being built into cornerstone status. And it’s awesome, not only because the previews give nerds the feels but also because it looks like someone knows what the hell is going on.

All these characters — Black Adam, Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher — would have dynamic origin stories. Then, weave them together behind the ancient Egyptian anti-hero. That is movie making and universe building, which is something Warner Bros wet the bed in doing the first time.

That brings us to the boss, Zack Snyder. Not for nothing, but Deborah Snyder would be an amazing fit at the helm of WBD for DC Entertainment. The rest of 2022 and into 2023, WBD has an appealing platter of charcuterie for us to sample:

  • Batgirl, Season 1 (HBO Max) — TBA 2022
  • DC League of Super Pets — July 29
  • The Sandman (Netflix) — August 5
  • Black Adam — October 21
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods — December 16
  • Peacemaker, Season 2 — TBA 2023
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — March 17, 2023
  • The Flash — June 23, 2023
  • Blue Beetle — August 18, 2023

Despite all that content coming, among a few others that are under development, none of it holds a candle to the power of a single hashtag. At first, it was #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Finally, they did. Many believed Zack would ride off into the post-apocalyptic sunset making Army of the Dead and the much-ballyhooed Rebel Moon. It’s sad to see the nerd wunderkind go, but we finally got the version of Justice League we wanted.

And then, this happened on Twitter recently.

So yeah, the Internet broke. It’s more than a year after the fabled cut came out on HBO Max. However, the scenery has changed with the dark clouds of Hamada, Johns, Sarnoff, and Emmerich gone and Zaslav sitting atop his throne now.

#RestoreTheSnyderverse has trended a few times nationwide and worldwide since that happened. But it was already rampant across Twitter since later 2021. Why promote releasing this now?! Memes have already exploded. Nerds have rejoiced. And a few had mild cardiac infarctions.

Largely, because of this one reason — Warner Bros. DVD account never tweets about Zack or ZSJL. Until now.

And Speaking of Hope…

What can WBD and David Zaslav do to regain our trust?
Source: Warner Bros./DC Comics/The Stone Quarry

Was that Zaslav led? Even Snyder tweeted it out. Yes, the guy wants to get paid but also, he knows what he is doing by getting us all lathered up into a frenzy. If that restoration is to take place, it will take a considerable amount of work.

  • Ray Fisher all but bought Warner Bros. a KKK pair of sheets.
  • Henry Cavill still hearts Superman but does anyone in Warner Bros. heart him back?
  • It’s been confirmed the scorching hot mess that is Amber Heard.
  • Ben Affleck took his Deathstroke vs. Batman tale and went home.
  • And now, there’s Ezra Miller and his speed of light adventure into bat-ess crazy.

To wit, Zack was interviewed by Den of Geek about his new Netflix movie Army of Thieves. When posed a query about yet another hashtag that will never die about him, he said.

“As far as [the fans] persisting with that hashtag, I always just take it as, you know, the confidence the fans have in my work,” Zack says. “I just hope as I go forward that I really do my best to honor that confidence they have in me by just making them the best films I know how.”

Den of Geek, October 29, 2021

Snyder devotees are about as rabid as drunk NASCAR fans. There is no quit in them. And rile them up and they become hooligans at a English Premier League championship. If Snyder were to come back as the “Kevin Feige-type” Zaslav wants, forget the rebuilding. Warner Bros and DC Films would go through a reckoning.

There is supposed to be a major confrontation with Darkseid and his search for the anti-life equation. Also, we were promised a “Batfleck” movie, a mysterious Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad, and making it right about the abruptly cut short Krypton, Swamp Thing, and some of the Arrowverse creations that never got off the ground TV series.

Yeah, he’s been waiting longer than we have.
(Source: Warner Bros./The Stone Quarry/DC Comics)

Then, we can begin to talk about Justice League Dark, Zatanna, Deadman, The Omega Men, Green Lantern Corps, and who needs to pay for Ava DuVernay being unceremoniously booted from the New Gods film! (As was the film overall.)

Oh, if anyone can reach Zaslav, will you kindly remind him he is sitting a goldmine with Milestone Comics, led by ICON, and no one seems to care.

In summary, there is a sandbox full of toys and ideas for WBD and Zaslav. They have been waiting to be leveraged and maximized, but efforts to someone’s attention has not been fruitful. DCEU has ballooned and been deflated for years. The cycle has to stop and it appears now is the time.

So, how can WBD earn our trust again? That’s simple. Do something and finally break out the tools to build this extended universe none of those former dunderheads could accomplish! Or, try “rebuilding and restoring” another CBM universe. The Boss and us been waiting a while.