Can an Elseworlds-style label, in which non-canon stories take place alongside the shared universe movies of the Justice League, work for DC Entertainment?
Former DC chief creative officer and Mad Ghost founder Geoff Johns says yes. During an interview with ComicBook.com, Johns shared his vision for DC, with whom he is still in business despite officially parting ways.
“My own personal opinion is that the DC characters are so elastic and there’s so many stories to tell,” Johns explained. “I think that anything you can do in a comic, you can do on TV or the movies. We’re getting a Shazam! movie, Mera’s on the big screen. We’re doing a Stargirl TV show now. There’s a lot. Every character’s going to have their due.”
The question is no longer just academic: Todd Phillips’s Joker has a release date and will go into production soon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime and revealing the story behind Batman’s greatest nemesis. While that is going on, DC is developing numerous films, some of which appear to be part of the grander DC film universe while others may or may not be (looking at you, The Batman).
Johns is no stranger to creating strange, new versions of DC characters and testing their “elasticity.” In both canonical stories — as in Green Lantern: Rebirth, when he transformed Hal Jordan’s mental illness into a cosmic embodiment of fear in the form of a giant yellow insect — and alternate realities like Flashpoint, Johns has reworked and repurposed the heroes and villains of the DC Universe to serve his stories time and time again.
Johns stepped down from his management role last month to focus on writing and producing new content for DC/Warner. In addition to a number of comics projects like Doomsday Clock, Shazam!, and Three Jokers, Johns is working on the Green Lantern Corps screenplay, and showrunning Stargirl, based on the first character he created for DC almost 20 years ago.
Shazam! and Aquaman, two films based on properties with which Johns is closely associated and movies on which he worked, will be the next two DC properties on the big screen. Each of them had a trailer released at Comic Con.