Warner Brother's might have decided to build the DC Extended Universe to compete with Marvel and its excessively successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, but according to director Zack Snyder, the studio's burgeoning superhero franchise was never supposed to be a traditional shared universe.
According to a theory by columnist John Aaron Garza, Snyder originally wanted to make some sort of "Dark Knight Trilogy" for the DCEU, hoping that his films would act more like self-contained stories than universe-building films. Taking time to go on Vero, Garza decided to ask whether or not his speculation had any basis to it.
Snyder's response? A quick and simple "yes."
Though it might seem like Snyder was building a universe for Warner Brothers, looking back it comes as no surprise that the director was actually aiming for self-contained films for the studio. Man of Steel started principal photography back in 2011 when Marvel was still working on Phase 1 of the MCU – a phase where industry analysts weren't sure whether the universe-building scheme of the studio would work.
Sure Snyder might have included Easter eggs that would hint at a larger world, but these hints seemed more like hooks to help bring future DC movies together when other directors would work on their own standalone projects. Once DC noticed the success of the MCU, it decided to follow suit, interfering with Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Now, the DCEU is struggling to find its footing – though there's a lot of hope that Aquaman might set things straight.
Aquaman swims to cinemas on December 21, 2018.