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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

EDITORIAL: I'd Like to Be a Fan - An Open Letter to DC and Warner Brothers

Dear Warner Brothers,

My name is Cameron Carpenter and I'd like to be a fan of your collaborations with DC Comics. It's my hope that this open letter doesn't come off as antagonistic as it may appear; on the contrary, I'm really rooting for some quality entertainment to come from you and I'll be attending your films on opening night with bells on...

...if I know just what is going on. Recently, you announced the news of Gal Gadot being attached to play the role of Wonder Woman in your new yet-to-be-officially-titled Batman vs. Superman movie. The fact that you're bringing Wonder Woman to the screen, I applaud. The fact that this has become such a late development in a movie that's supposedly already started filming is what is concerning to me. Now, obviously I'm no one to tell you how to film any of your movies, but my question is: what are you trying to get me excited for?

I really don't know what this movie is. Is it a Man of Steel sequel that happens to have an extra lead in Batman and take place in Gotham City? Is it a spin-off of Man of Steel where Batman mythology takes precedence and Superman is an equal protagonist? Is it a Trinity movie, with the weight of the plot being placed on Batman and Superman's shoulders, while Wonder Woman hangs out? Is it secretly Justice League considering The Flash is also rumored? And what are you doing with the abundance of comic book shows you're bringing to...different networks?

I can't get excited for this, because I don't know what to get excited for. I can't tell my friends about the movie, because I don't know what the movie is. I don't know what you're doing with your universe and it's confusing to me, because I would think that you would want me to know so I, and others, can give your movie free publicity before you ever release anything official. I'm not talking plot developments, spoilers, etc., just what your goal is, when it's coming, and what you're doing to achieve it.

I didn't want to bring up Disney and Marvel Studios, but honestly, I guess I feel like I have to. While no one could have guessed that The Avengers was going to become the number three movie of all time in terms of box office intake, it was always going to make a ton of money. And that's because the excitement started in 2008 with the conclusion of Iron Man. The studio told us, both in the movie as an allusion and as a studio to the public, that The Avengers was being assembled. And just like that, I was hooked to those properties for four years. They didn't say much at all; they just gave us the gameplan.

We now live in an age where studios are being bold enough to tell us the gameplan of their ambitious projects. Hell, they're even telling you how many sequels there are going to be before the second film even comes out! When making a connected cinematic universe, I'm not sure if you can hold back that kind of information anymore. And when you don't blatantly come out and say, "Here's what we're doing and why," then it seems, to the general audience, that you're lacking in a blueprint for your movies, are rushing productions, and cashing in on the quick buck using a hackneyed plan from other studios. And that puts myself, and many others, off.

It's slightly reminiscent of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek: Into Darkness, where withholding certain non-spoilerific information ended up hurting the public's perception of the film both before it debuted and after. In that case, ST:ID is not a bad movie by any means of the definition, but the deceit caused Star Trek fans to vote it as one of the worst Star Trek films of all time.

At this stage of the game, we need something solid. We'll pretty much take anything. Just let us know, fairly soon, so we don't let our expectations for one film destroy any possibly plan you have for an entire staple of characters. While an audience should judge each property on its own merit, it's becoming the norm that the studio may have to lend a hand in the digestion of scope concerning projects as ambitious as cinematic universes that span multiple movies and television shows. It's my hope you'll soon reveal to us something that gives us a better understanding of what we can expect and I wish you all the best.

A Want-to-Be Fan

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