- At least seven DCEU post-credits scenes were left unaddressed, which sabotaged the franchise’s set-ups for movies that never came.
- Only a couple of sequels paid off previous post-credits scenes, while the rest of the teases were either abandoned or only included for comedic purposes.
- The DCU reboot aims to fix this mistake by establishing solid plans for each individual installment and the entire franchise simultaneously.
The DCU reboot was secretly presaged by seven wasted DCEU post-credits scenes left unaddressed throughout the years. The DCEU aimed to become a massive cinematic universe in constant expansion, and thus set up at least one future storyline in every individual DCEU installment. However, various creative and logistical problems kept the DCEU from reaching its full potential, and constant changes of plans caused the franchise to abandon many set-ups and cameos. Now, the DCU’s square-one reboot will leave behind everything the DCEU had established.
A couple of sequels got to pay off certain DCEU post-credits scenes. Aquaman‘s post-credits scene set up Black Manta’s return in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and The Suicide Squad‘s post-credits scene set up Christopher Smith’s return in his own spinoff series, Peacemaker. The rest of the DCEU’s post-credits scenes have either been comedic extra footage or abandoned set-ups for DCEU movies and shows that never came, which foreshadowed the end of the DCEU years before James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU reboot was officially announced.
The DCEU’s Wasted Post-Credits Scenes Sabotaged Its Future Setup For Years
At least Seven DCEU post-credits scenes went nowhere. First, Suicide Squad‘s mid-credits scene, featuring Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, teased Batman’s eventual clash with the original Task Force X. However, James Gunn’s Suicide Squad soft-rebooted its 2016 predecessor before a Batman crossover could be considered. The next year, Justice League‘s post-credits scene teased the creation of an Injustice League with the appearance of Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, but Justice League‘s controversial reception eliminated all plans for a sequel. Likewise, Wonder Woman 1984 teased a future story with Lynda Carter’s Asteria, but the movie’s negative reception made a sequel unlikely.
Henry Cavill’s highly anticipated return as Superman took place in Black Adam‘s post-credits scene, and the actor even went as far as to promote future Superman DCEU appearances on social media. Unfortunately, Black Adam also underperformed, and the franchise made drastic changes, dropping all plans for Superman and his crossover with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam. This came a few years after Superman’s headless cameo in Shazam and Superman’s race with the Flash in Justice League, both of which promised future Superman team-ups that never came. Zack Snyder’s Justice League fixed most of Justice League‘s flaws, but it also presented an abandoned post-credits scene featuring Martian Manhunter and Bruce Wayne.
As disappointing as these wasted DCEU post-credits scenes were, they don’t compare to Shazam’s. Shazam! and Shazam: Fury of the Gods broke a superhero movie record with two consecutive post-credits scenes that went nowhere. First, Shazam!‘s post-credits scene teased Mister Mind’s team-up with Thaddeus Sivana. Four years later, Shazam: Fury of the Gods‘ post-credits scene revisited the two villains and reaffirmed the idea that a team-up would be coming. However, the DCU reboot will likely keep this tease from materializing. And if Shazam doesn’t join the Justice Society in the DCU, then Shazam: Fury of the Gods‘ second post-credits scene would have also gone nowhere.
Why DCEU’s Post-Credits Mistakes Can Make The DC Universe Better
The DCEU’s wasted set-ups in abandoned post-credits scenes may be disappointing, but they serve as valuable lessons for the DCU. The DCEU rushed to promise multiple ambitious storylines for future titles before its cinematic universe was fully established. As the franchise’s success wasn’t guaranteed, changes in direction easily left those promises up in the air, and the DCEU became increasingly unlikely to revisit them. The DCU can avoid this problem by establishing solid plans for each individual installment and the franchise’s overarching storyline simultaneously. With the DCU’s near future already outlined, post-credits scenes can tease upcoming storylines that are guaranteed to happen sooner or later.
The DCU’s episodic approach is key. While titles like Creature Commandos and Swamp Thing are unlikely to set up movies like Superman: Legacy and The Brave and the Bold, their respective post-credits scenes could be ensured to tie to future sequels or related titles that are set to release later in the same chapter or in the next. Post-credits scenes entirely devised by individual directors may be a thing of the past, as James Gunn and Peter Safran will now oversee the DCU’s short-term and long-term continuity. In short, a clear structure is the fundamental difference between the DCEU’s abandoned promises and the DCU’s revised approach to the superhero cinematic universe.