Is FLASHPOINT the Start of THE NEW 52 Animated U?

It's a simple matter of "cause and effect."

If the comic version of Flashpoint caused a complete reboot of the DC Universe, could the animated Flashpoint story cause the same type of change in the DCAU (DC Animated Universe)?

The Flash in Flashpoint Paradox
The Flash in Flashpoint Paradox
Credit: Warner Bros Animation

As Newsarama revealed exclusively last week, the newest DC animated film, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, will be released on July 30.

When the movie is released for DVD, Blu-ray, OnDemand and Digital Download, Flashpoint Paradox will bring the Flashpoint comic story into the world of animation.

It's not the first time Warner Bros. Animation has chosen a popular DC mini-series for its animated films, but Flashpoint is unique because its story ended by rebooting the entire DCU.

That choice has us at Newsarama wondering if Warner would reboot its animated universe as well?

"No Pressure"

Back in 2011, Bruce Timm told fans at New York Comic Con that there was "no pressure" from Warner Bros. to incorporate the New 52 into the DC animated universe. But that was two years ago, and things change, particularly now that Timm has recently backed away from his former producer role in the DC animated universe.

Could Timm's replacement, producer James Tucker, be moving forward with a revamp of the animated universe that echoes what the New 52 did for comics?

While not quite as steeped in continuity as the comic book universe was before its reboot, the animated universe could be looking for a fresh new direction, something it toyed with in the recent Young Justice series (which was produced by Tucker). And although the Flashpoint comic story stood on its own, it was the catalyst for the New 52 and it'd be conspicuous to remove that element.

It all points toward the compelling argument that the DC Animated Universe might be using Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox to open the door for the New 52 universe to show up in animation.

New 52 AU


Fans seem open to the idea of the New 52 influencing the animated universe. Case in point: When Eric Guzman started playing around on his DeviantART site with designs for "animated" characters based on New 52 designs, multiple comic sites picked up the designs, and fans reacted strongly, many believing they were official DC images for an upcoming animation property.

But the acceptance of existing fans wouldn't be the main benefit of launching a New 52 animated universe. After all, the goal of the New 52 was, and presumably still is, to attract a new audience. Couldn't the same goal drive a launch in the animated universe?

Grant Morrison's Action Comics run, which was launched with the New 52 reboot, would work well with new audiences, introducing Superman by tracing his steps toward becoming a hero.

The New 52 version of the Batman universe could also work well in animation, because it isn't drastically different from what mainstream audiences recognize. A younger Bruce Wayne as Batman, Barbara Gordon as Batgirl and a revamped rogues gallery would all be a plus for Warner's effort to reach a new audience.


Plus, the recent Scott Snyder-driven Batman stories seem ideal for animation. "Court of Owls," "Death of the Family" and presumably the upcoming "Zero Year" could each work as an animated film. (Come to think of it, maybe that's another reason no one died in "Death of the Family?" Because of its potential for adaptation?)

An animated adaption of Aquaman’s first story arc would be an intriguing possibility as well. The early issues of his New 52 reboot were all about establishing the character as more than a superhero punch line. With Flash being the central character in the Flashpoint movie, Aquaman would be the only remaining character of the Justice League Big 6 without a film of this own. And that story arc just so happened to have been written by the Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment (one Geoff Johns) who works closely with their live action and animation teams.

But perhaps the most enticing for Warner is the Johns/Jim Lee reboot of Justice League. The first arc of their Justice League story was ideal for new audiences, as it told the story of the League's formation while introducing Darkseid as a DC villain. That could of course be seen as a deterrent, too, as Darkseid was the villain in 2010's Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, but with the significant shift in direction, it could still work.


Perhaps a Justice League New 52 movie could in turn lead – in ‘backdoor pilot’ fashion – to a Justice Leagues animated television series, this time set in the present day. A show of that nature could spotlight characters from all the incarnations of the league – including Justice League Dark and Justice League of America – i.e. a sprawling, Justice League Unlimited-like show in scope, but with rival leagues and all the backroom intrigue involved, leading of course to an eventual “Trinity War.”

It would fit with Tucker's recent statements about what's coming next: “I can’t go into specifics,” he told VFK, “but I have a feeling when we announce our next slate of movies, people are going to be very excited because we will be using Batman, Superman and Justice League as a gateway to exposing other characters.”

Cohesive Message

Perhaps the greatest argument for the DCAU to incorporate the New 52 is that one of the promises from Warner when it formed "DC Entertainment" was better communication and coordination between its publishing arm and other media.

Although Newsarama has heard complaints from creators about multiple rewrites being demanded by DC editorial since the New 52 reboot, the changes in direction would make more sense if they were driven by something ‘greater; than just editorial whim. It's just conjecture, obviously, but if the animated universe is hoping to mine the New 52 for its cartoons, it's possible that editorial has to be aware of that potential.

Whether the DCAU goes through a complete "reboot," or it just takes advantage of the Flashpoint ending to tell new stories, it's compelling to think the New 52 could show up in animation. Warner Bros. Animation, for now, hasn't revealed any of their slate beyond Flashpoint Paradox, but fans can expect the next films to be announced at Comic-Con International: San Diego in July 2013, perhaps with the first New 52 adaptation along for the ride.

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