All of Warner Bros.'s DC Extended Universe films have made a profit, but Wonder Woman is the first to be a critical darling - 92% Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh, to be exact. And now, Geoff Johns and Jon Berg - the head of Warner Bros.'s DC Films division - are talking about what worked, what hasn't, and the lessons they've learned from Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman.
"[Wonder Woman is] a fun movie. It's positive and optimistic," Berg told Variety. "The early films may have been too dark in parts."
"Most of the DC Universe is known as being a hopeful and optimistic place," Johns, who co-wrote Wonder Woman, added. "It’s known for characters that are inspirational and aspirational. Anyone who knows and loves the DC Universe knows that a lot of that has to do with its hope and optimism."
In May 2016, Johns and Berg were put in charge of the DC Extended Universe films under a new 'DC Films' division set up inside Warner Bros. Johns, already DC Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer, came to the position with years of experience writing comic books and writing television. Berg's chief credit was as producer of the holiday comedy Elf.
"There are lessons from every movie. You would be silly not to analyze how a movie was received - what went right and what went wrong on the making of a movie," said Berg. "On Suicide Squad, the movie did incredibly well commercially. It didn’t work narratively. You had some great casting and some great characterizations, but where the story fell down was on narrative, on plot. We could do better. Batman v. Superman was tonally dark. People didn’t respond to that."
Wonder Woman worked because it "celebrated exactly who the character is" according to Johns, but that doesn't necessarily mean "hope and optimism" is the mandate for every DCEU film going forward - but instead to focus on who the character is.
"There’s nothing to change," said Johns. "That’s what these characters are."
When asked if Wonder Woman's success plays any part in Warner Bros.'s decision to do more female superhero movies, Johns specifically name-checks Batgirl and Harley Quinn - who were already set to appear in their own films down the line.
"We’ve got a lot of plans for our female characters just because they’re great characters," said Johns. "There are many wonderful elements to the DC Universe, and one of them is that we have the best female characters, heroes and villains, in the world. No one is going to beat Wonder Woman and Batgirl and Harley Quinn."
Although a Wonder Woman sequel or director Patty Jenkins involvement has yet to be confirmed, Johns said that he is already working with the director on a story.
"Patty and I are writing the treatment right now. The goal is to make another great Wonder Woman film," said Johns, who co-wrote the first film with Allan Heinberg. "I had a blast making it with Patty the first time. We’ve got a cool idea for the second one."