How To Set Up The DC Rebirth Animated Universe

It’s been a week since Superman: Man of Tomorrow was released and in tow, a brand new DC Animated Universe was created.

The previous ended with Justice League: Apokolips War and the Flash speeding off to reboot the world following the events and destruction of Darksied capping off seven years of storytelling set within the New 52 created universe.

Now the DCAU has had a rebirth starting with the Man of Steel with the hope everything director Chris Palmer and writer Tim Sheridan brought to life, thanks to the wonderful animation led by Butch Lukic.

I hope this is what Warner Bros and DC continue to do by giving each hero their own art style just as the previous universe brought the New 52 to life and Bruce Timm with his style during the years from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited.

Anyway, as stated above Man of Tomorrow is the first of this new universe as throughout the film (SPOILERS!!!!) there are hints to Batman, Martian Manhunter is a mentor to Clark Kent. Plus, if you own the Blu-Ray, you will see the arm of Wonder Woman and Brainiac on the side of the sleeve.

Now with all this set, I thought it would be fun to plan the next steps WB/DC could make when laying out the groundwork for their Rebirth Universe.

Wonder Woman

If Superman kickstarting this universe to bring hope, then I’d follow that up with the courage of Wonder Woman and introducing her in a period piece would be best and be seen as the world’s first superhero.

The era I was thinking would be in the mid to late 60s and moving Themyscira from a Mediterranean island to a Pacific (more specifically the South China Sea between the Philippines and Vietnam.

This would make Hippolyta, Diana Prince and some of the Amazonians born and raised with Asian heritage.

If you’ve pieced the puzzle together, this film will be set during the Vietnam War, as it would show Diana the worst of man, but sees from the conflict the soldiers are terrified kids for the most part.

One of those kids will be Steve Trevor, who crashes on Paradise Island, tells Diana about the war. I would also have J’onn J’onzz as a soldier and keep that through-line in these films.

As for villains, one will be Maxwell Lord Sr, a proud and patriotic American general who has a twisted way to get the upper hand. He’s a human with no powers, but an awful human.

The other is Jinx, while mainly a Teen Titans villain and of Indian heritage, but a change to Vietnamese won’t be too big of an issue and uses her magic for Northern Vietnam to destroy her enemies and would’ve won the war if it wasn’t for Wonder Woman.

One of the impressive things was bringing in a strong voice cast for Man of Tomorrow with the likes of Darren Criss, Alexandra Daddario and Zachary Quinto at all these Rebirth films need to follow.

Michelle Yeoh will voice Hippolyta because she would’ve been perfect in this role in live-action and would kill it here.

Ike Amadi returns as J’onzz, Kevin Michael Richardson would be Maxwell Lord Sr and Jinx to be voiced by Kelly Hu or Maggie Q.

As for the two most important, Chace Crawford would do a cracking job of bringing the humour and charm of Trevor.

As for Wonder Woman herself and it’s going to be hard to follow-up Rosario Dawson, but Sonoya Mizuno would be ideal. She’s a known name due to her performances in Devs, Crazy Rich Asians and Ex Machina. At the same time, she’d bring gravitas and a change of pass to see Diana talking different languages.

Green Lantern

This property speaks for itself as it should be Lethal Weapon in space and should have the same animation design as S: MoT.

The film centres around an experience Hal Jordan showing rookie John Stewart around his new sector. Only to battle an army of Manhunters who have kept Atrocitus as prisoner following the Massacre of Sector 666.

After freeing Atrocitus, he forms the Red Lantern Corps. With his rage, they overcome the Manhunters. The film ends with Jordan looking for answers from the Guardians and Stewart has to deal with the Red Lantern Corps and will ultimately join the Justice League.

For the voice of Jordan, Freddie Prinze Jr came to mind, and I think this would be a decent pick as he’s done a fantastic job as a mentor character Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars: Rebels.

The critical role is getting right is Stewart and if you want an actor to be joining the likes of Criss’ Supes and Mizuno’s Wonder Woman and that would be O’Shea Jackson Jr.

He has an incredible voice that could easily carry the film as well as being youthful enough to learn from Prinze’s Jordan.

As a nod to the past universe, Roger Cross (who voiced Stewart in brief moments) as Atrocitus and all the Manhunters can be voiced by John Noble as he would deliver some uneasiness to the robots.

The Flash

The Flash has had one film where he was the lead in Flashpoint Paradox. Honestly, this character deserves his due and get his own standalone film considering the popularity of the TV show and the upcoming movie.

You can keep the story simple (but not an origin) as it would be the Scarlet Speedster taking down the Rogues (Captain Cold, Golden Glider, Heat Wave, Mirror Master (Samantha Scudder) and Captain Boomerang).

This is the film at can follow-up S: MoT with Iris West talking with Barry Allen about (while researching Central City’s hero) The Superman in Metropolis, the craziness in Gotham but the biggest bombshell of Atlantis being revealed to the world.

There’s no mention of Eobard Thawne until the very end when he announced as head scientist at Star Labs.

This might be out there, but Cole Sprouse would do a decent job of handling the awkward and nerdy Barry Allen while injecting some of the dry humour he has.

Karen Fukuhara would be a fabulous Iris as would John Cho as Barry’s surrogate dad Joe West.

Image via REUTERS/Phil McCarten

As for the Rogues, I want an Aussie to play Captain Boomerang, and Travis Burns would bring the cocky yet loveable dickheadery to Digger Harkness. Jessica Williams as Mirror Master (watch Booksmart), for a curveball Donald Faison as Heatwave would be interesting to see as I’d love to see him dialled down in moments, but bring it when burning shit down.

Finally, as for Captain Cold and Golden Glider, I’d have Faison’s real best friend Zach Braff and Scrubs co-star Sarah Chalke as the brother and sister respectfully.

Aquaman

Ever since James Wan and Jason Momoa turned Aquaman into a billion-dollar blockbuster, it’s surprising to see the animation films haven’t jumped on the popularity.

The only issue is most animated films would’ve used the villains and storyline similar to the live-action movie.

Like Superman and Flash, this movie wouldn’t be an origin story. Instead, follow the Rebirth storyline (as teased in Flash) of Arthur Curry revealing Atlantis to the surface world.

But with that comes issues, continuing the groundwork laid by Man of Tomorrow of humans not welcoming outsiders and the fear that comes along with it.

It will play with the politics of it all, talking about the environment and Aquaman explaining the surface is destroying his homeland. Finally, when forced by Orm to choose between living above the waves or below it as King.

To make things worst Black Manta goes out and uses that fear to form a group to destroy everything and everyone Arthur loves and Orm uses the fear to unleash the Trench to Maine.

In the end, Aquaman choices his kingdom sickened by the surface worlds treatment of the Atlantians, even when they save them from the Trench.

As for voices, I think someone like Manu Bennett would kill it as the King of Atlantis and would continue the legacy of having Polynesian/Pacific Islanders as Aquaman and do a blend of his heritage and the classic design.

Manu Bennett performing the haka with Jason Momoa

For Black Manta, let’s bring back a legend within the DCA in Phil LaMarr. In comparison, Orm and Mera could be voiced by James Arnold Taylor (a truly wonderful voice actor and nails Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan) and Dominique McElligott (Queen Maeve in The Boys) respectively.

Batman

The last character before we have a Justice League is the Dark Knight because while I fully expect those leading the DC Animation could never leave Batman till this late as he’s the studios greatest asset.

However, because he’s so bankable, you can leave him till last and have him research the other heroes and make files to handle them if they were ever to become less heroic.

If we’re continuing the through-line of these movies, then maybe we’re focusing on a Year Three version of Bruce, he’s got his act together, and Gotham is entirely in chaos.

For the story, I’d use Bane coming into this broken city and bring it and Batman to its knees and using a version of the line from the I Am Bane Rebirth comic. The only difference is Harvey Dent hasn’t turned into Two-Face… yet. Yes, I would also base this off the I Am Bane comic.

We see the deadly nature of Bane; he breaks Catwoman, and he destroys Harvey’s life. He truly does bring Gotham down until Batman stops him till his dying breath and begins to hear his mother’s voice to join her. However, he tells her Gotham hasn’t been saved; he hasn’t finished honouring his word to his parents that he will stop once the city doesn’t need Batman.

When it comes to voicing Batman, it has the legacy of Kevin Conroy over the character’s head. Still, Jason O’Mara has done a fantastic job, and I’m looking forward to seeing what David Giuntoli does in Soul of the Dragon. If he does a cracking job, then I’m all for him carrying on.

However, it’s Batman so I’m sure WB/DC could get any actor, which is why (if a deal could be done) it would make sense and break DC Twitter if Karl Urban becomes the Caped Crusader.

Unless there’s a Dark Knight Returns live-action, this would be the Aussies time to shine and would bring a perfect balance to both sides of Bruce Wayne as we see him reaching his prime.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go left field and get Jay Hernandez as Bane because I’d love to see him to something completely different compared to his Magnum role and he was incredible as Diablo in Suicide Squad.

As for Harvey Dent/Two-Face, I have David Oyelowo in my head as someone who would bring the two sides of Harvey slowly transforming from Dent to the super-villain.

As the theme of bringing back old voices continues, I got Jennifer Carpenter (who voiced Selina in Batman: Gotham By Gaslight) or Jennifer Morrison (Batman: Hush) to continue their excellent work as Catwoman.

Finally, a John C. McGinley Commissioner Gordon would kick ass, Barbara Gordon would be introduced with Katherine McNamara and Alfred would be voiced by Gildart Jackson as he voices the character in the upcoming Gotham Knights game.

Justice League

So we have had our solo movies, now it’s time to bring the band together to stop an army of Manhunters destroying the Earth.

Following the events of Green Lantern, John Stewart is a wanted man for letting Atrocitus free and killing multiple Manhunters. He must pay for his crimes, and when the League join forces to help him, they’re also committing a crime and must be arrested or killed.

Throughout the film, the b-storyline is a secluded Aquaman not getting involved, and for good reason, until he sees Maine and more importantly, his dad’s bar getting attacked. He joins the fightback and with his help, the League overcome the Manhunters.

It ends with Stewart leaving Earth to talk to Hal and the Guardians to put an end to the Manhunters.

So that’s it my first three years, if they’re released twice a year, of this Rebirth Universe.

From there, I’d spread out the universe more with one League member film and a new addition like Suicide Squad, Teen Titans, R-rated Lobo and Green Arrow & Black Canary.

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