DC Studios announced two major DC Universe animated movies for 2024 based on the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen comics.
The announcement came as part of the festivities during the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2023. This confirms the rumor previously reported of plans for a big Crisis on Infinite Earths animated project, which came soon after DC Studios Co-CEO and filmmaker James Gunn announced their DC Universe slate. However, the inclusion of an animated version of Watchmen comes as a welcome surprise.
The announcement from the presentation panel at SDCC 2023 was shared via the official DC Studios social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram.
— DC (@DCOfficial) July 22, 2023
Interestingly, the animated adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths has the official title of Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths. This indicates that the plot of the animated film will center on the Justice League. But which Justice League will it be?
Although likely the version will be the new animated version (referred to by fans as the Tommorowverse) as seen in the recent Justice League: Warworld movie, it is also possible that this may center on the famous DCAU version seen in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. But being a multiversal epic, it is likely multiple versions of the Justice League from various media will be involved. Perhaps even the DC Extended Universe version of the Justice League from the Zack Snyder film will make an appearance.
Note that Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths includes the tag "DC Universe Movie”. DC Studios Co-CEO James Gunn has mentioned in multiple instances after taking over the reins from the previous management that the 10-year plan is to tie together the DC Universe under one umbrella, whether it is live action, animation, or video games and other media. An example of this already in early production is the upcoming Creature Commandos animated series, which will be canon in the new DC Universe.
Meanwhile, other stories that are based on DC properties that do not directly fall under the DC Universe would be tagged as under Elseworlds, as in the case of Matt Reeves’s The Batman film and its spinoffs and Todd Phillips’s Joker movies.
On that note, the Watchmen project announced is tagged as DC Animated Movie. Does this indicate that the film is not part of the DC Universe umbrella? This would make sense as, while the Watchmen IP is owned by DC Comics, that world’s story really only works as its own compartmentalized reality, with Doctor Manhattan being the only super-powered being and other costumed characters are merely vigilantes with a gimmick.
Both Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen were influential comic book stories during the 1980s. Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez was crucial in establishing big event comics that led to sweeping changes in continuity and reality. Meanwhile, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons helped usher in the more literary and serious approach on the superhero genre with Watchmen.
But with Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths coming in 2024, could this be the opportunity that James Gunn and Peter Safran will use to fully reboot the DC Universe? While The Flash included hints and elements taken from Flashpoint, the ending was rather unsatisfactory in setting up the move from the DCEU to the DCU.
As for Watchmen, it is interesting to note that Zack Snyder already did a live-action feature film based on it, but took liberties with the story, particularly the climax that led to Doctor Manhattan leaving the Earth. Could the new DC animated film be more loyal to the events in the comic book maxi-series?
No exact release date has been given for 2024’s Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen. Justice League: Warworld will have a VOD/Digital release on July 25, 2023.