Third time’s the charm? DC’s long-gestating project about the alien mercenary could finally happen.

The comic book movie train just keeps chugging along. But not all cinematic universes operate as well-oiled machines — at least not in the case of DC. Warner Bros.’ rapid shift away from Zack Snyder’s DC Extended Universe footprint is almost amusing and maybe a little sad for some. Yesterday, we reported that Joaquin Phoenix is eyed to play The Joker in a film under a separate DC umbrella that has nothing to do with the Suicide Squad continuity that stars Jared Leto.

On the same day that that story broke, The Wrap reported that one of DC’s long-gestating film projects is eyeing a new, high-profile director: explosions extraordinaire Michael Bay. A movie will be based on the character Lobo, an alien who works as an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. The project, which has been in development at Warner Bros. for years, has changed hands between Brad Peyton (San Andreas) and Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes), and now the studio is thinking about bringing Bay on board to direct from a script by Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman).

As The Wrap aptly points out, as far as character arcs go, Lobo sounds a lot like Deadpool. Tim Miller’s Deadpool brought about a huge revival for the X-Men franchise and even earned itself a few accolades along the way. With a freshly released Deadpool 2 trailer hitting this week, the timing for a Lobo movie announcement could not be more spot on, because there’s nothing like healthy competition between franchises… if only people — including studio executives — had more faith in DC creations. I just don’t know if Lobo would reignite the same fire for DC that Deadpool did for Fox.

The fact that Warner Bros. placed so much stock on Zack Snyder’s vision for a DC film universe did fail them. But their lack of control in many other areas of the DCEU — rushing Suicide Squad and ruining a perfectly good villain team-up film, bringing Joss Whedon into Justice League so late in the game and creating a muddy, lukewarm film — was never promising. As someone who likes the DCEU (or maybe the concept of it, at this point), I understand how it can be frustrating to see people pick apart every single thing about it.

However, the fact remains that there have been some glaring instances of messy planning in WB’s attempt to quickly form a cinematic universe; much of their schedule seems reactionary at best. Wonder Woman obviously broke the mold. But both the initial announcement about an umpteenth movie featuring The Joker and a Lobo adaptation don’t seem to fit into a long-term franchise. Sure, it’s primed to be something “separate” from the DCEU entirely, but hitting the reset button constantly is such a tired approach.

Perhaps we’re just primed to think that way now, because of how the past few years have gone for DC and Warner Bros. People don’t necessarily question the inclusion of the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore, but it was once a confusing strategy, too. Marvel doesn’t always hit movies out of the park either, but their general track record feels more secure. DC is constantly shifting gears without much stable footing.

For me, the allure of characters like Deadpool and Lobo is kind of gone. Couple that with the kinds of movies Michael Bay tends to direct and a Lobo movie can get very unappealing very fast. Of course, this is all a matter of taste and opinion — Deadpool did well by capturing the essence of his actual comic counterpart, and a lot of people are super hyped about the sequel that’s coming this May. But very few people still care about Bay’s Transformers franchise. I guess Bay has done other movies and could feasibly draw an action crowd to cinemas. But a Lobo film set up to be forgettable in this way is not something DC should be doing.

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