The Phrase ‘The DC Extended Universe’ Started Out as a Joke
It seems like everything is cinematic universes these days. Marvel has had the MCU for a while now, Universal launched their “Dark Universe” this summer with The Mummy, the CW’s DC television shows are all set in the same universe and periodically crossover, and Riverdale is steadily building itself a family of future spinoffs. DC and Warner Bros. also have the DC Extended Universe — a.k.a. the DCEU — but no one at DC Entertainment or in the Warners offices uses that phrase… because no one officially calls it that.
This morning, Vulture published a fascinating in-depth investigation into DC’s attempt to rebrand their filmic universe after the disaster of Batman v. Superman and the wild success of Wonder Woman. Abraham Riesman, who wrote the piece, shared an interesting tidbit on his Twitter that he learned while reporting the story: no one internally at DC or Warner Bros. uses the term, and it’s not official. So he did some research of his own to try to see who had originated it.
When he tracked down the article’s author, Keith Staskiewicz, he told Riesman he’d just made it up as a joke.
So… what now? Well, media reporters, such as yours truly, will probably keep using the term until DC comes up with a better one (I don’t think they actually have a name for their cinematic universe, and I’ve never seen any official alternative proposed). But, that’s wild that it all originated because of a joke, and now everyone who talks about these movies refers to them that way. Maybe DC will adopt the name, purely out of efficiency — but it doesn’t sound like that’s at the forefront of their minds.