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Back in the summer of last year, one of the rumors that we kept hearing was that DC Films – ailing from the underperformance of Justice League – was considering not only a number of stand-alone projects as they continued to grow out their film footprint, but they were also looking at even building out a sort-of “Wonder Woman universe”. At the time, given that it was their big critical and financial hit, one could see why that might be the rumor du jour at the time.

Then Aquaman happened and made more money than any other DC movie ever. And so instead, it looks like the WB braintrust, Walter Hamada, etc…have decided to to instead apply the same spinoff formula that has recently permeated James Wan’s The Conjuring franchise, with a number of lower budget off-shoots like The Nun and the Annabelle films. Funny enough, the latter gave rise to David Sandberg, who graduated with the studio to direct this April’s Shazam!.

And so, springing out Aquaman will be The Trench, a horror-centered project written by Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald. Regardless of how you might have felt about Aquaman (it got a Rotten on the Tomatometer from me), just about every critic I’ve spoken with agreed that the descent into The Trench was the highlight of the film. A beautifully framed sequence that frankly took my breath away. And so, this is an intriguing prospect: a horror film set with the DC universe, that stars none of the cast of Aquaman. Could it be a superhero film that features no superheroes? I’d love to watch a movie about ordinary people living in this kind of fantastic universe and having to survive something as terrifying as these giant piranha men.

Things are really looking up for the DC Films team, and all it took was one mega-hit. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis have gotta be on Cloud 9 right now.

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