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After years of watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe slowly build into the powerhouse that it is today, now it is time for DC Comics to do the same. Teaming up with Warner Bros., the company began an incredible journey in 2013 with the release of Man of Steel and continued with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Much like how Marvel worked towards making the first Avengers movie, however, DC’s ultimate goal is to make a Justice League film – and we are now well on the way to not just seeing that happen, but a sequel for that film as well.
Just like we have with many of the other major blockbusters set to come out over the next few years, we have researched and gathered as much information about the development of the Justice League movies as we could possibly find to try and put together a picture of what we can expect from the superhero team up movie in the coming years. What do we know about the films thus far? Read on to find out!
What Is The Justice League Release Date?Rather than start off slow and only work on one Justice League movie at a time, Warner Bros opted to double down and announce both Justice League: Part One and Justice League: Part Two at the same time. Part One will hit theaters on November 17, 2017, and Part Two will follow two years later, on June 14, 2019. That said, don’t automatically assume that the movies will have a continuous narrative like what Marvel is doing with the Avengers: Infinity War movies.
What Is The Justice League Rating?So far all of the DC movies have been rated PG-13, and we don’t expect the Justice League movies to be any different. There will be some intense violence, maybe some suggestive material and a few curse words sprinkled here and there. That said, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out with an R-rated cut this summer on home media, and this film was also directed by Zack Snyder. So there’s always a chance that, if not both, one of these movies could be given a similar treatment depending on the material being shot that doesn’t make it into the theatrical release.
What Is The Justice League Story?Obviously Justice League: Part One will see the team forming, but it’s possible that Justice League: Part Two may serve as a more standard sequel, i.e. the team deals with a new threat while following up on some of the elements from the first movie. On the other hand, Warner Bros. might want to deliver a more epic superhero tale by pitting the Justice League against something so great that it will take two movies to achieve victory. We’ll have to wait and see.
Zack SnyderAfter helming Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, director Zack Snyder is returning to oversee both Justice League movies, arriving in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Meanwhile, few official details have actually come out about Justice League: Part One and Part Two. Following Warner Bros. bringing him aboard to write Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Argo’s Chris Terrio is also writing both of the Justice League movies, though presumably Snyder has a good amount of creative and story input, having played a huge role in getting the DC Cinematic Universe to the place where it is right now.
Following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s poor critical reception, it’s unclear whether Snyder retains the same amount of creative control as the previous two movies or if he’s working more closely with other creative minds behind the scenes (like producers George Miller and Ben Affleck). Either way, the Justice League movies will be DC’s biggest movies yet, so extra care needs to be taken with them.
SupermanAfter debuting as Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel, Henry Cavill reprised the role in 2016 for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although the Kryptonian hero initially clashed with the Caped Crusader, by the climax of the movie they were working with Wonder Woman to defeat Doomsday. Unfortunately, the monster was so powerful that Superman was forced drive Batman’s Kryptonite spear into its chest himself. Doomsday died and so did Superman…or so it seemed at first. At the end of the movie, the dirt above Clark’s casket began to levitate, hinting at his eventual resurrection. Cavill has since been seen on the Justice League: Part One set, so we know he’ll be featured in that and the sequel, though how Superman will be brought back to life is still a mystery.
Since plans to make Man of Steel 2 have reportedly stalled for the foreseeable future, these Justice League movies are going to be Superman’s only chance to shine in the DCEU post-2016 until Warner Bros. makes a change to the DC film slate.
BatmanAfter spending years with Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s incarnation of Batman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced Ben Affleck’s version of the Caped Crusader, who has been fighting crime for 20 years when the movie begins. Thanks to his paranoia and dreams of an apocalyptic future, Batman believed Superman was a threat to humanity and set out to eliminate him. By the end of the movie, he realized he’d made a mistake and while he failed the Man of Steel in life, he won’t fail him in death. Batman will return for Suicide Squad and possibly Wonder Woman, but Justice League: Part One will see him traveling around the world to recruit the metahumans he learned about to form a team to protect Earth.
In addition to appearing on camera, Ben Affleck was also named as an executive producer on Justice League: Part One. That means he’ll have creative input behind the scenes to make this movie the best it can be. Batman is also expected to appear in Justice League: Part Two, and either before or after that, he’ll star in his own movie, which Affleck is also directing and co-writing with Geoff Johns.
Wonder WomanShe may not be mentioned in the title of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but Wonder Woman, played by Israeli Fast & Furious star Gal Gadot, proved to be an integral player in the movie. This version of Wonder Woman is taking a lot of cues from her New 52 counterpart, and from what we’ve seen of her in stills and footage, she’s a major badass. Following her big appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she’s starring in her own solo movie, set for release in June 2017, which will help set up Justice League: Part One. There, we will learn about her first trip to "man’s world" during World War I and the reason she became disillusioned with humanity prior to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Wonder Woman seemed amenable to assisting Batman in helping protect the world to make up for Superman’s absence, but when Justice League: Part One kicks off, that’s when her Amazon warrior skills will be most valued, regardless of what the threat is. Following this, Wonder Woman will return for Justice League: Part Two, and by then she’ll likely have a closer relationship with her fellow superheroes.
Green LanternGreen Lantern got off to a bad start in the feature world, with Martin Campbell’s 2011 film both failing to perform with critics and audiences. Still, the character is certainly one of the biggest names in DC Comics, and it’s impossible to believe that Warner Bros. would write him off completely. Sure enough, that won’t be the case for the DCEU.
Before we see multiple Green Lanterns fly across the big screen in 2020’s Green Lantern Corps, the ring slinger will join the Justice League, though his recruitment isn’t expected to happen until Part Two. However, we don’t know whether it will be Hal Jordan or John Stewart wearing the ring, but considering how important Green Lantern has been to the Justice League’s history on both the printed page and other media, it’s hard not having an Emerald Knight on the team.
The FlashAs popular on the page as The Flash has been, he has sadly never gotten his time to shine on the feature stage. He’s had much more success on the small screen from his one-season 1990 show and the enormously popular CW series that spun out of Arrow, but now he’s finally getting his chance to shine on the big screen. The Stanford Prison Experiment’s Ezra Miller is making his full debut as the Scarlet Speedster in Justice League: Part One, but moviegoers got their first look at him when he cameoed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Miller’s Barry Allen popped up in the movie twice twice. The first time was a future version of himself delivering a cryptic warning to Bruce Wayne in one of those freaky dreams. His present day self was later seen on security footage quickly foiling a convenience store robbery. While both appearances teased how powerful he is, we still have yet to see him in his classic costume. Following Justice League: Part One, Miller’s Barry Allen will lead his own movie in March 2018, but don’t worry, he’s expected to race back for Justice League: Part Two. Just don’t get your hopes up about one day seeing Miller’s Flash and Grant Gustin’s Flash team up together in a Flash of Two Worlds-style crossover.
AquamanAquaman has spent an unfortunate number of years as a punchline in the comic book world, his powers mocked for being more limited than some of his fellow heroes, but DC is on the path of completely turning that reputation around. The Aquaman books in the New 52 line are considered some of the best titles in the series, and the character has been reinvented to a certain degree to be much more of a badass. The next big step for improving his image is finally getting him on the big screen, and we won’t have to wait long for that.
Former Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa debuted as DC’s (eventual) King of Atlantis in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where we saw footage of him destroying a remote-controlled camera underwater before swimming away at super sonic speed. We’ll see him fully in action for Justice League: Part One, and the movie may also provide our first look at Atlantis. Following that, Aquaman will star in his own solo movie in July 2018, and then he’ll be back for Justice League: Part Two. As you can tell from the official image of him, movie Aquaman looks much more intense than his comic book counterpart, and Momoa has promised that once this iteration of the character is seen on screen again, no one will make any more Aquaman jokes.
ShazamWhile most of the superheroes we’ve heard suggested as being a part of Justice League make plenty of sense thanks to their name recognition and presence in popular culture, Shazam is kind of the odd duck. Moviegoers will hear Billy Batson shout the magic word when Shazam hits theaters in April 2019, and the movie will feature the World’s Mightiest Mortal going up against Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s Black Adam.
However, unlike the other DC heroes getting their own movies, there’s been no indication that he’ll be part of the Justice League. At this point, chances are slim that he’ll even appear in Justice League: Part One, but if the team opens up its ranks in Part Two, maybe he’ll be drafted in. If that doesn’t work out, then maybe other potential sequels will let him finally team up with his fellow DC do-gooders, though the other heroes may not be keen on eventually finding out that Shazam is actually a ten year old boy.
CyborgIn the comics, Cyborg, was classically known as a member of the group known as the Teen Titans, but ever since DC Comics rebooted its universe with The New 52 that story has changed. The character – real name Victor Stone – is now a full-fledged member of the Justice League, that version of the narrative is being adapted for live action. Broadway actor Ray Fisher was cast as Cyborg
Like Aquaman and Flash, Cyborg was the subject of one of Lex Luthor’s metahuman files. Just like his comic book counterpart, his body was almost destroyed in a tragic accident, and his father, scientist Silas Stone, was at a loss as to how to heal him. He finally found the key in a Mother Box, an alien supercomputer used on New Genesis and Apokolips, which reformed a new body for Victor and turned him into Cyborg. Now Victor has all sorts of high tech tools and weaponries on his person, but the Mother Box in his system may hold the key to defeating whatever threat the Justice League has to defeat in the near future. Following both Justice League movies, Cyborg will lead his own big screen adventure in April 2020.
Martian ManhunterWhen the Justice League was introduced in the late 1950s, J’onn J’onzz, a.k.a. the Martian Manhunter, helped found the team, and in the decades following was one of its most treasured members. However, with the New 52 reboot, his status as a founding member was taken by Cyborg, and although he still has some history with the Justice League in this new universe, he’s not nearly as prominent as he used to be. Evidently this is the same case for the DC Extended Universe (as this franchise is called), as there’s been no announcement of Martian Manhunter being adapted for live action, but there’s still hope.
Assuming the cinematic Justice League eventually expands its ranks, we can only hope that he’ll be their first new recruit. With abilities like flight, super strength, shapeshifting, intangibility and more, he’s a powerhouse that would be invaluable during battles. Who knows, maybe following Justice League: Part Two the Martian superhero could be given his own movie. In the meantime, J’onn is one of the main characters on the Supergirl TV series (played by David Harewood), so fans are still getting to see him in live action on the small screen.
The VillainUnfortunately, we still don’t know for sure which villain from the DC universe will be antagonizing the Justice League in either of their movies. It was rumored in the latter half of 2014 that Brainiac would be the main antagonist in Justice League: Part One, while Darkseid (pictured above) would take over this post in Justice League: Part Two. The latest reports indicate Darkseid’s top general, Steppenwolf, will invade Earth Justice League: Part One to battle the team and possibly find three Mother Boxes. Again, though, none of this has been officially confirmed
Considering how prominently Darkseid has been featured in Justice League stories and how Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice alluded to his existence, it’s inevitable that the Lord of Apokolips will eventually fight the team, be it in the first movie or second. Whether Darkseid attacks first or Steppenwolf paves the way for him, it will take everything the superhero team has (and then a little more) to simply prevent him from destroying our planet. As for Brainiac, he’s also powerful enough to battle the Justice League on his own, though if Warner Bros reconsiders making Man of Steel 2, he might be better suited taking on just Superman.
Other CharactersThe Justice League movies are going to include more than just the main heroes and some antagonists. As with most stories, there will also be supporting characters, and we already know some of the people who will be involved in Part One. J.K. Simmons, previously known among comic book enthusiasts as J. Jonah Jameson in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, is succeeding Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon. He’ll only have a small role, but he may have a bigger presence in future DC movies. Since Batman has been active for two decades at this point, it’s assumed that he and Gordon already have a working relationship, though something may have happened before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that led to a disagreement.
Amber Heard will also be playing Mera, Atlantean warrior and Aquaman’s love interest. However, at this point in the DCEU, she won’t be queen of Atlantis yet, so that honor will likely be bestowed upon her in Aquaman. Willem Dafoe has also been cast as a yet-to-be-named character, and our only clues toward his identity is that he may be a good guy and an Atlantean. Knowing the characters Dafoe usually plays, we wouldn’t be surprised if this person ends up betraying the superheroes and going to the dark side. Beyond these three, other characters have been rumored for Justice League: Part One (like Black Canary), but they have yet to be confirmed by Warner Bros.
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