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DC Comics and Warner Bros. dropped a hell of a bombshell this week announcing release dates for films spanning between 2016 and 2020. While it's not as extensive as Marvel's current line up, it looks like a good start for the comic book company's efforts to create a DC Cinematic Continuum.
While there were previously rumored release dates and titles "secured" in the name of DC's future, the release dates have "changed" - which means it's time to go through the calendar for the next six years and begin to predict what Justice League picture goes where, and which Wonder Woman movie gets released when. So get ready for the newly revised and heavily speculated line up for DC's Cinematic Continuum! Let's start with the obvious, shall we?
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – March 25, 2016Why It Should Be This Movie: Besides the fact that this movie was already scheduled, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice should be the film to kick things off for two reasons. First, it continues the story that Man Of Steel already put into motion, with Superman's existence becoming public knowledge. With Batman and Wonder Woman also in operation during this film's events, it builds the pillars of the DC Trinity and prepares the stage for the eventual Justice League film (hence the Dawn of Justice tagline). Heroes, villains, and the DC Continuum are all put into motion and ready to begin a long term odyssey in storytelling.
What Plot It Might Follow: A massive threat, greater than Batman or Superman's singular might, has made itself known. Both heroes, accustomed to fighting crime on their own terms and by themselves, attempt to put an end to this threat – and fail. Their egos fractured, they turn on each other and engage in a battle that will surely kill them, if their enemies don't kill them, then they just might kill each other first. Thankfully, our heroes will eventually get over their differences, and will team together with Wonder Woman to usher in the first era of heroes. Heroes will unite, evil will take note, and the world will see the dawn of justice.
Wonder Woman – August 5, 2016Why It Should Be This Movie: For decades, Warner Bros had depended on their most popular characters, Batman and Superman, to anchor their DC Comics films, with a couple of disastrous forays into other lesser known characters balancing out their somewhat consistent (if not limited) efforts. Wonder Woman, however, is a perfect combination of both strategies, as she's a top tier member of the Justice League who's never had the chance to shine on her own in a motion picture. Batman doesn't need introduction and Superman has just been re-introduced in a more modern context. It's time to complete the DC Trinity by giving Princess Diana of Themyscira her due.
What Plot It Might Follow: After the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Princess Diana of Themyscira adopts the identity Diana Prince and starts to study human behavior. Throughout her journey, we get to know her homeland and the ways of her people (the Amazonians) through relevant flashbacks. Of course, it isn't long before her people try to convince her to come home, and along for the ride will be none other than Steve Trevor – the man assigned to keep tabs on her by the US government. After some close calls, and a battle of epic proportions, Wonder Woman is reluctantly allowed to exist in both worlds. For now.
Justice League – June 23, 2017Why It Should Be This Movie: The Avengers 3 won't be out until 2018, which means it's time for DC to make their first move into a connected continuum of Justice League films. With Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all in place on the big screen, it's time for Lex Luthor to team up with at least one other DC Universe villain to create a big enough threat to the world that a whole team of superheroes would be needed to combat it. Origins are already out of the way; it's time to kick start the action into motion.
What Plot It Might Follow: Lex Luthor, in a bid to control and manipulate the world's information, develops a software program that becomes sentient. Unbeknownst to him, Brainiac is actually an intelligence that hitched a ride with Superman's shuttle and slowly rebuilt itself using Luthor's software. Now poised to take control of the world's computer systems, as well as all robotics and electronics of any sort, the Justice League is going to need all sorts of disciplines at their disposal to combat the threat. Before its eventual defeat, Brainiac will compromise humanity by signaling their existence to any intelligence looking for a fight.
Shazam – November 17, 2017Why It Should Be This Movie: Stage 2 of the DC Cinematic Continuum should start to focus on more characters that may or may not have been introduced in the previous stage, while at the same time revisiting previously established characters. In the case of Shazam, DC will be revisiting an old character that they haven't touched for quite some time. Considering the fact that Shazam happens to have a very child centric story, DC has a chance to diversify where Marvel hasn't. They could have their first superhero film more directed at kids.
What Plot It Might Follow: Billy Batson and his foster siblings are a rag tag band of children who admire heroes, but are far from heroic themselves. That is, until they are selected by a mystical force to embody the powers of Wisdom, Strength, Stamina, Speed, Power, and Courage. Naturally, with new powers come new enemies, and for their first adventure they'll face the antithesis of their mighty powers: Black Adam. The villain will have a fight ahead of him against the powers of Shazam.
Man Of Steel 2– March 23, 2018Why It Should Be This Movie: Man Of Steel started off the current round of DC Comics movies, but, again, this is a character we know a lot about. Much like Batman before him, Superman doesn't need too much exposure too soon. However, just because he's been around the block a couple of times doesn't mean the public doesn't ever want to see him again. I imagine this point in the continuity is one where Clark Kent can start to focus on trying to find out more about his family, his home planet, and his newly minted arch-nemesis.
What Plot It Might Follow: After the containment and "de-clawing" of Brainiac, Superman continues to use his vast stores of knowledge to learn more about where he came from and who his father was. While Superman is learning more about the Kryptonians, Brainiac is learning more about Superman. As it turns out, Lex Luthor and Brainiac are still working together, as Luthor is trying to locate enough Kryptonite to take down Superman once and for all. Loyal to neither master, Braniac is looking to return with a vengeance, and Luthor learns this the hard way when he loses all of his hair (yup, we’ll have to wait for this moment).
Batman: Under The Red Hood – July 27- 2018Why It Should Be This Movie: At this point it will have been six years between The Dark Knight Rises and this release date. With Batman popping up here and there for continuity, July 2018 would be a good time to make a movie for the character everyone's been dying to see back in his own solo adventure. His origin story is out of the way, and the previous films have laid down the tracks for a story of pure action and suspense. This means it's time to bring out the big guns, as well as a familiar character and story that's never been touched on the big screen. It also helps that this is the old July slot that Christopher Nolan's films used to occupy.
What Plot It Might Follow: Dealing with his new found status as a well-known crime fighter, Bruce Wayne remains haunted by the day that Jason Todd (one of the former Robins) was brutally murdered by The Joker. For the first time in years, Dick Greyson/Nightwing has made contact with the Caped Crusader to try and solve a mystery that's been unraveling on the streets of Gotham City. The mystery will force Bruce to reconcile the past with the present, if he ever expects to answer the question that everyone is asking: who's under The Red Hood?
Flash/Green Lantern – April 5, 2019Why It Should Be This Movie: After The Flash being on TV and Green Lantern's abysmal failure far enough behind to make a new start (not to mention their assumed inclusion in Justice League), 2019 is a time for these two heroes to make their "solo" feature film debut/revival. What's better, Warner Bros can pioneer the double-handed superhero film, a model that Marvel hasn't yet contemplated fully executing. Think of it as a buddy cop superhero film! With an April release date, the field should be relatively unoccupied and perfect for experimentation. This means that the opportunity for a superhero comedy of sorts would be too good to pass up, especially with these two particular heroes being on the lighter side of the spectrum.
What Plot It Might Follow: Hal Jordan is a smart mouthed, wise cracking ladies man. Barry Allen is an analytic mind who could use an adventure or two. When both meet through their tenure in the Justice League, they never thought they'd ever work together in the slightest. Yet somehow, the fates have thrown a villain their way that fits their general skill sets. If they can learn a lesson from each other, instead of pick at the other's flaws, they might stand a chance against the bad guys. If not... they could always call Batman!
Wonder Woman 2* (*pending success of Wonder Woman 1) – June 14, 2019Why It Should Be This Movie: Wonder Woman may not have a great cinematic presence now, but by 2019 she will have been featured in three different films – including her own solo adventure. At this point, her brand will be ready to be capitalized upon. The idea of female superheroes getting their own solo films won’t be that much of an alien concept either, with Sony having already pulled one off in their Amazing Spider-Man universe (not to mention constant chatter on the matter by Marvel). If all goes according to plan, DC Comics will have the advantage in diversifying the load of heroes their audience is watching on the big screen, and that could really begin with a Wonder Woman 2.
What Plot It Might Follow: After a period of adjusting to life on "Earth", Diana has become accustomed to our ways and is adapting mostly fine. Just as she's settled into the role of a proper Justice League member/dutiful civil servant, a stranger comes to town - a very alien stranger who has a keen interest in bringing Diana back to her Amazonian home. This stranger is none other than Martian Manhunter, recently recruited member of the rival Justice League Of America. With Wonder Woman back in Themyscira, one would think that the Justice League would fall apart. Then again, who said Diana was going anywhere?
Aquaman– April 3, 2020Why It Should Be This Movie: It's experimentation time, and with another April release date, it's time to break out another new hero in the DC Cinematic Continuum. By this time, Aquaman should already be introduced into the gang, as well as settled his score in reference to the mass aquatic destruction from Man Of Steel. With Jason Momoa being heavily rumored to be the choice for the film, putting Aquaman this deep in the line-up gives him more time to build his physique, as well as get himself in swimming shape. Also, no one's really clamoring for an Aquaman movie just yet, so DC will have all of that lead time to make a majority of fans into believers.
What Plot It Might Follow: Born of two worlds, that of the ocean and the land, Arthur Curry gives up his place in the kingdom of Atlantis to save the world from itself. With the kingdoms of space and the Amazon at peace with representatives being present in the Justice League, Aquaman is the final holdout. Try as he might, he can't seem to leave Atlantis at first – but a change in Atlantian society, and a plot against the royal family force Arthur to seek refuge above the waves. Whether he'll stay there or not depends on if he can get to the bottom of who wants the throne, and if he can live with the answers he uncovers.
Justice League 2– June 19, 2020Why It Should Be This Movie: We end the timeline with the second Justice League film taking its bow. In roughly the same span that a phase of Marvel's Cinematic Universe will span, Warner Bros could have a viable hub franchise of their own that not only runs successfully, but does so in the years that The Avengers are taking a rest. Incorporating the heroes we've been introduced to in the past couple of films, as well as recruiting some new blood, Justice League 2 will set up even more excitement for the next stage in DC's Cinematic Continuum!
What Plot It Might Follow: LexCorp announces a huge merger (read: hostlie takeover) of Maxwell Lord's business holdings. While looking like a good sport about it on the outside, Lord is boiling with anger on the inside, and has sided with Luthor's nemesis, Superman – or at least he thinks he's sided with the last son of Krypton, who in reality rejects any part of Lord's ultimate scheme to wreak havoc on Lex Luthor, and thus take control of his vast fortune. Naturally, when you've messed with one member of the Justice League, you've messed with them all, and the stage is set for the creation of the Legion of Doom, and the showdown of the century.