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If yesterday's leak is to be believed, we're getting seven more DC Universe films in the near future, led by Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Of course, it seems like that's only the tip of the iceberg... surely they'll be announcing more projects as the years go by, spurred on by the likely billion dollar success of Dawn Of Justice. The question is, who will take on these properties?
Among the announced films, we can guess that Justice League and Man Of Steel 2 are accounted for, likely films directed by Zack Snyder. With Sandman probably directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, that leaves Shazam, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern & The Flash without a director. We took those properties, as well as seven more, and tried to piece together who could turn them into blockbusters for DC and the WB.
Phil Lord And Chris Miller's ShazamDuring the press junket for 22 Jump Street, Phil Lord and Chris Miller confessed that they had been offered a superhero movie. Though they did not commit to it, they also didn't say no! And if the rumors are true and Shazamis set for a July 2016 release, they'd probably want to start assembling the pieces early and going out to directors. This seems like the best match for the duo because the concept – young Billy Batson says the magic word and is transformed into fully-grown adult Captain Marvel – is sure to be at least partly comedic, lending itself to not only gags about body swapping, but gags about gags about body swapping, one of the most overused tropes available.
Lexi Alexander's Wonder WomanAlexander hasn't been able to get work in mainstream Hollywood for two dumb, male-driven reasons. One, her dark and ferociously entertaining Punisher War Zone was unceremoniously dumped in December by Lionsgate with no promotion. And two, the former karate world champion (!) is notoriously outspoken about the lack of opportunities being given to women in the mainstream media. Wonder Woman is important not only because she's the premiere female hero, but because she needs to be completely distinct from her superhero counterparts. You shouldn't walk away from a Wonder Woman trailer thinking they've made just another superhero film. Alexander brings to the project the promise of grit, intensity, and a take-no-bullshit aggression.
Gil Kenan's Green Lantern And The FlashKenan actually had a hand in early (superior) drafts to 2011's Green Lantern, and a complete reworking and mangling of his work kept the Monster House director from taking any credit and having a big-time title on his resume. Here's the WB's chance to make it up – Kenan's style is heightened fantasy, with an emphasis on genre thrills instead of ponderous self-reflection or endless grit. If you want teens to like Green Lantern And The Flash? Go with anyone else. If you want kids to worship the characters and buy the toys? Kenan's your man.
Alex Rivera's AquamanShould Aquaman emerge from Justice League with a fancy new profile and his own movie, a filmmaker will be responsible for creating a whole new world underwater. The key to that could be recruiting a filmmaker who knew his limitations and still created a living breathing world. In this case, that will be a world almost completely underwater, ruled by a sure-to-be-gritty Arthur Curry, and stocked with its own never-ending nooks and crannies. Alex Rivera, who helmed the acclaimed sci-fi indie Sleep Dealer, would be the perfect fit for this project, a hot young (and cheap!) filmmaker with a love of genre and plenty on his mind.
Eran Creevy's The BatmanThis would be the second time the WB would be entrusting Gotham City with a British filmmaker. Creevy's a hard-edged crime filmmaker who last made last year's intense Welcome To The Punch. Creevy's style is secondary to his attitude, and with Ben Affleck onboard, Creevy would present a version of Batman that made Nolan's interpretation look like Educating Rita. Creevy's been on a ton of shortlists for stuff recently, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see someone lock him into a franchise.
William Eubank's ManhunterLost in the idiocy of David Goyer's recent She-Hulk comments was his dissing of Martian Manhunter, while adding that they should probably change his name to just Manhunter. That last suggestion actually works, however: the hero known as J'onn J'onzz is the only original Justice League member not listed in the original plans. But he's a great character deserving of a contemporary reboot, and he needs someone with a great visual imagination. Enter Eubank, fresh off the recent sci-fi indie The Signal. Eubank has a sleek, commercial style and an interest in sci-fi ideas that would be appropriate for this more cerebral character.
David Ayer's SuperMaxNow would be the PERFECT time to resurrect this long-dead David Goyer property. Goyer and Justin Marks penned the script, where Green Arrow is wrongly placed in prison and must defend himself against hordes of classic DC villains. And a good bet to capture that camaraderie between tough men in a tight spot is Ayer, the director of End Of Watch and the upcoming Fury. This thing has been in development for too long for being such a supposedly good script. Make this movie, and you can introduce all the villains you want into the DCU.
The Wachowskis' HawkmanLook, we're not gonna front – if anyone likes ridiculous costumes, ornate mythologies, and goofy names, it's the Wachowskis. Hawkman is a legendary Justice League member, and his history is loaded with contradictions and elaborate Egyptian folklore. It really seems like Jupiter Ascending is about to take a bath, so while formerly the Wachowskis could confidently reject doing a Superman movie, it seems very likely that they would beg for the chance to tell the story of one of comics' longest-running and most confusing characters, which has apparently already been in development at the WB.
Rian Johnson's NightwingThe rumors about Nightwing showing up in Dawn of Justice have quieted down as of late. But if the WB want to create a Gotham that's had a Batman for years, it only makes sense that Nightwing is out there as well, serving the citizens of Bludhaven. What's interesting about Nightwing is that he's even more ground-level than Batman, which means you can make a gritty movie that stands apart from the outer mythology while also incorporating fantastical elements to please fans. Johnson seems resistant to the lure of these films, but if you can sell him on something small, unique, and ultimately more upbeat that Batman, it'll be hard to say no.
Barry Sonnenfeld's Metal MenApparently this was one of the titles that could have been introduced with the rest of this recent DC lineup, though they opted not to for one reason or another. This could have easily been DC's Guardians of The Galaxy, however. The comic concerns a superteam made up of robots each comprised of a single metal, fighting the forces of evil with their mentor, Doc Magnus. There's a lot of big screen potential in the idea, both effects-wise and comedy-wise, particularly considering it lends itself more to live-action than it does comics. Sonnenfeld's been attached for awhile, and he's a good match for the material's high-adventure and silly comedy.