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Rarely does a day go by here on Cinema Blend without the reporting of at least one rumor about a major upcoming blockbuster. Be it about who is going to star or where the movie is going to film, Hollywood and its fans love stirring up any and all kinds of stories. But this week landed one of the biggest rumors that has ever come across our collective desks: the upcoming film slate for Warner Bros.’ DC Comics properties.

All in all, a total of six new projects were "revealed" to be following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, and the list contained weird surprise after weird surprise. Three movies a year coming for two straight years. No new Batman movie on the horizon. Shazam and Wonder Woman getting solo movies in the immediate future. Man of Steel 2 not happening until 2018. It was quite a lot to take in, and some of it was definitely more believable than other parts.

But which parts of the list rang truer than the others in the face of this rumor? Looking at all of the evidence that has been unveiled over the last few years, I’ve broken the whole thing down to determine which projects seem like absolute fact and which still sound a little like fiction.

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman – July 2017
Believability: 60%
Ever since Gal Gadot signed on to play Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, geeks have been debating whether or not she was the proper choice for the role. There have been arguments about her height and light frame, with some suggesting that there’s no way that the Israeli actress can look big enough on screen to match her comic book counterpart. While that will continue to be a fight amongst fans until we actually get our first look at Gadot in the Wonder Woman costume, there is another argument that really isn’t debatable: Gal Gadot is rather unproven as a performer compared to some of her Batman v Superman co-stars. And that’s why the future of the Wonder Woman may be a bit shakier than it appears.

When the details of Gadot’s Wonder Woman contract were revealed in January - proving to be a three picture contract, half the length of a standard Marvel Studios deal – it was said that part of the deal would include a solo movie for the character. The big question that hung in the air, however, was "When?" Trade reports said that Warner Bros. and DC were still wary about making a large commitment to both Gadot and her Wonder Woman because they still don’t know how audiences will react to her in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice… and nothing has really changed since.

It’s also hard not to question the July 2017 release date for the project just because of scheduling. If Wonder Woman is going to have a proper sized role in Justice League (as she damn well better), how the hell is Gadot also going to be the star of her very own movie that comes out just two months later? And if Justice League really does film back-to-back with Batman v Superman, does that mean Gadot will actually be making movies back-to-back-to-back? This would be more believable if we knew the Wonder Woman movie actually had a writer and director attached, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. We will almost certainly get a solo film eventually, but this feels it’s coming together just a bit too quickly to be real.
Shazam
Shazam – July 2016
Believability: 70%
We first heard rumblings about a possible Shazam movie at Warner Bros. and DC Comics all the way back in 2006 when director Peter Segal became attached to helm, but in case you didn’t notice, the film never actually got made. As Segal explains it, the lead character has simply always been seen as being too similar to Superman, and the presence of films like Superman Returns and Man of Steel have done their part to block the-hero-formally-known-as-Captain Marvel’s chance to be on the big screen. If the most recent announcements are to be believed, however, then that stigma is soon coming to an end… but can the announcements actually be believed?

While the idea of a Shazam movie by itself doesn’t send up a ton of alarms, the reported release date certainly does. July 2016 is just a couple months after the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and that film is already through pre-production and has already begun shooting. While the purported Shazam date is still more than two years away, it still has to meet a certain standard that DC is going for in terms of scale, and as far as we know the project doesn’t have a script or a director involved at this point.

What the film lacks in attached filmmakers, though, it could potentially make up in having extreme star power. Of all the rumored titles, few make more sense for Dwayne Johnson, who has been saying for months that he has a deal in the works at DC Comics and was actually once attached to play Black Adam in the Shazam movie. The star has given away clues regarding the identity of his in-the-works character, saying that he is A) Emotionally complex, B) Has never been in a feature before, and C) a "badass motherfucker" with powers on the level of Superman. Shazam fits all three of those criteria.
Flash and Green Lantern
Flash and Green Lantern – Christmas 2017
Believability: 80%
Part of embracing the cinematic universe mentality means that Warner Bros. and DC Comics will be soon testing the big screen waters with characters unrelated to Superman and Batman, and while Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern turned out to be a step in the wrong direction, that won’t be deterring them. Both Shazam and Wonder Woman look to be big steps in that direction, but apparently the companies won’t be limiting their heroes to just solo movies. Instead, team-ups are evidently a thing, and if reports are to be believed then we are about three and a half years away from Flash and Green Lantern.

Being positioned about seven months after the release of Justice League means that Flash and Green Lantern will be at least our second look at the new big screen versions of the characters. Like the case with Wonder Woman, this could potentially create some weird scheduling problems, as I imagine it would require the productions to have at least some overlap, but unlike Princess Diana of Themyscira there is at least some breathing room.

I totally buy that Warner Bros. and DC Comics want to make a movie featuring Green Lantern and Flash together, and they both have proven to be rather consistently popular characters over the years, but one can’t deny that the presence of this project puts quite a bit of pressure on both the casting process and Justice League. The Emerald Knight and the Scarlet Speedster are really going to have to stand out from the pack if they’re getting their own spin-off so quickly, and either one coming up as a dud could sink the team-up movie months before it comes out. The studio is going to have to pump up a lot of excitement with these two characters, so hopefully they’ll back it up with some really cool casting.
Sandman
Sandman – Christmas 2016
Believability: 90%
Amidst all this talk of the most well-known DC Comics characters, let’s quickly change gears to discuss the one movie in the rumored announcements that doesn’t actually deal with superheroes. Not to be confused with the Spider-Man villain of the same name, Sandman is indeed a DC Comics title, based on the critically-acclaimed comics by Neil Gaiman, but instead of being about aliens and vigilantes, it instead tells the story of the personification of all dreams and stories as he works to rebuild his kingdom after being imprisoned by an occult ritual for 70 years. Given that all of the other films in the works seem to be leading towards the inevitable Justice League, Sandman is definitely the odd ball in the bunch, but don’t let that fact undermine how real the project is quickly becoming.

Talk of a potential Sandman movie goes back years and years, but it was late last year that the film started moving towards real legitimacy. Word came down that Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer was interested in getting the adaptation moving, and then less than a month later word came down that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was eyeing both the starring role and the director’s chair. With those two names attached and screenwriter Jack Thorne attached to pen the script, there are a lot of reasons to believe that this movie will happen – even if it will end up proving one of the hardest comics of all time to adapt.

The engine definitely appears to be running on Sandman, but the question remains whether or not Christmas 2016 is actually doable. Three movies in one year isn’t even something Marvel Studios has tried yet, and it would be a huge move for DC Comics movies coming out of the gate. That said, time is definitely on this productions side at this point and it will be aided by the fact that it probably won’t require any crossover with the other titles currently in the works.
Man of Steel 2
Man Of Steel 2 – May 2018
Believability: 100%
When we first learned about the then-nicknamed Batman vs. Superman at San Diego Comic-Con last year, we were under the impression that it would operate in many ways as a direct sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Given everything that’s been happening since, though, it’s been pretty well established that the movie now has much bigger goals in mind. Rather than being a Man of Steel sequel, it appears to be more of a Justice League set up, moving the focus a little away from Supes to take a look at the lives of Batman, Wonder Woman and some other various characters in the DC Comics universe. So now, instead of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice holding the sobriquet "Man of Steel 2," those duties will instead fall to a different project that we apparently won’t see until 2018.

If the reported schedule is accurate, it means that there will be a full five years in between Superman solo movies, but it’s not like the character won’t be getting constant exposure in the years between. Appearing in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, 2017’s Justice League and 2018’s untitled Man of Steel 2 means that we will be getting to see movies three years in a row featuring the Man of Tomorrow. Sufice it to say, Henry Cavill has some very nice job security.

Man of Steel 2’s date may seem funny because it’s so far after Man of Steel, but from a storytelling perspective it actually makes quite a bit of sense. Zack Snyder’s first Superman movie introduced us to the character at the earliest stages of his heroics, and by the time the sequel rolls around we can assume that he will be a much different character. Both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League are promised to cause a lot of trauma and change for everyone’s favorite Kryptonian, and May 2018 could prove to be the perfect time to pick up with him in his own solo story.
Justice League
Justice League – May 2017
Believability: 100%
Marvel Studios changed the comic book movie world forever when they made The Avengers. They spent years building an entire Cinematic Universe and it culminated in 2012 when they released one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. It didn’t take long for other studios to try and start to ape the formula, with Sony starting to develop more and more Amazing Spider-Man movies, and the folks at Fox looking to try and find a way to bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four together. The event also finally got Warner Bros. and DC Comics to start seriously thinking about a Justice League, and now it appears to be a lock for 2017.

Let’s start by putting it this way: Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice doesn’t have that title because WB and DC are crossing their fingers for a crossover with the Planet of the Apes franchise. The two companies really want to get their Justice League movie made, and they’re well on their way to doing that. Zack Snyder is already attached to direct, and the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight will reportedly be joined by a number of other heroes in Batman v Superman, including Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and more.

May 2017 sounds like a perfect release date window for Justice League, but the question that remains is when the film will actually shoot – given that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is getting nearly three years to move through production. The obvious solution is to film the two movies back-to-back, albeit that’s operating with the assumption that the script for Justice League will be in a proper place by the time that needs to go before cameras. If the goal really is to have Justice League ready for summer 2017 then we can presume that the studio is going through drafts like paper towels right now.
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