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Since 2008, Marvel Studios has built up their cinematic universe with some of the most popular movies being produced in Hollywood, and for much of that time DC Comics and Warner Bros. have doing everything in their power to create a franchise that exists on a similar level. We have been watching a new cinematic era for the brand play out going back to the release of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel in 2013, and while there have been certain ups and downs during that period, work is still being done. It’s not the original DC Extended Universe as anybody planned it, but there is still an interesting future waiting to unfold for Superman, Batman, and company.
So what are the titles that are going to help fans dive into this vast comic book world? Who are the filmmakers making the movies, and who will be starring? Well, we've organized all that information for you below, so read on to have your big questions answered!
Wonder Woman 1984 – June 5, 2020
To the surprise of only the few who couldn't understand the potential of a female-driven superhero movie, Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman was a monster hit when it was released in the summer of 2017, and as a result a sequel was quickly given the green light. Jenkins will be back at the helm, and the story will be taking the titular Amazonian hero to America - specifically during the year 1984 (if that wasn't obvious already from the title).
There are still many mysteries surrounding the plot of Wonder Woman 1984, but Patty Jenkins has noted that the year simultaneously featured both the best and worst of humanity on the global scale. Gal Gadot will be back in her classic armor for the adventure as Wonder Woman, while (surprisingly) Chris Pine will also be back as the formerly-dead Steve Trevor. Kristin Wiig will be playing one of the central villains of the film, the classic Wonder Woman antagonist Cheetah (though she starts the story as Diana's nerdy gal pal Barbara Minerva), and Pedro Pascal is playing Maxwell Lord – a scrupulous business man who is selling people their dreams... but for a horrible cost.
The Batman – June 25, 2021
The Batman is a project that has certainly had more than its fair share of ups and downs. At one point this was to be a film directed by Ben Affleck and would have featured the titular hero going up against Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke – but that’s not at all the form in which the movie now exists. Instead, director Matt Reeves is now at the helm, and the franchise has decided to go in a totally new direction with the Caped Crusader, specifically by hiring Robert Pattinson to play the new big screen version of Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman.
Details about what we can expect from the plot have been vague, but it’s been said that there is a plan to showcase the Dark Knight’s detective skills unlike any previous big screen adventure for the character. Reeves has brought together a fantastic ensemble of actors for The Batman, as Pattinson will be joined in the cast by Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman; Paul Dano as The Riddler; Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon; John Turturro as Carmine Falcone; Peter Sarsgaard Gil Colson; Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál; Andy Serkis as Alfred; and Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot.
The Suicide Squad – August 6, 2021
Although David Ayer's Suicide Squad was not exactly critically-acclaimed, the film was definitely still successful enough to warrant a sequel. And what's more, the DC Extended Universe has dipped into the Marvel Studios talent pool to help get the film made. After being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Disney, it was revealed that Warner Bros. pursuedJames Gunn to write the script for Suicide Squad 2, and after a long period of speculation he signed on to direct it as well (even after making amends at rejoining the production of the Marvel Studios project).
Similar to The Batman, the blockbuster will be titled The Suicide Squad, and it’s been said that it won’t really be a direct follow-up to Ayer’s movie, and instead something that just takes the premise in a different direction while still featuring some of the same characters. Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis, and Joel Kinnaman are all set to return as Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Amanda Waller, and Rick Flag, respectively, and David Dastmalchian, John Cena, Daniela Melchior and Steve Agee will be playing Polka-Dot Man, Peacemaker, Ratcatcher, and King Shark. Idris Elba is signed on in a mystery role, as have Storm Reid, Flula Borg, Nathan Fillion, Peter Capaldi, Pete Davidson, Alice Braga, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, Taika Waititi, Joaquín Cosío, Mayling Ng, Juan Diego Botto, Tinashe Kajese, Julio Ruiz, and Jennifer Holland.
Black Adam – December 22, 2021
Dwayne Johnson has been talking with Warner Bros. for years about playing Shazam villain Black Adam on the big screen, and the actor has spent a long time spreading news about plans for a Black Adam solo movie. Only now, however, does it look like the movie is actually finding some traction. Following up on the success of Shazam!, the supervillain-centric blockbuster is apparently moving forward, and it now has Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra attached to make it.
Filming will begin at some point in 2020, with the studio planning to have the feature in theaters in December 2021, and as a result more details about what to expect from the story and the characters involved will likely come out soon.
Shazam! 2 - April 1, 2022
While not as big as some other blockbusters about costumed crusaders, David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! made a respectable amount of money in spring 2019, ultimately bringing in $363 million globally. That’s a good thing, because Warner Bros. doesn’t have a lot of time to waste hemming and hawing about whether or not they should make a Shazam! 2. The young cast, including Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, and more, aren’t going to stay young forever, so the studio needs to work fast when it comes to making follow-ups.
While things were still in the planning stages, Zachary Levi has said that production on the untitled Shazam! 2 could start as early as late spring/early summer 2020, and that would certainly work if the project wants to have a whole lot of time available for editing. As you can see, the film is only coming out a few months after the release of Black Adam, so expect plenty of speculation in the coming months/years about potential connections between the two productions.
DC Super Pets - May 20, 2022
DC has been releasing quality animated features for years on the home video market, but things haven’t gone spectacularly with big screen endeavors. The most recent example is Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, which, despite earning positive reviews, only managed to make a grand total of $52 million globally in the summer of 2018. The brand is still trying to make it work, though, which explains why a DC Super Pets film is currently on the schedule for release in 2022.
Directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine, the film will center on the notable furry friends of DC’s most popular heroes, and find them joining together for some kind of unspecified adventure. Obviously it won’t be connected to any of the other developing properties via continuity, but it still is an interesting title to be in the mix and keeping the slate diverse.
The Flash - July 1, 2022
Following his appearances in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League, Ezra Miller's Barry Allen is expected next to be featured in his very own solo Flash film. Unfortunately, a lot of behind the scenes drama has let a lot of time lapse. Initially it was writer Seth Grahame-Smith who was set to make his directorial debut with the blockbuster, but then Warner Bros, handed the reins over to Rick Famuyiwa -- known for directing the indie hit Dope. Sadly, he left the movie several months after signing on, citing "creative differences."
Since then Game Night duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have come aboard, but now they are gone as well, and the film is now set to be made by IT's Andy Muschietti. It's currently scheduled, as you can see, to be the second live-action DC movie released in 2022... but if we're being 100% honest, we're not exactly holding our breath at this point.
Aquaman 2 - December 16, 2022
There was a time when James Wan’s Aquaman looked like it was in serious trouble. It was not only the first DC movie scheduled for release after the disappointment that was Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but it was also going up against some serious box office competition in December 2018. And yet now the film currently exists as the highest grossing DC Comics adaptation of all time. Warner Bros. wasted no time arranging plans for a sequel, and currently Aquaman 2 is on track to be released in December 2022.
The studio has not yet made any formal announcements about the follow-up (we still don’t know if James Wan will return to direct), but we can assume that the story will follow Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman as he navigates the tricky existence of an undersea king. Meanwhile, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Dr. Stephen Shin (Randall Park) will be making efforts to both uncover the secrets of Atlantis, and also take its monarch down.
The New Gods
Fresh off directing the long-awaited adaptation of the beloved novel A Wrinkle In Time, director Ava Durvernay found herself flirting with another blockbuster project - specifically an adaptation of Jack Kirby's The New Gods. Duvernay previously had discussions with Marvel Studios about both Black Panther and Captain Marvel, but instead of taking part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe she will be lending her skills to the DC Extended Universe. The New Gods will have audiences take a Boom Tube to the worlds of Apokolips and New Genesis - which are two alien worlds that have long been at war. Not much is known about the plot of the film at this point, but favorites like Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Orion, Granny Goodness and, of course, Darkseid, are expected to play significant parts. Comic book writer Tom King has signed on to co-write the script with Duvernay, but it is currently unclear when we will actually get to see the finished result of their collaboration.
James Wan has proven himself as a talented blockbuster director more than capable of creating big screen spectacle – but it still says something that one of the best sequences in his Aquaman film was full of horror vibes. Watching Arthur Curry and Mera battle against the creatures of The Trench was both terrifying and memorable, and very much reflected Wan’s roots. So is it really surprising that Warner Bros. wants to take the concept behind that scene and turn it into a full feature? The answer is no. Admittedly this is a project that we don’t know much about currently, and we don’t have a clear idea of when it will get made, but it is definitely something that is in active development.
Justice League 2
Zack Snyder's Justice League wasn't the movie most people were expecting. Following serious overhauls in post-production, the team-up film got primarily negative reviews, and made less than every other DC Extended Universe feature that preceded it. Unfortunately, it was a surprise that knocked the entire franchise off kilter, and now even basic projects like Justice League 2 exist as big question marks. The first film's post-credits sequence seemed to set up the idea that Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) would be teaming up with Slade Wilson (Joe Manganiello) to form the Injustice League in a sequel, but for now it's unclear if that concept will ever be full realized in live-action.
Man Of Steel 2
When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was first announced, it appeared from the outside that it would also serve as Man of Steel 2. As the project moved through development, however, it very much morphed into something else (a.k.a. the setup for Justice League), and while it dealt with consequences from the 2013 Zack Snyder movie, it was made clear that fans would have to wait an extra minute for the son of Krypton to get another real solo adventure. Now it’s years later, and we are still waiting to find out what’s going to happen. It’s no longer clear if Henry Cavill is still going to be the big screen version of Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman going forward, and there are currently no filmmakers attached to make a Man of Steel 2.
Green Lantern Corps
Following the unfortunate Green Lantern movie that came out in 2011, Warner Bros. and DC Comics are rebooting the story of the famed intergalactic peace keeping force by making a team movie instead of just focusing on a single Emerald Knight. Not much is known about the project yet, though it's been announced that the film will feature both Hal Jordan and John Stewart in addition to other famous intergalactic agents. Beyond that, Green Lantern's role in the DC Extended Universe is totally unclear. It was surprising to many fans that he wasn't included as part of the original Justice League lineup, and information is scarce about filmmakers and potential actors involved with the Green Lantern Corps movie. This is definitely a major question mark in the future of the franchise.
Gotham City Sirens
Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn began her big screen life as a standout in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, but the status of her future as a more standalone character is a bit up in the air following the less-than-stellar opening of Birds of Prey. The psychotic villain is next set to appear in The Suicide Squad, but also still potentially on the table is Gotham City Sirens, another Harley-centric project that Warner Bros. wants to make. It’s been reported that David Ayer will be taking the helm of the project, and going by the title and comic book history, it's assumed that the feature will center on the adventures of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.
A Nightwing movie was announced in the winter of 2017, with The LEGO Batman Movie's Chris McKay attached to direct. Since then we have heard scattered reports about the project continuing to exist in development, but not much else has been said about the movie. It’s not known currently when the film might be gearing up to start filming, or how it may ultimately relate to Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
DC has been teasing fans with the possibility of doing a Booster Gold film for years now, and while it remains totally unclear if the project will ever come together, we do at the very least know that a script for it exists. Zack Stentz, whose previous writing credits include X-Men: First Class, has penned a draft of the movie that Warner Bros. now has. We’ll continue to await new updates about it, but it’s definitely the kind of feature that we expect the studio will hold off on until the franchise is on more stable ground.
In an age when blockbuster superheroes are getting more and more diverse, it’s surprising that neither DC nor Marvel has released a solo film about a latinx character – but that may change if the former can get the ball rolling with their Blue Beetle movie. As it’s currently being developed, the big screen adventure would center on the Jaime Reyes version of the hero, and if done right it would potentially be a generation-changer. No director is currently attached, though Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (2019’s Miss Bala) is reportedly taking care of the script.
Promoting female heroes on the big screen is apparently a big part of the future for the DC Extended Universe, which explains why the franchise has been working hard for years to try and get a Batgirl movie made. Unfortunately, progress has been slow. Joss Whedon, who directed the reshoots on Justice League, was originally hired to pen the script for the movie, but he backed out about a year after signing on when he simply couldn't find a proper hook for the story. Now the film doesn’t have a director, but Christina Hodson, who also worked with DC on the script for Birds Of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is holding the pen for the project.
As you may have noticed reading this feature, DC has been able to attract a lot of big names to direct movies based on their properties, but this one is a special case. Reports in early 2018 revealed that Michael Bay is working with Warner Bros. to potentially take the helm of Lobo – a film that would center on DC’s wackiest intergalactic bounty hunter. We’ve heard nothing about the project since then, so where the movie exists in terms of development is unclear, but you can be sure that this one has our attention.
Justice League Dark
With the proper Justice League introduced into the DCEU, the franchise is soon looking to have audiences meet the team's more magical counterpart from the comics. Originally Justice League Dark was going to be directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and then it was going to be Doug Liman... but now the project exists without a director. The property focuses on a group of anti-heroes led by detective John Constantine who face off against supernatural and magical threats -- as opposed to the more scientific and extraterrestrial threats the Justice League battles. No plot details have been announced, and we don't know anything yet about casting.
DC definitely seems to be past its whole “dark and gritty phase,” and few upcoming projects suggest that more strongly than the in-development Plastic Man feature. This is unquestionably one of the silliest characters in the DC canon, and it’s impossible to imagine any film about him being anything but a straight-up comedy. This is a project that is still very much in the early stages, but Warner Bros. has hired newcomer Amanda Idoko to pen the screenplay.