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If you're even remotely familiar with the comic book movie genre, then you probably already know that death is seldom permanent. That's one of the longest running jokes in the history of superhero films, as beloved characters (and the actors who play them) always find a way to come back from seemingly fatal wounds. This makes some degree of sense, because death is also rarely permanent in the world of actual comic books -- unless your name is Uncle Ben Parker.
However, over the course of the last three films, the DCEU has shown far more willingness to kill certain characters than 20th Century Fox or Marvel. Looking to the future, we think this trend will most certainly continue as DC's silver screen universe becomes more and more crowded with iconic heroes and villains. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the 9 DCEU characters most likely to die within the next five years. Now, let's get started with one of the most highly anticipated Justice League debuts.
We already know that J.K. Simmons will premiere in next year's Justice League, and it seems fairly likely that he will at least continue on to work with The Dark Knight in the first solo Batman movie. However, beyond that, he becomes one of the more expendable members of The Bat Family. Killing Commissioner Gordon at some point in the future is also feasible simply due to the fact that there's precedent for replacing him -- particularly when there's an older Batman involved. The Gordon/Batman dynamic has been done so many times at this point, we wouldn't be surprised if Warner Bros. opted to bring in someone new like Ellen Yindel from The Dark Knight Returns, or even an older Barbara Gordon, much in the same way that Batman Beyond used her. Sorry Gordon, perhaps you should retire while you still have the chance.
The DCEU has consistently proven itself unafraid to pretty much murder prominent characters from Superman's supporting cast. Man of Steel had no qualms about killing Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice took out Jimmy Olsen (Michael Cassidy) in the first few minutes. Diane Lane's Ma Kent hasn't been given too much to do over the course of her last two DCEU films, and the franchise has pretty firmly established Lois Lane as Superman's primary connection to planet Earth. Even with the overall tone of the DCEU moving in a much lighter direction, she's still one of the most expendable side characters in the entire franchise.
The very fact that Rick Flag survived the events of Suicide Squad means that he's already living on borrowed time. As far as star power goes, Joel Kinnaman isn't the most bankable star in the DCEU, and the first Task Force X outing did a very good job of grooming Deadshot to take on a more prominent leadership role at some point in the near future -- although Floyd Lawton isn't permanently safe either. Just about every other Suicide Squad character has been set up for a role in another franchise, but Flag can be taken in very few other directions. If Warner Bros. wants to kill a central member of Task Force X without any long-term narrative consequences, then Rick Flag seems like the most logical candidate at this point.
This might not be quite as blasphemous as it seems. Ben Affleck certainly developed the physicality to play Batman, and he genuinely looks younger than 44 years old. However, five years from now, he will be pushing 50, and that's pretty old to still be playing a superhero as primal and physical as Batman. At 51 years old, Robert Downey Jr. still continues to go back and forth regarding how much longer he can play Iron Man, and his scenes are primarily CGI. Batfleck cannot play the Caped Crusader forever, and five years from now he will already have several DC movies under his utility belt. Batman V Superman showed how inspired Bruce Wayne was by Superman's ultimate sacrifice against Doomsday, and Batman has never shied away from jumping on a grenade to save his allies. Don't be surprised if he finds himself on the wrong side of Darkseid's Omega Beams in a future Justice League movie, and his cowl is handed down to someone new.
Building off of that last point, Will Smith will be 52 years old in five years; a very well preserved 52 years old, but 52 nonetheless. Then there's the simple fact that, even with his immense star power, Smith still portrays Deadshot -- a member of the SUICIDE Squad. This makes him one of the most expendable members of the DCEU, especially if Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke joins Task Force X at some point. To see his character go out in a heroic blaze of glory would not only neatly close the character arc established in Suicide Squad, but it would also allow Warner Bros. to bring in a younger performer to act as the face of Task Force X well into the future.
The Flash's Rogue's Gallery and Task Force X have two of the deepest benches in all of DC Comics, and Digger Harkness a.k.a Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) just happens to be a prominent figure on both rosters. Although we reasonably expect him to play a fairly significant role in both The Flash and Suicide Squad franchises in the future, Boomerang is still one of the most replaceable villains in the DCEU. Jai Courtney isn't the most bankable star in Hollywood, and -- despite his prevalence -- Boomerang is hardly a lynchpin in any far-reaching narratives. He'll probably stick around to become a founding member of The Rogues in The Flash, but beyond that anything goes.
Everything that we have seen from Ezra Miller's Barry Allen in the DCEU thus far (which admittedly is very little) has taught us two distinct things: he's going to be the heart and soul of the Justice League when they finally assemble, and being a hero comes naturally to him. He's the only one on the CCTV cameras in Dawn of Justice show actively using his powers to help someone, and as of now he's the only Justice League member who signs up willingly -- everyone else needs some form of goading. This all seems to be paving the way for a major form of self-sacrifice for the greater good of his friends and mankind, perhaps even an homage to Barry Allen's famous death in the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. It's a safe bet for Warner Bros. anyway, as they can always cast a Wally West or Bart Allen in order to pass down the mantle of Flash and keep the Scarlet Speedster's franchise going.
There exists a large segment of the DCEU audience that believes the Knightmare sequence in Batman V Superman isn't just a hallucination; Barry Allen goes back to try and prevent the death of Lois Lane, only to find that he's "too soon" for his message to have any sort of meaningful impact on Bruce Wayne. If Knightmare does in fact come to fruition during a future Justice League movie, it pretty much entirely hinges on Batman's failure to keep Lois safe. Of course, there's always the possibility that the Lois who dies comes from a parallel dimension -- just like in the Injustice story arc -- but that doesn't change the fact that we won't be surprised if we see Lois die at some point in the near future. Don't expect Kal-El to reverse the Earth's rotation in order to save her this time around.
Out of all the DC characters most likely to die within the next five years, Jared Leto's Joker stands out because his death could occur due to behind the scenes drama. The immense fan backlash against Suicide Squad has clearly left a very sour taste in the actor's mouth, and he's made no secret of his dissatisfaction with Warner Bros. regarding creative decisions made in the movie. As of this article, it remains unclear whether or not Leto will even return to the role of the Clown Prince of Crime, and if he does we could very easily envision a reality in which the folks at DC decide to kill of Mr. J. After all, it would be a bold move, and there are plenty of solid storylines to draw from that could lead to his death.