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Until last week, the DC Comics movies that fans had to look forward to were all set in the DC Extended Universe, which launched in 2013 with Man of Steel. That all changed with the report that Warner Bros is developing a Joker origin story, which would be the first of many movies that will tell one-off tales that don't share any connection to the DCEU. It's remarkably similar to DC's Elseworlds imprint, which published a variety of non-canon comic book stories that featured familiar characters placed in different time periods, circumstances, etc.
So far the Clown Prince of Crime's origin story is the only movie that's under this new film banner, but looking at DC Comics' library, there are a lot of stories set in alternate continuities would be excellent fits. These are the DC Comics properties we hope are selected for cinematic adaptation as part of this initiative.
What happens when the public thinks that the classic DC superheroes we know and love aren't enough anymore? That's what 1996's Kingdom Come explored. After years spent in retirement, Superman donned the cape again and brought together a new team of superheroes to help him deal with the modern generation of "superheroes" who were becoming increasingly dangerous and unstable. But that was just the start, as Superman and his allies soon came into conflict with Batman's Outsiders and the Mankind Liberation Front led by Lex Luthor. The story served as a fascinating examination on if "traditional" superheroes of yesteryear are still effective in a modern world. More than 20 years after its release, Kingdom Come remains one of DC's most popular Elseworlds tales, and it's a great way for DC to keep focus on familiar faces in a world similar to the DCEU, but also with its share of differences.
Since there's no indication that there was a team of superheroes operating during the 1940s in the DC Extended Universe, a Justice Society movie would be best suited for this new DC films banner so as not to worry about continuity. Think of it being analogous to when the JSA lived on a different Earth during the Silver Age and the New 52. While there are modern iterations of the JSA in the comics, it's better if a Justice Society movie follows the team's exploits during World War II. Captain America: The First Avenger and Wonder Woman proved how entertaining period piece superhero movies can be, and much of the JSA's appeal stems from the legacy they left when battling the Axis powers. However, if the Justice Society movie were to kick off a series, it might be cool to see members like the Jay Garrick Flash and Alan Scott Green Lantern continue their fight against the forces of evil in the present day thanks to their aging being halted.
20 years after Bruce Wayne retired as Batman in the DC Animated Universe, teenager Terry McGinnis picked up the Dark Knight's legacy to avenge the murder of his father and keep the citizens of Neo-Gotham City safe. Whether it was battling new villains creeping out from the shadows or some classic sinister favorites from the original Batman's era, Batman Beyond put a cool futuristic spin on the Caped Crusader's mythology from 1999 to 2001, with guest appearances on Static Shock and Justice League Unlimited. Batman Beyond has been the subject of several comic book series since the start of the decade, but with this new DC films banner, now is the perfect time for Terry and his world to be adapted for the big screen. The cyberpunk aesthetic of the TV series would make for a visually stimulating theatrical experience. Maybe we could even bring back Michael Keaton to play the elderly Bruce Wayne.
Superman: Red Son
Superman is as American as baseball and apple pie, but what if he had crash-landed in Russia instead of the United States. What kind of superhero would Superman be if he was a champion of Soviet Union values instead of Truth, Justice and the American Way? That's the situation that Superman: Red Son set up, and while the Kal-El in this story still holds many similarities to his traditional, American counterpart, certain events lead him to use his powers and resources in ways that the normal Superman wouldn't dare to do. It was rumored last month that a Superman: Red Son movie was in development, and at the time, it seemed farfetched given what the DCEU is doing with Superman. But with this new DC films banner, adapting this seminal storyline is now plausible.
Back in the 1990s, one of DC Comics' imprints was Milestone Media, which saw African-American writers and artists telling superhero stories in a self-contained universe known as the Dakotaverse. The most famous hero from this imprint was Static, who led his own animated series from 2000 to 2004, and was eventually brought into the main DC universe. Icon and Rocket were also featured in the Young Justice animated series. There's no guarantee that any of the Milestone heroes will be used in the DCEU, so a standalone movie could give them some well-deserved attention on the big screen. Rather than focus on just one character like Static, it could be an ensemble piece that sees several superheroes teaming up to combat something/someone threatening the midwestern city of Dakota.
Gotham By Gaslight
Even though it wasn't officially classified under the Elseworlds banner when it was released in 1989, Gotham by Gaslight is considered to be the first of these alternate continuity stories. The one-shot placed Batman in 1889 Gotham City, where he battled Jack the Ripper. Bruce Wayne's crimefighting tools certainly weren't as advanced in the late 19th century, but this version of the Caped Crusader was just as intimidating and formidable as his main universe counterpart. A Gotham by Gaslight animated movie is currently in the works, but much like how a live action Justice League Dark movie will follow on the heels of the direct-to-video animated feature, there's no reason why Gotham by Gaslight couldn't receive big screen attention. As mentioned earlier, the superhero movie genre has had some success with period pieces, so let's turn the clock back more than 100 years and see how a live action Batman would fare in the time of Benjamin Harrison's presidency.
Wildstorm was another popular imprint that was part of DC in the 1990s, but as was characteristic for comic books of the decade, those stories doubled down on the "extreme" factor. Notable Wildstorm heroes and properties included Grifter, Midnight, Stormwatch, The Authority, Gen¹³ and WildC.A.T.s. Several of these characters were brought into the main DC universe after the New 52 relaunch, but the Wildstorm imprint was formally revived earlier this year. Outside of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's Ultimate Edition, DC so far hasn't expressed any willingness to release an R-rated movie set in the DCEU, so a Wildstorm movie would allow them to spotlight these protagonists and antagonists in more mature territory. There's certainly enough material for the Wildstorm properties to comprise a whole cinematic universe, but because the characters aren't widely known to the public yet, it's better to start off with one of these self-contained movies and go from there.
There are a lot of weird alternate realities in the DC Comics mythology, but an especially unusual one centers on Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. On Earth A.D., the Great Disaster wiped out all of human civilization in the future. The young Kamandi is one of the few survivors of this mysterious event, but unlike most other humans, he's retained his intelligence. At the same time, a drug called Cortexin that was released into the environment that caused numerous types of animals to become humanoid and sentient. Even if the DCEU were to explore potential futures, it's extremely doubtful that Kamandi would be selected as what's to come in a millennia or more; not with something like the Legion of Super-Heroes available. Fortunately, since it's not necessary for a good Kamandi story to have close ties to the main DC mythology, it would be easy for the new DC films banner to release a movie showing Kamandi and his animal allies fighting for survival as they try to restore civilization.