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Black Manta in Aquaman movie

San Diego Comic-Con has once again come and gone, and there's certainly a lot to unpack from the four days of entertainment promotion, especially from the Warner Bros panel. As has been the case in past years, the studio took the stage on Hall H to show off some of its upcoming movies, like Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The LEGO Movie 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. But it was the DC portion of the panel that shined in particular. The Aquaman trailer arrived as promised, a Shazam! trailer surprisingly dropped and those in attendance in Hall H got to see exclusive footage from Wonder Woman 1984. DC has had big moments at Comic-Con in the past, but this year felt like a big win for the comic book franchise, and it's all because it didn't get ahead of itself by dedicating time to projects that aren't in production yet and/or are still being workshopped.

When Warner Bros announced its initial film slate for the DC Extended Universe back in October 2014, there were 10 movies unveiled, including the previously announced Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But in the years since, even more movies have been announced, to the point that now there are nearly 20 DCEU movies in some form of development. Usually we only hear about these projects through reports or brief quotes from the creative talent involved, but in the wake of Justice League underperforming critically and commercially, which has led to the DCEU's leadership being restructured, it's unclear how many of these will actually see the light of day. As things stand now, Aquaman, Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984 are the only movies we know for a fact will be released, and Warner Bros and DC wisely decided to focus on those movies rather than draw attention to what's coming post-2019.

Look, there are certainly a lot of DCEU fans out there, but the fact of the matter is that this franchise has had a rough ride so far. Man of Steel drew polarizing reactions, and both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, while commercially successful, were met with numerous negative reviews from critics. Wonder Woman was a hit across the board, but then Justice League failed to impress five months later. It would have been easy for the DC folks to build some goodwill back up by teasing projects like Green Lantern Corps or Nightwing, but there are just too many moving pieces right now behind the scenes, and we've seen how things can change without warning. For instance, at 2017's San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that the Flash movie would be called Flashpoint, but since then, Game Night directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have been tapped to helm the Scarlet Speedster's standalone story, and there's been word it's not even called Flashpoint right now.

Rather than look too far ahead to the future, DC made a good call sticking to what's immediately coming up. Aquaman is the first post-Justice League DCEU movie out the gate, and after months of fans clamoring, we finally got that first trailer showing off Black Manta, Ocean Master, the wondrous Atlantis and all sorts of cool elements that indicate this will be one of the more unique superhero movie offerings. Shazam! has promised to be a tonally different movie than what's come before in this franchise, and judging by that preview, the World's Mightiest Mortal's first theatrical appearance will be a lot of fun. And while no one outside of Hall H got to see that Wonder Woman 1984 footage, the descriptions of it that have come out indicate that it will be quite colorful.

If you follow along with superhero movie news regularly, you may already have an idea which DCEU movies stand a better chance of actually moving forward. Birds of Prey sounds like it'll be the next movie to arrive after Wonder Woman 1984, the Flash movie could finally race to production now that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have the reins, and there are rumblings that The Batman might be getting ready for a 2020 shoot. It's worthwhile hearing updates about these projects every now and then, but for the purposes of a Hall H presentation, DC made the right call not "looking" at them, instead shining light on what's right in front of us. Aquaman, Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984 mark the next phase (if I might borrow that word from a separate franchise) of the DCEU, and however things may change with it behind the scenes over the next year, at least we know that those three movies are definitely on the way, and we have some marketing material to tide us over for a little bit.

Aquaman dives into theaters on December 21, and Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984 follow in April 5 and November 1 of 2019, respectively (and don't forget that the standalone, non-DCEU Joker movie is also slated for October 4, 2019). Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage, and be sure to look through our DC movies guide to find out what else is in development for the DCEU.

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