How Shazam 2, Flash, Blue Beetle, And Aquaman 2 Are Fitting Into The Big DC Universe Plans, According To James Gunn

Shazam and Aquaman side by side
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The DC Extended Universe has had a wild ride since the disappointing release of Justice League’s theatrical cut. After that movie, the shared universe pivoted away from serialized storytelling, and instead allowed director-driven projects to be produced without any real connection to the greater timeline. But that’s all about to change, as James Gunn and Peter Safran were named co-CEOs of the universe and are making sweeping changes to all things DC. They recently revealed their plans for the future, with Gunn explaining how already filmed projects like Shazam 2, The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman 2 are fitting into the big plans for the DC universe.

While moviegoers were thrilled that the DC Universe would finally be cohesive under this new leadership, it has come with disappointments like learning that Henry Cavill was out as Superman and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 3 has been scrapped. But during James Gunn and Peter Safran’s recent press presentation about their plans for DC, the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker explained how the already filmed projects will actually fit into his vision for the future. As he put it,

So how can we take these things together and make them make sense and have them unified, and have it one real universe, one real world. And I think that we've gotten lucky with the next four movies, frankly, because we have Shazam which leads into Flash, which resets everything. Which then goes into Blue Beetle, which is totally disconnected, he can totally be a part of the DCU. Goes into Aquaman, which leads into Superman, our first big project. But the one thing that we can promise is that everything from Superman forward, or actually you'll see in a second from our first project forward, will be canon and will be connected. We're using some actors from the past. We're not using other actors from the past, but everything from that moment forward will be connected and consistent.

Well that’s a relief. While obviously the DCU is making a ton of changes, it seems like all the movies that are in the can (besides that scrapped Batgirl movie) are going to actually fit well into the plans for the franchise’s future. So those projects are safe and sound, despite the concern that fans have had while waiting for Gunn and Safran’s official announcement.

During James Gunn’s comments about the future of the DCU he mentions the connective tissue that various upcoming projects should end up having. For instance, it looks like the events of Shazam! Fury of the Gods will actually directly lead into Andy Muschietti’s movie The Flash. That blockbuster is expected to reset the official timeline of the franchise, which Gunn alludes to during his comments. Let’s just hope that Ezra Miller doesn’t get involved in any more controversies, as it seems that project is super important to the next slate of DC movies.

Next up on that slate is Blue Beetle, which was originally getting a HBO Max release but is now heading to theaters. It sounds like that project is pretty self-contained, and so it was able to be brought into the new DCU timeline easily. And after that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will seemingly have a connection to the developing Superman movie. Pretty exciting stuff, no?

After a few months of waiting, it’s exciting that the first slate of upcoming DC movies has finally been revealed. The chapter of movies will be titled Gods and Monsters, and is expected to begin with Superman: Legacy, which James Gunn is writing himself. There are a number of TV projects coming down the line including Lanterns (about Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan), Waller (featuring another appearance by Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller), and Paradise Lost. As far as movies go, we’re getting a Batman movie called The Brave and The Bold that focuses on Bruce Wayne’s son Damian Wayne, who is one of the versions of Robin in the comics. And that’s not even all of James Gunn and Peter Safarn’s plans.

The next DC movie hitting theaters is Shazam! Fury of the Gods on March 17th. Although Zachary Levi has gotten himself in some hot water lately. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.