We (and many others) expected Warner Bros. to make a big announcement concerning its DC Cinematic Universe at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. The studio surprised us, however, by instead waiting until this week to set release dates for nine future DC movies, in addition to the currently-filming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (now slated to arrive in March 2016). We’ll learn more about what lies ahead in the DC-verse soon, according to Dan Fellman, WB’s president of domestic distribution.

Director Zack Snyder, whose Superman movie reboot Man of Steel marks the beginning of the DC Shared Universe, is set to serve as the helmsman on both Batman V Superman and Justice League thereafter. The longtime rumor has been that the latter will be arriving in 2017, though WB’s newly-unveiled DC release schedule also includes an unclaimed August 2016 date. In theory, that launch pad could go to either Justice League or some other team-up film involving classic JL characters (like the rumored Green Lantern/Flash movie).

Fellman, during a talk with EW about the DC movie release slate, indicated that moviegoers won’t have to endure the typical two to three year wait between Batman V Superman and its sequel (either Justice League or a related project) – having told EW that although the latter movie (whatever it is) hasn’t been officially announced yet, “I think it’s a pretty good bet.”

Another strong possibility for the second DC movie in 2016 is the Shazam film – a project that Dwayne Johnson hasn’t been so much teasing as he’s been all-but promising of late (READ: 5 Reasons Why Shazam Could Be DC’s Next Big Superhero Movie). Many of our readers have pointed out in recent days that the box office success of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy has, if nothing else, proven one thing: a relatively obscure superhero/comic book movie adaptation can become a hit with the right mix of talent and brand marketing. And a superhero movie featuring The Rock already reads as a bankable prospect.

Dwayne Johnson’s comic book project and Justice League are the most likely DC films to follow right after Batman V Superman, which means that one of them (if not both) ought to be starting production well within the first half of 2015. Thus, an official green light, along with casting news and other crew member hiring announcements (director, writer, etc.), will be coming sooner than later.

Future members of the Justice League (CLICK image to enlarge)

There are other DC projects that are actively developing – including The Sandman comic book film adaptation that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is overseeing – that could likewise be officially announced by WB in the near future. Fellman told EW that there will be announcements for some (not all, obviously) of the untitled DC movies with release dates, later this month.

Right now, the most likely scenario is that Shazam will take the August 5th, 2016 release date, with Justice League arriving on June 23rd, 2017. That would mean that Snyder’s big DC superhero teamup blockbuster wound up happening four years after the director’s Man of Steel premiered in theaters. That, as it were, was also the amount of time that passed between the beginning of Marvel Studios’ Shared Universe (with Iron Man in 2008) and its first Avengers teamup movie (in 2012).

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives on March 25th, 2016. We’ll let you know when other upcoming DC movies have been announced for the release dates reserved by WB.

Source: EW