Momentum is steadily building towards the March 2016 premiere of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is set to be the second film in the DC shared movie universe. Batman V Superman will be immediately followed by Suicide Squad in August and Wonder Woman a year later, before the release of Justice League: Part One in November of 2017. Casting rumors for the rest of DC’s Expanded Universe (or DCEU for short) haven’t exactly been in short supply as of late, but things certainly kicked up a notch earlier this week.
On Monday, rumors emerged that Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Alona Tal (Supernatural) were in the running to play Black Canary in the DCEU. In addition to the casting rumor, the site also reported that the heroine would potentially return to star in an in-development Birds of Prey film somewhere down the line.
The report was the first anyone had heard about Black Canary being included on the Justice League roster and should certainly be taken with the requisite grain of salt. If the rumors prove true, however, the implications of her involvement may be far bigger than you might think. Let’s take a look at What the Black Canary Casting Rumors Mean for the DC Movie Universe.
The Black Canary character has a future in the DCEU
Casting rumors for superhero films often don't pan out, but the fact that Warner Bros. is reportedly looking at specific actresses for Black Canary almost certainly means that the character is on the way. Abbey Lee and Alona Tal may not end up sporting the black leather jacket and fishnet stockings, but, assuming all goes according to plan for the DCEU, we'll likely be hearing someone shouting the Canary Cry on the big screen sooner rather than later.
Two women have held the Black Canary moniker, but in the interest of keeping things simple for film audiences, DC will likely elect to ignore the original (Dinah Drake) and focus on Dinah Laurel Lance. The second Black Canary is one of the most gifted hand to hand combatants in all of DC Comics, and her skills as a world-class martial artist are augmented by her ability to produce an ultrasonic scream attack from her vocal chords. The New 52 comic reboot has explained Lance's Canary Cry, which she uses to obliterate various objects and incapacitate her foes, to be the result of a metagene in her blood. The applications of her lone superpower have been expanded in the New 52: Black Canary can now use the sonic waves she produces to glide/propel herself through the air (think Banshee from X-Men: First Class). This newly revealed talent could help Lance hold her own alongside her fellow Justice Leaguers and make her that much more useful on the battlefield, should filmmakers choose to feature it in the DCEU.
The Laurel Lance that fans love to hate on The CW's Arrow is, for the most part, an entirely different character from her comic book counterpart. The live-action iteration will (hopefully) be a more faithful adaptation of Black Canary.
Gotham could be getting very crowded very soon
For many, the biggest impact that Black Canary’s potential involvement has on the DCEU is what it seemingly confirms for Batman’s home city, Gotham. Assuming a Birds of Prey film is indeed a priority for the architects of DC's shared universe, former Dark Knight sidekick Barbara Gordon will likely be joining her longtime comic colleague in the war on crime. This assumption plays directly into (as-yet unconfirmed) rumors that Jena Malone is playing Gordon in Batman V Superman, which we first heard about back in July. There's no way of knowing whether Malone will be playing Batgirl or Oracle (the wheelchair-bound, tech-savvy alter-ego of the paraplegic hero) in the DCEU, but her very involvement would suggest that Gotham City will be the base of operations for even more crimefighters than we originally believed.
The Birds of Prey are traditionally based out of Gotham's Clocktower, though they could easily be relocated to avoid muddying the water (read: forcing crossovers) for Batman solo films. One city can only have so much dysfunction, after all. But the truly interesting bit comes from asking the question, "Would Warner Bros. even consider so heavily featuring a secondary sidekick of the Caped Crusader without first highlighting his more well-known cohort, Robin?" We think not. Rumors of multiple Robins appearing in DC's shared universe have persisted for months, with more recent reports claiming that Dick Grayson and Jason Todd will be front and center in the Dark Knight's upcoming solo outing. A vague sense of straw-grasping aside, if Gordon has a role to play in the future of the DCEU, you can bet that at least one former Boy Wonder will factor in as well. Like most comic fans, we're very much on board with the idea of a live-action Bat Family.
Enter the Birds of Prey
Whether she'll be Batgirl, Oracle, or something else entirely, Barbara Gordon is a sure-fire bet to join Black Canary on the Birds of Prey roster, which would be the first female-led superhero team in cinematic history. DC appears to be going all in on the ladies these days, a smart gamble given the recent success of the Hunger Games franchise and the anticipated success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is headlined by up-and-coming actress Daisy Ridley. But Gordon and Black Canary won't be alone in the Clocktower, of course.
The team has featured several other DC characters over the years, namely Huntress, Lady Blackhawk, and Katana. The latter is set to be introduced next summer in Suicide Squad, and is a good bet to appear in a Birds of Prey film, should she survive the ill-fated events of her big screen debut. Fellow Suicide Squad characters Harley Quinn and Enchantress are longshots to join the Birds of Prey, though other prominent antiheroes like Lady Shiva and Poison Ivy (both of whom have served on the team in the past) could always be brought into the fold. The list of potential Birds is endless, and could serve as a means of expanding the ever-growing DCEU. But who would they face?
Since the team isn't directly associated with any one arch-nemesis, any of DC's pantheon of villains could end up squaring off against the Birds of Prey. Their New 52 role as Gotham City's covert ops team could be adopted for a smaller-scale film, pitting them against a group like the Court of Owls or even the Suicide Squad itself. If Warner Bros. was interested in tying the team's exploits more directly into the big picture of the DCEU, keep an eye on the likes of Talia al Ghul or even Big Barda. Though the former leader of Darkseid's personal guard has long since taken on a more heroic role in the DC universe, Barda could serve as an excellent foe for the Birds of Prey—and set up Darkseid's future DCEU arrival—if the writers are willing to (gasp!) alter the source material a bit.