Founded in 1934 as National Allied Publications, DC Comics resulted from the merger of a number of different publishers and took their name from the popular Detective Comics book that introduced Batman, among other things. Since that time, they’ve become one of the two biggest comic book publishers in the world, spending decades battling Marvel to see which would reign supreme. Over the years, both companies have expanded into television and films, as well as various other media. And beginning in 2013 with Man of Steel, DC and Warner Bros. finally kicked off their own shared cinematic universe: the DCEU.
Though inspired by Marvel’s pioneering approach, the DCEU has taken a different path when it comes to establishing their characters and properties. While there are plans (and rumors) to introduce a whole slew of heroes and villains over the next few years, there’s only so many stories and characters that can make the cut. Awhile back, we laid out a number of things we know we won’t be seeing in Marvel’s Phase 4 lineup. While DC doesn’t have phases, here’s 15 Things We Won't See in the DCEU Anytime Soon.
15 Reign of the Supermen!
The Death of Superman was one of comics’ biggest events when it arrived in 1992. It saw new villain Doomsday emerge and begin wreaking havoc across America, forcing Superman to step in. Following their titanic battle, both appeared to die, and the subsequent months saw the world mourn Superman as superheroes old and new attended his funeral. A truncated version of the event served as the climax for last year’s Batman v Superman, but we know the cinematic aftermath will be quite different from the comics.
Later this year, Superman will return from the dead for Justice League. While this quick reversal may seem anticlimactic, it’s not too dissimilar from the comics, where the Man of Steel’s death didn’t even last a full year. For a few months, however, one of DC’s most exciting arcs played out: Reign of the Supermen. After Superman’s death, a number of other heroes stepped up to fill the void, including Steel, Cyborg Superman, and Superboy. Some, like Cyborg, even claimed to be Superman. Eventually, the ruse was discovered and Cyborg Superman's evil intentions were revealed.
Just a few months after his death, the real Superman returned, having been hidden away in a regeneration chamber by the Eradicator, who was also posing as Superman. Sporting a black and silver costume and a mullet, Superman teamed with Superboy and Steel to take down Cyborg and Mongul. By October of 1993, Superman was back in the red, yellow, and blue, but decided to keep the mullet.
14 Martian Manhunter
Debuting in 1955’s “The Manhunter from Mars” within the pages of Detective Comics #255, The Martian Manhunter was long one of DC’s top-tier characters. Predating a number of DC’s modern characters, Manhunter was one of the founding members of the original Justice League. As such, it may be surprising that DC’s campaign to “Unite the Seven” for their cinematic universe doesn’t include one of the team’s preeminent members.
The roots of the big screen version of the Justice League aren’t their 1960 comic debut, but rather their 2011 reboot as part of the the New 52. That retelling of the team’s origin swapped out Manhunter for Cyborg (and also added Shazam to the mix), and looks to be the path DC and WB are following for the DCEU. When you add in the character’s prominence on the CW’s Supergirl, it’s hard to imagine DC’s movies having any room for the Martian in the years to come.
13 Teen Titans
There’s long been rumors of a live-action version of the Teen Titans coming to the big or small screen, but while the latter has come close to becoming a reality, the former is a longshot. Debuting in 1964’s The Brave and the Bold #54, the Teen Titans were formed by Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad, and joined by various other young sidekicks along the way. The team has served as the basis for a number of animated projects, including the upcoming Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.
Lately, rumors have circulated that a Cyborg movie could introduce the team to the DCEU, but there’s a lot of flaws in this idea. First, it doesn’t make much sense for Cyborg to be in the Justice League and then get downgraded to the Titans. Even if he’s serving as mentor, which he’s not quite qualified to do, there’s still the fact that none of the DCEU heroes have sidekicks yet.
We know Batman has had at least one Robin, but a new, younger one would have to be introduced. The Flash is also far too young to already have a teen sidekick, and even if any of the other Leaguers did have a protege waiting in the wings, we’d still have to meet all of them. Granted, the DCEU has shown they have no qualms about rushing character introductions, but a Teen Titans movie in the DCEU seems like a pipedream this early in the continuity.
Though Superboy is one of many children of superheroes we want to see in movies, we doubt it’ll happen anytime soon. There have been several different incarnations of Superboy, from clones to adopted children. The Christopher Kent version of the character, himself the son of General Zod and his wife, seems the most likely. He could already exist in the universe, ready to be taken in by Lois and Clark. There’s even a chance the Connor Kent version, a clone of Superman created by Cadmus, could appear in the wake of the Man of Steel’s death.
Despite that fact that a teen protege of Superman hardly fits in with the DCEU’s current tone, it would also prove too similar to the Supergirl on TV, who DC likely doesn’t want to water down or prevent from appearing on the big screen in the future. Not only that, but Justice League has already been shot, meaning this plot would have to wait for Man of Steel 2, which seems stuck in development. Even then, it’s unlikely the sequel to 2013’s origin would immediately jump to Superboy. Then again, Clark’s second appearance in the DCEU saw him die, so who knows.
11 The Court of Owls
The Court of Owls is one of the newer aspects of Batman’s mythology, but it’s fast become a fan-favorite addition. Created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo as part of Batman’s New 52 reintroduction, the writing and art proved so exquisite that it was easy for fans to accept the new canon. The plot has even made its way onto Gotham, though, like many things on the show, the results have been mixed.
The broad strokes of the story involve a secret society of Gotham elites that have long pulled the many strings of the city. To carry out some of their more nefarious plans, they use undead assassins called Talons. The whole plot opens up the history of Gotham, Bruce Wayne, and Dick Grayson in fascinating ways and would make for an incredible film or television series if done correctly.
Sadly, it’s likely not on the docket for the DCEU. We’ve barely glimpsed Batman so far, and if his solo movie ever materializes, as it’s already changed directors and may soon lose its star, there’s a lot of lore to be covered.
While the unraveling of the mystery of the Owls would certainly make for a great standalone Batman film, it doesn't quite fit into the grandiosity the DCEU has already shown it's interested in. And to be honest, the story is far too complex to be diluted down into one film.
From incredible new bits of Batman lore that fans love to an old piece of story that many would rather forget. Batman wasn’t always the grim and gritty hero we know today. Over his many years of zany adventures, he’s had some truly bizarre moments. One that would be a hilarious addition to the self-serious DCEU, but of course, will never be adapted, is Bat-Mite.
Debuting in 1959’s Detective Comics #267 and created by Batman co-creator Bill Finger, Bat-Mite is a magical imp who worships the Dark Knight. Serving as a more well-meaning version of Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite creates all sorts of wild scenarios not to harm Batman, but to see his hero overcome the obstacles. Despite his silliness, the character has appeared in many animated series and even had his own book in 2015. Still, we don’t see Snyder and company having the gall to introduce the little critter.
Batman isn’t the only one with an absurd cast of characters. Given Superman’s many years of existence, and the fact that the first few decades of DC saw the company churn out a number of kid-friendly plots and characters, the Man of Steel has many shameful skeletons in his closet. One of the most peculiar is Krypto the Superdog.
Long before Supergirl had a super-horse, Superman had a super-dog. Introduced in Adventure Comics #210 in 1955, Krypto was Kal-El’s childhood pet before he was sent to Earth. As it turns out, Jor-El actually tested one of his rockets on Krypto before sticking his infant son inside one of them. While his regard for his son’s safety is wise, it is a little messed up that he used a family pet for the test subject.
Like with Kara, Krypto’s rocket went off course, and came to Earth when Superman was an adult. Though first bonding with Superboy, Krypto eventually teamed up with his original master. Like Bat-Mite, he still exists in DC Comics, but we have a hard time believing WB will ever include the dog in the DCEU.
8 Blackest Night
Make no mistake: Blackest Night will eventually be adapted on-screen. Beginning in 2009, DC kicked off one of its seminal events and perhaps the defining Green Lantern arc. It brought with it a threat to the entire universe, and saw decades worth of lore come together as virtually every hero fought against the undead hordes of the Black Lanterns. Not only did many heroes and villains get Lantern powers, but it greatly expanded the mythology of Green Lantern and his corner of the DC Universe.
Unfortunately, all of those deep connections to Green Lantern and DC lore just haven’t been established yet in the DCEU. Though WB made a Green Lantern movie awhile back, it’s safe to assume it’s no longer canon. As such, we likely won’t learn much about the Lanterns until they arrive in 2020’s Green Lantern Corps. That film will probably stick to focusing on the Green Lanterns and the Guardians on Oa, while possibly laying the foundation for the rest of the Spectrum.
Even a sequel would be too early to introduce the various other Lantern colors, their accompanying Corps, and the threat of the Black Lanterns. We’d absolutely love to see an epic, multi-film adaptation of Blackest Night someday, but it’s a long way off by any measure.
Despite Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen book already being adapted to screen by DCEU overseer Zack Snyder, the gang is unlikely to appear in the DCEU for a long time. It may never happeb, though they’d certainly make for an excellent counterpoint to what we’ve seen so far in DC’s cinematic universe. Though the 2009 film adapted the 1986 graphic novel are from DC’s Vertigo imprint, the characters who comprise the Watchmen have slowly made their way into DC continuity.
Beginning with 2012’s Before Watchmen, the characters backstories were fleshed out beyond what Moore and Gibbons had devised. DC’s recent Rebirth reboot saw the characters brought fully into the fold as their universe merged with the main DC one thanks to Dr. Manhattan.
While Snyder would no doubt be pleased to reintroduce the characters to cinema, they’re likely pretty low priorities for DC and WB. They’ve already got the next few years planned out, and a Watchmen reboot likely doesn’t have a place. The characters also serve as a commentary on many of the members of the Justice League and on glorified violence in general, so their inclusion in the adrenaline- and testosterone-fueled DCEU would seem rather tonedeaf.
Even if Amazo’s name wasn’t so utterly ridiculous, the very idea of him has always been one of the more extreme examples of comic hubris. An android created by mad scientist Professor Ivo, Amazo is capable of absorbing the powers of any metahuman. Like Marvel’s Adaptoids, this presents a villain that should be impossible to confront, as even possessing the abilities of Superman would make the rogue nigh indestructible. Add in Martian Manhunter's and Flash's, and Amazo would be unstoppable.
Though he still exists in the comics, his existence has been downplayed. His sole live-action appearance is simply as the name of the ship that Ivo uses as his base on Arrow. As a wildly fantastical character with such bombastic powers, there’s no doubt in our minds that Amazo will never show up on screen in the DCEU. Not only would he clash with the established tone of the films, but he’d present a threat that would be unrealistic for any of the Justice League to defeat.
Beginning in 1942, DC started separating their core continuity from a line of Imaginary Stories. With 1989’s Gotham by Gaslight, a steampunk reimagining of Batman, the company finally created their Elseworlds line of books. Along with Gaslight, 1999’s The Kingdom, its sequel Kingdom Come (which actually bled into DC continuity), and 2003’s Superman: Red Son have been some of the most popular Elseworld stories. They're all are rife for adaptation, but it’s likely we’ll see them on TV or as an animated movie long before they ever appear in the DCEU.
For one, the very idea of Elseworlds puts them outside of standard DC continuity. As such, even if any of the stories were adapted into films, they’d likely exist outside of the DCEU. That may be a viable option for DC and WB, however, as the DCEU has proven to be quite rocky. By embracing the Elseworld model or breaking from the tradition of the MCU, DC would be free to tell their amazing stories without tying them to a shared universe or Zack Snyder’s vision.
4 Justice Society of America
Like Martian Manhunter, the Justice Society of America is a long-running concept in DC Comics that’s been featured in various animated media and shown up on both Smallville and in the Arrowverse. Despite that popularity, and largely thanks to their current arc on Legends of Tomorrow, the JSA aren’t likely to come to the big screen.
Premiering in 1940, the JSA were a pioneering concept in superhero comics. Pulling together various solo heroes, they faced threats too big for any individual. Eventually, they were established to be part of Earth-2, a separate DC continuity housing its Golden Age heroes, to make room for their modern and more popular Silver Age characters.
While the existence of the Multiverse is still questionable in the DCEU, it’d be odd for a whole plot about Earth-2 to be introduced in the upcoming slate of films. Even if it was, the JSA wouldn’t likely have a slot in DC’s upcoming movies. As for them existing in the main continuity, it’s possible, but even the fact that Wonder Woman is a secret despite fighting in WWI is a bit of a stretch. It’d be hard to imagine no one’s ever heard of a group of WWII era superheroes. Then again, that’s exactly what’s happened in the Arrowverse, so maybe the DCEU will similarly throw logic out the window.
3 Superman and The Flash Racing
Superman and The Flash racing each other to see who’s the fastest is one of those silly comic book moments that we wish could happen in the DCEU. Sadly, it’s likely far too light-hearted to ever actually happen in the world DC and WB have established. Luckily, the Arrowverse was able to pay tribute to it thanks to DCTV fitting the tone of the comics more than the movies. In that version, the Flash and Supergirl set out to race, though we never see the outcome. Of course, that’s generally how it works in the comics, so it’s actually a solid adaptation.
1967’s Superman #199 saw the first instance of these two titans testing their speed. Established as a way to raise money for charity, the two were tasked with a race around the world. To even things out, Clark wasn’t allowed to fly, which proved a serious disadvantage when it came to the oceans, as Barry was able to run across the water while Superman had to swim. The race ended in a cop-out tie, but has been revisited half a dozen times since (including later that same year).
Like in the Arrowverse, other Flashes and Supers have attempted similar competitions, and the main race has been adapted into a number of animated series episodes. Though we doubt it will ever show up in the DCEU, we’re more than happy to eat crow if we’re proven wrong.
2 Crisis on Infinite Earths
It’s hard to imagine a comic book event from any publisher topping 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Though Marvel’s recent Secret Wars reset certainly comes close, Crisis will always hold a special place as the first of its kind. Not only did it introduce a multiverse-spanning conflict that brought together dozens of heroes and villains, but it merged multiple Earths, killed off big-name characters, and reset the entire DC Universe for almost three decades. As the culmination of so many stories and moments, it’s not the type of thing the DCEU will be able to pull off for a long time.
If they play their cards right, however, it would be amazing to eventually see an epic multi-part film based on the events. It would be a natural way to restart the continuity of the DCEU while also recasting various roles. That said, a move like this is likely decades off.
DC has a lot of work left to do in establishing their cinematic universe, and they’d need to plant the seeds for the Multiverse and Earth-2 before they even thought about Crisis. It’s also long been a teased out in the Arrowverse, so there’s a good chance we’ll see The Flash adapt it before the DCEU has a chance.
1 Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet
Wonder Woman has some odd bits of lore that seem difficult to pull off on film. One of these is her Lasso of Truth, but it looks as if some version of it will be appearing in Wonder Woman. The other, stranger piece of equipment she frequently employs is an invisible jet that somehow still renders her visible. Thought it’s been teased in Powerless, its only live-action appearance was in the Wonder Woman series of the ‘70s.
While it’s been featured in many animated shows and movies, it’s faded from prominence in the comics. Part of that is due to the fact that Post-Crisis, Wonder Woman gained the ability to fly. A year after Wonder Woman’s introduction in 1941, she was given the plane as a means of transport, augmenting her considerable strength and skills. Decades later, DC’s reboot simply granted her the power of flight, making the plane moot.
Interestingly, Gal Gadot’s version of Wonder Woman doesn’t appear to have the power to fly. Though it’s been said that she can jump quite high and “practically fly,” she may require the use of a plane after all. And it’s not as if stealth vessels are rare in the superhero world. The many aerial vehicles that S.H.I.E.L.D. employs in the MCU have cloaking technology. Still, we’re not holding our breath for this one.
Which DC Comics characters and plots do you think are unlikely to appear in the DCEU anytime soon? Which ones do you hope will? Let us know in the comments.