We’re definitely getting Cyborg and Green Lantern movies as part of the DCEU – but will they make their originally-announced 2020 release dates? The Justice League is finally uniting on the big screen, delivering on 57 years of anticipation (and four years of active setup) while also building up to a string of standalone adventures; next December will see Arthur Curry finally take the mantle of King in Aquaman and the year after brings back Diana Prince, this time in the 1980s, with Wonder Woman 2. However, the future is less clear for the rest of the team.
Solo movies for the other heroes are in the works, sure, but we don’t know when we’ll actually see them; Matt Reeves is working on The Batman which is rumored (but not confirmed) to start shooting next summer, Flashpoint is still trying to lock a director, and word is silent on Man of Steel 2 (presumably to keep up the mystery of Superman’s return in Justice League). Although this confusion is most felt when it comes to the two projects about which we’ve heard next to nothing: Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps.
Related: Why The DCEU Is Sidelining Superman
The Original DCEU Plan Has Changed
The original DCEU gameplan was announced in October 2014, back when Batman v Superman had just wrapped principal photography and Justice League‘s replacement director Joss Whedon was still hard at work on Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Age of Ultron. This dated Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016, Wonder Woman and the first of a two-part team-up in 2017, standalones for The Flash and Aquaman in 2018, Shazam! and Justice League Part 2 in 2019 and, finally, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps in 2020. It was also assumed solo films for Bats and Supes were on the studio’s mind but they didn’t want to distract from their impending showdown.
Thus far, the released films have impressively matched up with this slate (the only deviation was BvS moving from May to March 2016 to avoid competition with Captain America: Civil War), but, looking ahead, it’s evident things have changed. Due to production shifts, only one of the original 2018 and 2019 films remain apiece – The Flash has been subject to numerous rewrites and director changes, while Justice League was made a single film around the start of production. And the further forward you go, the clearer it is that we’re dealing with an alternate future entirely; Aquaman and Shazam! retain their dates, yet the films surrounding them are newer ideas that suggest a course deviation – Wonder Woman 2 is in 2019 and the other films heading into production are previously undated spinoffs and villain outings.
Yet in the discussion, we tend to have Cyborg and Green Lantern still treated like they’re locked for 2020, presumably because they’re so far out it’s conceivable for them to make release despite no attached talent (beyond Ray Fisher to star in the former). But is this a safe assumption, or have these projects also moved with the bigger production reworkings?
We Have No Clue What The DCEU’s Slate For 2020 Looks Like
In July, WB dated two DC films on February 14 and June 5, 2020. Considering that Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps were originally locked for April 3 and July 24 respectively, that alone means something’s changed. It’s not out of the question that these new films are in addition to what was already there – it has been rumored the DCEU wants to increase output to three or four movies a year, and the sheer number of projects in development would attest to that – but the tightness of those dates (that would be four films in five months) suggests instead that, at the very least, the two initial films have moved. And, as we’ve heard nothing on either project, it feels more likely these new dates are filled by one of the many movies that are being actively worked on: Suicide Squad 2, The Batman, Mad Love, Gotham City Sirens, Man of Steel 2, the Elseworlds Joker origin, and so many more.
So, with that said, let’s take a look at what we know about these films and whether they can still make 2020 in any form. The Lantern Corps are referenced in Justice League – Steppenwolf observes there are none there to protect Earth in the trailer, and a preview event revealed that they play a part in the prologue – bringing textual confirmation of their presence in the world, but there’s been minimal actual movement on the project; strip away all of Armie Hammer’s teasing of his non-involvement and it’s a very sparse topic. There was a rumored actor shortlist at the start of this year and the Lanterns were included in the rundown of projects at SDCC, which would attest to them being in the near future of the DCEU, yet there are no concrete developments to say we’ll get them as soon as 2020.
Cyborg is more complicated. Back in May, Ray Fisher said the film was still on track for its original date, yet it wasn’t on the SDCC list at all, which suggests it’s no longer an active concern. Indeed, more recently, the actor deflected questions, saying the film was still being discussed then immediately trying to move the conversation on, hinting that it’s in flux. Victor Stone is a potentially very powerful character; he’s the movie franchise’s most prominent person of color and, as a former Teen Titan only made part of the main Justice League line-up in 2011’s New 52 reboot, is a true new-age hero. That makes him an exciting prospect to explore, although also highlights an unclear potential; how excited people are for his film hinges on how they connect to the character now.
And that’s is the one thing we can say with some degree of certainty: the release of not just these two films, but all the solo films based on Justice League characters (except Wonder Woman, who is a proven draw, and Aquaman, expected to be the breakout star) depend on the success of the film. There’s no advantage to greenlighting a spinoff if there’s no enthusiasm, especially when the franchise is already expanding with confidence in more dependable areas (Suicide Squad may have been critically derided, but it connected with a large audience), and so all are being treated with caution.
Cyborg and Green Lantern are definitely important in the expanding DCEU – they’ve got a key position on the DC Films logo, after all – but the priority of their solo films is yet to be defined. At this point, they aren’t dead certs for 2020: if they do wind up releasing them, that’s down a reversion, not a long-set game plan.
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