DC’s movie universe (unofficially titled DC Extended Universe) is going through a lot of changes, and the future is looking quite bright for the franchise. DC hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to live-action films, with Man of Steel kickstarting in 2013 what fans know as the DCEU. Superman’s solo adventure was followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which introduced Ben Affleck as the new Dark Knight, and Suicide Squad, with both films not doing well with critics. Even though Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was a box office hit and was praised by critics, the underperformance of Justice League later that year prompted Warner Bros. to do some major changes.
After the release of Aquaman (which is currently the highest-grossing DCEU film) and Shazam!, Warner and DC are ready to begin a new era of films that will hopefully give this connected universe the boost it needs. First in line is the return of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey, followed by Wonder Woman 1984. Next are Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which will introduce Robert Pattinson as the new Caped Crusader, and Black Adam, finally making its way to the big screen with Jaume Collet-Serra in charge of directing. The last project on the list with a confirmed release date is Aquaman 2, reuniting Jason Momoa with director James Wan.
However, there are a couple of characters whose fate in the DCEU has been left in the air. There are no signs of a second Superman film (Batman v Superman isn’t a proper sequel to Man of Steel), Green Lantern might or might not stick to television for now, and the Flash’s future is still uncertain. Luckily, a bunch of details on the future of DC’s movie universe have been revealed, giving some clarity to the characters that have been left hanging and adding more to the already confirmed titles.
WB Met With JJ Abrams & Michael B. Jordan About Superman
The DCEU already has a Superman thanks to Henry Cavill, who has played the man of steel in three films and is reportedly under contract to reprise the role in one more film. However, in September 2018 it was reported that Henry Cavill had left DC’s universe, though this was never actually confirmed. In a recent interview, Cavill said he hasn’t given up the role, even if there haven’t been any updates on Superman’s future in the DCEU.
Unsurprisingly, Superman’s fate is still a mystery, but that doesn’t mean the studio hasn’t been working on it. According to Variety’s report, Warner has been approaching “lots of high-profile talent” to help boost the character and make him relevant again. Among those Warner has talked to are J.J. Abrams, who recently denied any discussions with the studio, and Michael B. Jordan. Abrams’ company Bad Robot recently signed a massive production deal with WarnerMedia, so it’s not that surprising that the studio discussed some ideas with him regarding Superman. As for Michael B. Jordan, Variety explains he pitched Warner on a vision for the character, but he isn’t ready to commit as the project wouldn’t start filming anytime soon and he already has other projects lined up.
Batman & Birds of Prey Stars Have Sequels & Standalones In Contracts
Although Birds of Prey doesn’t come out until February 2020, and The Batman is still in pre-production (with a release date scheduled for June 2021), Warner has planned ahead and is ready to give characters in both films chances to grow. Key cast members in both films are said to have contract options to appear in sequels and standalone films – it all depends on how well the first ones perform, both in terms of box office numbers and reception from viewers. That said, fans shouldn’t lose hope on a Harley Quinn solo adventure, or any other character from Birds of Prey and The Batman that might have a big impact on the audience.
The Batman Will Feature Arkham Asylum (But Isn’t Set There)
The most anticipated title in DC’s upcoming wave of films is, arguably, The Batman. With Matt Reeves on board as writer and director, Robert Pattinson playing the Dark Knight, and the addition of villains like Catwoman, the Riddler, and the Penguin, The Batman is building up a lot of anticipation. To add up to the excitement, it has been reported that the studio discussed having the entire film take place in Arkham Asylum, but instead only a handful of scenes will be set at Gotham’s high-security prison. Arkham has housed many memorable villains from Batman’s universe, most notably the Joker, Harley Quinn, the Riddler, and the Penguin – and taking into account that these last two are set to appear in the film, it makes sense that Arkham will be featured.
Fans have been speculating The Batman will be based on Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s limited comic book series The Long Halloween, more so after the addition of John Turturro as mob boss Carmine Falcone. In that storyline, Falcone and his family are hunted by a serial killer known as Holiday, prompting him to recruit a number of Batman villains to work for him. The confirmation of Arkham as setting, even if not a predominant one, will surely fuel speculation on The Long Halloween serving as basis for the film even more.
Geoff Johns Is Writing Green Lantern Corps Script By End Of 2019.
Green Lantern is one of those characters that DC has been especially careful with after that failed live-action film back in 2011 with Ryan Reynolds as the title character. Green Lantern Corps was announced in 2014 but it hasn’t moved past pre-production, instead going back and forth between “in development” and “on hold”. In 2017, David S. Goyer and Justin Rhodes joined the project as screenwriters, but in 2018, Geoff Johns was brought in to rewrite the script. Aside from that, there haven’t been any substantial updates... until now.
Green Lantern Corps reportedly remains a priority, and Johns will present a script by the end of 2019. Although this is a big step towards the right direction for Green Lantern, there’s still a lot of work to do for the film to finally happen. Variety shares that the project may be presented to J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot in hopes that they will be interested in producing. Of course, there’s also the Green Lantern TV show in development for HBO Max with Greg Berlanti as producer, which could lead to his involvement in the film.
Birds of Prey & Suicide Squad 2 May Be Rated-R
The world of superhero films is starting to embrace the creative perks that making an R-rated film can bring, and DC might be leaning into that with some of its upcoming titles. Following the example (though not the style) of Todd Phillips’ Joker, Birds of Prey and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad could be R-rated too. Birds of Prey has been described as a “humorous, spirited, girl gang adventure”, but that doesn’t mean it will be suitable for all audiences. As for The Suicide Squad, the first film was heavily criticized for keeping a PG-13 rating, so the studio might have learned its lesson and is now giving James Gunn the freedom to make a proper R-rated film focused on a (new) gang of supervillains.
The Flash & Aquaman 2 Won’t Film Until 2021
Just like Green Lantern, the Flash has been trapped in development hell for a couple of years. The Flash was first announced in 2014 and even got a 2018 release date, but pre-production didn’t go as smoothly as the studio expected. After multiple rewrites and various directors joining and dropping out, in July 2019 Andy Muschietti was announced as director, with Christina Hodson joining as screenwriter. The Flash still doesn’t have a projected release date, but according to Variety, the creative team has already begun working on it. Hodson will reportedly finish the script before moving on to write a screenplay for Batgirl, but production won’t be able to start until 2021, as Ezra Miller is busy with the third Fantastic Beasts film.
The Flash won’t be the only DC film shooting in 2021 – Aquaman 2 is expected to begin shooting in early 2021, with James Wan directing once more. Given that the first Aquaman film was a big success for Warner and DC, they are looking to expand this side of their universe with The Trench, a spinoff based on the group of vicious undersea creatures introduced in the first film. The future of DC’s movie universe is looking quite promising, and hopefully all of its upcoming projects will continue their course without further obstacles.