Warner Bros. and DC Films have three DC Comics-based movies releasing in theaters in 2021; that's one more film than DC has ever put out in a single year. DC never releases more than two movies in a year, so 2021 will certainly be huge for them. In comparison, DC Films' chief rival, Marvel Studios, started releasing three movies per year in 2017, and they'll be moving up to four movies per year in 2021.
DC Films currently has seven movie with confirmed release dates; two of them are hitting theaters in 2020. The first is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which will focus on an all-female team of anti-heroes led by Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, the breakout star of the first Suicide Squad film. The second movie DC has on the schedule for 2020 is the highly anticipated sequel to Patty Jenkins' record-breaking movie, Wonder Woman. Titled Wonder Woman 1984, the film takes Gal Gadot's Diana Prince to the 1980s to face off against Cheetah (Kristin Wiig) and somehow reunite with her love interest from the first movie, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
The DCEU got off to a rocky first few years, with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Though both movies featured DC's two flagship heroes (and more), neither film was the box office hit that DC and Warner Bros. were expecting. In fact, Justice League was largely considered a box office disaster. Things started to look up for DC when Wonder Woman raked in $821 million, followed by Aquaman, which topped the $1 billion mark and became the highest grossing film based on DC Comics. Both Shazam! and Joker (which isn't set in the DCEU) have also performed well at the box office. It remains to be seen if DC will be able continue this success in the coming years. 2021 will be a major test, considering that its DC's busiest year yet.
The Batman - June 25, 2021
Directed by Matt Reeves, The Batman releases in June 2021. With Ben Affleck no longer attached to the role of the Caped Crusader, DC's first solo Batman movie since The Dark Knight Rises will star Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne instead. So far, the cast of The Batman indicates that the movie won't be set in the DCEU, since it features two characters who appeared in Batman v. Superman and Justice League, but neither of them are being played by the same actors. In The Batman, Andy Serkis plays Alfred Pennyworth, with Jeffrey Wright as Batman's longtime ally in the police force, Commissioner Gordon. Zoe Kravitz and Paul Dano will fill the roles of key Batman characters, Catwoman and Riddler, respectively. Colin Farrell is in talks to play Penguin.
The Batman isn't an origin story, but it will take place before Batman becomes the world's greatest detective. The Batman will indeed bring out the detective side of the Dark Knight, which suggests that a mystery will be at the heart of the plot. This could be why The Batman is expected to include multiple Batman villains. Having several enemies (particularly the Riddler) in one movie could make finding the real mastermind an interesting challenge for Batman.
The Suicide Squad - August 6, 2021
James Gunn, who helmed both Guardians of the Galaxy movies for Marvel Studios, will direct the sequel to 2016's Suicide Squad for DC. The first movie centered on a group of super villains sent on dangerous, secret missions for the government. The Suicide Squad will presumably follow the same premise, and feature at least some of the same characters. Regardless, it will serve as a soft reboot of sorts, hence the title. It's been said that The Suicide Squad will be able to stand on its own. One thing that will make it different from the first movie is a greater emphasis on comedy.
The Suicide Squad is missing Jared Leto's Joker and Will Smith's Deadshot, but the movie still boasts an enormous cast full of both A-list stars and lesser-known actors, including several returning actors from its predecessor, along with Idris Elba, Nathan Fillion, John Cena, Peter Capaldi, Michael Rooker, Taikia Waititi, and quite a few more. However, it's likely that a large portion of the cast won't even survive the first half of the movie. Some of the confirmed characters are D-list villains from DC Comics who could end up dying in the movie's opening act, making way for a new version of the Suicide Squad.
Black Adam - December 22, 2021
In DC Comics, Black Adam is the villainous opposite of Shazam, and a character who possesses a similar powerset. Introduced in 1945, the immensely powerful Black Adam was an Egyptian hero who became corrupted by power. Over time, he became enemies of the Marvel Family (aka Shazam Family), and has long been at odds with Shazam and other DC heroes. Though Black Adam was utilized as a villain for most of his comic book history, he was reimagined as an anti-hero in the 2000s.
Before the DC Extended Universe even had a name, DC was working on bringing Black Adam to the big screen. In 2014, Dwayne Johnson confirmed that he had been cast as Black Adam. At the time, it was expected that Johnson's character would appear in Shazam!, but this was not the case. Black Adam was dropped from Shazam!, allowing him to be introduced in a solo movie before meeting the DC superhero. The Black Adam movie is finally moving forward, with Jaume Collet-Sera attached to direct. It was stated in October that Black Adam would begin filming in July 2020, and now, Johnson recently announced an official release date of December 22, 2021.
What story DC and Warner Bros. have in mind for Black Adam's live-action debut hasn't been revealed, though Johnson's comments may be indicative of the direction the film will take Black Adam. Interestingly, Johnson's description of Black Adam suggests that the character will be a superhero, rather than a villain or an anti-hero.