2017 hasn’t just brought with it two new DC films – Wonder Woman and Justice League – but also the announcement of a slew of exciting projects from across the comic universe. Here’s every single one – and how far along development they actually are.
The DC Extended Universe has never been quite as formalized as other shared universes, down to the fact that it doesn’t even have a proper name. Warner Bros and DC have also taken quite a different approach to how rival Marvel Studios rolls out their various films, with a range of semi-connected ideas. And, while there’s no one way to craft a shared universe, it’s fair to say DC’s process has led to a sort of haphazard development process.
Every few months, it seems, a new project is announced as in some stage of development from WB and DC, leading to confusion of the overall direction. To be clear, most of these have never been confirmed by anyone within the studio, rather revealed by trades. Still, scripts and even pre-production appear to be underway for nearly a dozen movies with no set release date. And though many of these projects have come to light over the past few years, 2017 has seen a surge in the number of potential DC movies that are in the works.
The newest addition to the list of in-development DC films is Deathstroke. This past week, word broke that The Raid director Gareth Evans is working on a movie about Deathstroke, DC’s infamous mercenary and occasional anti-hero. The character has already made a splash on the small screen thanks to a number of animated appearances and his portrayal by Manu Bennett on Arrow, and has been all set to make the jump to the big screen since last year when it was announced that Joe Manganiello would be playing the villain in Ben Affleck’s The Batman. Test footage of the character even arrived online, but things seemed to fall apart after that. Manganiello got coy about the role, and Matt Reeves’ arrival as the movie’s new director came with news that the old script was out—and with it Deathstroke.
Whether a solo movie was the plan all along, it’s not clear, but Manganiello looks set to still star as the rogue. Not only does it show WB and DC’s commitment to the actor and character, but it continues their push to differentiate themselves from Marvel by focusing on their villains as much as their heroes.
Harley Quinn & the Joker
Much of the success of Suicide Squad is the result of Harley Quinn and Joker’s involvement. As two of DC’s most popular characters, it makes sense the company would want to continue to milk the duo for all they’re worth. Quinn will return in Suicide Squad 2 as well as the proposed Gotham City Sirens films, and the Joker may also be along for the ride in both cases. Outside of those movies, however, fans were shocked when we broke in early July that WB were working on a Harley/Joker love story film.
Helming the project will be Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (This Is Us), an unusual pair for an unusual project. While some fans love the abusive relationship of Harley and the Joker, many find a ‘love story’ film about the two a troubling idea. And while there’s certainly room for some innovation, it still comes off as an odd move considering how many other films these two characters could potentially appear in. Even stranger is word that the movie is already well underway, indicating it could arrive shortly after the planned 2019 release of Suicide Squad 2.
The Joker Origin Film
Just a few days before the Harley/Joker movie got its directors, word arrived of a Joker origin film being worked on by Todd Phillips (The Hangover). An interesting choice to say the least, the veteran comedy director was just one of the reasons the project raised an eyebrow. Balancing out the Phillips hire was word that Martin Scorsese will serve as a producer on the film, making his first foray into comic book movies. Even stranger, but with Jared Leto just one year into his role as the Clown Prince of Crime, the proposed origin film for his character would actually take place in a separate universe.
Set in the ‘80s and designed as a noir film, the Joker origin movie will see another actor don the face paint as WB and DC attempt to craft non-DCEU films involving their characters. There’s precedent for this in the comics, with DC’s Elseworlds imprint providing writers with a way of exploring alternate takes on characters. And though that makes sense for animation or TV, it’s hard to imagine audiences not being confused with the plethora of Joker movies coming to theaters, with two different actors in the role.
It’s not just Batman villains the DC is obsessed with. Like the comics, it seems just about every player in the Batman pantheon will get a crack at a solo movie at some point. Shortly after the arrival of The LEGO Batman Movie earlier this year, word broke that the film’s director, Chris McKay, was making a Nightwing movie. Dick Grayson has a huge fanbase as both Robin and his later Nightwing persona, so it’s not as farfetched as some of DC’s other planned films. Still, we’ve only had hints of Batman’s sidekicks in the DC films.
Though the idea of Robin is well-established amongst moviegoers, few will know who Nightwing is without the character being first introduced alongside Batman. That said, with Sony making a Venom film without Spider-Man, perhaps the old rules no longer apply. Throughout the year, we’ve heard small updates about Nightwing when it comes to the stunts that will be involved. But with no actor attached, the film’s production start date remains up in the air.
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