The road to Justice League is now over, so what’s next for Warner Bros.’ DC Comics-based universe? The shared universe, which is unofficially titled the DC Extended Universe, differs in many ways from other cinematic universes. One of the most conspicuous elements is that each movie thus far being has been either a continuation or repercussion of whichever movie released previously. For instance, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a result of Batman witnessing the Black Zero event in Metropolis in 2013’s Man of Steel. And Amanda Waller formed Task Force X in Suicide Squad because Superman died fighting Doomsday in BvS. The same method has been used in every one of Warners’ DCEU films, but will it continue to be applied to future franchise installments?
One important thing for the DCEU up to this point has been ensuring that it’s distinctly different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That said, even though Warner Bros. doesn’t utilize the concept of “phases“, ever since Snyder announced plans to develop Batman V Superman, getting to Justice League has always been the goal: Phase 1, so to speak. Unfortunately, the superhero team-up film wasn’t as critically or commercially successful as it could have been, and that may cause a rift in the DCEU’s future slate – Phase 2. And what is that next step?
Initially, it looks like the studio is shifting to more standalone films. James Wan’s Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa as the eponymous superhero, already wrapped production in October 2017, and it’s scheduled to hit theaters in December 2018. David F. Sandberg’s Shazam!, starring Asher Angel as Billy Batson and Zachary Levi as Shazam/Captain Marvel, is currently the next film on the docket to enter production. Considering that the studio doesn’t have any plans to cancel or reboot the universe at the moment, Shazam! should continue going through pre-production smoothly. And cameras will start rolling on Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 2, starring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, sometime in summer 2018, with the sequel scheduled to hit theaters in November 2019.
Considering that the DCEU’s team-up movies – Batman V Superman and Justice League – haven’t been enormously successful, it’s only to be expected things would change. And based on that upcoming slate, it looks like the studio may want to take a step further back and focus just on standalone films and sequels to proven properties (divisive or no, Suicide Squad 2 was a box office hit) going forward. That’s feeling like the plan for “Phase 2”, allowing things to settle after a rocky start.
However, that could really build to the future. Setting up each character separately will get general audiences familiar with DC’s superheroes as well as the archvillains, which will, in turn, allow the Warners to set up the Injustice League for Justice League 2. For now, though, it seems team-up movies are less likely, with the most notable exception being Flashpoint – a film that still functions as a solo outing for Flash.
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