What has unofficially come to be known as the DC Extended Universe turns five this year (in terms of number of films released, at least) with the release of Justice League. The film brings together the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Superman in an epic live-action crossover event four years in the making.
To see just how critical of a moment this is, we need only look at what happened when the Marvel Cinematic Universe released its first superhero team-up five years ago.
The Avengers was a massive success with audiences and critics alike, earning a 92% certified-fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing over $1 billion at the worldwide box office on its way to establishing the MCU as a force to be reckoned with going forward.
A similar reception for Justice League will do wonders for the DCEU as a whole, paving the way for a bright future ahead. Another misstep in the same vein as Man of Steel (55% on Rotten Tomatoes), Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (27%), or Suicide Squad (26%), however, could cause fans to tune out in droves.
Justice League is still a few weeks away so what better way to prepare for its arrival than by looking at some rumors about the future of the DCEU as a whole.
Here are the 8 DCEU Rumors Confirmed To Be True (And 7 We Hope Aren’t).
15 CONFIRMED: JUSTICE LEAGUE IS THE SHORTEST DCEU FILM TO DATE
The run time of a film is often a solid indicator for its overall pacing. If the run time is too short, there's a good chance the film will feel rushed. Too long and it can drag.
Superhero films tend to run a bit longer than average, having to establish the heroes' and villains' abilities and/or technologies, personalities, motivations, and schemes all before the big fight in the final act.
This made it all the more shocking when Justice League's run time was revealed to be just 121 minutes, making it the shortest DCEU film released so far (two minutes shorter than Suicide Squad, and 20, 22, and 30 minutes shorter than Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, and Batman v. Superman, respectively).
Hopefully, this means the final product will feel lean and exciting, and not choppy and rushed.
14 HOPE IS FALSE: THERE WILL BE A SEVENTH JUSTICE LEAGUE MEMBER IN THE FILM
This is one rumor that has been around since the marketing machine behind Justice League first began greasing its gears. One of the first images for the film came in the form of Jason Momoa's Aquaman holding his trident behind the words "Unite the Seven."
The phrase remains ambiguous to this day, either referring simply to the seven seas or, perhaps, seven Justice League members.
The film is confirmed to feature Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, which leaves one slot yet to be filled. All signs point to the final member being Green Lantern (since he was a founding member of the group in the comics and has been featured in at least one piece of promotional material).
We hope this isn't the case, however, because the movie has plenty going on as it is. It has the formal introductions of three new league members, the introduction of Steppenwolf, and the resurrection of Superman. Throwing in Green Lantern will needlessly complicate matters further.
13 Confirmed: joss whedon is getting writing credit for justice league
When Joss Whedon first took over directing duties for Zack Snyder, it was believed his role in the film would be just that: directing some of the re-shoots.
This led many to believe Whedon would have very little impact on the film as a whole. Since then, however, we have learned that Whedon has had much more input than anyone originally believed.
In recent months, Whedon has been credited with lightening the film's tone and changing the ending. And while those rumors remain unconfirmed, what has been confirmed is he is receiving writing credit for the film, which means he has contributed enough for the film's original screenwriter Chris Terrio to give Whedon partial credit.
Considering the massive success of The Avengers with Whedon at the helm, having him more involved in the writing and directing of Justice League seems like a good idea on its face. Though only time will tell for sure.
12 hope is false: lex luthor has been cut from justice league
Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor was a polarizing figure in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, to say the least.
Many fans didn't care for the actor's portrayal of Superman's arch nemesis and felt he played the character in a manner far too similar to his Academy Award-nominated role in The Social Network, making him far more quirky and annoying than menacing.
That being said, Luthor is too important of a character in DC lore to simply cast him aside in Justice League, which apparently is the case as Batman-news has claimed he has been cut from the film entirely.
In addition to being a central character in a number of Superman storylines, Luthor also played a pivotal role in BvS and apparently had foreknowledge of Steppenwolf's pending arrival.
Scaling back his role in Justice League wouldn't be so bad, but cutting him entirely will cause a jarring disconnect between films.
11 confirmed: the flash solo film is titled flashpoint
The decision to introduce The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in Justice League (technically BvS) as opposed to their own solo films likely means the solo entries won't be origin stories and will instead take place chronologically after the team-up film.
This poses some interesting questions for the newly-introduced characters. What happens after Aquaman returns to the sea? What life does Cyborg have outside of superhero-ing? How will the Flash adapt after going toe-to-toe with Steppenwolf?
The answer to that last question became a bit clearer when the Flash solo film was officially named Flashpoint earlier this year. For those unfamiliar with the storyline that debuted in 2011, Barry Allen awakens and finds himself in an alternate reality where nothing is as he remembers it.
Instead, (spoiler) Thomas Wayne has become Batman following the death of his son Bruce, Martha Wayne has become the Joker, and Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at war. How much of this will be adapted to the big screen remains to be seen.
10 hope is false: flashpoint will actually try to adapt Flashpoint
Now that the film officially has a title, it's safe to assume Flashpoint will attempt to adapt, well, Flashpoint for the big screen.
The problem here is the DCEU has not yet established its characters and their relationships with one another well enough for the changes in the comic to have their desired effect. While the prospect of seeing Bruce Wayne's parents as Batman and the Joker on the big screen is intriguing, it also risks overcrowding a film that should be focusing on The Flash.
Instead of trying to adapt the entire comic, the film's writers would be better off focusing on only certain elements (like Barry reuniting with his mother in his new reality while also lamenting the death of his father and the loss of his relationship to Iris) and omitting others (like Batman and his parents, and the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman).
The main focus should be on Barry, Eobard Thawne, and Barry's quest to reset the timeline. Although introducing Wonder Woman as a villain would be pretty awesome.
9 confirmed: black adam will not be in shazam
Dwayne Johnson has been attached to the DCEU since close to its inception. Man of Steel was released in 2013 and Johnson revealed that he would be playing Black Adam in 2014. Then things got quiet on the Black Adam front until earlier this year when Johnson said Adam's debut will be a surprise for audiences.
Since then it's been confirmed that Black Adam will not appear in Shazam! (currently set for release in 2019). DC Films president Geoff Johns stated plainly that Johnson won't be in the film, and Johnson himself has said both Black Adam and Shazam will get standalone films before eventually meeting somewhere down the road.
Johnson in a superhero film is almost guaranteed to be incredible. A slow burn that sees introductions for him and Shazam in separate films before eventually squaring off should be downright epic.
8 hope is false: ryan reynolds returns in green lantern
2011's Green Lantern isn't the worst comic book movie of all time, but it was certainly one of the most underwhelming. Ryan Reynolds' portrayal of Hal Jordan is fine, but nothing special, and the CGI is excessive to say the least.
Overall, it was forgettable, which is why the rumor that Warner Bros. plans to bring Reynolds back in some form or other for the reboot is just plain baffling.
Bringing him back as Hal Jordan will raise all sorts of continuity questions (e.g. does the original film exist in the DCEU or is this a full-on remake, but with the same actor and character?), and casting him in another role threatens to detract from the story.
Yes, Reynolds stock as soared since Deadpool hit theaters, but that doesn't mean he should appear in the DCEU. In fact, it means just the opposite. Let him focus on making awesome Deadpool sequels for years to come.
7 confirmed: the batman is getting a completely new script
The Batman has gone through all sorts of growing pains since it was first added to the DCEU slate of upcoming films. Ben Affleck was originally set to write and direct (in addition to playing the Caped Crusader himself) and his script called for Joe Manganello to appear as the film's main antagonist, Deathstroke.
Since then, however, Affleck has stepped down as director and Matt Reeves has been brought in to take his place. One other rumor confirmed since Affleck gave up his director's chair is that his script is being completely rewritten as well.
It has not been confirmed whether or not Deathstroke will appear. Though there has been talk of a Slade Wilson solo film, and Manganello has even shared a close-up shot of the character's mask. And while Deathstroke's status remains unknown, there are rumors floating around about a number of Batman's nemeses showing up in the film.
6 hope is false: the batman will be filled with villains
One of the more disconcerting rumors floating around regarding the new script for The Batman is that it is said to contain many villains from the Caped Crusader's past. Rumors currently indicate that Matt Reeves wants to have several main antagonists in the film (namely Joker, Scarecrow, and Deathstroke), with additional appearances from many members of Batman's rogue's gallery.
The problem here is that while Batman does have a great number of iconic and intriguing villains, including several of them in a single film risks causing it to feel unfocused and bloated.
This is the same problem that plagued Spider-Man 3 (which introduced Venom, Sandman, and the new Green Goblin) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (which introduced Electro, Rhyno, and Green goblin, again). Both films underwhelmed audiences and ultimately caused the franchise to be rebooted.
Cameos by some of Batman's more iconic villains could be fun, but the main story should focus on the Dark Knight versus a single antagonist.
5 confirmed: joker and harley quinn are getting a movie
Suicide Squad has its fair share of flaws. From the marketing that suggested the Joker was the film's main antagonist when he barely makes an appearance at all, to Katana and Slipknot's forced introductions, to the many helicopter crash scenes that transpired when one would have sufficed.
Margot Robbie's performance as Harley Quinn, however, was great, which is why the actress is currently slated to reprise the role three times in the near future.
The film doesn't have a release date just yet so plot details are scarce, but considering how well Robbie nailed her character the first time around, fans will certainly be clamoring to see her on screen once more. Leto, meanwhile, will be getting a much needed shot at redemption for his version of the Joker.
4 hope is false: affleck is on his way out
This is another one of those rumors that has lingered within all talks of the DCEU for quite some time. There were whispers that Ben Affleck wanted out of his contract as early as last year, and they seemed to gain some traction when it was announced he would no longer be directing The Batman.
Of course, Affleck and others denied the rumor, but with Justice League still in production at the time it made little sense for anyone to acknowledge the validity of the rumor even if it was true.
The fact of the matter is Affleck's Batman was one of the few bright spots in the otherwise polarizing Batman v. Superman.
Whether they loved or hated the film itself, everyone tended to agree that Batman was awesome. (There was no denying the awesomeness of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman either.)
He was one of the few things the film actually got right. So the idea that Affleck is on his way out after just two or three films is worrisome to say the least. Let's hope he stays in the cowl for many years to come.
3 confirmed: Jared Leto will not be in the joker origin movie
This is one of the more confusing rumors to come out of the DCEU, let alone to be confirmed. Yet, here it is. To put it simply, Jared Leto's performance in Suicide Squad left a lot to be desired.
In his defense, he was fighting an uphill battle following Heath Ledger's turn as the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight, and many of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.
That being said, re-casting him in the upcoming Untitled Joker Origin Movie seems like a big mistake. And the fact that the film is confirmed to exist outside of the continuity of the DCEU only serves to further muddy the waters by potentially confusing casual moviegoers who don't know which films fall within the DCEU and which don't.
Considering the fact that the character has already been portrayed brilliantly by both Jack Nicholson and the aforementioned Ledger, Leto deserves credit for making his version unique. It's a shame we won't get to see how the character came to be.
2 hope is false. DCEU characters will be re-cast in standalone films
If the latest batch of DCEU rumors are to be believed, then the Jared Leto-less Untitled Joker Origin Movie will not be the only standalone film to feature a new actor in a role that already exists within the DCEU.
Warner Bros' current plan for the DCEU is to have some films set within the continuity that has thus far been established, and others that exist outside of that continuity entirely.
If the Untitled Joker Origin Movie performs well at the box office, then its entirely possible more characters that have already been introduced within the DCEU will be portrayed by new actors outside of it.
The problem here is that it muddies the waters of the already-established DCEU. Developing standalone films about some of DC's lesser known properties sounds like a great idea (cough, Red Hood vs. Deathstroke, cough).
However, re-casting the likes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman outside of the DCEU while the same characters appear within it seems needlessly confusing and risks over saturating the market.
1 confirmed: Zachary Levi is shazam
In addition to the news that Black Adam will not be appearing in Shazam!, it was also recently revealed that Zachary Levi will be playing the titular character.
The role has been one of the most sought after in Hollywood for quite some time, with many actors supposedly in the mix. Some of these actors included WWE wrestler John Cena, Derek Theler (ABC Family's Baby Daddy), Zane Holtz (From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), and Jake McDorman (TV's Limitless).
Levi is best known for his role in NBC's Chuck, which ran for five seasons from 2007-2012. The show centered around Levi's Chuck, an average man forced into an extraordinary career working for the CIA.
Levi's experience on the show should translate nicely to the big screen as Shazam tells the story of a young boy who turns into a superhero whenever he utters the magic word, SHAZAM. The film is currently set to begin filming early next year.
Are there any other DCEU rumors you've heard recently? Let us know in the comments.