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How & Why The DCEU's Original Slate Changed So Much

Wonder Woman 1984

The New DCEU Release Date and Schedule

The current DCEU slate looks very different to the one announced back in 2014, and that's understandable; things change, but it's the behind the scenes reaction to these changes that caused fans to worry. But needless to say, the DCEU is very much on track to continue pushing out movies relatively quickly, after taking more than a year break between Justice League and Aquaman.

  • Man of Steel - June 10, 2013
  • Batman V Superman - March 20, 2016
  • Suicide Squad - August 1, 2016
  • Wonder Woman - June 2, 2017
  • Justice League - November 13, 2017
  • Aquaman - December 21, 2018
  • Shazam! - April 5, 2019
  • Birds of Prey - February 7, 2020
  • Wonder Woman 1984 - June 5, 2020
  • The Batman - June 25, 2021
  • The Suicide Squad - August 6, 2021

Related: All 29 Upcoming & In-Development DC Films

While Snyder can rightly take credit for casting the likes of Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, the fact remains that his entire plan has been ditched. Instead, Warner Bros. is taking a completely different approach.

Justice League Forced The DCEU To Change

Everything changed with Justice League, which was always destined to be a problem child for WB. Production began before the studio had even begun to absorb the disappointing reception of Batman V Superman, and WB attempted to pivot while it was still being shot. As a result, the script was drastically rewritten, and Joss Whedon ultimately took over from Snyder. The result was a Frankenstein's Monster of a film, lacking a cohesive narrative, and Justice League grossed under $700 million worldwide.

Both Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck seem to have been badly burned by this. There were recurring rumors that Affleck wanted out as Batman ASAP, and his commitment to The Batman seemed to shift depending on the month; he finally left the project in January 2019. There have been similar reports about Cavill, although Cavill insists he's sticking around; still, it's notable that no Superman film is on the slate right now. Of the much-vaunted DC Trinity, only Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman still stands strong, and that's largely because her solo film was pretty much unconnected to Snyder's vision (despite being a product of it). Naturally, all this behind-the-scenes drama has an impact on the slate.

Related: How Aquaman Corrected The DCEU's Marketing Mistakes

Interestingly, WB seems to have responded to the failure of the Snyder model by choosing to take a more experimental approach to building their shared cinematic universe. Where the original slate were all four-quadrant tentpoles, the current slate includes the likes of Birds of Prey, expected to have a smaller budget and potentially an R-rating. Diversity has become a mainstay of the DCEU, and both 2020 movies are female-led. The studio is eschewing tried-and-tested - and potentially overused - brands in favor of characters who've never appeared on the big screen before, with Aquaman proving that approach can pay off.

Continuity has become less of a focus as well; Aquaman contained only a single reference to the events of Justice League, and it looks as though Shazam! will follow suit, while Wonder Woman 1984 and The Batman won't even be set in the present-day DCEU. James Gunn is working with a whole new team on The Suicide Squad, meaning he doesn't have to worry about continuity. Oddly enough, Justice League appears to have given WB the confidence to play around with the typical shared universe model. As a result, while the early DCEU struggled to find a firm footing, the future looks a lot more secure.

More: How to Watch Every DCEU Movie Online

Key Release Dates
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
  • Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
  • The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
  • The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
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