Warner Bros.' ever-evolving DC Extended Universe has a massive slate of projects currently in development - and many of them are focused on the villains in DC's lineup, from famous faces like the Joker to lesser-known characters like Lobo. It's unlikely all of them will get made, but it's becoming clear that Warner Bros. believes the universe's villains are one of its strongest assets.
Suicide Squad may have been greeted by middling reviews, but it was a box office hit that made the likes of Harley Quinn and Deadshot household names. Warner Bros. clearly thinks they can repeat that success, as there are almost as many films starring DC villains as DC heroes currently in development. It's also something of a counterweight to Marvel's wildly successful cinematic universe, whose most often cited flaw is the shallow nature of its movies' villains. We're running down the slate of films featuring the darker characters of DC Comics, with everything we know about them at this point, including how likely they are to actually get made.
- This Page: The Joker (x2), Birds of Prey and Gotham City Sirens,
- Page 2: More Joker, More Harley Quinn, Lobo, Black Adam and Suicide Squad 2
Warner Bros. threw everyone a curve ball when they announced they were developing a standalone Joker film from producer Martin Scorsese and director Todd Phillips. The film will exist outside the boundaries of the DCEU, and will star someone other than Jared Leto as the clown prince of crime - with rumors swirling that Joaquin Phoenix is the top choice. The film - co-written by Phillips and Scott Silver - will supposedly serve as an origin story for the Joker, and will likely be a period piece set in the 1980s.
Setting a Joker film outside of the established continuity might seem like a strange choice on its face, but the allure of talent like Scorsese playing with DC's most iconic villain was likely too enticing to pass up. Being unshackled from the overall continuity means Scorsese and Phillips can push the creative envelope, and won't have to service the beats of other films. There's currently no set release date, but given the film's status as a self contained entity means it could end up on screens much faster than some of its shared universe counterparts.
In addition to whatever Scorsese and Phillips have planned for their standalone film, Jared Leto's DCEU Joker also has his own solo adventure in development. This one is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, since Leto's Joker is already slated to be in a number of DCEU films that have been in development for much longer. A DCEU Joker solo film would likely be deeply informed by the events of films like Suicide Squad 2 and Joker vs. Harley, films that are still in pre-production themselves.
There's a delicious irony to the fact that the DCEU Joker's future hinges largely on the development of his erstwhile lover/sidekick, Harley Quinn. After becoming Suicide Squad's breakout star, Margot Robbie's unhinged former psychiatrist has become the lynchpin for a surprising number of projects in active development. There's no official release date for Leto's Joker film, and at the moment it seems to be one of the least likely to actually get made.
Birds Of Prey
Traditional Birds Of Prey team members Huntress and Black Canary may also be involved in the film, but don't expect to see Catwoman. No release date has been made official yet, but with a creative team in place and Robbie's endorsement, this seems like one of the more likely DCEU projects to get made relatively soon. Rumors currently suggest the film is aiming to begin production in 2019.
Gotham City Sirens
Despite Suicide Squad's financial success, it was an infamously troubled production, with an initial script written in only six weeks and with heavy reshoots aimed at altering the film's tone. It seemed to be something of a mutual parting between Warner Bros. and director David Ayer, who had cryptically voiced his displeasure with the process on that film. Ayer is still rattling around the darker corners of the DCEU, however, and is attached to direct an adaptation of Gotham City Sirens.
A comic starring Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy, the film adaptation would be yet another opportunity to take advantage of Harley's surging popularity in the wake of Suicide Squad. Ayer certainly played a crucial role in Harley's emergence in the public consciousness, so it makes sense that he would get another swing at the character. But between the Suicide Squad sequel and Birds Of Prey, it's feeling more and more like Gotham City Sirens isn't a priority for the studio.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019