Superheroes and comic books are Hollywood’s current hot property, pulling from both Marvel’s and DC’s long history of superheroism, space battles and colorful characters. Disney and Warner Bros have released some of the highest grossing films ever made in the last ten years with their comic book franchises and, with such a high profile commodity, rumors and speculation are everywhere.
Whether it’s a tentative promise of an upcoming film, potential casting news or indicators of a big death for the series, it’s impossible to sit down to watch your favourite heroes duke it out without the sneaking suspicion that you know how it’s all going to turn out. Now that both series are promising two or three releases each year, there are more and more movies to attract the speculation of eagle eyed fans.
With Infinity War just round the corner and Justice League introducing three brand new heroes to the DC Extended Universe, the comic book hype isn’t going anywhere. Looking at the two biggest comic book franchises, there are some rumors we really wish turn out to be true, and some that could mean the end of superhero movies for ever.
20 MCU: The Masters of Evil
After Thanos attempts to decimate the universe and dismantle the Avengers in Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be looking for a new threat. that Now the rights to characters previously owned by 20th Century Fox have been reclaimed by Marvel Studios, the easy answer would be Galactus, the devourer of planets.
However, an exciting rumor has arisen for those tired of intergalactic space giants. Originally consisting of characters not yet seen in a comic book movie (including Black Knight and Melter), the Masters of Evil is essentially an antithesis to the Avengers, much like the Legion of Doom to DC’s Justice League.
The series has several villains left alive to pull from and the prospect of seeing each hero face their arch nemesis one more time on screen is incredibly exciting.
It also gives the franchise an excuse to bring back Daniel Bruhl’s brilliant Zemo, as he is traditionally the team’s founder in the comics.
19 DCEU: Three Joker Movies
Although 2016’s Suicide Squad disappointed many fans with its inconsistent editing, poor characterisation and weak action, the highest praise it garnered was perhaps for Jared Leto’s… interesting portrayal of the Joker.
Despite dubious method acting and terrible fashion sense, his interpretation of the character was at least intense enough to be considered somewhat worthy of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Now the DCEU seems to be abandoning the Marvel formula of linear storytelling within the same defined universe, as reports are suggesting that Warner Bros are developing three separate movies featuring The Joker. The first is the suspected Suicide Squad sequel, followed by a film developing his romance with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and, most strangely, an origin movie, produced by Martin Scorsese and possibly starring Joaquin Phoenix.
18 MCU: Namor
Alongside Captain America and the Human Torch, Namor the Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s earliest heroes and comic book history’s first anti-hero – move over, Deadpool. Like DC’s Aquaman, Namor is an Atlantean, possesses superhuman strength and control over the seas. In some incarnations, he has the ability to fly, an unexpected power for a half-human, half-merman. This has cause some to dub him Marvel’s first mutant, as he appeared before the X-Men.
Now that the rights of Namor have returned to Marvel, we should expect his appearance on the big screen soon.
Drawn even more flamboyantly than Aquaman, wearing nothing but a pair of scaly green speedos, adapting him accurately for the screen will prove a challenge, but if Marvel can make spandex work, a revealing swimsuit shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
17 DCEU: Nightwing
Previously known as Robin, Dick Grayson abandoned his job as Bruce Wayne’s faithful ward and became his own hero; Bludhaven’s own watchful protector, Nightwing. The chance of the DC cinematic universe finally introducing the Batfamily is enticing, as the last time we saw a live action Robin was in 1997 and the only glimpse we’ve seen of the DCEU’s interpretation is Robin’s costume on display in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s Batcave.
A recent slate of Warner Bros upcoming superhero films seem to suggest the production of the unannounced sequel to Man of Steel, as well as a film for Nightwing.
Considering the darker tone of the current on-screen versions of the World’s Finest heroes, this seems like a wise choice, as Ben Affleck’s brooding Batman doesn’t seem ready to train another orphaned circus performer.
16 MCU: More Mature Marvel Movies
Logan and Deadpool have proven that superhero films can handle adult material on both sides of the spectrum and still succeed, delivering brutal violence and crass comedy. Both entries in the X-Men franchise became top five highest grossing R-Rated films. Until the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios have never risked releasing a more adult superhero film, but times may be about to change.
With the absorption of the X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel now have more characters to play with that lend themselves to R-Rated material.
Last year, Feige confirmed that R-Rated Marvel features were “not out of the question.” Once the Disney/Fox deal has finalized later this year, it’s more than likely that we’ll start seeing some more familiar characters alongside Robert Downey Jr and co.
15 DCEU: Jake Gyllenhaal Will Replace Ben Affleck
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced Affleck’s older, greyer Batman than Christian Bale’s previous take, and many considered his performance to be the best part of the film. Unfortunately, his apparent enthusiasm for the role was not matched in Justice League, in which he mumbles his lines and constantly seems on the verge of falling asleep.
It’s no wonder that Affleck is unclear on whether or not he’ll continue the role.
With some sources outright confirming this rumor, the connotations are unclear. Reports have said that Matt Reeves has his eye on younger actor if he needs to replace Affleck for his upcoming solo Batman film. No stranger to blockbuster films, after starring in The Day After Tomorrow and Prince of Persia, Gyllenhaal moved on to crucial roles in some of the last decade’s best crime films. True or not, a younger and more impassioned Batman sounds more exciting that Affleck’s grumbling detective.
14 MCU: Wesley Snipes Will Return As Blade
Before Deadpool and Logan, Blade broke ground as the first R-Rated comic book film based on a Marvel property. Starring Wesley Snipes as the titular vampire hunter, the film spawned two sequels, praised for their slick swordfights and creature effects. Although Blade: Trinity was critically panned, Snipes’ prison sentence for tax fraud interrupted any plans for Blade 4.
Now Snipes has been released and is back in action, appearing in The Expendables 3 and Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq.
Naturally, he’s expressed an interest in returning to the role. While The Expendables proved the 55 year old actor still has the action chops to return to the role, it’s unclear whether Marvel would be willing to work with such a controversial actor. Rather than expect him to make a glorious comeback to the big screen, it’s more likely the vampire slayer could join the Defenders on Netflix.
13 DCEU: Flashpoint Will Reboot the Universe
One of the Scarlet Speedster’s most famous stories is Flashpoint, a comic book run that takes advantage of Barry Allen’s speed powers and stretches them to the extreme. Waking up in a parallel universe, the world around him now unrecognizable, the Flash races against time to foil the Reverse-Flash’s evil plot to change history.
With the upcoming Flash film confirmed to be titled Flashpoint, the DCEU’s possibilities to change the layout of its superhero franchise are endless.
Starring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, the film has yet to find a director, but, given the original story’s meddling with the appearance and personality of DC’s heroes, many are speculating that Warner Bros will use this as a chance to fix some elements of the franchise that haven’t been embraced with open arms. Hopefully this means the casting of Jake Gyllenhaal, rather than the recasting of Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman.
12 MCU: Time Travel
Although the MCU has covered space travel, Norse Gods and subatomic shrinking, time travel is one well established comic book concept that has yet to feature in its run of eighteen blockbuster films. Successfully handled in X-Men: Days of Future Past and about to be touched on by the upcoming Flashpoint, the MCU would be wise to keep up with the trends and feature some time-shattering high-jinks soon.
Some recently released set photos could suggest that time travel to some extent could become a plot point in the MCU sooner than later.
Shots of Chris Evans on the set of Infinity War in his classic Avengers costume have surfaced, pointing at a flashback sequence. However, a bizarre wrist gadget has been seen worn on several Marvel performers, suggesting something a little more science-fiction than a simple flashback.
11 DCEU: Gotham City Sirens' Villain Will Be Black Mask
Other than Jared Leto, the one actor in Suicide Squad that could be described as giving a worthwhile performance would be Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. So, it’s no surprise that Warner Bros. are keen to expand her role in future films. Already greenlighting a film that expands on her relationship with the Joker, there are talks emerging of adapting the popular comic book run, Gotham City Sirens.
The series features an alliance between Harley, Catwoman and Poison Ivy, along with other female villains who reside in Gotham City, and it’s an excuse for another superhero movie led by strong female protagonists. Suicide Squad director David Ayer is expected to make a return and he recently posted a picture of a lesser known member of Batman’s rogues gallery, Black Mask, on his Instagram, causing speculation that he could serve as the girl squad’s antagonist in the upcoming film.
10 MCU: Serious Moment in Infinity War
In the ten year history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the series has killed off (and sometimes resurrected) a whole bunch of supporting characters. What it has yet to do is kill any of its leading men and women, with each member of the Avengers having now appeared in it at least three films without any fatal consequences.
While many are predicting the inevitable death of Paul Bettany’s Vision, as his head contains a piece of the Infinity Gauntlet’s puzzle, there may be fewer Avengers left alive at the end of the trilogy than we expect.
Due to the Avengers facing Thanos, a threat like they have never seen before, his story in the original comic book source could point at, if accurately adapted, the slaughter of nearly half the currently operating superheroes with the snap of a finger. Furthermore, several of the actors on Marvel’s payroll are rapidly running out.
9 DCEU: Aqualad
No superhero worth his cape and cowl is complete without a sidekick. Behind Batman and Robin, DC’s most famous dynamic duo are Aquaman and Aqualad, a partner to the Atlantean currently played by Jason Mamoa who, like Robin, has seen multiple heroes take up the mantle. Originally known only as Garth, the original Aqualad, much like Nightwing, abandoned his partner to become Tempest.
His most popular iteration is Kaldur'ahm, thanks to his popularity on Young Justice. Don’t expect him to show up anytime soon, as James Wan dismissed fan speculation that he would appear in this year’s Aquaman.
However, given the newfound popularity of the character, fans won’t let go of his chances of appearing in Aquaman sequel, however slim the odds.
Director James Wan seemed to imply that the time simply wasn’t right to try and force another character’s origin in Aquaman’s first solo film, so there’s every chance he could be included in the future.
8 MCU: Gwen Stacy is a Foreign Exchange Student
Although Peter Parker’s relationship with Mary Jane Watson became iconic after Sam Raimi’s original trilogy of films, his first love will always be Gwen Stacey. Played charmingly by Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, the character has yet to make an appearance in the MCU. Spider-Man: Homecoming instead introduced Liz Allen, despite fans speculating that The Nice Guys breakthrough Angourie Rice, sporting a black headband for most of the film, bore a striking resemblance to Spidey’s first girlfriend.
Reports have revealed that Marvel has been testing for the role, looking for a relatively unknown and unconfirmed actress to take the part.
While no one has been revealed as of yet, information has arisen suggesting that this take on the character could be quite different from her comic book counterpoint. Rather than a local student, the character may be reimagined as a newcomer from a European country.
7 DCEU: Live Action Teen Titans
Their long-running comic series and wildly popular animated series have made the Teen Titans almost as popular as the original Justice League. Encompassing a squad of sidekicks and younger heroes, the Titans include fan favourites like Robin, Starfire and Beast Boy.
Though we haven’t yet seen sidekicks in the DCEU, it could well be the case that they are being saved for a live action adaptation of the teenage super team.
Originally planned as a live action television series for TNT, the plans were scrapped. However, rumours have resurfaced that, along with an all-female team movie, Warner Bros. is currently considering producing a Teen Titans film alongside its current slate. You’ll be able to see them on in the big screen soon, in Teen Titans GO! To the Movies, but fans of the live action, grittier DCEU may be put off by the simpler animation and light-hearted humor.
6 MCU: Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four were Stan Lee’s first Marvel superhero team, a superhero family that features Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing.
Debuting in 1961, in their over fifty year history, the team have sadly never featured in the superhero adaptation they deserve, with 2015’s Fant4stic being especially hated by fans.
The group of heroes were previously owned by Fox, who never managed to handle them quite as well as they did the X-Men, but when Disney’s deal with Fox finalises later this year, we could see them making their triumphant return.
Though head honcho Kevin Feige has confirmed that Marvel’s slate won’t be adjusted to allow Marvel’s famous family a way in, we could see Avengers Tower become the Baxter Building sometime after 2020 (if Norman Osborn doesn’t snatch it up for Oscorp before they have a chance).
5 DCEU: The Snyder Cut
Justice League was sadly cursed with a horrible tragedy that forced director Zack Snyder to leave his work at Warner Bros. for a period and pass on the task of directing the superhero ensemble movie to Joss Whedon, who committed hours to extensive rewrites, reshoots and editing.
While many fans were happy with the final product – or at least, happier than they were after seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – this rumor won’t seem to die down, despite being frequently debunked by producers at Warner Bros.
Highly anticipating the film’s home release, many fans were predicting that Snyder had, or will at some point in the future, return to the editing suite to deliver what he would have released had his direction been complete. Although most agree that it won’t be happening, it seems like many fans won’t stop demanding until it does.
4 MCU: Black Widow Going Solo
Wonder Woman beat the DCEU to the punch where it comes to female-led superhero films, but Marvel are still very much open to the concept. Already shooting next year’s Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, recent rumors have been circulating about a team-up movie starring all the franchise’s female heroes and Marvel boss Kevin Feige has confirmed that a solo movie for Black Widow could very much be on the cards.
Played by Scarlett Johansson, the character has been a popular mainstay of the series since Iron Man 2, but has only ever come close to a leading role when she supported Chris Evans in The Winter Soldier.
Whether the film will be a prequel elaborating on her Russian roots or simply a solo adventure for the super spy is yet to be seen, but you should expect to see Johansson carrying her own film sometime soon.
3 DCEU: Justice League Dark
Add this to the list of Guillermo del Toro projects that sadly never came to be, as reports of the acclaimed director working on a Justice League Dark film go all the way back to 2012. After a tumultuous few years of announcements and scriptwriting, del Toro left the project.
Reportedly featuring the likes of darker DC characters such as Swamp Thing, Zatanna and Constantine (previously played by Keanu Reeves), del Toro hoped that the project could be incorporated within the DCEU once it launched in 2013.
Until recently, it was confirmed that Doug Liman had signed on to direct, until he left the project to make Chaos Walking with Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. The film is apparently still in production, but whether or not it will ever see the light of day is another matter.
2 MCU: Infinity War's Insane Budget
Marvel Studios have never been one to shy away from spending a bucket load of cash to ensure their films look as good as possible. Most of them exceeding the range of $150 million, Kevin Feige recently bumped up the budget for Black Panther to make sure it was just right. The last Avengers film almost broke records with a budget of nearly $300 million.
It’s no surprise, then, that a film featuring almost every actor Marvel has worked with to date, as well as top notch CGI and two quality directors, should have a ridiculous budget.
Reports have estimated that Disney have spent roughly $1 billion on both Infinity War and its upcoming sequel next year.
Even when accounting for the two films, the separate cost of $500 million breaks the previous record holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides by over $100 million.
1 DCEU: Matthew Vaughn Will Direct Man of Steel 2
The sequel to Man of Steel is still not quite confirmed to be happening, but the unofficial slate of films hinting at Nightwing also claimed that Man of Steel 2 was still very much on the cards. Originally eying George Miller, the Mad Max director previously attached to direct a Justice League film back in 2008 before things got contemplated, there was speculation that Warner Bros. would consider him as a natural successor for the follow-up to Snyder’s Superman reboot.
Instead it’s all but confirmed that Warner Bros. are looking to hire Matthew Vaughn for his take on the Last Man of Krypton.
Known for directing comic book movies almost exclusively, Vaughn has proved he’s got what it takes to handle superpowers in X-Men: First Class and wild, frenetic action in his Kingsman series. A worthy choice as any, if the rumors are to be believed.
Any rumors you think could be true? Let us know below!