After getting off to a fairly modest start, the DC Extended Universe is about to expand at an increasingly rapid pace. It seems as if every few weeks, we’re given new information on yet another DC property that will be coming to our local theaters in the not too distant future. As the start of production on many of these projects approach, we should soon be treated to one of the most exciting, talked about aspects of big blockbuster franchise movies: casting announcements.
Based on the current slate of DCEU movies nearing production, we can make some educated guesses about what character casting announcements are imminent, and why those characters make sense to make the leap to the big screen. We can also take into account how these characters will work in the larger DCEU, which is looking to be just as interconnected, if not more so, than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are the 15 DC Extended Universe Casting Announcements We Should Expect To See Soon.
15 Poison Ivy
One of the most intriguing (and unexpected) movies announced as being part of DC’s upcoming slate is the quasi-Suicide Squad spinoff, Gotham City Sirens. So far, we know the film is being directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer and will feature Harley Quinn, as well as a cavalcade of the DC Universe’s female characters. There are lots of potential characters who would work great here (as you’ll see elsewhere on this list), but Poison Ivy is the most obvious candidate.
The relationship between the environmental extremist/plant-based villainess and Harley Quinn has its roots in the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, and has gone on to become a staple in other media as well. Imagine Thelma and Louise, but with superpowers. Poison Ivy also fits neatly into the world established in Suicide Squad, where villains are shown to routinely have fantastical abilities they use for more reality based crimes. It’s easy to imagine Poison Ivy strangling climate change deniers with giant plant tentacles in the DCEU.
But really, Poison Ivy is the foil this version of Harley desperately needs: a strong, independent woman who can show her there’s life beyond pining after the Joker.
If Gotham City Sirens was unexpected, Doug Liman’s tentatively titled Dark Universe was gobsmacking. The DC Universe has no shortage of interesting magical characters, but the idea of assembling them into something of a dark Justice League (an idea originally pitched by Guillermo del Toro) shows how experimental Warner Bros is willing to get with their comic book universe. There are dozens of possibilities for the cast, with only a few that feel like surefire bets to appear, one of whom is Zatanna.
A stage magician who is actually magic, Zatanna traditionally has ties to almost every corner of the DC universe, including the Caped Crusader himself. Her father was the powerful magician Zatarra, and her status as a legacy character could easily be utilized to give the DCEU a sense of lived-in history that it doesn’t currently have. There’s a decent chance our entrance to the magical realms of the DCEU will begin with Zatanna.
13 Green Lantern
The last of the major Justice League characters still to be announced (with apologies to Martian Manhunter), Green Lantern is arguably the most anticipated DCEU casting announcement. Tasked with overcoming the public perception of the character after the failure of the 2011 Ryan Reynolds film, Green Lantern Corps will reportedly tackle the Emerald Crusader in a slightly different way: as an ensemble.
Reports have suggested we may get as many as three or four human Green Lanterns, but it seems almost certain we’ll at least get a duo. After all, “a buddy cop movie in space” is a phrase that’s been thrown around to describe the film more than once. The obvious dynamic would be the veteran Hal Jordan teaching his new partner, John Stewart, the ropes of intergalactic policing. This would also be a convenient way of not having to retell Hal’s origin story, while still introducing the world of the Lanterns to the audience in an organic way. Hopefully, the new approach pays off, as few comic book properties have as much potential for widescreen sci-fi storytelling as Green Lantern.
The Corps movie is still over three years away, but we don't suspect it'll take too much longer for news to start rolling in as to which characters will appear and who will be playing them -- especially if the Justice League rumors hold true.
12 Black Manta
Unlike most of Aquaman's villains and supporting players (like the recently announced Ocean Master), Black Manta isn’t an Atlantean. He has no direct ties to the fantasy based machinations and politics of Atlantis. The exact details of his origin tend to shift every decade or so, but the basics are generally the same: a man who endures unspeakable torments as a child grows up fixated on Aquaman, projecting his pain and rage onto the rightful King of Atlantis.
Black Manta’s very nature makes him something of a wild card, in no way tied to the usual Atlantis soap opera (he inevitably ends up entangled in more plots like that later on in Aquaman’s history, but he doesn’t need to be at the outset). He could easily serve as a sort of chaos agent, not unlike The Dark Knight's unhinged version of the Joker. He also has one of the coolest costumes in all of comics. Imagine Darth Vader coming at you underwater; now try to sleep tonight.
11 Barbara Gordon
If Gotham City Sirens is going to incorporate both female heroes and villains (as well as characters who might blur that line), Barbara Gordon is the most obvious candidate to represent the heroes. The daughter of Commissioner Gordon, Barbara would almost certainly be one of Batman’s most trusted confidants two decades into his mission.
A strong argument can be made for Barbara appearing as Batgirl, but the more logical move would be for her to appear as Oracle, the wheelchair-bound hack extraordinaire who leads the Birds of Prey, a (usually) all-female superhero team. Oracle would signify that the battle for Gotham City’s soul has been going on for quite awhile, with the good guys suffering more than their share of casualties. It would also reinforce the same thing it always did in the comics: physical ability is not a barrier to heroism. It’s the kind of hard-nosed optimism that the DCEU would be smart to embrace.
If you have nice things to say about the 2011 Green Lantern movie, most of them are probably going to be about Sinestro. Sadly, it’s unlikely Mark Strong would ever be able to reprise his well-received role from that film, given the fact that they're rebooting the series altogether. However, you can pretty much take it to the bank that Green Lantern Corps will feature Hal Jordan’s greatest enemy in some fashion. Once the most celebrated members of the GL Corps, Sinestro is eventually drummed out of the organization for his extreme practices, and harnesses the yellow power of fear to forge a new ring and seek vengeance on those he feels have wronged him. At the top of that list, of course, is his former protege, Hal Jordan.
The idea of Hal Jordan taking on John Stewart as his rookie partner makes the idea of Sinestro having already gone rogue and existing as a kind of Green Lantern Voldemort incredibly intriguing. That Sinestro is generally more than just a generic mustache twirler (though he’s got a great mustache) makes him potentially the most complex, interesting villain in the DCEU’s arsenal.
We know from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that the DCEU’s Batman has had at least one Robin. It’s strongly implied the Robin whose costume hangs in the Batcave was murdered by the Joker, which contributed at least somewhat to the Dark Knight’s newfound philosophical and violent extremism. Comic fans know that chances are the dearly departed Robin is likely Jason Todd, the second Robin (and Warner Bros. basically confirmed as much last May).
The first Robin, Dick Grayson, usually grows up to become his own independent crime fighter, Nightwing. As the DCEU’s Batman has been active for over 20 years, it seems a near certainty that Nightwing exists. The tense father/son dynamic that defines Bruce and Dick’s relationship, (which at some point always frays and causes Dick to break out on his own) would be a compelling relationship to explore after the events of Batman v Superman. When Batman goes too far, when he pushes everyone away and forgets why he does what he does, Nightwing is usually there to remind him why he’s a force for good in the world. Consider our fingers firmly crossed that the rumors of his impending introduction hold true.
8 Black Mask
We already know Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie will feature Deathstroke in some capacity (you know, assuming that movie actually becomes a reality). The chances of Slade Wilson being the only villain to menace the Caped Crusader in his first standalone chapter in the DCEU seem slim. Black Mask seems like an obvious choice for a secondary villain.
It’s rare for a Batman movie to not feature some iteration of the Gotham mob. Be it Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni, or Carl Grissom, the films usually juxtapose the more fantastical villains with the grounded scumbags of organized crime. Roman Sionis would essentially split the difference; a murderous sociopath who actually comes from old Gotham money, he wears a distinctive black skull mask that was fused to his face in a confrontation with Batman. He’s the perfect visual representation of the Gotham established somewhat in Batman v Superman, but more so in Suicide Squad: a tangible sort of real world evil that’s sprinkled with just a light dusting of grotesque comic book nightmares.
Whether she first appears in The Batman or Gotham City Sirens, it seems like a sure bet that Selina Kyle will be gracing our screens yet again in the not too distant future. The seductive, morally gray, expert cat burglar (or disturbing undead cat lady, if you’re a Batman Returns fan) is a cornerstone of the DC Universe. Generally less murderous than most Batman villains, and just as likely to be a reluctant ally as she is a sworn enemy, Catwoman walks the tightrope between good and evil as expertly as any character in comics.
While it would unquestionably be fun to see her bounce off of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy as they have zany, high octane adventures, the more interesting angle would be to see how her relationship with Batman has evolved over the decades. Batman being active for 20 years makes the status of a lot his traditional relationships compelling, but maybe none more so than Catwoman, a woman he tends to be more conflicted about than he’s willing to admit.
6 The Rogues
Apart from Batman and Spider-Man, no superhero is as blessed with as deep of a roster of great villains as the Flash. Collectively known as the Rogues, the criminals of Central City are actually dynamic enough to carry their own stories. Whether a gag-loving anarchist (the Trickster), a Scottish crook with a drug problem who can bend the very nature of reality (Mirror Master), or a pyromaniac who just wants to burn it all down (Heat Wave), the Rogues are nothing if not eclectic heels.
Part of the fun of the Rogues is their unusual organization; the Rogues have a strict code of conduct, believing that even criminals have to have a set of rules to follow (especially if they want to avoid the attentions of a certain Scarlet Speedster whenever possible). They don’t kill unless absolutely necessary, and they respect each other’s legacies (they’re not going to let you be the new Weather Wizard just because you found the old one’s cape). While they’re all compelling characters in their own right, one Rogue definitely stands above the rest…
5 Captain Cold
The main reason the Rogues have rules and a code comes down to one man: Captain Cold. Leonard Snart grew up with an abusive dad, and he was constantly looking to protect himself and his sister from his violent father. Breaking out on his own to start a life of crime, Snart is a pragmatic crook. More interested in money and women than world domination, Snart arrives at something akin to mutual respect with The Flash. Snart never kills unless absolutely necessary, and he tends to keep his crimes relatively small time. He’s even occasionally aided The Flash if he deemed the cause worthwhile or beneficial to himself.
It’s a unique relationship, to be sure. Captain Cold is unquestionably a villain; if the Flash catches him robbing a bank, he’s going to throw him in jail. Yet Snart is, in his own way, a man of honor, and the idea of the Fastest Man Alive doggedly hunting him down like he would, say, Zoom, is nearly unthinkable. It’s a strange little dance between hero and villain, and something the cinematic DC world should considering exploring.
John Constantine is as much of a lock for the Dark Universe movie as Zatanna. The chain-smoking, trench coat wearing, British occult detective is the rosetta stone of antiheroes. A lot of the modern, complicated leading men of both television and film share some DNA with Constantine. He approaches the world of the supernatural with a snarky cynicism and foul-mouthed charm that hides the fact that, deep down, he really does want to make the world a better place. It’s an approach that has made him an essential character in the DC Universe (and its more adult imprint, Vertigo) for over 25 years.
Constantine has already been portrayed a couple times onscreen, once in a pretty good movie where the character himself was unrecognizable, and once in a a pretty bad TV show where the character himself was spot on. One hopes Doug Liman is a good enough director to split the difference and understand the inherent strengths of one of comics’ most delightful scoundrels.
If properly executed, Shazam seems like a surefire hit in the modern blockbuster environment. The story of a young boy who is granted magical powers by an ancient wizard, Billy Batson can transform into an adult superhero when he invokes his magic word. Physically powerful but still mentally an adolescent, Shazam fights crime with the zeal and joy of a child -- because he is one. Imagine combining the magical wonder of the Harry Potter movies with the tropes of her superhero stories. It’s a fun, seemingly bulletproof concept.
Interestingly, Shazam’s primary nemesis, Black Adam, has already been cast. The inimitable Dwayne Johnson will portray that character, though he was also reportedly offered his choice of playing the villain or the hero. All due respect to The Rock, but the actor who eventually portrays Shazam needs to be able to invoke the wide-eyed wonder that children express when introduced to the wonder of the world. It's a tall task, but if they get it right, it could be a defining character for the DCEU.
2 Black Canary
With the exception of Wonder Woman, Dinah Laurel Lance is the DC Universe’s premiere female superhero. A legacy character (her mother was the original Black Canary) with direct ties to almost every major player in the DCU, Black Canary is an essential player who has not been done many favors by her underwhelming portrayal on The CW’s Arrow. Her most likely destination in the DCEU is in the Gotham City Sirens film, likely associated with Barbara Gordon and the Birds of Prey, though whispers of her making an appearance in next year's Justice League movie have been out there for over a year now.
That said, there are a lot of spots in the DCEU where Black Canary would slot in fantastically. Traditionally a prominent member of the Justice League, it would be nice to have more than one female hero on the team. And while she’s usually a partner and/or lover to Green Arrow, she also has ties to Batman, and would make a compelling ally to the Caped Crusader in The Batman.
The grandaddy of DC supervillains, Darkseid looms large over the DCEU. The unthinkably powerful ruler of the planet Apokolips, Darkseid’s ultimate goal is to conquer all of the universe and destroy free will. He’s obsessed with the Anti-Life Equation, a mysterious mathematical formula he believes can grant him control over all sentient life. He’s as elementally evil as any villain in fiction.
The DCEU has already been laying the groundwork for Darkseid’s arrival. In Batman v Superman, the Knightmare sequence is brimming with references to the dark lord: his signature Omega symbol is scorched into the earth, his demonic Parademons attack Batman and his allies, and fire plumes from the ground into the sky, just like it does on Apokolips. The publicly announced villain for the Justice League movie is Steppenwolf, one of Darkseid’s lieutenants, but the real threat is likely still on the horizon. Darkseid is coming, and it will take the entire Justice League, maybe more, to stop him from achieving universal domination.
Which other characters do you think will be making their way into the DCEU in the very near future? Which characters do you think should make the jump to the big screen? Let us know in the comments.
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