Warner Bros. should take advantage of San Diego Comic-Con 2018 to announce their new slate. The nascent DCEU had something of a troubled start, in large part because of major PR problems. Warner Bros. struggled to set a narrative, with insiders spending most of their time fighting rumors. Meanwhile, the studio also missed major opportunities to generate excitement for their films. While Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was announced at SDCC 2013, the rest of that early slate was actually announced in an offhand manner during an investors' call.
Things seem to have improved markedly over the last year. Warner Bros. has completed another corporate restructure of DC Films, with Walter Hamada appointed to oversee the superhero franchises. Geoff Johns has bowed out of his executive role as president of DC Films, and has returned to the creative roles that he loves, signing up as writer and producer of the upcoming Green Lantern Corps movie. Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman 1984 are all in the works, and none of them have been plagued by any rumors of behind-the-scenes drama. It really does feel as though Warner Bros. has turned a corner.
But there's still one real problem; we have no idea what the future slate actually looks like. Warner Bros. has a mind-boggling number of ideas apparently in the early stages of pre-production, and as a result viewers can't work out where the franchise is going, or what future films to get excited about in the first place. Reflecting on the current state of the DCEU, Avengers: Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely summed it up well; "There's a lot of spaghetti being thrown at the wall." SDCC 2018 would be the perfect opportunity for DC Films to give some clarity about their plans.
- This Page: What DCEU Films are in Development?
- Next Page: SDCC 2018 is the Perfect Chance for Clarity
Every DCEU Movie in Development
Aquaman is due out in December this year, with a major marketing push set to launch at SDCC. It will be followed by Shazam!, due out in April next year, and Wonder Woman 1984, scheduled for November 2019. Looking beyond that, though, the future is a mystery. Margot Robbie has recently revealed that Birds of Prey will begin filming in January next year, presumably meaning that Warner Bros. hope for a 2020 release. But that's not been officially announced; rather, we've learned it from a flow of rumors and an excited comment from one of the stars, while she was out promoting another film. Given Geoff Johns is working on Green Lantern Corps, it's possible that movie is still intended to drop in 2020 as well; but that's just an assumption. It could quite easily have been pushed back.
But what of all the other movies that we've heard mentioned? Warner Bros. has previously assigned 2020 release dates for a number of films, ranging from Flashpoint to Suicide Squad 2. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein signed up for Flashpoint in February, but there's been no news of this film since then. It's likely that Gotham City Sirens, Suicide Squad 2 and the Joker/Harley Quinn movies are on hold due to Robbie's commitment to Birds of Prey, but that's just an assumption; in fact, it's even possible that Gotham City Sirens has been dropped, as there are rumors the project has actually been blended with Birds of Prey.
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Pre-production seems to be continuing for Justice League Dark, but both Cyborg and Batgirl could easily have been dropped from the DCEU slate altogether. And it's currently unknown whether or not The Batman will even be set in the DCEU at all, with persistent rumors that Ben Affleck is leaving the franchise. Meanwhile, in January a rumored slate suggested Warner Bros. is looking at films like Man of Steel 2 and Nightwing, two ideas that have come from the left-field.
The truth is that, right now, it's impossible to say what the future of the DCEU actually looks like. The news that Warner Bros. is proceeding with a low-budget, R-rated Birds of Prey film may be the first solid indicator we've had of the franchise's direction, suggesting the DCEU will diversify from a diet of tentpole movies to embrace more genre films - an approach that has worked well for Fox, who have seen successes in this vein like Logan and Deadpool. But, again, these aren't official announcements; they're inferences we can draw from the drip-feed of information. Warner Bros. seem to have stopped almost all of the negative rumors that previously beset the DCEU, but it's time to generate some hype by announcing an actual upcoming slate.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020