Audiences have become accustomed to knowing ahead of time what will happen next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Warner Bros. takes a completely different approach to the same issue. What started out as a simple film (Man of Steel) with minimal Easter Eggs ended up launching a cinematic universe, and its sequel was promoted on the spur of the moment as a showdown that featured both Batman and Wonder Woman. Then the studio announced its planned DC Extended Universe movies, with titles and release dates scheduled for years into the future.
Marvel sticks to its plans (unless Spider-Man comes back home, of course). But Warner Bros. made a number of modifications in response to fan feedback that was largely based on box office numbers, along with criticism the films received. So we’re not 100 percent certain whether most of the titles announced in 2014 will actually end up in theaters.
If you’d like to know what the future holds, based this erratic sort of planning, check out this list! We’ll leave out Wonder Woman and Justice League, both of which will indeed be released this year, as well as Aquaman, which starts shooting next month.
It originally appeared that The Flash was guaranteed to happen. Along with Batman and Wonder Woman, the titular superhero is one of the most recognizable DCEU Justice League superheroes. However, producing this movie has turned out to be quite a challenge.
The studio initially announced that The Flash, starring Ezra Miller, would be released on the 16th of March 2018. In October 2015, Seth Grahame-Smith (writer of Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Hunter) was hired to make his directorial debut with this blockbuster. He was replaced with Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) in April 2016.
Everything seemed to go smoothly after that, as Rick Famuyiwa cast Billy Crudup as Henry Allen and Kiersey Clemons as Iris West. But it wasn’t long before that director also departed, citing creative differences (which can be blamed on the studio’s lack of confidence in experimental ideas).
So The Flash is now indefinitely delayed. We hope that it will eventually be released, but we assume that it all depends audience response to this year's DCEU releases.
If you think The Flash seems troubled, you haven't heard about The Batman, which wasn't even part of the original 2014 roster.
After Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the Dark Knight received praise from the studio and the majority of the audience, Warner Bros. announced that Batman would have his solo flick. Ben Affleck would co-write, direct, and star in the movie. Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) would be the main antagonist and several other bad guys would appear, as well. With a desired 2018 release date, we were looking forward to having this amazing project to come to life.
Then this happened: Despite repeated reassurances that he would direct the film, Affleck eventually stepped down from the director's chair (rumors abound about his reasons and the consequences his actions may have). Thankfully, Warner Bros. recovered quickly, and announced Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Affleck’s successor. Unfortunately (or maybe not), Reeves then announced that the script would be written from scratch and 2018 was no longer the movie’s release date.
Now we’re back to Square One. According to the latest rumors, Deathstroke won’t appear in the movie at all. Additionally, J.K. Simmons has expressed hope that he will appear in DCEU movies in addition to Justice League.
Release date, you ask? Probably 2019, when the studio is planning on releasing several Batman-centric films.
With an original release date slated for the 3rd of April 2020, it’s no wonder that Cyborg doesn't have a script, director, or cast in place. Other than the fact that Ray Fisher will portray the superhero, there is literally nothing else to say. Or is there?
To everyone's surprise, Cyborg was one of the original DCEU movies announced in 2014. We’ve known since then that Vic Stone would first appear in Justice League and then in his own solo movie. Given the way the MCU was formed, this seemed a bit weird at first.
Leaving any comparisons aside, after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released, it turned out that the studio wasn't so certain about this plan after all. It was revealed that the character was being tested. If audience response was positive, the studio would greenlight the solo project.
Furthermore, Deborah Snyder announced that Cyborg would join The Flash in the latter's solo flick, further fueling the rumors that the Cyborg project would be dropped and replaced with a Titans movie (this could have since been debunked, since a Titans series is set to be one of the first shows on a new DC digital streaming service).
So, will Cyborg be made? What do you think?
In 2014, everyone was surprised that SHAZAM! was included in the announced movie roster. It seemed weird that this superhero was part of the Justice League roster, rather than, say, the Martian Manhunter or Green Lantern. It became even more weird when it was announced that SHAZAM! would somehow be separate from the other films in the shared universe. Later, the studio clarified that the movie would only be different from the others in tone, but still"¦
As of this moment, SHAZAM! is still slated for release on April 5, 2019, as originally announced. Reportedly, Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo) is working hard on the script, and he still has plenty of time to finish it. Numerous websites have said that David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) is the main contender for director. However, there’s been no word about who will portray Billy Batson and his alter-ego, SHAZAM!
As announced in 2014, Dwayne The Rock Johnson will portray supervillain Black Adam, the movie’s main antagonist. And this is where things get tricky: The Rock recently said that Adam is one of the most complex superheroes out there, after he initially described the character as an anti-hero.
And then it got even trickier! The Rock has also repeatedly teased a confrontation with Henry Cavill's Superman.
Will SHAZAM! be made? We should ask the same question about all of the DC projects mentioned here.
Especially since Black Adam"¦
Black Adam Project
We should mention Black Adam before we move on to the other DCEU movies announced between 2014 and now. Again, it seems peculiar that The Rock will play a villain and a second fiddle in a big blockbuster, especially since he described his character as a superhero, despite teasing clashes with Superman.
We were surprised when Black Adam’s solo movie was announced in January 2017. It was also revealed at that time that it was likely that The Rock would co-produce and Brad Peyton would direct. Peyton directed The Rock in San Andreas and Journey 2, and is set to helm Rampage.
Other than what was said in this surprise announcement, which was basically what every actor says about a movie he’s starring in, we know nothing about the project. We don’t even have a release date, but, assuming that it’s a Black Adam origin story, it would have to be released before SHAZAM! hits theaters in 2019.
Of course, if we factor in the teased clash with Superman, we have no idea how and when this movie fits into the timeline.
Green Lantern Corps
Green Lantern Corps is the final movie on the original 2014 slate, and there’s a huge question mark floating above it. This is especially true since the studio decided that fans don't want to see Corps member until the movie’s release (Zack Snyder has repeatedly said that no Green Lantern would appear in Justice League).
Sure, we can blame it all on the 2011 bomb starring Ryan Reynolds, but there has to be another reason. Maybe there’s a grand plan for everything in the DCEU to lead to an epic confrontation in the Sinestro Corps War, especially since Geoff Johns wrote that critically acclaimed storyline.
The most recent reveals say that Green Lantern Corps (originally announced as simply Green Lantern) is still set to be released on the 24th of July 2020. It’s been described as a sort of Lethal Weapon in space, with Hal Jordan and John Stewart as the main protagonists. David Goyer (Man of Steel) and Justin Rhodes are working on a script based on a story Goyer wrote with Geoff Johns.
Numerous actors have teased the Hal Jordan and John Stewart roles, including Armie Hammer, who’d been teased in the role by Henry Cavill himself. But these were just teases.
We hope that Zack Snyder will surprise us by eventually making The Green Lantern Corps.
Suicide Squad 2
David Ayer's Suicide Squad may have been a mess, but it made a ton of cash at the box office. So the announcement that a second Suicide Squad movie will follow didn't really surprise anybody, especially since the director said that he wanted to do an R-rated sequel (but, really, the problem with the first one was the script).
The surprise came when David Ayer left to helm a different DCEU movie (more on that later), thus leaving the project up in the air.
This could be a good thing, because the new director will have more freedom, especially if the movie’s to be rated R. And the last time we checked, Mel Gibson was in talks with the studio. We may know nothing about the prospective villains, the script, or the release date, but there’s time to write and perfect a script, and to find the best director, as well.
Now, back to David Ayer"¦
Gotham City Sirens
Back to David Ayer leaving Suicide Squad 2 to direct Gotham City Sirens, with Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy as the main protagonists. Margot Robbie will return as Harley, but we don’t know who will portray the others.
Most reports say that the Black Mask will be the movie’s antagonist, although no official announcement has been made.
We’re concerned that the studio considers this spin-off a priority, so they’re fast-tracking it. We all know how that went for Suicide Squad. However, if the studio intends to release Gotham City Sirens in 2019 (along with other Batman-centric movies), they have plenty of time to ensure that a good script is written.
Batgirl, rumored for a 2019 release, is yet another movie that came out of nowhere. It appears that Warner Bros. wants to create a Batman mini-universe within the larger DC Extended Universe. We’re fine with that, as long as the studio doesn't rush things and end up with sub-par movies.
Joss Whedon came out of seclusion (he’d dropped off the map after Avengers: Age of Ultron) to surprise us with the Batgirl announcement. He said that he was attracted to the project because it’s interesting to explore how someone like Barbara Gordon becomes a superhero (so we can assume that this movie will present her origin story). Whedon also said that the movie’s star won't necessarily be a household name, and we think that’s great.
Of course, the announcement came at the end of March, so we don’t have much information, except that Batgirl will be based on the New 52 comics (keeping in line with the rest of the DCEU).
Nightwing is yet another surprise addition that’s scheduled for a 2019 release. Until it was announced (February 2017), we were aware of just one Robin in this shared universe, and The Joker killed him. But that Robin wasn't Dick Grayson, since this sidekick grew up to become Nightwing.
Bill Dubuque (The Judge, The Accountant) is writing the script, and Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) is set to make his directorial debut with Nightwing. It remains to be seen whether Batman will appear. Maybe Ben Affleck should skip this one, and maybe the movie should be set in Bludhaven rather than in Gotham.
While it won't be a comedy like The Lego Batman Movie, Nightwing could certainly be lighter in tone than other DCEU movies have been. And he’s a fan-favorite character, so maybe he’ll prove to be bankable.
And maybe a Teen Titans movie will eventually be made.
Justice League Dark
We were looking forward to this one, because Guillermo del Toro worked on the script and intended to direct. But he dropped out, and Warner Bros. announced in 2015 that Michael Gilio would rewrite the Justice League Dark script from scratch and Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow and, previously, Gambit) would direct.
We’ve heard that this Dark Universe would operate separately from the rest of the DCEU, but if it’s successful, we don't doubt that a connection could be established.
Intended for more mature audiences, Justice League Dark will feature the likes of Constantine, Swamp Thing, and Zatanna as they protect the Earth from threats the Justice League can’t handle. Obviously, we’re talking about threats of the mystical variety.
At this point, we know nothing about Justice League Dark, other than that it’s considered a priority by Warner Bros. And since we’re talking priorities"¦
Man of Steel 2
At long last! After the Man of Steel sequel became Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. finally decided that Superman deserves a second movie in the DC Extended Universe! At one time, Henry Cavill did say that Superman was too big and his villains were too powerful, so the universe needed to be established first. But how long should the fans have to wait?
Last November, Amy Adams (Lois Lane) said that a script for Man of Steel 2 was being written. However, besides teases from Dwayne The Rock Johnson, nothing else has transpired since then. For that matter, the studio hasn’t even attached a director to the project. Maybe Warner Bros. is waiting to see how Justice League turns out? Maybe they feel that Zack Snyder needs to prove himself before they announce him as the Man of Steel 2 director?
We don't know, but there are tons of Superman villains who could, and should, appear on the big screen!
Justice League 2 and Others
When Warner Bros. made that first announcement in 2014, Zack Snyder was set to direct Justice League Parts One and Two, which were obviously supposed to be connected. However, returns for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were disappointing, the second movie was postponed indefinitely, and Zack Snyder was left with Justice League (no longer Part One).
And then there’s Booster Gold, which was originally going to feature Blue Beetle. It was announced in May 2016, but never officially entered development. Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class) and Greg Berlanti were writing the script, but nothing has been heard about it since.
They also announced another Suicide Squad spin-off that would focus on Will Smith's character, but we’ve heard nothing more about it.
Lastly, Warner Bros. won’t have Jason Momoa as Lobo. That movie is reportedly being written by Jason Fuchs. Now that R-rated superhero movies have proved to be bankable, maybe Warner Bros. will make Lobo a priority.