This article contains major Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sets up the DC Extended Universe in a number of ways, and will lead directly into the first Justice League movie in 2017. While there are now plenty of films on the DC superhero movie schedule, we already have an article dealing with all of them. Instead, this piece will focus solely on what we know about this world as it has been shown to us in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. So, yes, there are also solo movies on the schedule for Shazam and Green Lantern, but since there’s no sign of the characters themselves, their supporting cast, or even any Easter eggs referring to them on screen yet, I haven’t included them. Don’t worry, I’ll get to all that.
Consider this article an easy reference guide for what’s been established on screen so far for the DCEU. I’ll update this article as often as necessary when official information comes to light, and again when Suicide Squad is released on August 5th, since that should tell us an awful lot about the more villainous elements of the DCEU, too. The presence of the Joker and Harley Quinn in that movie will probably shed some more light on Batman’s side of things, too.
You might also find these articles helpful:
DC Extended Universe Heroes
Despite all of the overt Dark Knight Returns references in Batman v Superman, it doesn’t appear that Batman ever retired, he’s simply a seasoned crimefighter who has been around for a while. If we assume Bruce Wayne is 10 years old when his parents are murdered in 1981 (gravestones and the Excalibur movie on the marquee at the theater help place the date), then the Batman of the DCEU is about 45 years old.
What this probably means is that the vast majority of Batman villains you can think of have already crossed his path. Right now, though, the only one we know for sure about is the Joker (although there was a possible Riddler tease with some question mark graffiti visible in the background of Batman v Superman), and we’ll see more of him in the Suicide Squad movie.
We also know that Batman has gone through at least one Robin. Traditionally, that empty/burnt out Robin costume is a reference to Jason Todd, the second Robin, although there’s no mention of anyone’s name in Batman v Superman. Since DC tends to be pretty high on Nightwing/Dick Grayson, it’s likely that it’s indeed Jason Todd who is dead (unless he isn’t…which is a long story in itself), so they may save him for a future Batman flick or a solo movie of his own.
Recently, Zack Snyder clarified Batman’s timeline a little bit, indicating that the Robin in question died about 10 years ago at the hands of the Joker. If we assume that was Jason Todd, the second Robin, then that happened possibly as many as 5-10 years into Batman’s career, which would mean this guy has been handing out punishment to bad guys for about 20 years in this universe.
Jena Malone was supposed to appear as Barbara Gordon in Batman v Superman, but was left on the cutting room floor. She’ll be around for the director’s cut. So this means that Barbara Gordon/Batgirl already exists in this universe. It’s unclear what her hero status is, though.
JK Simmons was recently cast as Commissioner Gordon, and he’ll appear in Justice League Part One. At least we know that character is alive.
We’ll next see Batman in the Justice League movies. Right now, there is no solo Batman movie officially on the schedule, but that will probably change.
So, what have we learned about Wonder Woman so far? Well, not much. She’s effectively immortal, but that’s not really much to go on. The photo that she and Bruce Wayne were chasing after also depicts Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) way back in 1918. It looks like Wonder Woman’s origin will reflect more contemporary takes on the legend, while keeping her traditionally mythological roots, but there’s not much in the way of backstory on screen just yet.
The fact that Wonder Woman abandoned her mission in our world for nearly a century is pretty much all we have right now. Hopefully things will be explained in a more satisfactory fashion when her solo movie is released on June 23rd, 2017. If nothing else, it might be a safe bet that most of this movie will take place during World War I, a conflict that shook Diana so much that she removed herself from the playing field.
c’mon…you know where this is going. Superman will certainly be back. Henry Cavill is going to appear in Justice League Part One, and eventually, the Man of Steel will join Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman in the League. I wrote in more detail about the implications of Superman’s “death” right here.
I say “eventually” because there are some clues that things won’t be as straightforward as that right off the bat. I went into more detail about this here, but essentially, Superman will return to life, but i wouldn’t be surprised if something ridiculous happens where he’s fighting for the wrong team at first.
There is no Man of Steel 2 on the schedule (although recent comments by Zack Snyder and friends indicate that may change), and there probably won’t be any time soon. But if they do ever go down that road, keep in mind that there are still a host of Zod’s lieutenants who made their way into the Phantom Zone at the end of Man of Steel, and they may or may not be available to return to cause more harm down the road.
Just to be clear: Ezra Miller is playing Barry Allen in the DC Extended Universe, and not a different version of the character. While Ezra Miller’s Flash only has seconds of screentime in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there are a couple of conclusions that can be drawn.
For one thing, his powers are a little more, erm…flashy than they’re being displayed on TV at the moment. Even a seemingly mundane use of his speed, like stopping a convenience store robbery, unleashes a tremendous amount of energy.
When Flash speaks to Batman in his vision, this is almost certainly coming from the future of these films. So, we’ve seen this world’s Barry Allen in the present or recent past in the surveillance footage that Lex Luthor took, and we’ve also seen his costumed future, after he’s mastered his powers to such a degree that he can do some light time travel.
Early chatter indicates that his solo movie will deal with all manner of interdimensional weirdness, so it might not be a straightforward action movie. That might explain some of the heavier, more technological elements of the Flash costume that we glimpsed in Batman v Superman, and in the above concept art.
The Flash movie is due out on March 23rd, 2018.
So, Silas Stone has already turned his son Vic (played by Ray Fisher) into a cyborg. It’s not immediately clear what caused Vic to be so horrifically injured from the brief tease we get in Batman v Superman, but there’s an immediate connection to this universe’s big villain, Darkseid.
The mysterious cube that finally allows Dr. Stone’s gruesome cybernetic experiment to succeed is a Mother Box, a piece of powerful all-purpose technology that hails from New Genesis, a world of godlike beings who stand opposed to Darkseid and his minions on Apokolips.
In current DC Comics continuity, Vic Stone is indeed aided in his resurrection by this technology, and it will make him and his abilities a unique figure in the Justice League’s battle against Darkseid.
A Cyborg solo movie is also scheduled for April 3rd, 2020.
You don’t cast Jason Momoa as Aquaman if you’re planning on him just being a nice guy who talks to the fish. The brief tease we saw of Aquaman in Batman v Superman indicates that this is a character of tremendous power, and someone who can certainly hold his own against people with power levels like Wonder Woman and Superman.
Since the DC Extended Universe and fairly recent DC Comics seem to be feeding each other ideas and concepts, Aquaman, who is the king of Atlantis, after all, will probably be a pretty imperious figure who may not play well with the rest of the team when he realizes that he isn’t the de facto leader of the Justice League.
Amber Heard will be on the scene in both the Justice League movie and the Aquaman movie as the Queen of Atlantis, Mera.
James Wan directs the Aquaman solo movie, which is due out on July 27th, 2018.
DC Extended Universe Villains
Well, we sure did get to witness the fall of Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman. It’s not clear how many movies Jesse Eisenberg is contracted for, but almost nobody signs up for just one superhero movie. Lex will probably be back, and he has a history of helping to facilitate alien bad guys coming around who want to beat the crap out of caped do-gooders around here.
Luthor’s xenophobic ways and technical accumen mean that he has certainly been monitoring other life out in the cosmos, and the mysterious “he” that Lex keeps referring to is certainly going to turn out to be this guy…
Alright, fine, this is the only piece of outright speculation in this article since he hasn’t been officially named as the villain of the Justice League movie just yet. But there were so many visual clues that point to Darkseid coming to the DCEU that I had to include him. I mean, c’mon, there were Parademons for cryin’ out loud!
So, I’ll leave it at that for the moment. Whether or not this means that he’ll actually show up in Justice League Part One or if his actual arrival will be saved for the second film remains to be seen. The first movie starts shooting in April, so I expect to hear more details soon.
Doomsday is “dead” right? Well…maybe. Aside from the fact that characters have a hard time staying dead in this world, Doomsday himself evolves as he takes more and more damage.
Plus, as we’re about to learn when Superman comes back to life, Kryptonians are pretty hard to kill, and Doomsday is Kryptonian, so…yeah. Don’t be surprised if this big beastie returns to make life difficult for the Justice League, and then Supes can conquer him once and for all.
The Suicide Squad movie is not only going to introduce us to (and promptly kill off) a bunch of new villains and anti-heroes, it’s also probably going to give us a better idea about the infrastructure of the DC Extended Universe. So far, we haven’t met any of the secret organizations like Argus or Checkmate in this world, and that, even more than the characters, is something that will help flesh things out a little bit.
Considering how many characters there are in Suicide Squad, and that a few have direct ties to Batman’s world, I expect that even some offhanded comments will lead to bigger revelations about the DCEU. We’ll know more when the movie opens on August 5th.
Like I said, I’ll update this with more information as it becomes available!
This article originally ran on March 27th, 2016. It has been updated with a few pieces of new information.
Got any ideas of your own? That’s what the comments are for! And you can always give me a shout on Twitter.