This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
With Justice League failing to bring in Avengers-level money and instead procuring a sizeable pile of negative write-ups, Warner Bros is making some behind-the-scenes changes with regards to its DC Comics film adaptations. Comic book legend Geoff Johns remains in a position of power as DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer, but Jon Berg – who had been the head honcho of Warner Bros’ DC output – has been shuffled away from the intertwined mega-franchise to focus on non-superhero projects.
Shortly after that news broke, a DC presentation at Brazil’s Comic Con Experience 2017 included an outline of DC Entertainment’s upcoming cinematic plans. This provided a strong – although not definitive – indicator of which DC films will be reaching our eyeballs in the near-ish future.
DC Entertainment included these nine films in their presentation at Comic Con Experience…
No surprises, here. The next DC film to reach cinemas will be Aquaman, a solo story for Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry. The character first appeared with a cameo role in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, before making his proper debut as a member of the core team in Justice League.
The Conjuring and Saw director James Wan is helming this one, and his production period began long before the release of Justice League. Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren and Patrick Wilson feature in the supporting cast. Filming has finished, and the movie is currently going through the post-production process.
Aquaman has a confirmed release date of December 21st, 2018. The film will expand on the underwater world of Atlantis, as glimpsed in Justice League. Thankfully, Wan has promised that there won’t be any underwater air bubbles in the film’s dialogue scenes.
After Aquaman, the next DC film in the pipeline is Shazam!, which will introduce Billy Batson to the live-action cinema landscape. Billy is a young boy (played by Asher Angel) who transforms into an adult superhero (played by Zachary Levi) when he utters the magic word of the movie’s title. It’s like the Tom Hanks film Big, but with superpowers.
Interestingly, although Shazam! seems certain to be a kid-friendly flick, DC has appointed another horror director to helm it: David F. Sanberg is calling the shots, having previously directed Lights Out and the James-Wan-produced Annabelle: Creation.
The film is currently assembling its cast, with a view to shooting next year. The project is aiming for an April 2019 release. Dwayne Johnson has long been linked to the role of Black Adam, Shazam’s nemesis, but he isn’t expected to appear in this movie. Mark Strong has been linked to the villainous role of Dr. Sivana.
Wonder Woman 2
Gal Gadot will reteam with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for this as-yet-untitled solo movie sequel. Jenkins is penning the script with Geoff Johns, with the production targeting a November 2019 release date. It is unclear whether any other cast members from Wonder Woman will return, although it would be nice to see Chris Pine popping in, for a dream sequence cameo at the very least.
Although plot details are scarce, we know that the film will take place in the 1980s, with the Cold War playing an important part. The threat of nuclear destruction feels like a perfect opportunity for Diana’s strong moral code to show itself once more.
Batman Vs Superman established that Wonder Woman was off the grid between World War I and the modern day, so Gal Gadot’s heroine will need to operate in a covert manner during this 1980s-set film, in order to maintain that continuity.
The first solo movie for Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash has already been through some troubles. Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, Jump Street) wrote the initial story treatment, with Seth Grahame-Smith (writer of The LEGO Batman Movie) signed up to write the script and direct the movie.
Grahame-Smith ultimately departed the project, and Warner Bros brought in Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) to write a new script and direct it. But Famuyiwa ended up departing the project as well, citing creative differences as his reason. A new helmsperson for the film is yet to be announced, with rumors pointing to Robert Zemeckis, Sam Raimi, and Matthew Vaughn, as well as Lord and Miller. The film is believed to be targeting a 2020 release date, so they’ll need to hire someone soon.
Alongside Ezra Miller, the cast is expected to include Billy Crudup as Dr. Henry Allen and Kiersey Clemons as Iris West. The film will adapt the Flashpoint comics, in which Barry travelled back in time to avert his mother’s death. This drastically altered the timeline and turned the present into a strange, dark place. Rumors have suggested that Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ben Affleck, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan could have roles to play in this altered timeline.
Suicide Squad 2
Although it doesn’t have a release date lined up yet, rumour has it that Suicide Squad 2 will enter production towards the end of next year. The first film’s director, David Ayer, is not returning. Instead, Gavin O’Conner (The Accountant) has been brought in to write and direct.
An official cast list hasn’t been announced yet, but it seems safe to expect numerous familiar faces from the previous movie. Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney and Viola Davis are surely very likely to appear.
There will probably be some new blood, as well. Rumors have suggested that Dwayne Johnson could debut as Black Adam here, before fighting Shazam in another film a little ways down the road.
Matt Reeves (who made the two most recent Planet Of The Apes movies) is attached to write and direct a Batman solo movie, with a view to kicking off a new film trilogy for Gotham’s Dark Knight. However, it remains unclear whether Ben Affleck will reprise the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for these pictures.
Rumors and reports consistently insist that Affleck, who previously worked on his own script for a standalone Bat-film, wants out of his DC commitments. John Hamm and Jake Gyllenhaal have been touted on the web as potential replacements. The timeline-altering antics of Flashpoint could provide a perfect opportunity for a switcheroo, should Reeves need to do one. Or, he could choose to set the films in a separate continuity to the mainline DCEU.
It’s unclear when production is meant to start on this one, or when it will be released (2019 is a smart guess for the latter question, we’d wager). We’re hoping for some form of announcement in the near future.
Joss Whedon (who made the first two Avengers films) has jumped ships to DC. He pitched a Batgirl project, which DC seems keen to make. Whedon also helped finish Justice League, writing and directing extra material after Zack Snyder departed during production because of a family tragedy.
It is believed that Whedon will begin work proper on his Batgirl project in 2018. He’ll need to assemble a cast, complete his script and trudge through pre-production before shooting can start, so 2019 seems like the earliest possible year of release for this one.
It’s unclear what the story will involve, or how the film will fit with the DCEU continuity. We’re assuming that the central Batgirl will be the Barbara Gordon version, the daring daughter of the iconic Gotham City Police Department commissioner.
Green Lantern Corps
Green Lantern Corps has been in DC’s live-action cinema plan for a while. It was given a July 2020 release date many moons ago, but it is unclear if DC is still aiming for that target. Justin Rhodes and David S. Goyer are writing the script, building on a story treatment from Geoff Johns.
Justice League offered the first evidence that Green Lanterns exist in the DCEU, with one such spacefaring superhero showing up – and promptly being killed – in the historic Steppenwolf Vs Earth battle. We’ll surely get to know many more of these emerald-ring-wearing galactic peacekeepers in Green Lantern Corps.
So far, no cast details or plot specifics have been announced. American Gods’ Ricky Whittle has been linked, via rumor, to the role of John Stewart. The role of Hal Jordan will be a tough one to cast, not least because Ryan Reynolds’ shoes aren’t easy ones to fill.
Justice League Dark
The recently unveiled DC slate also included Justice League Dark. This project originated in 2012 with horror icon Guillermo del Toro, who wrote a script and planned to direct it. However, del Toro eventually transitioned into a producer role, with Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) taking the director’s chair and Michael Gilio handling the script.
But those two didn’t manage to get the film made, either. Liman left the project to work on Chaos Walking, and Gerard Johnstone is the latest writer to be brought on board to hone that script. As it stands, Justice League Dark does not have a director attached. And it doesn’t have an official release date yet, either.
All we know, really, is that this film will focus on a dark team of heroes tackling supernatural threats. In the comics, regular members of Justice League Dark include John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Spectre and Zatanna. It’s not clear if this film exists in the DCEU or its own continuity.
The projects that weren’t mentioned
So, those are the nine projects that DC Entertainment included in their presentation at Comic Con Experience in Brazil this month. It’s an interesting collection of films, which mingles straight sequels to established DCEU properties with new franchises that may or may not be linked to that central shared universe.
There were some interesting omissions, though. Despite the fact that Matthew Vaughn has recently been linked to such a project, there was no mention in the presentation of a solo outing for Henry Cavill’s Superman. Nor was there any mention of Justice League 2. In fact, across those nine films, there no obvious places for Supes to appear.
The Cyborg film was also absent from the presentation, despite previously having a 2020 release date earmarked. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg could pop up in other movies, of course, but it is odd that DC chose not to mention his solo movie here.
David Ayer’s Gotham City Sirens, Chris McKay’s Nightwing, Gareth Evans’ Deathstroke and Todd Phillips’ Joker origin movie also went unmentioned during this DC presentation. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Harley Quinn/Joker movie was notable in its absence, as well.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that those movies aren’t going to happen. Perhaps DC only mentioned the projects that they felt were ready. After all, it makes sense to highlight the films that are closest to getting made, rather than hyping up those that are further from fruition.
DC and Warner Bros clearly have a lot of ideas in development, and it will take a lot of time to get all of them made. And as those changes at the top of the business start to have an impact, we could well see this slate of upcoming films shift and change yet again.
Of course, we’ll keep you posted about all of DC’s projects as more news comes to light….