The Future of DC Movies and the DCEU

By Kirsten Howard

The DCEU has turned out to be a cinematic experiment in a constant state of flux, thanks to the unexpected nature of its wins and losses.

In 2013, Zack Snyder rebooted DC’s Superman on the big screen with Man of Steel, presenting the last son of Krypton as a budding superhero unsure of his place in the world.

The project was a success for its studio, Warner Bros., and soon a whole new slate of films was unveiled as part of a planned DC Extended Universe.

Rather than hold a steady trajectory, the DCEU has taken a different approach than the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rebooting itself by responding to audience approval and critical reception.

Films that Warner Bros. hoped would be well-received DCEU installments, like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, were instead largely maligned, while Wonder Woman and Shazam! were able to shine.

Aquaman also became DC’s highest-grossing film to date, earning $1.15 billion worldwide. 

As a result of these highs and lows, the future of the DCEU has become rather complex.

While big sequels for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam! are on the way, the success of DC’s standalone Joker film has inspired them to further explore the multiverse.

Consequently, DC’s latest Batman reboot, starring Robert Pattinson, takes place outside of the established DCEU, and so does its TV spinoff series, Gotham Central.

A big budget outing for popular DC superhero The Flash will also stir the multiverse pot, bringing back Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck’s versions of Batman.

And then there’s the infamous “Snyder Cut” of 2017’s Justice League, which the director believes will perform better as a new TV series on HBO Max.

Snyder originally left Justice League mid-production and was replaced by Avengers director Joss Whedon. Some DC fans have been waiting impatiently to witness the original vision for the film.

The Suicide Squad sequel also serves as a ‘soft reboot’ for the franchise, and a spinoff show for John Cena’s Peacemaker is in the works.

DC is also tinkering with new directions for long in-development projects like Green Lantern Corps and Justice League Dark for HBO Max.

The DC Extended Universe is fast becoming the DC Extended Multiverse, which may or may not leave casual audiences a bit confused.

Some of the risks that DC are taking will likely pay off, and in the future we should see the DCEU evolve as it fully embraces the possibilities of its multiverse.