(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros.)
Much like the DC Comics Multiverse itself, Warner Bros. Pictures’ plans for DC film universes and properties are always changing. Projects are announced, but then seemingly go into hibernation. The concerns of their corporate parent shift with new ownership — currently the entity known as Warner Bros. Discovery — and what its CEO may want from the DC characters. The stalwart of the line, Batman, always gets its movies made while Wonder Woman seems poised to join the Dark Knight as a reliable franchise (although that may be changing). Meanwhile, Superman seems caught in a development hell beyond his powers to overcome.
Nevertheless, WBD’s attempts to build a strong and beloved DC Universe carries on. In the latest change of direction, DC Films reorganized into DC Studios this Fall with The Suicide Squad director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran serving as co-CEOs. Gunn takes change of the studio’s creative direction while Safran leads its business affairs. And as Gunn reiterated on December 8, 2022 via Twitter, their joint task is to shape DC’s output “across film, TV, animation, and gaming” into “a cohesive story.” Of course, any fan of DC Comics knows that is the tallest order to ask of its characters and various realities. Indeed, the search for cohesion leads the DC Universe to reboot itself every ten to twenty years. Some believe this will be Gunn’s route as well with the so-called DC Extended Universe finally seeing its Final Night with 2023’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Gunn and Safran’s appointment as the bosses at DC Studios is the latest shockwave in the often incredible story of Warner Bros.’ attempts to bring the DC Multiverse to the screen. So before we take a look at the latest changes to its film schedule, let’s go back to the beginning of WB’s ambitious plans for its extended universe…
In 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment announced a series of movies based on DC Comics characters. The original schedule included a two-part Justice League project and at least two films a year through 2020. Things did not go according to plan, with Justice League compressing its story into one film and projects like Flash experiencing constant delays. Despite projects shifting around the slate – and the critical backlash against Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League – the original 2014 master plan has been executed for the most part, with only 2018 missing a second DC-derived film and Cyborg disappearing entirely. And even as features like Aquaman and Shazam! went into production, the studio never stopped trying to get new projects off the ground utilizing the comic book characters and the universe initiated by 2013’s Man of Steel. 2023 will deliver on the last remaining project from that original slate and some surprises in the form of Aquaman and Shazam sequels. On the TV/streaming front, some spinoffs from The Batman are headed to HBO Max.
The following represents everything we know about the DC films on the way and in development, as well as a few DC adaptations that will exist separate from the universe. (Want to see what the other camp has in store? Check out our breakdown of upcoming Marvel movies.)
There is a lot that is uncertain about which DC Comics characters are coming to the big screen, who’s bringing them there, and in what order — but nothing is uncertain about these movies. They’re in post-production, and we know exactly when they will be hitting theaters. (At least, we know the latest dates and will update as they change.)
Release Date: March 17, 2023
What We Know: Shazam! director David F. Sandberg is back, along with star Zachary Levi and co-stars Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer. Additional cast includes Grace Caroline Currey, Ian Chen, Faithe Hermann, Jovan Armand as the Shazam family (or “Shazamily” as Levi put it at various times on Twitter and at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2022) in their mortal, civilian forms while Currey, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, and D.J. Cotrona play them in their superhero guises (Adam Brody plays Grazer’s superhuman form). Also returning are Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews as Rosa and Victor Vásquez, the family’s foster parents, and Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard. Joining up as the villains this go around are Helen Mirren as Hespera, Lucy Liu as Kalypso, and Rachel Zegler as Anthea — collectively known as the Daughters of Atlas. Per the 2022 Comic-Con teaser (above), the daughters are angry about Billy’s (Angel) use of the Gods’ powers and will face off against the entire Shazam Family to retrieve them. The plot is a fairly different from the one teased at the end of Shazam!, a conflict with Mister Mind – one of the tiniest but most powerful villains in the DC canon — and a second round with Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong). In May of 2021, Strong confirmed he would not return, saying the film is going in a “different direction.” After brief teases at both the 2020 and 2021 DC FanDome events, the film finally had its big public unveiling at the 2022 Comic-con with the teaser and a brief Q&A featuring Sandberg, Levi, Angel, Grazer, and Liu. According to Angel, Billy is also starting to worry about his coming adulthood and his place in the foster home. Consequently, he’s trying his darnedest to keep the family together. In August of 2022, Warner Bros. moved the film’s release to March 17, 2023 as a part of a wide-reaching schedule change.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: While a confrontation between Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) and Shazam seemed inevitable, it is currently unclear if Gunn’s changes to the DC Universe will accommodate their title bout. Indeed, Black Adam is already in a holding pattern until further notice.
(Photo by DC)
Release Date: June 16, 2023
What We Know: A Flash film starring Ezra Miller as Justice League‘s Barry Allen has been one of the most difficult projects to get off the ground. After losing multiple directors – among them, Seth Grahame-Smith and Rick Famuyiwa – and undergoing a title change from The Flash to Flashpoint and back again, the nature of the film finally came into focus and was shot from April 2021 to the following October. Plotwise, Allen will crash through multiple dimensions to change his mother’s fate in an adaptation of DC Comics’s ambitious 2011 Flashpoint event comic book series, and meet various versions of some of DC’s biggest heroes along the way. It helmer Andy Muschietti emerged as the director. At the first DC FanDome, he revealed a first look at concept art for Allen’s new suit, which features embedded light and was made by Bruce Wayne. And someone else signed on, too, at the time. Ben Affleck returns in a small, cameo-style role as the version of Batman we’ve seen in Justice League, while Michael Keaton returns, too, as the Batman we met in 1989’s Batman; Muschietti told Vanity Fair that Keaton’s role is “substantial.” Rudy Mancuso will also appear in an as-yet undisclosed role. In March of 2021, Kiersey Clemons, who signed on to play Iris West back when Famuyiwa was going to direct, recommitted to project. Additionally, word broke soon after indicating Maribel Verdú will play Barry’s mother Nora, but due to scheduling conflicts, Billy Crudup will not reprise his Justice League role as Barry’s father Henry. Ron Livingston will play the part instead. Michael Shannon and Antje Traue will also reportedly appear as their Man of Steel characters. Keaton’s appearance in the film was teased during a sizzle reel for the film at DC FanDome 2021, which also featured a great look at Barry’s new suit and a first glimpse at Sasha Calle’s Supergirl. In March of 2022, Warner Bros. pushed it from a November 2022 release to June 2023 citing post-production issues, but Miller’s alleged behavior in the Spring of 2022 and various legal troubles have left some wondering if the film will be release at all. The actor committed to seek treatment for their problems while Warner Bros. still intends to release the film next summer. Indeed, in early December, it moved the release up a week to June 16, 2023. Miller, meanwhile, plead guilty to one of the charges against them.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: With the story focusing on the Flashpoint storyline – in which Barry’s attempt to save his mother wrecks the universe – the film will feature Ben Affleck as the Batman, as well as Michael Keaton, and may include other familiar faces. A promo package from the first DC FanDome also suggested Allen may encounter DC heroes from TV and streaming, with multiple clips of Watchmen playing as the panel discussed the Flashpoint possibilities. And considering how the original Flashpoint comic book radically altered the DC Comics universe, the film may be a narrative hook from which Gunn can hang his eventual realignment of the DC Universe going forward.
(Photo by DC)
What We Know: In February of 2021, word broke revealing Charm City Kings director Angel Manuel Soto will helm a film based on the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle. The character is a Mexican-American teenager living in Texas who discovers a scarab that turns out to be an alien battle suit. It gives him fantastic powers, but makes his life much more complicated. In August of that year, Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña entered talks to play the lead role. The film was meant to join Batgirl as one of two DC productions for HBO Max, but it was eventually promoted to a theatrical feature. Maridueña, Soto, and screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer made an appearance at the October 2021 DC FanDome. All expressed enthusiasm for the project, with Dunnet-Alcocer saying the chance to showcase a Mexican-American superhero is a key part of the appeal. “That closeness of family is part of what sets him apart,” he said. An accompanying production painting also suggested the Blue Beetle costume will be surprisingly faithful to its comic book counterpart, an impression backed up when photos emerged from the set. Other members of the cast in include Bruna Marquezine, Belissa Escobedo, George Lopez, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo, Damián Alcázar, Raoul Trujillo, Harvey Guillén, and Susan Sarandon as the villainous Victoria Kord. Production began in late May 2022.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: Now that it will be a theatrical release, we’re going to assume the film takes place on the same Earth Barry establishes in The Flash. If so, it gives Jaime a chance to join whatever Justice League we might see in the future. Also, Sarandon’s character suggest fan favorite character Ted Kord — an earlier Blue Beetle — may make some sort of appearance.
(Photo by @ Warner Bros.)
Release Date: December 25, 2023
What We Know: James Wan returns to direct the sequel. According to reports following the first film’s stunning box office debut in December of 2018, the studio wanted Wan to develop the project while he decided whether or not to direct. David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, a co-writer on the first film, soon emerged to write the follow-up, and Warner Bros. set it for a 2022 release at the end of February last year. Presumably, any sequel storyline will feature the return of Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his thirst for revenge. We’re also going to presume a wedding between Arthur (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) will occur — although her role is said to be substantially diminished. Wan ultimately directed the film, saying during the first DC FanDome that it will have a more serious tone compared with the original, and that new worlds will be explored. At the same panel, he was joined by Patrick Wilson, and the pair confirmed that Ocean Master will return for the sequel. In early June 2021, the director revealed the film’s title. A behind-the-scenes video showcased during October 2021’s DC FanDome unveiled a new look at Black Manta’s updated costume and a black version of Arthur’s armor. In March of 2022, the film moved its release a couple of months from December 2021 to March 2022. Post-production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic were cited not only for Lost Kingdom‘s new release date, but a whole slew of changes to Warner Bros’ calendar. In the last week of July 2022, a seemingly genuine mistake on the Warner Bros. studio lot revealed Ben Affleck will appear as Bruce Wayne/Batman. In August of 2022, the film shifted release dates by eight months, reportedly because of those same post-production difficulties.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Aquaman’s seas presumably now exist in a universe all their own. That said, it is always possible for one of the characters to seek his help in a stinger scene. Or, if it really is the end of the DC Extended Universe, the stinger may offer some note of conclusion.
(Photo by Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
Release Date: October 4, 2024
What We Know: Thanks to the success of the first Joker, a follow-up was inevitable, but details remained scarce through 2020. In May of 2021, word broke indicating the project is still in development with a surprising new tie to the larger DC Multiverse. Star Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Philipps set their return with Phillips posting a photo of the script’s cover page (credited to Phillips and Joker co-writer Scott Silver) on social media, revealing the film will be called Joker: Folie à deux. The term is a reference to two or more people sharing similar mental disorders, leading many to wonder if the sequel will feature a Phillips take on Harley Quinn. In subsequent days, Lady Gaga‘s name emerged as Joker’s potential partner in crime with the film also positioned as a musical — a New York, New York contrast to the first film’s Taxi Driver. In August of 2022, the film’s release date — October 4, 2024 — was announced. In subsequent months, Catherine Keener, Jacob Lofland, and Harry Lawtey joined the cast.
How It Fits Into the DC Multiverse: According to the May 2021 report, the film will tie into The Batman and its spinoff HBO Max series, Gotham PD. Although that series was eventually shelved in favor of shows focused on the Penguin and Arkham Asylum, it is still possible the Joker films will turn out to be The Batman prequels. At the same time, interconnectivity between the two film series may be discouraged as Joker and The Batman remain outside of Gunn and Safran’s DC Universe plan. But then again, Gunn and The Batman director Matt Reeves are said to be meeting sometime in January to discuss if and how his projects can fit into the DCU.
With the pendulum ever swinging between a cohesive film universe and something more wild, the development roster is rather diverse. But like the shelved projects at the end of this list, it remains to be seen how many of them will materialize in the mid-2020s.
(Photo by Jonathan Olley/©Warner Bros.)
Release Date: TBA
What We Know: In April of 2022, The Batman director Matt Reeves confirmed he and star Robert Pattinson will return for “the next chapter.” No other details are available, but speculation includes introductions of a Robin, the cabal of Gotham elite known as the Court of Owls and the villain Hush, who is teased (after a fashion) in The Batman. We’re also going to presume the rebuilding of Gotham City will be a plot point, as well Bruce’s (Pattinson) attempts to create a public persona.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Unlike other DC film projects, we know this one is disconnected from the mainline DCEU. It is, in fact, its own reality with spinoff television shows. A possible tie to the Joker series is also rumored (see above), but considering Reeves confirmed Barry Keoghan‘s mysterious Arkham inmate is meant to be Joker before he adopts his clownish affectations, we doubt The Batman film series will tie to anything but ideas it introduces. But as also discussed above, Gunn may have a different opinion on the matter.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: Announced back with Cyborg in the 2014 masterplan, Green Lantern Corps continues to slowly move forward. In June of 2018, former DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns took over writing and producing the project through his production company, Mad Ghost Productions. According to the company website, the film will feature both the Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan (played by Ryan Reynolds in the 2011 film), and John Stewart, the Green Lantern voiced by Phil LaMarr in various Justice League animated series. An earlier concept developed by Man of Steel’s David S. Goyer and Justin Rhodes was said to be a sort of “Lethal Weapon in space” – a description which may still hold true for Johns’ concept as he worked with Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner for a number of years. With Johns participating in a Green Lantern television series for HBO Max, though, the project would seem to be postponed again — though it was said to be a priority for Warner Bros. Pictures going into the Discovery merger talks. Following the creation of Warner Bros. Discovery and DC Studios, it is unclear if the film is still happening. Additionally, a radical shift in the TV show’s premise to John Stewart may indicate the film has finally been shelved.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Teased in a Justice League flashback, the lack of an Earthbound Green Lantern is part of the reason Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) chose the planet for conquest. But the film would presumably see the Corps correcting that mistake by revealing the brave humans involved in that organization. No doubt the fans of Jordan and Stewart – to say nothing of characters like Guy Gardner, Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz, and G’Nort, who could potentially appear in the film – will be excited to see them in an ensemble. Additionally, the film would provide a perfect platform with which to introduce DC’s space-faring characters to a larger audience.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: The Cloverfield Paradox’s Oren Uziel is reportedly writing a script based on the Girl of Steel. Like The Flash feature film, it will presumably ignore the television series on The CW and tell its own version of Kara Zor-El’s first few days as a superhero on Earth. With Man of Steel star Henry Cavill’s DC future in doubt, it is unlikely that Superman will show up and help greet the cinematic Kara. The producers of the 1984 Supergirl film also tried to get then-Superman Christopher Reeve to appear in the film, but his presence was limited to a poster on a dorm room wall. In February 2021, The Young and the Restless’s Sasha Calle was cast as Kara for an appearance in The Flash feature. Presumably, she will lead Supergirl as well, but it currently unclear. Indeed, it is also unclear if the film is happening at all in light of the DC Studios restructuring.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: If Calle continues as Kara, The Flash will determine if she’s the Supergirl of Barry’s Earth – our de facto DCEU – or one of the Mutliversal realities he visits in the film.
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: Ray Fisher has been set to star as Vic Stone in a 2020 Cyborg film since 2014, but no director or screenwriter were ever announced. Many doubted the film would materialize despite still being on the calendar for many years following Fisher’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice cameo. In September of 2018, Fisher suggested fans of the character may need to become more vocal to make the film a reality. In the summer of 2020, he launched a campaign to expose Joss Whedon’s alleged abusive behavior on the set of the Justice League reshoots. As the situation expanded to former DC Films chiefs Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, Fisher vowed never to work with former DC Films boss Walter Hamada – whom he alleged was pressuring him to take back his accusations about Johns. Subsequently, Cyborg’s planned role in The Flash was written out and, presumably, any chance of a solo film outing went with it.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Frankly, we’ll be surprised if Cyborg, in any form, ever resurfaces on the big screen.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: While it is unclear if Blackhawk will be part of the DC film universe, it is a favorite comic book of director Steven Spielberg. He even tried to get a Blackhawk movie off the ground in the 1980s. The current version of the project will see him direct a film based on the golden-age Quality Comics concept later bought by DC in 1957 with The Lost World: Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp adapting the concept. The main character is the leader of the Blackhawks squadron, a famed air outfit of seven ace pilots during World War II. When DC incorporated them into a post-war context, they became mercenaries, battled James Bond-style supervillains, and even flirted with becoming superheroes themselves! Considering the director’s fascination with the Second World War and aviation of the period, the original Golden Age version seems like the best fit, provided the film ever gets off the ground.
How It Fits In The DC Multiverse: While current narrative conceits allow the film to take place in the past of Barry’s Earth, the Multiverse means the project could be as closely or loosely tied to other films as Spielberg wants. That is presuming, of course, he’s still interested in making it or working within the DC Studios framework.
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: According to reports, Jared Leto will star and serve as executive producer in his own solo Joker film – a deal which happens to be quite similar to Margot Robbie’s involvement in Birds of Prey. Details are scarce, other than it will be a separate project from both the “Joker and Harley” concept and the standalone Joker. It will also spearhead a batch of films based on the characters featured in Suicide Squad, which means rumors of that Deadshot movie might be more than idle talk. Then again, it has been a long time since the actor has made any mention of returning to the role. It would seem Leto’s time in the DC Multiverse is already over.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: The Leto Joker was not only featured in Suicide Squad, but is also the murderer of Batman’s second Robin, as implied in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As of Birds of Prey, his relationship with Harley is kaput, setting the two characters off in separate films series. If the “Joker and Harley” project is still happening, then it may serve as a capstone to the characters’ storylines across The Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, and Leto’s Joker. But it may also serve as a replacement for that film as Robbie’s Harley projects may preclude “Joker and Harley.” Of course, Joker’s success – and Leto’s comments about being “alienated and upset” when it was announced – may mean the end of this version of the character. His appearance in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the very nature of the Multiverse offer some glimmers of hope, however. At the same time, we’re close to moving this into the “shelved” list.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: As of February 2018, The LEGO Batman Movie’s Chris McKay was still developing a project centered on the first Robin, Dick Grayson. A final draft from screenwriter Bill Dubuque was due at the time, but there has been no movement since. Reportedly, the film was postponed in anticipation of The Batman, which may ultimately introduce its own version of Dick Grayson. In June of 2021, McKay told CinemaBlend, “I hope it’s still a reality. I hope that we still get to make that movie. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not lost yet.”
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: As established in Justice League, the Robin costume in the Batcave is not Dick Grayson’s uniform, suggesting plans for Nightwing go all the way back to the 2014 masterplan. A solo film would presumably see the character living in Bludhaven (Grayson’s adopted city in the comics) and coming to grips with becoming his own hero. McKay also plans to direct a feature film version of Johnny Quest, so it is hard to tell if Nightwing will happen anytime soon. Last time McKay was asked about it, he said fans will have to wait, but they should also “keep hope alive.” At this point, though, it seems unlikely.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: The Main Man, a Czarnian with various superpowers and healing factors, has always been of interest to Warner Bros. in its various corporate incarnations. Attempts to make a Lobo movie date back to 2009 with Guy Ritchie and Brad Peyton circling the director’s chair. As of February 2020, screenwriter Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman) was completing a new draft. Michael Bay was linked to the project, but it is unclear if he ever really signed on. In one of the stranger turns, The Hollywood Reporter claimed in December 2022 that Jason Momoa is interested in switching from Aquaman to the Main Man for a Lobo feature.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Lobo, like Green Lantern Corps, could introduce the cosmic elements of the DC Universe. The character’s irreverence and stark design also set him apart from the rest the DC characters audiences are familiar with. And considering the times his comic book counterpart and Superman have butted heads, he could become a worthy opponent for the Man of Steel in a subsequent film. Additionally, he is the sort of character Gunn likes to work with, so it is possible his stock is rising again.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: First revealed at the 2021 DC FanDome event, a film based on Milestone’s Static – and, of course, the Static Shock animated series – is in development at Warner Bros Pictures. Michael B. Jordan will join Reggie Hudlin as an executive producer on the project with Randy McKinnon writing the script. Based on the character created by Milestone Media founders Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle, the film will center on Virgil Hawkins, a teenager with electromagnetic powers who finds his way into a larger world while still keeping his local streets safe. Originally set in Milestone’s Dakotaverse, it is unclear if Virgil will start his adventures there or as a DC hero. As it happens, Static only transferred to the DC Universe in 2008 while his cartoon counterpart made cameo appearances in DC animated shows much earlier.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Provided the film is still on the slate, expect Static to establish his own cred before other heroes seek him out.
(Photo by © First Run Features /Courtesy Everett Collection)
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: Just a few days after the Blue Beetle news broke, word surfaced that J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, would produce an entirely new Superman film with novelist and Captain America comic book writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (above in the documentary Moynihan) on scripting duties. Reportedly, the project will feature a Black actor in the lead – although it is unclear if it will be Clark Kent or one of the various Black Superman characters DC Comics has introduced over the years. In May of 2021, a shortlist of directors including Regina King, Shaka King, and J.D. Dillard emerged, but with Regina King ultimately signing on to adapt Image Comics’ Bitter Root, it seems the shortlist is just down to the latter two. Meanwhile, some reports indicate Coates handed in his script sometime in the Spring of 2022, but it is unclear if the project is a priority in the ever-changing goals of Warner Bros. Pictures and its new corporate owners.
Also, Michael B. Jordan is developing a HBO Max series centered on Val-Zod, the Superman of Earth-2 with writers Darnell Metayer and Josh Peters. But like the Coates/Abrams film, it is unclear if this will ultimately materialize. In fact, Gunn’s stated plan for cohesion may mean the end of both of these projects.
Further confusing matters, Gunn is also developing a new Superman film with a presumably more traditional take on Kal-El. While his project is the most likely to happen, the others continue become less and less certain.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: The infinite DC worlds allow for many versions of Superman to co-exist. It also allows the characters to meet, provided Gunn even wants to use the Multiverse as a story engine. His comments about a more cohesive film universe make this unlikely.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: In March of 2021, Chernin Entertainment signed on to produce a film featuring the 1940s comic character or one of his subsequent iterations. In most cases, Hourman obtains heightened strength and endurance via a pill called Miraclo. Unfortunately, its effects only last an hour and he can only use it once a day. At last report, Gavin James and Neil Widener were set to write the script. In the year since word of the project first broke, no updates have emerged and it is possible the film was lost in the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. But considering Gunn’s love of lesser-known DC characters, Hourman may get a sudden dose of Miraclo.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: With versions of the character ranging from a 1940s mystery man to a time traveling android from the 853rd Century, the possibilities for Hourman are endless.
(Photo by Claudette Barius/©Warner Bros.)
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: In June of 2021, news broke indicating a Black Canary film will join the HBO Max roster of DC feature films. Jurnee Smollet is reportedly set to reprise her role from Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) with Misha Green writing. Birds of Prey producer Sue Kroll will also produce Black Canary. In June of 2022, Smollet told Comicbook.com she was excited to explore the character in a deeper way, suggesting the project is still alive in some form. In August of 2022, TVLine confirmed that the film is indeed still in development. But as with every other DC project on the slate, it is unclear if it still aligns with Gunn and Safran’s plans.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: Presumably, the film will continue Canary’s story from Birds of Prey – minus the other two members of the team, of course – but it is always possible Green will use the Multiverse to give her version of the character a fresh start.
(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: In an absolutely stunning turn of events, Keanu Reeves is planning to play John Constantine once again. As revealed in September 2022, the actor will reunite with director Francis Lawrence — who helmed the first Constantine back in 2005 — while Akiva Goldsman will pen the script. Lawrence claimed he will shoot for an R-rating. The film will likely be the one DC project to emerge from the many J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot began developing several years ago for both film and television. Well, provided it still aligns with Gunn and Safran’s plans for the DC Universe.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: The film will presumably take place in the same universe as Constantine with, perhaps, a magic spell gone wrong transporting John to the shared DC Universe. Although, again, it remains to be seen how the project will ultimately shake out with Gunn and Safran’s creative direction for DC Studios as a whole.
(Photo by Photo By: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
Release Date: Shelved
What We Know: A Wrinkle In Time’s Ava DuVernay was set to direct a film version Jack Kirby’s New Gods for Warner Bros., writing the script alongside Mr. Miracle writer Tom King. The film allegedly would have centered on escape artist Scott Free – aka Mr. Miracle – and his wife Barda. Both are refugees from the plant Apokolips; a miserable world under the grip of the tyrant god Darkseid. Scott was given to Darkseid as a baby by his own father to maintain a peace between Apokolips and the nearby world of New Genesis. Despite the detente, Darksied plots to control the universe and the battle of the New Gods rages on. DuVernay thrilled fans in early 2020 when she said she “may in fact be taking some notes” from the Twitter dream casting threads, which included names like Diego Luna for Mr. Miracle.
Unfortunately, Warner Bros. and DC announced on April 1, 2021 that two of their films in development — one of them being New Gods — “will not be moving forward… Their projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.”
Release Date: Shelved
What We Know: As part of an effort to keep Aquaman’s corner of the DC film universe alive, Warner Bros. hired screenwriters Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald to write a script centered on The Trench in February of 2019. As referenced in the film’s early moments, The Trench are the descendants of an Atlantean tribe who devolved into fish monsters after breaking away from the rest of the kingdoms. They can be seen attacking Arthur and Mera’s boat shortly before they make their way to the secret sea. Wan publicly discussed his adoration for the creatures and it seems the project would have develop quickly into an offshoot of Aquaman a la the Annabelle spin-offs from Wan’s The Conjuring series. The film was reportedly set to take place after the first Aquaman film and lean into some horror elements, which of course makes sense, considering Wan’s résumé.
As with Ava DuVernay’s New Gods, however, development of The Trench was also halted indefinitely by Warner Bros. and DC, even though a script for the film had been completed by Gardner and Fitzgerald. The announcement did keep the door open just enough to allow for future developments, but as of now, The Trench is no longer a part of the studio’s immediate plans. In October of 2021, Wan revealed the project was actually a Black Manta solo film with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the starring role.
Release Date: Shelved
What We Know: To be directed by Black Adam screenwriter Adam Sztykiel and meant to star KJ Apa and Isabel May, the Wonder Twins HBO Max feature was to center on characters created by Norman Maurer for the The All-New Super Friends Hour animated series. Zan (Apa) and Jayna (May) are two teenagers from the planet Exxor who can activate their shape-shifting powers by touching each other’s hands. Zan can become any form of water while Jayna can become any animal. Presumably taking its cues from the 2019 Wonder Twins comic book by Mark Russell and Stephen Byrn, it would’ve seen the pair adjusting to life on Earth while also finding their place in the superhero community.
Sadly, the film was scrapped in May of 2022, just shortly after Apa and May were announced to star. According to reports, the film was budgeted at $75 million — a price too rich when compared to incoming Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav vow to cut $3 billion from the corporation’s operating budget. Additionally, the studio also felt the Wonder Twins were too niche an idea for a theatrical release, ending all development on the project.
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Release Date: Shelved
What We Know: Originally intended as Joss Whedon’s writing and directing debut in the DC Extended Universe, the project was ultimately written by Birds of Prey scribe Christina Hodson. Presumably, the film will establish Barbara Gordon as the Batgirl of Gotham. Her relationship to the Birds of Prey will likely be established in a subsequent sequel to either film, if at all. But considering Hodson’s involvement in both films, she probably has a plan for Babs. In May of 2021, the project became active with Ms. Marvel directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah signing on to helm the film, which is now set to be one of the first DC-related direct-to-HBO Max features. That July, the casting process seemingly narrowed in on Isabella Merced, Zoey Deutch, Leslie Grace, and Haley Lu Richardson. Grace won the role later than month with J.K. Simmons entering negotiations to return as Commissioner Jim Gordan, a role he first took on in Justice League. During DC FanDome in October 2021, Grace described the character as a “girly girl, but she’s capable and strong and determined.” Co-director El Arbi added that the film will feature “realistic fights.” A piece of production art glimpsed during the presentation also suggests Batgirl will utilize a costume similar to her New 52 look in the comics. In subsequent months, Michael Keaton signed on as Batman, Brendan Fraser agreed to play Firefly — the primary antagonist — and Ivory Aquino joined the cast as Alysia Yeoh, Barbara’s best friend. Other actors in the cast include Rebecca Front, Corey Johnson, and Ethan Kai. Grace unveiled the first proper look at the Batgirl costume in January of 2022, a version heavily inspired by the “Batgirl of Burnside” costume designed by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr. As of early July 2022, there was a possibility the film might join Blue Beetle as a theatrical release, but on August 2 came the stunning news that the film — despite nearing completion — will be shelved entirely and will never see release in theaters or on the Warner streaming service.
Release Date: Presumably Shelved
What We Know: In a New York Times profile of Walter Hamada, the former DC Films chief made a curious reference to the Multiverse making two Batman feature film sagas possible. One to continue the story of The Batman while the other … well, it was anyone’s guess at the time. Since the profile was published, WarnerMedia became Warner Bros. Discovery, DC Films became DC Studios, and Hamada exited the company entirely. Even if the project was something he seriously considered, we highly doubt Gunn and Safran want more than one actor playing the part at any given time. But will they ever convince Robert Pattinson to join a Justice League film?
Release Date: Reportedly Shelved
What We Know: Hot on the heels of Wonder Woman 1984’s box office success – well, at least in 2020 metrics – Warner Bros. announced a third film was being fast tracked. Both director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot were set to return. Jenkins also said the film will finally bring Diana’s solo adventures to the present day. Development continued while Jenkins went off to prep Rogue Squadron, a Star Wars film that may eventually happen, but is currently postponed indefinitely. In April of 2022, Gadot told Forbes the script is still in the process of development but “all wheels are working and turning.” In early December, the actor tweeted another hopeful message about the project as Jenkins and co-writer Geoff Johns submitted a treatement to the studio. But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn, Safran, and Warner Bros. Pictures co-chairs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy subsequently told Jenkins that the project no longer fits the DC strategy. It is currently unclear if director or star will be involved in any subsequent Wonder Woman projects.
(Photo by Clay Enos/Warner Bros.)
Release Date: Shelved
What We Know: In September of 2017, X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn met with the studio in regards to a direct Man of Steel sequel. Many years on, the return of Superman to the big screen seemed like a distant possibility. Then came Henry Cavill‘s cameo in October 2022’s Black Adam, word of another cameo in 2023’s The Flash, and an Instagram post the Monday following Black Adam‘s release in which Cavill claimed to be back as Superman. Subsequent reporting revealed nothing long-term has been signed between the actor and Warner, making hopes of a Man of Steel 2 a little dimmer. All hopes of his return were finally smashed when Gunn revealed he is developing a new Superman film focused on a younger Clark.
Thumbnail image: Clay Enos/©Warner Bros.