Updated October 17, 2021, with new details from DC FanDome 2021.
Much like the DC Comics Multiverse itself, WarnerMedia’s plans for a film Multiverse are always changing. Projects are announced, but then seemingly go into hibernation. 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. Superman, sadly, is caught between the worlds of reboots and rival ideas.
Nevertheless, DC Films chief Walter Hamada recently revealed a plan to release six DC-related films a year in the coming decade – four will arrive in theaters while two will be made exclusively for HBO Max. The library is certainly deep enough to support such an endeavor. And thanks to Hamada embracing the multiverse concept, it seems plans are in place for a second Batman saga to coincide with Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. It all means DC fans will get a lot of content in the next 10 years.
The change 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, 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. The next several years will deliver a number of projects from that original slate and some surprises in the form of Aquaman 2 and The New Gods. On the TV/streaming front, Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League is finally available on HBO Max.
For now, the following represents everything we know about those projects and their place in the DC Films universe, 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 first movies. They’re in production, or in pre- or post-production, and we know exactly when they will be hitting theaters. (At least, we know the latest dates, and will update as those change with COVID-19 leaving the landscape a little uncertain.)
Release Date: March 4, 2022
What We Know: War for the Planet of the Apes’ Matt Reeves took over directing duties on The Batman following the departure of Ben Affleck, who intended to star, co-write, and direct. Creative differences saw his role reduced to star even as his personal problems overshadowed the ongoing question about his continued involvement. Late in January of 2019, Warner Bros. announced a release date while Affleck definitively stated he was leaving the cape and cowl behind. (Though not so definitively, if you skip down to our latest update on Flash). A new man behind the mask emerged that May when Robert Pattinson took over the role. That casting choice confirmed the story would revolve around a younger Batman, and Reeves has confirmed that, telling DC FanDome it will be set during Year Two when a serial killer is stalking Gotham. Across late summer and early Fall, the cast began to round out with Jeffrey Wright joining up as Commissioner Gordon, Paul Dano taking on The Riddler, and Zoe Kravitz signing on as Catwoman. In November, word broke indicating Colin Farrell would play The Penguin and Andy Serkis would be the new face of Alfred Pennyworth. Other cast members include Peter Sarsgaard as District Attorney Gil Colson, Alex Ferns as Commissioner Pete Savage, John Turturro as Falcone, and Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál. Rumors also suggest a new Two-Face will also emerge. Stacking the film with almost all of the notable Batman villains is something of a change for modern Batman movies, which generally only use two at a time – although Batman Begins featured a whopping five when you count lesser known characters like Carmine Falcone, Joe Chill, and Victor Zsasz alongside The Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul. Despite a member of the crew – allegedly star Robert Pattinson himself – coming down with the coronavirus, the film seemed poised to hold its October 2021 release date until Dune took its slot during a subsequent change to the calendar. The film is now scheduled for March of 2022. During DC FanDome in October of 2021, Warner Bros. released a second trailer for the film, featuring a greater emphasis on Catwoman and the Riddler. Additionally, Reeves, Pattinson, and Kravitz offered some comments about the film, with Kravitz calling her Catwoman someone who “wants to fight for those who don’t have someone.” Reeves added that the film will feature a number of “iconic” moments with the character even if she doesn’t map 1:1 to comic book Catwoman.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: The project’s ties to the established film continuity are questionable. Late in 2018, rumors began to emerge that Reeves’ vision for the film set it outside the Man of Steel universe as a “standalone” story, like Joker. The studio moved quickly to quash the rumors, but it now seems clear the film will exist in its own universe with a HBO Max spin-off series already in development.
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)
Release Date: July 29, 2022
What We Know: After listening to fans when he was initially interested in Shazam!, Johnson signed on to star in a film featuring that character’s greatest nemesis, Black Adam. Jaume Collet-Serra will direct from a script by Adam Sztykiel, with Noah Centineo on board as well to play Albert Rothstein/Atom Smasher, whose superpower is his super strength and ability to grow… huge. At DC FanDome, Johnson showed two clips. One, produced by Jim Lee and Boss Logic which gave fans a quick rundown of the character’s origins – formerly enslaved, he’s in the pursuit of Justice the Black Adam way. The other introduced the idea of the Justice Society of America, and revealed that Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher would feature in the film. In late September 2020, Aldis Hodge emerged as Hawkman, but the news was soon tempered as the film lost its December 22, 2021 release date entirely during the shuffling of Warner Bros.’ release slate 10 days later. As for most of the project’s existence, it is once again unclear when it will be released. But with members of the cast already assembled, it is possible the film will arrive in 2023. Aiding this possibility: Sarah Shahi joined the cast in October with a role described as both a professor and freedom fighter. In the months following, Quintessa Swindell joined the cast as JSAer Cyclone and Marwan Kenzari signed up for an as-yet undisclosed role; Pierce Brosnan will star as Dr. Fate. Additional cast members include Bodhi Sabongui and James Cusati-Moyer. In March 2021, a release date was finally announced, with Johnson taking over billboards in Times Square to reveal the movie will release July 29, 2022. In early June, Shahi finally confirmed her character is Adrianna Tomaz – or some version of the DC character. The next month, Johnson released a photo teasing his Black Adam body suit and, later in July, announced he wrapped filming via his Instagram. A brief clip featuring the resurrection of Black Adam was released during the 2021 DC FanDome in October, suggesting the character may not be much of a morning person. A behind-the-scenes reel also offered a few glimpses of Dr. Fate’s helmet and Adam’s costume.
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Black Adam is the archenemy of Shazam, so their film worlds are definitely connected. But he is also a fairly complicated anti-hero when dealing with anyone else. Heroic one moment and brutal the next, Adam could emerge as the powerful leader of his own country – an idea straight from the comic books. At DC FanDome, Johnson hinted that the movie could feature an appearance from Superman, and sent a warning to all those in the Justice League: “The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change.”
(Photo by DC)
Release Date: November 4, 2022
What We Know: A Flash film starring Ezra Miller as the Barry Allen featured in Justice League is finally getting made. 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 is finally coming into focus as we’ve learned that Allen will crash through multiple dimensions to change his mother’s fate in an adaptation of DC’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 signed on as the project’s fifth director in July, and at DC FanDome 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 has signed on, too. Ben Affleck will return 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 Keaton, after suggesting he might leave the project, recommitted late in the summer. His appearance in the film was also 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.
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 at 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 bring about the end of the DCEU as we knew it.
(Photo by @ Warner Bros.)
Release Date: December 16, 2022
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. Wan will direct the sequel after completing work on the horror film Malignant, due out later this year, and told DC FanDome that the movie 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. For the moment, the film is still expected to be the DC holiday release of 2022 – a year now packed full of films based on comic book characters from Warner Bros. and other studios. And considering The Flash is expected in theaters a month earlier, Aquaman 2 may switch to a 2023 release. In early June 2021, director James Wan revealed the title of the film. 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.
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.
(Photo by DC)
Release Date: June 2, 2023
What We Know: Well, as of DC FanDome, we know that the title of the movie will be Fury of the Gods, and that Sinbad – who through the Mandela Effect will always be associated with the franchise – may be in it. Other than that, not much. What we do know is that director David F. Sandberg is back, along with star Zachary Levy and co-stars Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer. The credits stinger at the end of Shazam! revealed our hero could be about to face Mister Mind – one of the tiniest but most powerful villains in the DC canon. We also know the film will be the first of Warner Bros.’ DC offerings in 2023 – for the moment – thanks to the October 2020 scheduling shift. In February of 2021, Rachel Zegler joined the production in a reportedly key role, while it’s also been announced Helen Mirren will play villain Hespera, daughter of the god Atlas. In April, Lucy Liu signed on to play Kalypso, one of Hespera’s sisters. In May, Mark Strong confirmed he would not return as Dr. Sivana, saying the film is going in a “different direction” than the one suggested in the first film’s stinger. That change of direction was also signaled during DC FanDome, thanks to a behind-the-scenes video featuring Mirren and Liu’s characters and a number of action scenes.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Black Adam, anyone? Although that film is not on Warner Bros. release schedule at the moment, the title character’s connection to Shazam means a crossover – and a confrontation – is inevitable.
With its plans for a Justice League-centric film universe abandoned in favor of more standalone productions like Aquaman and Shazam!, Warner Bros.’ calendar during the first few years of the 2020s reveals a number of re-thought ideas and, to borrow a term from comics, new #1 issues. At one time, the studio planned to release as many as three films per year, a target it will hit in 2022. But it remains to be seen if the projects listed below will ramp up to maintain the pace.
(Photo by © Warner Bros.)
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: Originally intended as Joss Whedon’s writing and directing debut in the DC Extended Universe, the project is now being written by Birds of Prey scribe Christina Hodson while the studio looks for a director. 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 again 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. In 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.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Considering the project comes from developments outside of the original Justice League plan, it is difficult to guess how it will fit in. Perhaps Batgirl will be set sometime in the past or see Barbara taking up the cape and cowl after the Batman appears to quit.
(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, Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña entered talks to play the lead role. The film joins Batgirl as one of two DC productions for HBO Max. 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 suggests the Blue Beetle costume will be surprisingly faithful to its comic book counterpart.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: Like Static Shock and some of the other projects, 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.
Release Date: TBA
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 are set to return. Jenkins also said the film will finally bring Diana’s film series to the present day. Of course, with Jenkins heading off to a galaxy far, far away to direct Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, it may be another four years (at least) before Wonder Woman returns.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Presuming Diana’s world still aligns to the DC Extended Universe continuity, Diana will finally be a public superhero and, perhaps, serving as an Amazonian ambassador to the world of men. In fact, reuniting her with her people after a century has a very dramatic appeal following the events of Wonder Woman 1984, Batman v Superman, and Justice League. Of course, if the Wonder Woman films are retroactive placed elsewhere in the Multiverse, the story could go in just about any direction.
Release Date: TBA
What We Know: In a New York Times profile of Hamada, the DC Films chief made a curious reference to the Multiverse making two Batman feature film sagas possible. One will likely continue the story of The Batman while the other will … well, it’s anyone’s guess right now. The events of Flash may give Ben Affleck’s Batman a new face in the DCEU. Or, perhaps, Hamada has convinced him to keep the cowl on for subsequent appearances. Then again, maybe HBO Max will get its own Batman.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Again, this all depends on the DCEU as we knew it existing after The Flash. But presuming this Batman is meant to interact with the other DC heroes in the established film universe, it is easy to see that aspect of his career invade any solo movies he may star in. Or perhaps, he will finally take on allies in Gotham to support spinoffs like Nightwing and Batgirl.
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, the project would seem to be postponed again — though it is said to still be a priority for Warner Bros. Pictures.
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. At one time, the film was slotted for a 2020 release, but with the announcement of a HBO Max Green Lantern series, it is unclear if the film will ever surface.
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 successful 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.
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 announced. Many doubted the film will ever materialize despite still being on the calendar. 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, Fisher launched a campaign to expose Joss Whedon’s allegedly 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 current 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 ever resurfaces in the current DC Films structure, Multiverse or no.
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.
(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 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. Also, the announcement of a Peacemaker HBO Max series – centered on The Suicide Squad character played John Cena – may indicate the original spin-off plan has gone by the wayside. 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.
(Photo by Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
Release Date: TBD
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 direct Todd Philipps will presumably return. Although the early reports were refuted, the more recent claim suggests Phillips is already writing the script.
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. If this proves to be true, it is a change from the original film’s entirely standalone nature. Additionally, the two Joker films, The Batman, and Gotham PD would constitute the first true separate universe from the one established in Man of Steel.
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 has been 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 new Dungeons & Dragons film and 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.”
Release Date: TBD
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. Three-ish years on, the return of Superman to the big screen seems like a distant possibility. Also, plans for an entirely new Superman project (more below) may end any hope.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Clark (Henry Cavill) has to reestablish himself at the Daily Planet at some point, right? Meanwhile, Superman could face any number of DCU villains from Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) to Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson).
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. Attempts to make a Lobo movie date back to 2009 with Guy Ritchie and Brad Peyton circling the director’s chair. As of February last year, 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.
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.
Release Date: TBD
What We Know: First revealed at August’s 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. 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 regular 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. In March, Randy McKinnon signed on to write the script.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Considering “multiverse” is now the buzzword of Warner’s DC initiative, it is entirely possible Static Shock won’t fit into the established DC film universe. But it’s also possible the Flash’s tinkering with time will make Virgil a key figure before production even starts on the film.
(Photo by © First Run Features /Courtesy Everett Collection)
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, Michael B. Jordan is reportedly developing his own Superman project centering on Val-Zod, the Black Superman of Earth-2. According to Collider, an unnamed writer is working on a script. It is currently unclear if Jordan’s project is a film or a limited series, hence its inclusion here and not in a separate section.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: The infinite DC worlds will presumably allow for both this Superman and Cavill’s Man of Steel to co-exist. It also allows the two characters to meet. Reports seem to indicate the film will take place in a reality other than Barry’s, but it is always possible the film will introduce the Superman of the next decade.
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. Gavin James and Neil Widener are set to write the script.
How It Fits Into The DC Multiverse: Again, we assume this will be set in Barry’s world. But 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.
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 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 and Gina Carano for Big Barda.
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.” As far as we can tell, this was not an elaborate April Fools prank. That said, DuVernay remains attached to the upcoming 2022 CW series Naomi, about a teen superhero, as both writer and executive producer, which keeps her in the DC family.
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 the meantime, Wan will continue to focus his efforts on Aquaman 2.
Thumbnail image: Warner Bros.