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In the wake of Justice League , which of the multitude of upcoming DCEU films in development will actually be released? It’s fair to say DC Films’ team-up has changed the franchise, albeit not in the most positive way. Like previous entries, the critical reaction was decidedly unkind, but this time it was doubled with a lackluster box office; Justice League has the lowest opening of any film in the DC Extended Universe and is on track to lose Warner Bros. as much as $100M . That’s serious stuff and puts a lot of the future plans in doubt.
And you can’t have missed that DC has a lot of future plans. Back in 2014, WB announced six films set for the franchise between Justice League and 2020, and while a lot has changed to those projects, few have been outright dropped and many, many more have been added. It’s been hard to keep up with what DC Films are doing when things were looking up and now there’s doubt about where exactly the franchise is going, that gets only more unclear.
So, as the storm begins to calm, we’re going to take a look through all the announced films and see which ones are actually going to come out, which are already canned and which may stay forever stuck in development hell.
THE THREE MOVIES THAT HAVE ACTUAL RELEASE DATES
As it stands, the DC slate has just three confirmed films with set release dates. Next up is Aquaman in December 2018, almost thirteen months from now, which be followed by 2019’s Shazam! in April and Wonder Woman 2 that November. These are the only movies that are in official stages of development and have actual dates attached; all others have either only be reported by industry insiders or are being percolated in the studio.
In terms of Justice League and potential fallout, all of these seem rather safe: Aquaman is the most directly connected to the team-up and is so far along ( James Wan recently finished filming) that it’d be impossible to pull the plug; Shazam! is in pre-production with its main two stars (Asher Angel and Zachary Levi) locked and a
proposed production date of February 2018 , and as a fresher, more comedic take from a different studio inside WB (New Line) that presumably has a lower-skewing budget will be a palette cleanser and safe bet; and Wonder Woman 2, currently in early development, is barely worth the time to defend given the love directed to the breakout first film. Everything DC-wise is in flux, but these ones seem securely locked.
After that, there have been four dates in 2020 – February 14, April 3, June 5 and July 24 – claimed by WB at different points, although they appear to be more placeholders than anything else. Indeed, things get more complicated when you go beyond 2019.
THE OTHER FILMS THAT ARE ANNOUNCED, BUT NOT DEFINITE
Given the practicalities of releasing films, there’s a limit to the number of movies that can be worked on presently for a near release date. Further, considering how Justice League ‘s struggles have been directly chalked up to franchise apathy, any plans beyond Wonder Woman 2 are particularly open to change.
That said, DC did announce eight films in addition to the already slated Justice League and Aquaman at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, so these should be treated with some level of seriousness: Wonder Woman 2 and Shazam! have since gone into development, and they sat alongside Suicide Squad 2, The Batman,
Justice League Dark , Flashpoint , Green Lantern Corps., and Batgirl . Ignoring the directly Justice League -related films for now (because that’s a complicated situation that deserves its own section), the active movement on these since is mixed. Suicide Squad 2 has Gavin Hood attached and is rumored to shoot early next year ( a schedule helped by The Rock’s potential involvement ), but we’ve got nothing but halted rumors on Justice League Dark and while
Batgirl has often been trumpeted as a key focus, it’s been stalled by Whedon’s involvement in Justice League and could find itself caught in the backlash due to the writer-director being at the center of the reshoot discussion. Basically, all have been heavily discussed, but are far enough away they could be collateral damage in a franchise change.
The rest of the oft-discussed DCEU films outside that set haven’t been officially confirmed by the studio, although there are several in active development: Adam McKay’s Nightwing is currently embarking on a massive casting call ; Glenn Ficarra and John Requa being made directors on the Joker/Harley movie make that tangible; and if we have Harley drive, then Gotham City Sirens is always still possible.
However, with the others things are more in flux; while it’s often taken that a trade reporting on these films’ existence is confirmation they’ll be hitting theaters in a couple of years, that’s not really the case. These plans are mooted and early stages, and it’s highly possible they could change: a Black Adam solo film has a script but that may be spec; Scorsese’s Joker is purely hypothetic at this point and; and the recently revealed Gareth Evans Deathstroke is strange in light of League (again, we’ll get to it). In short, from what we know, most of these are potential films rather than locked-in definites.
And with that cleared, it’s time to look at the very complicated and murky future of the Justice League itself.