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Hollywood Insider DC Films Upcoming Projects, DC Extended Universe

Photo: DC Films Upcoming, DC Extended Universe/The Dark Mamba 995

DC Films’ upcoming projects have a lot on their slate. As the creators and proprietors of some of the world’s most famous superheroes, DC Comics is one of the world’s leading comic book publishers. With extremely popular characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman existing under the DC brand, it’s only logical that various films would be created based on these characters. With classics such as Tim Burton’s Batman and Richard Donner’s Superman, DC Comics has a long history of successful films based on their characters. 

However, following the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with 2008’s Iron Man, DC began making plans to create their own series of interconnected films. The DC Extended Universe began in 2013 with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, starring Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, and now consists of eight feature films. The latest film in the franchise was Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, which released in February of this year. 

Like their competitors as Marvel Studios, DC Films has a long list of planned projects in various stages of production. While some of these films have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of them have avoided delays because they have not yet begun filming. Let’s take a look at what DC has planned for the future of their Extended Universe:

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DC Films Upcoming: Wonder Woman 1984

Patty Jenkins’ 2017 film Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot in the titular role, was a big success for the DCEU. High praise was given to the film’s direction, cinematography and cast, with Gadot’s portrayal of Diana/Wonder Woman receiving particular praise. A sequel to the film was announced by Variety shortly after the first film’s premiere, with Patty Jenkins returning to direct. 

The sequel, titled Wonder Woman 1984, will see Diana facing new foes in the midst of the Cold War. Chris Pine’s character Steve Trevor will also be returning, despite his character’s apparent death at the end of the first film. Much of the film’s plot has been kept under wraps, but Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig will reportedly appear as villains Maxwell Lord and Cheetah. Fans are likely anticipating the return of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman when Wonder Woman 1984 hits theatres on October 2nd, 2020. 

DC Films Upcoming: The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad, a standalone sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, sees a notable Marvel Studios director working for the DC Extended Universe. The Suicide Squad is being directed by James Gunn, who is known as the director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Deadline reports that Gunn plans to return to Marvel Studios to finish that trilogy, but only after he has completed work on The Suicide Squad. 

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The sequel will feature multiple returning characters from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, including Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag. However, new additions to the cast will also feature, including Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher and David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man. According to Hollywood Reporter, the film will focus heavily on these new characters rather than acting as a direct sequel to the plot of the previous film. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad will release on August 6, 2021, and may help bridge the gap between Marvel and DC fans. 

DC Films Upcoming: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

2017’s Justice League acted as a culmination of the DCEU films that came before it, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman. The film showcased the first meeting of the iconic superhero team, with some characters returning from previous films and others being introduced for the first time. 

Justice League’s production was incredibly tumultuous. Hollywood Reporter explains that Zack Snyder was forced to step away from production due to the tragic death of his daughter Autumn Snyder in March 2017. Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, replaced Snyder in post-production and reportedly reshot a significant portion of the film. Lighthearted humor and a brighter color palette, making the film appear closer to Whedon’s Avengers movies, were apparently among the changes made as well.

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Due to fan outcry, with claims that Joss Whedon significantly changed the tone of the film, an alternate cut of Justice League is scheduled to release next year. This new cut, titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League, is expected to drastically change the movie’s tone, pacing and story. $20-30 million will be spent on new visual effects and score to complete Snyder’s vision for the film. The alternate cut will premiere on HBO Max in 2021. 

DC Films Upcoming: The Batman

After appearing in three films as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Ben Affleck will be stepping down from the mantle of the Dark Knight. However, this does not mean the end of the character’s place in the DC Extended Universe, because actor Robert Pattinson will soon adopt the iconic role. Matt ReevesThe Batman will bring a new twist to the character’s mythology, with a film that is planned to still take place within the greater DCEU. 

The film is set to feature many infamous members of Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Among these villains are Selina Kyle/Catwoman, played by Zoë Kravitz, and Edward Nashton/The Riddler, played by Paul Dano. The Batman will also explore the character’s complicated psychology, which is what drew Pattinson to the role in the first place. While filming has been delayed due to COVID-19, the film is still scheduled to release on October 1st, 2021. 

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DC Films Upcoming: Black Adam

Black Adam, a sort-of spin-off of David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! starring Dwayne Johnson as the anti-hero Black Adam, is reportedly in the works. Black Adam was originally considered to appear in Shazam! before it was decided to develop him in his own solo film. In the comics, Black Adam is the villainous arch-nemesis of the heroic Shazam, though the character has gone through periods of heroism as well. Dwayne Johnson told MTV that the two characters will likely cross paths in future films, potentially in the sequel to Shazam!. Black Adam will be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and is set to release in December 2021, though filming has recently been delayed due to the coronavirus. 

DC Films Upcoming: The Flash

As one of DC’s most popular heroes, a film starring The Flash has been in development for a long while. Back in 2014 Variety announced that a Flash film would be released by 2018, though that film never came to be. However, after Ezra Miller’s portrayal of the character in Justice League was met with praise, it appears that the project may finally come to fruition. 

Director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Christina Hodson have been attached to the project, which will apparently take loose inspiration from the popular comic book story Flashpoint. The 2011 comics event, which was referenced in a scene in Batman v Superman, involves The Flash waking up in an alternate timeline where nobody else realizes that the world has changed. Muschietti recently told ThatHashtagShow that the film will feature “a different version of Flashpoint than [fans are] expecting.” The Flash is expected to begin filming in 2021 for a release on June 3rd, 2022. 

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DC Films Upcoming: Shazam! 2

After the success of the first film, a sequel to Shazam! is reportedly in the works. Not much is known about the sequel, other than that it will see the return of director David F. Sandberg and will once again star Zachary Levi in the titular role. It is possible that the film will feature a crossover with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, considering the two characters’ extensive history in the comic book source material. Shazam! 2 is scheduled for release on November 4, 2022. 

DC Films Upcoming: Aquaman 2

A sequel to James Wan’s Aquaman has also been announced, after the success of the first film. Aquaman 2 is still in early production, but director James Wan and star Jason Momoa are set to return. SyFy reports that Momoa actually wrote a basic pitch for the sequel while filming the first movie, and Warner Bros. Pictures were receptive to his ideas. The sequel is planned to release on December 16, 2022. 

Beyond their officially slated sequels, DC Films has more big plans for the future of the DC Extended Universe. The Wrap recently reported that Henry Cavill is in negotiations to return to the role of Superman/Clark Kent, though no solo films have been planned for the character. Instead, Superman is expected to appear as a supporting character in future DCEU films. 

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There are also other DCEU in various stages of development, though none have been officially confirmed or given release dates. According to GamesRadar, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins recently spoke about a spin-off film focused on the Amazonian warriors featured in that film. Jenkins does not plan to direct the spin-off, but explains that it would tie into Wonder Woman 1984 and a planned third film. Aquaman producer Peter Safran also told Hollywood Reporter that a horror spin-off of Aquaman, titled The Trench, is being developed by director James Wan. The film will focus on a terrifying area of the ocean which is inhabited by aquatic deep-sea monsters. 

DC Comics has a long history in both the comic book and film industries. While the DC Extended Universe may have gotten off to a bumpy start, the last several films in the franchise have been successful. With a whole host of projects planned for the future, it appears that the DCEU may have finally found its footing. 

By Thomas McNulty

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