Photo: ‘Man of Steel 2’
For the past few years, the state of the DCEU has been in limbo. Films around more relatively unknown characters either made their way into cinemas or were simply thrown on the drawing board only to be left there. Other projects were developed outside the larger continuity of the DCEU. Now after multiple leadership changes and a long period of uncertainty, the future of DC on the big screen is beginning to look less ambiguous.
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Last week, it was reported that Warner Bros. was developing a number of DC-related projects for the near future. These films include a third ‘Wonder Woman’, a sequel to next year’s ‘The Flash’, and a standalone ‘Superman’ film starring Henry Cavill. Other projects include more James Gunn-helmed adventures as well as stories centered on the villains within Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’. If all of these projects are indeed in the early stages of production, it could very well be that DC has finally recognized their strengths as well as their weaknesses, honing in on the former and steering clear of the latter.
‘The Flash 2’ And ‘Wonder Woman 3’
Going down this list, one of the films mentioned to already be in the drawing stages is a sequel to next year’s ‘The Flash’, directed by Andy Muschietti. While there’s been no official word yet, there are rumors that Warner Bros. is looking to either recast the character of Barry Allen or focus on one of the other figures who don the scarlet suit in the comics (Wally West, Jay Garrick, etc.). The number of scandals that the film’s lead, Ezra Miller, has been at the center of in the past couple of years has cast such a gloom over this film and this character on the big screen. Despite this, from everything we’ve heard about numerous test screenings of the film, Andy Muschietti has given us a very solid film. Whether he will return to direct the sequel is unclear, the scribe behind it is none other than David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, the writer behind ‘Aquaman’. As someone who really did not care for ‘Aquaman’, this is somewhat concerning, however, the film may very well be a pleasant surprise.
Another film reported to be in early pre-production is a third ‘Wonder Woman’ film, written and directed by Patty Jenkins. Jenkins directed the first film, then wrote and directed the sequel. This one is much more of a wildcard because as spectacular as the first ‘Wonder Woman’ film was, its sequel, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ was abysmal. We can only hope the third film learned a lot from the shortcomings of its predecessor.
James Gunn And Matt Reeves Further Excavating The DC Mine
Once next year’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ makes its way into cinemas, the sun will seem to set on James Gunn’s time at Marvel as the filmmaker will officially be setting up shop at DC. After giving us one of the best DC movies in last year’s ‘The Suicide Sqaud’ and probably the second best show of this year, behind ‘House of the Dragon’, in ‘Peacemaker’, Gunn was originally rumored to be working on one or two more DC-related projects. However, in a genius move on the part of Warner Bros., Gunn will now officially have an even bigger role as he was just appointed to be the new creative head of DC films and shows while established producer Peter Safran will oversee the business side of production. In other words, the search for DC’s own Kevin Feige is over as they have found not one, but two individuals for this position, one handling the creative side with the other overseeing the business aspect.
Another well-respected storyteller who doesn’t look to be leaving the world of DC anytime soon is Matt Reeves. Reeves gave us ‘The Batman’ earlier this year in what looks to be the first in a new trilogy focused on the Caped Crusader. Also in development are two spin-off series on HBO Max set within the same universe as the Reeves’ film. One is centered around Colin Farrell’s Penguin character and the other is a horror- esque show centered around the infamous psychiatric prison, Arkham Asylum, which is to be spearheaded by ‘The Staircase’ showrunner Antonio Campos. Now we are also hearing that more films and television shows centered around Batman’s rogue’s gallery are being developed. While no projects have been officially confirmed, some figures that have been floated around include the Scarecrow, Clayface, and Professor Pyg. This is a smart move for one big reason: Warner Bros. will never greenlight an R-rated Batman film. The character is too much of a cash cow for the studio to alienate a large segment of its audience from the box office. However, developing projects within this grim world that do not feature Batman himself would give DC the opportunity to further explore the grisly horror side of Gotham City.
‘Man Of Steel 2’
Now that we’ve covered the undercard and mid-card stuff, let’s get to the main event. In the months leading up to the release of ‘Black Adam’, rumors began swelling up that Henry Cavill would be making some kind of appearance, implying his official return to the role of Superman. As we got closer to the film’s release, the rumors began to grow into a broader scenario, that being that Cavill would not only appear in the film, but that the actor may even be returning in other future projects, possibly even another standalone Superman film. Fast forward to the release of ‘Black Adam’, lo and behold, Henry Cavill’s Superman makes an appearance in a post-credit scene in the film. Just as fans had hoped, one of the projects reportedly in development is a ‘Man of Steel’ sequel. One name being thrown in the writer’s hat is Christopher McQuairre, however this may not come to pass as McQuairre has his schedule filled for the next few years to write and direct the next two ‘Mission Impossible’ films. It is worth noting that McQuairre has worked with Cavill in the last film in the franchise, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’, and yielded a great performance out of the actor. Following the opening weekend of ‘Black Adam’, Cavill got on his Instagram Monday morning to officially announce that he is indeed back as the Man of Steel, promising that the post-credit scene in the film was only “a very small taste of things to come”.
One question yet to be answered is if any supporting characters from the previous films will reprise their roles. It’s hard to imagine a Superman story without Lois Lane, Perry White, John and Martha Kent, or Jor-El. Jimmy Olsen, the giddy photographer for the Daily Planet, has also yet to make an appearance in the DCU. Fans have also begun throwing around names for who the potential villain of the film could be. Could Brainiac or Bizzaro finally make their big screen debuts? Or is DC looking to redeem the character of Lex Luthor after what we saw in ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’? Jesse Eisenberg is a great actor, but he was horribly miscast in a role that was not very well written to begin with. Lex Luthor is one of the greatest villains in the history of comics and having a worthy iteration of the character pitted against Henry Cavill’s Superman would be hard not to watch. Regardless, it is going to be enjoyable to speculate and theorize as we get more news surrounding all of these projects. But for now, it looks like brighter days are ahead for DC.
By Nader Chamas
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Nader Chamas is an aspiring television writer who seeks to fuse thought provoking progressive ideals into the films, shows, and stories that he loves. Having graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Screenwriting, Nader seeks to use his writing to advance causes that do not get enough attention or input across mainstream media. Like most, Nader has his own share of his favorite franchises and stories across pop culture. However, he seeks to contribute timely and relevant topics into these stories as well as in his own original material. This is why Nader’s analysis of popular films and tv shows matches The Hollywood Insider’s practice of discussing entertainment from a socially cognizant and critical perspective.