Updated July 26
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. Superman, sadly, is caught between the worlds of reboots and rival ideas.
Nevertheless, DC Films soldiers on in the hopes it can eventually provide (at least) four theatrical films a year. Thanks to the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, the continuing pandemic, and a few other set-backs, it is unclear if that plan will ever come to fruition. The library is certainly deep enough to support such an endeavor, though. But the change in corporate leadership could close the door on many lesser known characters getting their chance to shine.
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The recent corporate merger 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 and Shazam sequels. On the TV/streaming front, Batgirl and some spinoffs from The Batman are headed to 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 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: October 21, 2022
What We Know: After listening to fans when he was initially interested in Shazam!, Dwayne Johnson signed on to star in a film featuring that character’s greatest nemesis, Black Adam. Jaume Collet-Serra directs 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 the first DC FanDome, Johnson showed two clips. One, produced by Jim Lee and Boss Logic, 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 a shuffling of Warner Bros.’ release slate. Sarah Shahi joined the cast that 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 to play Ishmael; Pierce Brosnan also stars as Dr. Fate. Additional cast members include Bodhi Sabongui, Mohammed Amer, James Cusati-Moyer and, as revealed at the 2022 Comic-Con presentation, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. In March 2021, a new release date was finally announced, with Johnson taking over billboards in Times Square to reveal the movie will release July 29, 2022. That 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 via his Instagram that he wrapped filming. A brief clip featuring the resurrection of Black Adam was released during the 2021 DC FanDome, 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)
In March of 2022, Warner Bros. shifted all of its in-production DC projects with Black Adam moving from a July release to October 21. It has remained there since, with the date even appearing in the trailer released the following June. The subsequent Comic-Con teaser (above) released in July offered fans their first good glimpses as both Doctor Fate and Cyclone even as Adam still debates the merits of being a hero.
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 both FanDomes, 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.” And when asked at Comic-Con 2022 if Black Adam would ever fight the Man of Steel, Johnson said, “it depends on who plays him.” Additionally, the film will reportedly feature Intergang, a organized crime ring with direct ties to New Gods villain Darkseid. There is also a possibility Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) will answer Adam’s challenge.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods
Release Date: December 21, 2022
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) 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.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: Black Adam, anyone? The title character’s connection to Shazam means a crossover – and a confrontation – is inevitable.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
(Photo by @ Warner Bros.)
Release Date: March 17, 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 also 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.
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 23, 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 with production finally commencing in April of 2021. 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 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 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.
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 bring about the end of the DCEU as we’ve known it. Provided it ever comes out, of course.
(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: TBD
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 is a possibility the film may join Blue Beetle as a theatrical release, but this has not been confirmed.
How It Fits in the DC Multiverse: With Simmons and Keaton taking on the Gordon and Batman roles, it appears the film will take place in its own distinct reality with of a mix of elements of the old DCEU and Batman ’89 worlds. If that is the case, then it is possible this version of Babs will never cross paths with the Birds of Prey.
With its plans for a Justice League-centric film universe abandoned in favor of more standalone productions like Aquaman and Shazam!, 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 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 director Todd Philipps will presumably return, although the star was said to still be in negotiations as of June 2022. That same month, Phillips posted a photo of the script’s cover page (credited to Phillips and Joker co-writer Scott Silver) on social media, suggesting 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.
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.
Wonder Woman 3
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 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.”
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 retroactively placed elsewhere in the Multiverse, the story could go in just about any direction.
The Batman 2
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.
The Other Batman
Release Date: TBA
What We Know: In a New York Times profile of Walter 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. Of course, WarnerMedia changed hands in the time since the interview and it is unclear how many of Hamada’s plans will remain in place — indeed, his future with the company is in doubt — so the Other Batman may have been scrapped.
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.
Green Lantern Corps
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, it is unclear if either Green Lantern is still happening.
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.
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 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, he 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.
Untitled Jared Leto Joker Project
(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.
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.”
Man of Steel Sequel
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 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: 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)
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 prioroity 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.
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.
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. Gavin James and Neil Widener are 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 Discovery merger.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Thumbnail image: Warner Bros.