Originally written by Mansoor Mithaiwala for Screen Rant
Last Updated: January 12, 2020
Warner Bros. Pictures is hard at work on several DC Comics-based movies, both in live-action and animation. While the vast majority of live-action DC films remain part of the ongoing DC Extended Universe (DCEU), which launched with Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 (a follow-up to 2013's Man of Steel), a handful of upcoming DC films are going to be standalone, in the vein of Todd Phillips' Joker origin movie.
Over the past few years, WB has released eight DC Comics-related movies - Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman, Shazam! and, most recently, Joker - and the critical and commercial reception has ranged from being overwhelmingly negative to overwhelmingly positive, with a few landing in the middle. But things look to be on a good path going forward.
IT producer Walter Hamada is overseeing DC Films alongside Chantal Nong as VP of DC production, and their purview extends to all corners of the DC universe on the big screen. And it looks like they have their work cut out for them. In total, there are more than two dozen DC Comics-based movies in various stages of development (including several movies that are on the official DCEU slate and some that aren't), with only a select few slated either to release or go into production within the next few years.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) - February 7, 2020
Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn will return in Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), a team-up superhero movie with a very long title, directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson. Birds of Prey will also star Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Rosie Perez as Detective Renee Montoya, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary. Ella Jay Basco will play the young Cassandra Cain, and Ewan McGregor will play the movie's villain, Black Mask.
Wonder Woman 1984 - June 5, 2020
After first appearing in Batman v Superman, Gal Gadot reprised her role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman film in 2017, which became an astounding critical and commercial success. So, of course, Warner Bros. decided to fast-track a sequel. Jenkins returns to direct the sequel, based on a script from David Callaham (Godzilla, The Expendables) and a story Jenkins co-wrote with Geoff Johns. Wonder Woman 1984 (as one can tell from the title) takes place in the 1980s, during the final days of the Cold War, with Kristen Wiig playing villain Dr. Barbara Minerva/Cheetah, and Pedro Pascal playing fellow bad guy Maxwell Lord. Chris Prine also returns as Steve Trevor, although exactly how he'll do that is still unexplained.
The Batman - June 25, 2021
Ben Affleck originally signed on to write and direct The Batman - a standalone Batman film set within the DCEU - in addition to reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. In 2017, however, Affleck chose to remove himself from a creative role. And now, Affleck has officially exited the DCEU; Warner Bros. went looking for a younger actor to replace him as Batman, and eventually chose Robert Pattinson. Jeffrey Wright has also been cast as Commissioner Gordon, while Colin Farrell is onboard as The Penguin. Cloverfield and Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves ended up replacing Affleck as writer-director. Reeves threw out the story that Affleck and Geoff Johns co-wrote for the movie and started the script from scratch. Although Reeves is only confirmed to direct The Batman, he's also reportedly looking at creating a new Batman trilogy of his own.
The Suicide Squad - August 6, 2021
David Ayer's Suicide Squad was the first movie that truly expanded the DCEU beyond the core heroes, but it wasn't the critical success that WB or audiences expected it would be based on its impressive marketing campaign. Still, the film was an enormous commercial success, so the studio is planning on releasing a sequel, The Suicide Squad. After Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was fired by Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. wasted little time in recruiting him to write and direct Suicide Squad 2. It's still not clear what The Suicide Squad's plot will be, but it won't be a complete reboot, as Margot Robbie will return as Harley Quinn, and Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, and Viola Davis will also reprise their roles of Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang, and Amanda Waller, respectively. Some of the new names added to the cast in unspecified roles are John Cena, Idris Elba, Nathan Fillion, and Michael Rooker.
Black Adam - December 22, 2021
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson will be making his debut as Teth-Adam in Black Adam, based on a script from his longtime collaborator Adam Sztykiel (Rampage). Jaume Collet-Serra, who also directs Johnson in Disney's Jungle Cruise movie, will helm the project. Black Adam was originally planned to make his movie debut in Shazam!, but it was eventually decided to save that for his own solo film. Johnson's Black Adam will be the more modern anti-hero rendition of the character, instead of a straight-up villain, and is confirmed to introduced the Justice Society of America to the DCEU.
Shazam! 2 - April 1, 2022
No, it's not an April Fool's joke, Shazam! 2 is on the way in 2022. It's no surprise, as Shazam! was both a critical and commercial hit, and fans clearly want more of Zachary Levi's childish superhero. Plot details haven't been released, and neither has additional casting, as the movie was only announced at the end of 2019. Still, one assumes all the major cast members will return to their roles.
DC Super Pets - May 20, 2022
DC Super Pets is an animated movie from Jared Stern (writer of The LEGO Batman Movie) and thus a more family-focused film than many on this slate. DC Super Pets will presumably follow Krypto the Superdog, Ace the Bat-Hound and the various other animal sidekicks of Justice League members (likely with an all-star cast). While this will be an animated film and not a part of the DCEU main narrative, it's still a key DC release and represents the diversification of the DC Films output going forward.
The Flash - July 1, 2022
Featuring Ezra Miller's return as the titular hero, The Flash movie has been in development for what seems like forever, and has gone through directors at a speed even Barry Allen would admire. Thankfully, with IT's Andy Muschietti now at the helm, things actually appear to be moving forward, with a summer 2022 release date being announced in December 2019. Plot and casting details are still scarce at the moment though, although elements of the Flashpoint comic arc will come into play.
Aquaman 2 - December 16, 2022
One of the most anticipated DC movies in the works is Aquaman 2, which comes on the heels of James Wan's Aquaman earning more than $1.14 billion at the worldwide box office. Aquaman 2 is currently being written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who co-wrote the first movie; Wan is also onboard to return as director. Peter Safran is returning to produce. Jason Momoa is of course reprising his role of Arthur Curry aka Aquaman, and both Mera (Amber Heard) and Orm (Patrick Wilson) are expected to come back as well.
A Batgirl movie wasn't on Warner Bros.' DCEU slate until former Avengers director Joss Whedon talked to the studio about wanting to make that film. Whedon reportedly wanted to adapt The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!, but he simply couldn't make it work, so he exited the project as both writer and director in February 2018 - almost one year after signing on for the film. Warner Bros. is looking for a female director to replace Whedon. Christina Hodson, the screenwriter behind Birds of Prey, is also penning the script for Batgirl.
Green Lantern Corps
Warner Bros. originally attempted to launch a cinematic universe with Martin Campbell's Green Lantern in 2011, starring Ryan Reynolds. The film was a critical and commercial failure, which is why DC is looking to reboot the film (and team) within the DCEU with Green Lantern Corps. Geoff Johns, who wrote a nine-year run of Green Lantern comics, will write and produce the movie. Mission: Impossible - Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie was rumored to be Warner Bros.' favorite choice to direct, and McQuarrie has said he is open to coming onboard for the right story, but no one's officially attached to direct right now. While the film was originally given a July 2020 release date, it's no longer slated to release on that date.
Justice League Dark
One of the strangest (read: unknown to the general public) properties that Warner Bros. is trying to get off the ground is Justice League Dark, based on the comic book team of the same name that protects the world from magical and supernatural forces. Guillermo del Toro and Doug Liman were both previously attached to direct the film, which was once titled Dark Universe. Justice League Dark may not be getting the most attention at the moment, but it's something that WB is actively trying to get made.
DC's New Gods movie is set to be directed by Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time), who'll also co-write the script alongside acclaimed comics writer Tom King. There's been no official casting announced, and no release timetable has been established yet. However, DuVernay did confirm that Darkseid will be the primary villain, and will be accompanied by The Furies, his extremely loyal group of female warriors.
Given Aquaman's success and extensive world-building, an Aquaman spinoff called The Trench (about the titular monsters) is currently being developed by WB, which would cost considerably less than a tentpole movie and delve more into horror. If it ultimately happens, Wan has promised that it won't affect other mainline DC films in development. This is evident by Aquaman 2 already being dated by WB.
Every Other DC Movie "In Development"
In addition to all the movies on Warner Bros.' official DCEU slate, there are at least a dozen other projects in various stages of development, some of which are connected to the DCEU and some that aren't. The LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay is directing Nightwing based on a story and script from Bill Dubuque (Ozark). However, that film may not release for several more years since McKay was recently hired to direct Dungeons & Dragons for Paramount Pictures (which is due out in theaters in 2021). There's also a Supergirl movie in development, from 22 Jump Street writer Oren Uziel.
Instead of returning to helm Suicide Squad 2, David Ayer might be adapting Gotham City Sirens from a script by Geneva Dworet-Robertson (Tomb Raider, Captain Marvel), although the project is currently paused. That's just one of several projects that Margot Robbie has in development for Harley Quinn. Robbie will also potentially reprise her role in Glenn Ficarra & John Requa's (Crazy, Stupid, Love) Harley Quinn & The Joker and an Untitled Harley Quinn movie - but there's no guarantee that either project will be given the green light. There's also a long-dormant Cyborg movie starring Ray Fisher that is supposedly still happening.
As for Lobo, Wonder Woman scribe Jason Fuchs is rewriting the screenplay, with Warner Bros. eyeing Michael Bay (Transformers) to direct. Finally, Warner Bros. is reportedly developing Justice League 2 and Man of Steel 2, though those two have basically been put on ice for now. Plus, there's the Booster Gold movie from Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti that has been in development for several years, and a Blackhawk movie that will be produced and possibly directed by Steven Spielberg.
Every DC Animated Movie
Along with Warner Bros.' live-action DC films, Warner Bros. Animation also has a few DC-based projects currently in development. Currently set for release sometime in 2020 are Superman: Red Son, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, and Superman: Man of Tomorrow. DC announces new animated movies all the time, so one assumes this slate will expland sooner rather than later.
The first movie up on DC's 2020 slate is Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, coming to Regal on February 7th.