The DC universe is changing. The success of WONDER WOMAN, AQUAMAN and SHAZAM! paved a new road for the comic book franchise housed at Warner Bros. Pictures. Accordingly, the studio has a bunch of great movies on the horizon, but they might not all form into the same sort of cohesive, interconnected universe such as the one we’ve seen from Marvel Studios.
In many ways, however, that means the DC movies have the potential to be a lot more surprising, and that’s great. The company has projects like BIRDS OF PREY and NEW GODS in development, in addition to two big sequels and two reinventions of core characters.
Let’s take a look at the exciting slate of DC adaptations Warner Bros. has in the pipeline through the end of 2021.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is getting a spinoff and a girl squad.
Cathy Yan directs this new Harley Quinn tale, with Margot Robbie returning to star as the eccentric antiheroine. This won’t be an alternate-universe tale like Todd Phillips' JOKER, as this is still the same version of the character we met in SUICIDE SQUAD, but the film’s full title should tell you that this probably won’t be a typical superhero movie. The feature will debut the first big screen version of the titular team from the pages of DC Comics, with the ensemble including Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary and Rosie Perez as GCPD detective Renee Montoya. Those characters are all working to save Cassandra Cain (played by newcomer Ella Jay Basco), who is menaced by classic Batman villain Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor, and their paths cross with Harley as she finds herself dumped by Mr. J. (February 7, 2020)
Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman is leaping from World War I to the mid-1980s for a wild adventure.
Star Gal Gadot picks up the golden lasso for director Patty Jenkins once more in WONDER WOMAN 1984, but a few things are different this time! We’ve flown way beyond the war years and into the middle of the 1980s, for one. Chris Pine’s character, Steve Trevor, is also back for this new adventure — which is just a bit strange considering that he sacrificed himself at the end of World War I, as featured in 2017’s WONDER WOMAN. Kristen Wiig turns up in this sequel as British archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva, who through the course of the film will be transformed into the great antagonist Cheetah. Sounds like the Amazon princess Diana will have her hands full, particularly because the film also stars Pedro Pascal as the villainous and power-hungry Max Lord. (June 5, 2020)
Robert Pattinson is preparing to be the next generation of Batman.
Following his performance in JUSTICE LEAGUE, Ben Affleck has decided to vacate his role as Batman on the big screen, which is now allowing a new generation of the caped crusader to start leaping across the rooftops of Gotham. Director Matt Reeves (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES) is now preparing his own adaptation of the Dark Knight — currently known as THE BATMAN — and he has cast star Robert Pattinson (above, in HIGH LIFE) in the titular role. Obviously, we’ve seen a lot of different versions of this character on the big screen in the last three decades, but this one promises to be very different for two reasons. For one, it’s said to focus more on the hero’s nickname, "the world’s greatest detective." And secondly, it will feature a large number of famous villains, including Paul Dano as the Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman and John Turturro as mobster Carmine Falcone. Jeffrey Wright will be the new Commissioner Gordon, and Andy Serkis is playing the latest iteration of Alfred Pennyworth. (June 25, 2021)
The Suicide Squad
The big screen team we met in 2016 is getting a soft reboot.
Following his ouster from Marvel, and before he was rehired to make GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3, James Gunn was signed to make the SUICIDE SQUAD sequel. And while he has reconciled with Disney, the writer/director is staying true to his deal with DC. We don’t know a lot about his plans for this sequel, but there will be some cast changes. Idris Elba (above, in HOBBS & SHAW) will step in to play a new character — as will John Cena, Storm Reid, Peter Capaldi, Pete Davidson, Michael Rooker and Taika Waititi, to name a few. Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag) and Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) will all reprise their roles from the 2016 film, but Gunn warned fans in a Tweet not to "get too attached" to the cast list. (August 6, 2021)
Dwayne Johnson is finally getting his first superhero movie.
It has been many years since Dwayne Johnson first teased that he made an agreement with Warner Bros. to play the first ever big screen version of DC Comics villain/antihero Black Adam, and now he is finally getting his chance. Set to be a semi-sequel to SHAZAM!, as he is well-known as Billy Batson's nemesis, the film will be an origin story set in Ancient Egypt that will explore how Black Adam first got his powers and became corrupted by them. Jaume Collet-Serra, who just worked with Johnson on the upcoming JUNGLE CRUISE, is set to direct. (December 22, 2021)
THE TRENCH, NEW GODS and FLASH are in the pipeline!
The titles mentioned above are simply the DC movies that currently have release dates. The truth is that Warner Bros. has a lot more cooking behind the scenes. For example, during the wait for AQUAMAN 2 in 2022, there are plans to craft a spinoff titled THE TRENCH, which will be a horror-tinged expansion of the DCEU based on one of the most popular sequences from AQUAMAN (above).
There are also plans for a NEW GODS film, directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay, which will adapt the wild Jack Kirby comics that created a collection of weird characters that battle the villain Darkseid, who has been teased in previous DC movies.
Following his standout performance in JUSTICE LEAGUE, Ezra Miller is expected to soon star in his own solo FLASH film, though his production schedule for FANTASTIC BEASTS 3 is slowing things down a bit. The project doesn’t currently have a release date, but Andy Muschietti (IT CHAPTER TWO) is set to direct from a screenplay by Christina Hodson, who wrote the upcoming BIRDS OF PREY.
Check back often on the AMC Scene for more DCEU updates!