Those who saw Wonder Woman this weekend may have noticed that DC and Warner Bros. have a new introduction for their cinematic movies, and it feels awfully familiar.
[Warning: For those who really don’t want to know anything, the following contains spoilers for DC’s new introduction that takes place before the events of Wonder Woman.]
In the new introduction, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash all get a few seconds in the spotlight before appearing as the Justice League in the final frame. It’s similar to the introduction that opened episodes of Cartoon Network’s Justice League, which ran from 2001 to 2004. The only problem with the new introduction, as many have pointed out, is that it’s missing two key Justice League members: Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl.
The logical explanation for why Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl aren’t in the opening credits is because they’re not apart of DC’s cinematic universe. For example, Cyborg makes an appearance in the new opening but he’s not in the original introduction sequence for the series. It makes sense that DC and Warner Bros. would substitute superheroes for those in the current Justice League movie and who will be getting their own stand-alone movies.
But the inclusion of the new introduction has fans hopeful that some minor key characters, like Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter could be included in future stand-alone movies. Much like Marvel’s expansion into lesser known heroes — remember that many passive comic book fans weren’t aware of who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before the film came out — DC could expand the Justice League if the next few stand-alone movies are successful.
Charles Roven, an executive producer on many of the DC universe films, told Collider in 2015 that Warner Bros. has access to an entire sandbox of characters that could be integrated into the cinematic universe. It’s just a matter of time, and carefully introducing said heroes, before some of the more obscure ones can grace the big screen.
“We’ve got this sandbox of the Justice League DC characters, and we are hoping to create—this series of movies that we’ve announced are somewhat interlinked. The characters move at a throughline that hopefully will take us all the way to Justice League 2, but they also can interact in the other films as well in some way.
“So if, for example, The Flash movie or the Aquaman film is gonna come out after Justice League 1, it’s not gonna be a completely different character; that character will have evolved from Justice League 1. Wonder Woman, when we see her in Justice League 1, will have evolved from Batman v Superman. Unless we decide that in one of these stories we’re gonna do something that happened in the past and have it be more of an origination story, in which case you’ll realize how that character became what they were in the movie that they were first introduced.”
There’s no reason that Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl couldn’t be in the movie. Warner Bros. reserves the rights to the characters, but the big question is whether or not they’ll receive a film or television treatment. Last year, DC announced that it was working with Warner Bros. on a Blue Beetle and Booster Gold movie — two obscure superheroes that the studio was trying to turn into household names. Again, this is remarkably similar to the way Marvel Studios introduced characters like Ant-Man, Black Panther and Doctor Strange.
“Those guys are too unique to appear yet, if they get movies it will be down the line,” one fan commented on Reddit. “I could see Blue Beetle getting a film like Ant Man or the portrayal of Nite Owl in Watchmen, where you have different versions of the same character in the movie, one being the classic version and the other being the new version.”
Alongside Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, DC is getting ready to bring more characters to the big screen. Batgirl, being helmed by Joss Whedon, and Gotham City Sirens are on schedule to be made over the next few years. It seems like just a matter of time before Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl get their own movies.
Wonder Woman, which ushered in the new DC cinematic logo, is currently playing in theaters.