After a year of multiplex shutdowns, the constant delay and eventual streaming-debut of Wonder Woman 1984, and now the long-awaited release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the world of DC comic book movies is finally coming back to life. And the unofficial DC “Extended Universe” has an enormous slate of upcoming movies, with more added each day. Some are actively in the works, with production wrapping up and trailers set to run. Others are are on the books but not the calendar, yet.
The next time Marvel snaps its fingers and puts 18 more movies on the MCU release calendar, expect DC’s list to double. Starting in 2022, Warner Bros. plans to have four DC-based movies in theaters every year, with new television series popping up on the regular. As DC Films president Walter Hamada told the New York Times, “With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?’”
With that in mind, here’s the latest of what we know about every new DC comic movie and show.
[Ed. note: This story only contains updates on Warner Bros.’ DC projects, not the latest in CW/Arrowverse release dates, which is a whole other disconnected can of worms.]
The Suicide Squad: Aug. 6, 2021
A Suicide Squad sequel was announced in March 2016 — before the first film even released.
After a search for directors, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) was hired to write and direct the second Suicide Squad movie — during that period where a far-right Twitter movement had convinced Disney to fire him from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Sources close to him say that the movie will focus on a largely new set of characters, though Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, and Jai Courtney will reprise their roles as Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller, Colonel Rick Flag, and Captain Boomerang.
Along with all of Warner Bros. 2021 films, The Suicide Squad will be released in theaters and on HBO Max.
The Batman: Mar. 4, 2022
The first solo Batman film of the new DC era was announced in October 2014. Ben Affleck was originally set to direct and co-write the script with Geoff Johns, but he reportedly stepped down from directing in January 2017 to focus more on acting.
Matt Reeves was announced as director in February 2017 and the project was officially entitled The Batman. In July 2017, he confirmed that he scraped Affleck’s original script, which involved Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke, and was reworking it from scratch. Reeves has not said whether or not Manganiello is still involved with the film.
Ben Affleck officially exited the role of Batman, and Robert Pattinson was cast in May 2019. The new film focuses on a young Batman defending Gotham from the machinations of the Riddler, with Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz) along for the ride. Production on the film was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now set for a 2022 release.
DC Super Pets: May 20, 2022
A CG-animated version of DC’s Legion of Super-Pets series is expected to hit theaters in the summer of 2022, if COVID-related delays didn’t slow down production. Expected to rope in Krypto the Super-Dog, Batman’s dog, Ace, Supergirl’s cat, Streaky, and Wonder Woman’s flying kangaroo sidekick, Jumpa, the animated feature from directors Jared Stern (Green Eggs and Ham) and Sam Levine (Wreck-It Ralph) should give kids something to chew on until they’re old enough for the edgier stuff.
Black Adam: July 29, 2022
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been attached to the Black Adam name since 2008 and fans have been eagerly awaiting Johnson’s take on the character. A Black Adam stand-alone movie was announced in January 2017. Black Adam is one of Shazam’s arch-nemeses, but in recent comic developments, the character has turned into more of an antihero.
In 2020, Warner Bros. revealed that Black Adam will also be an introduction to several members of the Justice Society, and older incarnation of the Justice League, including Hawkman, Atom Smasher, Cyclone, and Doctor Fate, to be played by none other than Pierce Brosnan.
The Flash: Nov. 4, 2022
The solo Flash movie has seen its own share of speedy shifts between directors, producers, and screenwriters. But at the moment, Ezra Miller is set to star in a film that takes some plot elements from DC Comics’ Flashpoint storyline. It will also star two Batmans, with Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton bot set to reprise their roles.
Aquaman 2: Dec. 16, 2022
With the success of the first Aquaman, it made sense for a sequel to swim its way into existence. The first film, while perhaps a bit cliché, was fun as hell and a stunning visual spectacle. A sequel was all but a foregone conclusion, and Aquaman 2 was greenlit in Feb. 2019.
Director James Wan dropped a boatload of sequel teases for in Aquaman’s mid-credits scene. Despite taking a nasty fall off of a cliff, Black Manta (a.k.a. David Kane) is surprisingly still okay. Dr. Stephen Shin, played by Randall Park (Always Be My Maybe) has secured Black Manta’s suit. The two strike a deal — Shin will help Kane get his revenge on Aquaman if Kane leads him to Atlantis. While it’s unclear if Park will return for Aquaman 2, Wan told Polygon in Dec. 2018 that he hoped the actor would return.
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods: June 2, 2023
Shazam! screenwriter Henry Gayden will return to write the script for the project, with director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran also expected to return given the success of the first film. Zachary Levi and Asher Angel, who played Shazam and Billy Bastion, respectively, are expected to return along with the majority of the cast from Shazam!. And maybe even Sinbad? OK probably not, but Helen Mirren is on board as the villain, reportedly playing Hespera, so that should make up for it.
Not much is known about the plot of the film, but there was a tease in Shazam!’s post-credit scene that may bear some fruit. After Dr. Thaddeus Silva is stripped of his power and thrown in prison, he’s approached by an evil mastermind caterpillar — longtime Shazam! comics villain Mister Mind. Sandberg told Polygon that he hopes to further dig into the magic of the comics in the sequel.
Undated, but announced
Wonder Woman 3
Wonder Woman has spent a significant time in the past; between her first DC Extended Universe solo film, Wonder Woman taking place during World War II and Wonder Woman 1984 taking place in ... well, the 1980s. Wonder Woman director and co-writer Patty Jenkins has stated that the third film in the series will bring the heroine into the present.
“I have pretty clear plans for Wonder Woman 3,” Jenkins told Vanity Fair in January. “Whether I [direct] it or not, I see how her arc should end in my incarnation of Wonder Woman. I have great passion for that.”
And it’s definitely happening: After the first weekend on HBO Max, Warner Bros. Pictures immediately greenlit the threequel. (Expect it to hit theaters before streaming.)
John Cena will star in an HBO Max-exclusive TV series spinning out of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Cena will reprise his role as the Peacemaker, a kind of “douchey Captain America,” who was one of the inspirations for Watchmen’s the Comedian.
DC’s first adaptation of Blue Beetle will bring the character’s third hero, Jaime Reyes, to the screen, marking the comic book outfit’s first Latinx-lead film (and perhaps the first Latinx superhero to hit the big screen). Created by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, and Cully Hamner in the 2006 miniseries Infinite Crisis, Jaime Reyes is a Mexican-American teenager with a pretty gnarly superhero origin story: he finds an alien artifact called the Scarab that attaches itself to his spine while he sleeps, giving him creepy-cool body armor and an assortment of superpowers that he is quite bad at using. His cinematic vehicle is expected to be directed by Puerto Rican filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings).
On the heels of Promising Young Woman’s success, WB and producer J.J. Abrams hired Emerald Fennell, who picked up Directing and Screenplay Oscar nominations out of the 2021 Academy Awards for her biting revenge flick, to write a Zatanna movie. A working magician with actual spell-casting powers, Zatanna is most often associated with Batman and the Justice League Dark team. Which is important because ...
Justice League Dark
In April 2020, WarnerMedia, HBO Max, and J.J. Abrams announced their plans to bring the supernaturally inclined superhero squad to the streaming screen in an HBO-level series. The new show will focus on the DC characters in the Justice League Dark universe, a group that typically includes John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, and Etrigan, a demon imprisoned in the body of the medieval knight. Everyone from Doug Liman to Guillermo del Toro has flirted with a movie adaptation over the years, but now it’s going to series under Abrams’ supervision. Expect crossovers with the movies and TV series also in the works.