March 18 wasn’t just the day WarnerMedia released “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on HBO Max, satisfying diehard fans that have been campaigning for that film’s release for years. It was also the day that marked the closing of a chapter of Warner Bros.’ DC cinematic universe and the beginning of a new direction for the superhero films in the years to come.
In a recent interview (where the company unequivocally said they were moving on from the Snyderverse), WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff talked about how the future of the DC film universe is incredibly diverse in style, tone, and, well, universe. Some films will continue the work Zack Snyder started with films like “The Flash,” “Aquaman 2,” and “Wonder Woman 3.” Then you have brand-new multiverse tales, like what is being created by Matt Reeves’ in next year’s “The Batman,” opening the door to a whole new style of superhero film at WB. And let’s not forget there’s the recently announced “Superman” film coming from J.J. Abrams and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, which is presumably going to reboot the character and separate him from the Henry Cavill version we saw in previous films.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of interesting things happening at DC Films, with a ton of new films and TV series for HBO Max, as well as blockbuster theatrical releases. So, let’s attempt to break down each project that has been announced and see where the DC cinematic universe (aka the DCEU) is headed in the future.
“The Suicide Squad”
It’s a bit of an understatement to call David Ayer’s 2016 film, “Suicide Squad,” a mess. Though, to be fair to the filmmaker, the most obvious issues with the film (other than Jared Leto’s Joker) seem to rest on the shoulders of Warner Bros, who drastically altered the film in post-production. Regardless, it’s clear that WB is ready to move on from Ayer’s vision with the upcoming sequel/reboot, “The Suicide Squad,” which sees Marvel Studios’ own James Gunn jumping into a new superhero universe to bring his subversive comedy to the DCEU. “The Suicide Squad” features some returning characters, but many new ones, in a story about a team of villains sent on a, uh, suicide mission to beat a bad guy in a bloody, horrific way. As with the first iteration of Task Force X, James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” features an all-star ensemble cast including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Michael Rooker, David Dastmalchian, Nathan Fillion, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, Sean Gunn, Daniela Melchior, and Peter Capaldi. “The Suicide Squad” is already gaining high marks from WB, who is already deep into production on the film’s first spinoff, a series titled “Peacemaker.” “The Suicide Squad” is also one of the studio’s films that are getting a day-and-date release on HBO Max and in theaters.
Release Date: August 6, 2021.
“Peacemaker” TV Series
Warner Bros. must really love what James Gunn is doing with “The Suicide Squad.” Not only is that film exciting fans ahead of its summer 2021 release, but the studio behind the film is already working on the “Peacemaker” TV series that features John Cena’s ‘Squad’ character in his own solo outing. The HBO Max series follows the title character, a Captain America-esque crimefighter that is willing to do anything (including murder) to keep the peace. James Gunn returns to write and direct the series, which is scheduled to hit the streamer in early 2022. Joining Cena in the cast are Steve Agee, Danielle Brooks, Robert Patrick, Jennifer Holland, Chris Conrad, and Chukwudi Iwuji.
Release Date: January 2022.
Since the Ben Affleck era didn’t go entirely as planned, Warner Bros. is quickly moving ahead with a new iteration of “The Batman,” spawning from the mind of filmmaker Matt Reeves. The new reboot follows Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), as he enters his second year as the Batman, a vigilante that patrols the streets of Gotham City, protecting its citizens and striking fear in the hearts of criminals. A lot of hype already surrounds “The Batman” thanks to the teaser trailer that showcased Reeves’ pitch-black reboot that seems to be even darker and grittier than what Christopher Nolan did in “The Dark Knight” Trilogy. “The Batman,” if popular enough, is expected to kickstart a new Bat-family franchise with spinoffs. One such spinoff, a Gotham Police-focused HBO Max series has already been announced. Joining Pattinson in the cast of “The Batman” are Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Barry Keoghan, Jayme Lawson, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell.
Release Date: March 4, 2022
It has been nearly 15 years since reports began to circulate that Dwayne Johnson was set to play the lead role in a “Black Adam” film. Since then, the film has undergone numerous delays and developmental changes. But with production set to begin shortly (as of April 2021), it appears that “Black Adam” is finally going to hit the big screen in 2022. The film follows Johnson as the title character, an anti-hero (sometimes, full-fledged villain) that is linked to Shazam, with the Black Adam and the hero sharing similar powers and origins. However, Black Adam is a much darker, violent being with immense power that dates back millennia. The film is also set to introduce a number of characters from the Justice Society of America (a Golden Age version of the Justice League), with actors such as Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, Quintessa Swindell, and Pierce Brosnan set to play members of the superhero team. So, after more than a decade of teasing the film, Dwayne Johnson goes full superhero in “Black Adam,” coming in 2022.
Release Date: July 29, 2022.
Much like “Black Adam,” Ezra Miller’s “The Flash” has been a film that has been announced for years but has experienced a ton of delays and creator changes. Filmmakers such as Greg Berlanti, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Seth Grahame-Smith, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, and Rick Famuyiwa were all attached at one point or another to this superhero film. But it appears that “It” filmmaker, Andy Muschietti, is the lucky director that is going to finally bring Ezra Miller’s solo film to the big screen. Previously seen in “Justice League,” Ezra Miller returns as Barry Allen aka The Flash, the world’s fastest man. The film is expected to shed some more light on his origin story, as he creates multiversal havoc after trying to go back in time to stop the murder of his mother when he was a child. The film is also greatly anticipated by fans for the scheduled returns of Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as different versions of Batman. “The Flash” will also see the introduction of a new Supergirl, played by Sasha Calle. Also joining the cast are Kiersey Clemons, Maribel Verdú, and Ron Livingston (taking over the Henry Allen role from Billy Crudup).
Release Date: November 4, 2022.