So now that we have an idea of what is and what is not coming from DC Films within the next year, what else is coming down the pipe? While more films are coming from the shared universe of DC and Warner Bros., there is also something of a shift away from the overall “cinematic universe” with the upcoming Joker film. What many people are not giving Warner Bros. credit for is there willingness to try something new and give us a one-shot style story in the form of a Joker origin film. Giving a solid origin to a character that is arguably more effective without one is a bold move that Warner is taking and it should it be a success, it could see DC go back to some of their more obscure characters and focus on giving the viewers a strong, singular movie and not get tied u in the baggage of a connected film series and unfair comparisons to Marvel Studios. With that being said, here’s a look at what is next from DC Films.
Wonder Woman 1984
The sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman is in production right now and will see the return of Gal Gadot as the titular character, this time taking place in the eighties and taking on Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and hopefully punching communism in the face. It should be noted that the film will also see the return of Chris Pine as Steve Trevor (somehow) as well as Patty Jenkins once again taking the reigns as director and I think we can all agree that she (along with star Gal Gadot) was instrumental to the overall success of Wonder Woman. Given how most films in the superhero genre rely on gimmicks like a cast for forty two heroes on screen at one time, it was refreshing to see a character motivated by just being a good person and a pure hero as opposed to being a raging douchebag or a lovable asshole. Wonder Woman 1984 will be released on June 5th, 2020.
Man of Steel 2
The news here is that there is no news. Originally Superman himself, Henry Cavil, was supposed to make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Shazam film, but due to scheduling conflicts, Cavil had to step away from the project. Now there are reports of him exiting the role all together due to what is rumored contract and payment disputes between Warner Bros. and Henry Cavil’s own agents. It’s sad that a sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel could be put on the back burner because of money, but at the end of the day, Henry Cavil is a working actor, and playing Superman is a job. No matter who plays the role, they deserve to be paid. How much they should be paid is another story for another day.
I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that has dealt with more bullshit from crybaby trolls than Ben Affleck. I don’t know why people think seeing a two-time Oscar winner playing Batman is a bad idea, but yeah, people are stupid, what can I say? While Ben Affleck was originally a lock to star, write and direct a standalone Batman movie, a movie that was supposed to be released in 2018, director Matt Reeves is now the writer and director of his version the Batman having since thrown out a script written by Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio that would have seen Batman being pushed to his limits by fan-favorite villain Deathstroke. Of all the films in the DC stable, I was most looking forward to what Affleck would do with another crack at the character, but considering that Reeves has started everything over from square one, it seems that The Batman is just not as relevant now as it was two years ago or even five months ago.
An origin movie set in 1981 about a failed comedian’s life of crime from director Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix is set to be released on October 4th, 2019 and I cannot wait to see what is going to happen. Despite negative backlash from the ever-unsatisfied internet, Joker has been showing some very promising behind the scenes shots and video of the film. Now, understand that all of this is out of context and not necessarily indicative of what the film will end up being, but I can’t help but be more than a little curious of what a standalone Joker film will be about. Based on everything I have seen it will be a young Joker in a Batman-less world while examining the fractured psyche of a clown-faced killer, and that is the craziest sentence I have ever written. While I think that there certainly are more interesting villains DC and Warner Bros. could make movies about, Joker is an undeniable fan-favorite to make a movie about, and if it is a hit, even a modest one, it could open the door to a wealth of movies not burdened by being attached to the overall cinematic universe of DC.
Suicide Squad 2
The red-headed stepchild of the DC Films universe is getting a sequel directed by Gavin O’Connor and written by James Gunn. While I am sad to see director David Ayer replaced, Gavin O’Connor has directed some of the best action dramas released in the past decade. With films like Warrior and The Accountant, he has proven to be a sharp director that can handle action and shoot it in a way that won’t give you motion sickness. The inclusion of James Gunn, even as a writer, is something of a thumb in the eye of Marvel/Disney as they hilariously overreacted to an obvious smear campaign against the writer/director. While there is no concrete release date for Suicide Squad 2, a release window of “2020” is negotiable at this point.
Birds of Prey
Finally, the story of Harley Quinn will continue in Birds of Prey. Apparently this film will see Harley Quinn teaming up with two heroes from Gotham city as they try to save a young girl from infamous crime boss Black Mask. Warner Bros. willingness to give us straight up crime movies within the superhero genre is something that I can’t help but get excited for whenever I hear of it. While I may not know much about the source material for Birds of Prey, I really loved Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn in the first Suicide Squad film and I think it’ll be interesting to see where she takes the character from here. If imdb is to be believed, which they shouldn’t be, Harley Quinn will be separated from the Joker in this film, despite the ending of Suicide Squad (spoilers).Hopefully she’ll be more of a well-rounded character in the films, and not a cheesecake fantasy like she’s portrayed in the comics. Oh, and by the way, Ewan McGregor has been cast as Black Mask and I have absolutely no idea if I can maturely convey how excited I am for that casting.
A lot has happened within the realms of DC films, and by all accounts, a lot more is coming our way. I think it’s fair to say that it’s totally unfair to compare this to Marvel. And in reality, we as fans need to keep our expectations in check and just take in every film as they’re released. As important as it may seem to us fans that have read comic books since our earliest years, most of the movie going audience have not. We shouldn’t be looking for these films to be straight up remakes of the stories we read as children, but they should adapt the characters and make a film that can best represent them while appealing to a mass audience. Because if it appeals to comic book fans and no one else, it will fail before it can begin.