Before we get going here, I just wanted to note that the source of most of this is THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER with a dash of educated opinion thrown in. And also, what WB is doing with DC on film ain’t that far off from what wrote about 2 years ago. So, let’s get to it…
Warner Bros. has announced that two “in the works” DC film projects — NEW GODS and THE TRENCH — have been shelved. All I’ve got to say about this is that I’m not particularly bummed out as I personally wasn’t all that interested in either project. It’s probably “blasphemy” to say this, but I never got into Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD stuff.
The report continued with this tidbit…
It appears that THE FLASH will “reset” the continuity of the DC films that technically share the same cinematic as has long been rumored. On the other hand, there will be films that are totally standalone and exist in their own worlds, like 2019’s JOKER, Matt Reeves’ THE BATMAN (coming next year), and other projects as well (like the recently announced Superman reboot). I’ll get into all the Batman stuff and how that character fits into all of this in just a bit.
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When it comes to what is definitely coming to the big screen DC on film-wise over the next few years, we’ve got THE SUICIDE SQUAD this August; THE BATMAN (March), BLACK ADAM (July), THE FLASH (November), and AQUAMAN 2 (December) in 2022; And in 2023, SHAZAM!: FURY OF THE GODS is slated for June.
Warners’ TBD DC on film list includes WONDER WOMAN 3, BATGIRL, ZATANNA, a yet to be titled Superman reboot (produced by J.J. Abrams with a script by Ta-Nehisi Coates), BLUE BEETLE, SUPERGIRL, STATIC SHOCK, and a new Green Lantern movie which is not related to the previous one starring Ryan Reynolds.
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And then there’s the DC stuff on HBO Max. Since Warner Bros./DC Films is interested in expanding DC on film from the big screen to their streamer, spinoffs of THE SUICIDE SQUAD and THE BATMAN — PEACEMAKER (coming in 2022) and GCPD (TBD), respectively — have already been announced. Also in the works is GREEN LANTERN CORPS (which apparently will be related to the big screen GL project) and JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK.
All of this sounds good to me! Now, how does WB’s #1 DC on film IP — Batman — fit into all of this? Apparently, like this…
Matt Reeves is creatively in charge (along with Walter Hamada) of THE BATMAN-verse as he’ll oversee THE BATMAN (which he just finished filming), its sequels, and any spinoffs — whether they’re on the big screen (A CATWOMAN movie with Zoe Kravitz?) or HBO Max like the aforementioned GCPD.
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When it comes to the “connected” DC films/HBOMax projects, (very strong) rumor has it that Michael Keaton — who is reprising his role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in THE FLASH — will go on to be the Bruce Wayne of that cinematic universe once it’s reset/rebooted/re-whatever. Additionally, scuttlebutt also says that Keaton could star in his own Batman movie that riffs off of BATMAN BEYOND/THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS which would pass the Bat-mantle to a successor — a Bat-girl, perhaps?
As far as Ben Affleck’s cameo in THE FLASH, it appears that this is the “cool way to segue out of the role” of Batman. And even though he already “segued” out of the role back in 2017, I really hope he gets a chance to go out in a very Batman-ish, heroic way.
For me, all of this sounds good as I said. I’ve got a solo, standalone Batman film series coming starting in March of 2022 with THE BATMAN that should last for another decade on the big screen and HBOMax. I can also enjoy Keaton’s aged Bruce Wayne/Batman (And Bat-successor?) in films that are “connected” to other DC movies and characters. And believe it or not, I’m always down for more DC on film!
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I also think that fans need to let go of the ideas that “Everything’s gotta connect!” and all of these DC movies (at least the ones that, again, “technically” exist in the same universe) are going to cross-pollinate and are building up to some big team-up movie. As I’ve said here in this article and on BOF many times, WB is simply going to make the best DC films possible. Some will “connect” and some will not. I believe anyone who is still trying to look at this through the Marvel Cinematic Universe lens. WB boss Toby Emmerich said it best…
We all feel like we’ve turned a corner now. We’re playing by the DC playbook, which is very different than the Marvel playbook. We are far less focused on a shared universe. We take it one movie at a time. Each movie is its own equation and its own creative entity. If you had to say one thing about us, it’s that it always has to be about the directors.
Stay tuned for more discussion on this on upcoming episodes of the BOF Podcast and BOF Social Hour. – Bill “Jett” Ramey