Whether you’re a Marvel fan or a DC fan, or just a fan of superhero movies in general, there’s no denying that Marvel has had a phenomenal streak so far with its decade-worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe content. With Avengers: Infinity War breaking box office records worldwide while leading up to the fourth and final Avengers movie in this saga, the studio isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. However, the same can’t be said for DC, who despite their strong efforts, have not been able to match the success of their brighter, lighter counterparts. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad getting panned by critics, only to be followed by the fun-yet-abysmal Justice League, DC has a lot of work to do before they can play in the same ballpark as their Marvel brethren.
Lucky for us, DC seems to be revamping their schedule, and if these projects are any indication, it won’t be long before Warner Bros’ and its superhero division are hitting home runs back to back like there’s no tomorrow. These are some of the works in DC’s pipeline, and if half of them are bona fide successes, Marvel will have to buckle up and take notice of the new caped sheriff in town.
25 They've Got Wonder Woman 1984
Let’s not kid ourselves. Wonder Woman is DC’s one true shining beacon of hope, and their upcoming Diana-centric film, aptly titled Wonder Woman 1984, is carrying the weight of Warner Bros and DC on its shoulders while pushing forward into this new phase of comic book movies for the studio. Wonder Woman was a surprise at the box office because of the lukewarm reception other “DC Universe” had gotten up to that point. Director Patty Jenkins delivered a solid, action-packed flick and brought out the best in Gal Gadot as the iconic Amazonian from Themyscira. It made the studio a boatload of cash in the process, so it’s no wonder that Patty Jenkins is being afforded the autonomy and creative freedom to craft another massive success with Wonder Woman 1984.
24 They're Going Gritty With Titans
Have you ever heard Robin use a curse word on Batman? Well, thousands of fans were surprised when the Boy Wonder cursed in the trailer for Titans during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. It looks like DC has taken notes from Marvel’s Netflix offerings like Daredevil and Punisher and plans to up the ante with their own shows for a mature fanbase… and they’re kicking things off with none other than Titans – a live action retelling of the Teen Titans only this time, things are about to get crass in no time!
23 They're Serious About The Joker
This is DC’s wildcard. If they manage to make this work, DC will be back in their prime, making high-caliber superhero movies in the league of The Dark Knight. Aptly titled Joker, the movie is rumored to be set in the 1980’s and stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, Robert DeNiro as a talkshow host who apparently plays an integral part in the transformation of the Joker, and comedian and star of Netflix’s hit series, GLOW, Marc Maron, as a booking agent. It’s a top-notch cast, and the film has all the makings of a bona fide Oscar-worthy masterpiece.
Since Joker isn’t tied to DC’s timeline and is a completely standalone story, the possibilities are limitless. If the movie is a hit with critics and audiences alike, we could see the beginnings of a very different superhero studio; one that serves as counter-programming to Marvel’s interwoven tapestry of films.
22 Thanos, Who?
If DC is going to match Marvel in any way, they’ll need a powerful, almost indestructible villain at the core of their shared universe. And if you thought Thanos was intimidating, wait until you get a load of Darkseid!
The original plan for Justice League was to have Darkseid as its main villain. DC spent a good portion of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teasing the arrival of Darkseid on Earth – possibly bringing armageddon with him. After countless production mishaps and several re-edits, Darkseid was completely left out of Justice League, sans for a quick mention by the film’s less powerful and overall pointless baddie, Steppenwolf. In hindsight, this was probably a blessing in disguise, because it means Darkseid is still a possibility in future movies, once DC gets on a new, more planned out course.
21 They're Embracing The Cartoons
One thing we love about CW’s The Flash is how comic-accurate the show is becoming. For example, take Grant Gustin’s new suit in the upcoming season – it’s awesome! It’s so close to the source material that it feels like Flash from the Justice League animated series come to life! DC and CW are essentially doing what Marvel has done with their cinematic universe – embrace the color of comic books! If anything, DC’s TV shows are great counter-programming for Marvel’s darker series, and based on Flash’s new suit, it looks like they’re getting bolder by the season!
20 Watchmen Is High-Quality DC TV!
People often forget that DC’s success doesn’t solely rely on its big screen releases. The brand is doing a lot for TV as well. Take the upcoming Watchmen series, for instance. Produced by the controversial yet highly-talented Damon Lindleoff (LOST, Prometheus) and developed for HBO, it’s a series that promises to bring one of Alan Moore’s greatest works to weekly television in the vein of Game of Thrones and The Sopranos. It’s high quality TV.
So while DC’s cinematic side of things tries to find its footing, their TV slate seems to be ramping up pretty well. If Marvel’s Netflix division has proven anything, it’s that you can make really good superhero shows for a mature audience without breaking the bank – and that’s exactly what DC is trying to replicate. Watchmen could be DC’s answer to Marvel’s more adult-oriented shows, and it’s the perfect candidate to put up a fight!
19 They’ve Got Steven Spielberg Making Blackhawk!
Warner Bros and DC have started to look deep into their vaults for more mature characters and stories that can be brought to the big screen, and one of those finds is Blackhawk – an action-adventure hero from World War II. And who better to bring Blackhawk to life than one of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg! Marvel and Disney have some fantastic films in their arsenal… but when you have Steven Spielberg himself signed on to direct a war epic period piece for your lineup, it’s safe to say DC is in good hands with things only looking up from here.
18 They’re Focusing On High-Caliber Filmmakers
What do Steven Spielberg and Ava Duvernay have in common? Apart from being extremely talented filmmakers, they’re also signed to direct a couple of upcoming movies in DC’s pipeline! They’re not the only ones, either. Warner Bros and DC have been taking a slightly more director-centric route with their upcoming slate of films.
DC’s biggest success stories have always boiled down to extremely prolific, high-caliber filmmakers. From Richard Donner to Christopher Nolan, DC has empowered directors to make films in their own signature style, pace, and tone… and while the results haven’t always been extraordinary (Batman & Robin, anyone?), they usually work out for the best. With Matt Reeves signed to direct The Batman and names like Martin Scorsese circling DC’s projects as possible producers, things are looking pretty great for DC’s future.
17 They're Leveling-Up CW With Batwoman
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new series coming to CW’s pipeline of superhero TV shows – more popularly known as the Arrowverse among fans – and it’s none other than the caped hero herself, Batwoman. No, not Batgirl… that’s a totally different person. Batwoman is, for lack of better word, a far more mature character. She’s also a darker, more complex character that’s worth exploring.
Ruby Rose has been cast as Batwoman, which is not only perfect casting, but it also gives DC the chance to tell more mature stories with these characters. Not only is Batwoman interested in women, she’s also strongly, and very obviously, Jewish. This should give the writers enough content to tell stories that reflect the progressiveness of our times, and lack thereof. If Batwoman can be anything like Netflix’s Daredevil, then DC is one step closer to dominating the TV league as well.
16 Legion Of Doom Could Still Happen
As seen in the Justice League post-credits sting, Joe Manganiello is signed to play Deathstroke for an unknown number of DC films, and a much more comic-accurate Lex Luthor, played once again by Jesse Eisenberg, is set to make an appearance as well. Sony and Marvel have been trying to get a villain-centric Sinister Six movie off the ground for nearly a decade, and if DC can beat them to the punch with a solid Legion Of Doom film to make up for whatever Suicide Squad was, it’ll give the studio some major bragging rights.
15 They've Got The Rock As Black Adam
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson goes by lots of nicknames in Hollywood; particularly one that implies he can give franchises its, umm… vigor back. It’s pretty baffling, then, why Warner Bros and DC haven’t used The Rock in any of their films so far, even though the current biggest, most popular Hollywood superstar on the planet has been signed with them to play Black Adam for more than half a decade now! Keep in mind that Johnson can, and will, show up as Black Adam at some point… maybe even as soon as Shazam next year, if the rumors are true. There’s also talk that The Rock could spar against Henry Cavill in the Man Of Steel sequel. Either way, having one of the most influential actors in the world on your roster is probably a good thing. Now we just have to wait and see how DC uses him for maximum effect.
14 DC Is Launching Its Own Streaming Service
One of the most exciting things to come out of DC is their streaming service; a Netflix-esque service that catalogues all things DC for your viewing pleasure – anytime, anywhere. While Disney is raring to get their own streaming service up and running by 2019, it seems like DC might have beat them to the punch with the DC Universe. The best part is that DC is planning four new, exclusive shows just for their online platform, including Titans, Doom Patrol, Harley Quinn, and Swamp Thing! Looks like Marvel’s slate on Netflix has their work cut out for them.
13 Gotham City Sirens Are Loud and Clear
More Harley Quinn? Yes, please. And this time, she’s bringing friends! Unlike the Birds of Prey, Gotham City’s infamous Sirens usually consists of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman. What makes this trio interesting is that they’re usually anti-heroes – serving their own agenda while tip-toeing around the law in the process. If things go as planned, we could see a face-off between the Gotham City Sirens and the Birds Of Prey, which could make for one heck of a movie featuring a fantastic female ensemble!
12 Aquaman Could Turn Into A Trilogy
One of the best things about Justice League, despite what critics had to say, was Jason Momoa as Aquaman. He literally redefined the character by turning him into a rugged, gritty tough guy instead of the people made fun of for “talking to fish.” According to early test-screening reviews, Aquaman seems to be doing pretty well with audiences, which means a trilogy is probably already in the works. If DC wants to give Marvel a run for its money, having a solid otherworldly trilogy like Aquaman is a good place to start!
11 There's A Birds Of Prey Movie In The Works
Not to be confused with the Gotham City Sirens, DC’s Birds Of Prey are normally on the right side of justice. Featuring Batgirl, Huntress, and Black Canary, the trio normally mix and match different ensembles while taking on a barrage of villains in Gotham City. Here’s the best part; rumor has it that Black Mask is being considered as the big bad of the upcoming film, and if that’s true, we could get a gritty, vigilante drama that could put anything Marvel has to offer to the test!
10 Ugh, Shared Universes Are So Last Year!
"Worlds of DC" means that DC’s movies don’t have to be burdened by connective tissue all the time. It also means the studio doesn’t have to be in constant contention with the people over at Marvel. Worlds of DC gives Warner Bros the liberty to make standalone films, shared-universe films, and even genre films, without having to worry about how they connect to one another. The answer is simple – they don’t. 20th Century Fox found success by loosening the timelines with Deadpool and Logan, so we don’t see why DC can’t do the same.
9 More and More and More Harley Quinn
Suicide Squad may have been panned by critics and audiences alike, but even the harshest of critics can admit that Margot Robbie is awesome as Harley Quinn. Heck, it’s probably the only redeeming quality of an otherwise widely disliked movie. Fortunately for us, there’s no official news of a Suicide Squad sequel (yet), but there is confirmation that Margot Robbie will return as Harley Quinn in not one, not two, but several projects under DC’s banner! A Harley Quinn project has been confirmed for the DC Universe premium streaming service, as well as a possible Harley Quinn standalone film produced by Margot Robbie herself. In true Harley Quinn fashion, she’s swinging for the fences!
DC movies have always known to be grittier than anything from Marvel Studios, and the darker tone usually works in their favor. However, DC’s recent line-up have been criticised for being too blatant with the bleak tone and lack of color, which is why DC is finally changing it up with their upcoming action-comedy, Shazam! With Zachary Levi (from Chuck and Thor: Ragnarok) perfectly cast as an adult-sized Billy Batson, Shazam is a major deviation from DC’s usual take on superheroes. If the reception to Marvel’s lighter, more comedic films is anything to go by, then Shazam should do pretty well at the box office, which is a win DC needs at the moment.
7 They're Finally Making A Supergirl Movie!
The best part about DC’s TV shows and movies is that they exist in separate universes. Unlike Marvel, whose shows on Netflix and ABC exist within the “Avengers timeline,” DC has the liberty of making movies of characters that have already amassed a following on TV. Such is the case for Supergirl – a movie that DC plans to make based on the positive reception to their CW show of the same name. Whether or not Supergirl ties in with the Easter egg we were given in Man Of Steel is unknown, but if it’s anything like Wonder Woman, then this could be DC’s next big franchise!
6 Man Of Steel 2 Is Still Happening
Man Of Steel is a divisive movie at best. It isn’t DC’s worst film, but it also isn’t anywhere close to their great ones like Wonder Woman and The Dark Knight. That being said, most people love Henry Cavill as Superman, and Hans Zimmer’s powerful, inspiring score for the film is one of his best works, period. It only makes sense, then, that Warner Bros finds a way to get a proper sequel to Man Of Steel up and running… and no, Batman v Superman wasn’t a well-received sequel, so let’s forget that ever happened for a second. With names like Matthew Vaughn and Patty Jenkins rumored to be circling the director’s chair, Man Of Steel 2 has the opportunity to do what absolutely needs to be done to get DC back on track – make people fall in love with Superman again.
Much like Thor: Ragnarok redefined the Asgardian god of thunder and made him, arguably, the best part about the Avengers, Man Of Steel 2 needs to reestablish Superman as the icon we all know and love – bright, blue-eyed, and ready to protect Earth no matter what the cost.
5 DC Gets Ambitious With New Gods
Speaking of villain-centric movies, high-profile filmmaker Ava Duvernay (Selma, Middle Of Nowhere) is set to direct a movie about the New Gods for DC! It’s a pretty gutsy endeavor for any studio, let alone one that’s trying to recalibrate their schedule, but getting this right will mean that DC would have made a cosmic epic unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. Designed by legendary artist Jack Kirby, the New Gods are exactly as the name implies; gods that came into existence after the old ones were destroyed by Ragnarok. It’s an extremely interesting, trippy arc and one that’s oozing with potential for DC.
4 DC Might Be Making The Best Batman Movie Yet
Reeves was in charge of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and its sequel, War For The Planet of The Apes – two extremely powerful movies that took a concept that could have been silly (talking apes, seriously?) and turned it into a striking commentary of the world we live in, as well as truly awe-inspiring, engaging cinematic adventures. So, when we heard Matt Reeves was coming on-board to make a Batman movie… we were ecstatic!
Batman has always been the crown jewel of the DC universe. Heck, he’s one of, if not the greatest hero and pop culture of all time. Unfortunately, the caped crusader’s last few appearances (leaving Lego Batman aside) haven’t been well-received, so it’s up to Matt Reeves now to make amends and bring Batman back to his prime. If done right, this new Batman film, simply titled The Batman, could be the new benchmark for superhero movies to come.
3 They Might Perfectly Cast Tom Cruise As Green Lantern
Can you say, “Perfect casting?” Not only is Tom Cruise one of the biggest Hollywood icons of all time, he’s also perfect as Hal Jordan, a.k.a. the Green Lantern! He’s got the look, the charm, and the charisma to be Hal… and based on some pretty good fan art, Cruise looks like he was born to wear the ring-powered suit. Marvel may have Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man… but Tom Cruise as Green Lantern is going to be a tough casting choice to follow. I just have one question; does this make Top Gun the unofficial prequel to Green Lantern?
2 Wonder Woman 1984 Isn’t A Sequel
While speaking at Comic-Con 2018, director Patty Jenkins was very clear about how Wonder Woman 1984 is a standalone film that will not be burdened by its predecessor or any other film in DC’s “Justice League” grand scheme.
While this could just mean that there won’t be any cameos by any of Diana’s superpowered friends, the crew behind Wonder Woman 1984 are bent on surgically removing this from DC’s larger “universe” and probably creating a soft-reboot in the process. Think of it as Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine in multiple X-Men movies, when those X-Men movies don’t necessarily connect very well with one another.
1 Flashpoint Is DC's Ultimate Weapon
If all else fails, and if there’s just no coming back for DC in this incarnation of their cinematic universe, then the studio will use the perfect catalyst, Flashpoint, to not only tell a fantastic story that involves the space-time continuum and alternate realities… but also to, ironically, reboot the DC live action universe in the process. The DC timeline as we know it will be no more.
It’s the perfect way to rejig the narrative. They can swap Ben Affleck for another actor, change past events, and make it seem like some of their more lackluster movies just never happened. Ever. Once they do this, Warner Bros and DC will be able to redefine the timeline and maybe this time, have a plan before rushing a shared universe. Either way, Flashpoint is definitely in the books… but how they use it, depends on the next couple of years and whether or not it works in their favor.