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Your Introductory Guide To That DC Movie Slate

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The announcement today of DC’s planned slate for the next six years came at a stockholders’ meeting, and was something of a shock to fans despite the fact that much of the contents were already the subject of speculation and even reported casting. For those of you who have been avoiding the announcements to date, we have a quick round-up explaining what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can guess about the story so far…

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Director: Zack Snyder
Due date: March 25, 2016 (UK)

Confirmed Cast
Henry Cavill – Superman
Ben Affleck – Batman
Jesse Eisenberg – Lex Luthor
Amy Adams – Lois Lane
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
Ray Fisher – Cyborg
Jeremy Irons – Alfred Pennyworth

Unconfirmed Cast
Jason Momoa – Aquaman
Ezra Miller – Flash

This sequel to Man Of Steel morphed pretty quickly into a Batman/Superman joint effort, and from there into a proto-Justice League. This film will therefore have to introduce Ben Affleck’s Batman and his Alfred, set up Wonder Woman and Cyborg, and establish Lex Luthor as the big new bad. Oh, and while Warners still hasn’t confirmed Jason Momoa’s presence as Aquaman, King Of The Seven Seas and Atlantean hybrid, the fact that he was in Detroit during the film’s shoot there earlier this year would seem at least suggestive of an appearance. Equally, while Miller hasn’t been announced for this film, it would be weird to already have cast him if he isn’t in it.

Beyond the cast list, not much is out there. Snyder introduced the project with a line reading from seminal comic book The Dark Knight Returns, which – along with that “v” – suggests that the World’s Greatest Detective and Man Of Steel will be butting heads before they ever team up. Hopefully Eisenberg can provide enough menace to justify the introduction of all these superpowered – and merely highly-trained and thoroughly-gadgeted – characters.

Suicide Squad

Director: David Ayer
Due date: August 5, 2016

Confirmed Cast
None

Unconfirmed Cast
Will Smith
Margot Robbie
Tom Hardy
Ryan Gosling

This is a squad composed of DC supervillains and fallen heroes, pressed into service to carry out Black Ops in an atmosphere of total deniability by the government. Interestingly, given that Ayer has just made Fury, the very first Suicide Squad were pressed into service during World War II in a deliberately Dirty Dozen-style. Might this be a period piece?

The actual line-up has changed over the years (much like Spider-Man’s Sinister Six) but hardy perennials include marksman and assassin Deadshot, a Batman villain; Rick Flag Sr or Jr, two generations of hardy military men; martial arts expert Bronze Tiger; Aussie racist Captain Boomerang; organo-metal Colossus / Magneto cross Shrapnel; and Dr Amanda Waller, the leader of the Squad and their only government tie. If we were to guess wildly, we’d predict that they’re thinking Gosling for Deadshot, Hardy as Flag (although Bane’s appeared in the gang at least once), Smith as Bronze Tiger and Margot Robbie as, maybe, Harley Quinn, who wouldn’t quite fit a period piece but is a huge fan favourite with her giggling psychopath ways.

Gal Gadot Wonder Woman

Director: Not confirmed
Due date: June 23, 2017

Confirmed Cast
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman

This could be the first solo outing for a female superhero in the modern Marvel/DC era, assuming Marvel doesn’t pull a very fast Black Widow outing together in the next year or so. What do we know about Wonder Woman? Well, she was sculpted from clay by Queen Hippolyta on the man-free paradise island of Themyscira, and as their princess and champion travelled to our world to sort things out, often going by the name Diana Prince. What a way to hide that her real name is Princess Diana! She’s super-strong, virtually invulnerable, super-fast and has nifty gadgets like bullet-deflecting bracelets and a lasso that forces people caught in it to tell the truth.

Her comics origin was set during World War II, but after Joss Whedon’s attempt at a period tale failed, we doubt this will have much time spent there. That said, there’s nothing to go on yet. The still of Wonder Woman released at Comic-Con suggests that the warrior princess angle is very much present and correct, but beyond that there’s no indication on the period, location or angle of this one. It is, after all, very early days. A set currently under construction in New Mexico does suggest that Themyscira may appear in Batman V Superman, so don’t be surprised if we head to that island nation for a longer period in this outing. After all, the weather’s gorgeous and the locals are extraordinarily intolerant of lager louts, making it the perfect holiday get-away spot.

Justice League Movie Part One

Director: Zack Snyder
Due Date: November 10, 2017

Confirmed Cast
Ben Affleck – Batman
Henry Cavill – Superman
Amy Adams – Lois Lane

Presumable Cast
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
Ray Fisher – Cyborg
Jason Momoa – Aquaman
Jeremy Irons – Alfred Pennyworth
Ezra Miller – The Flash

If Batman V Superman is the starter and Wonder Woman is the amuse bouche, here at last is the main course, the DC superhero team-up that audiences will, by this time, hopefully be salivating for. The line-up is a formidable one: even without comic mainstays Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern, you’d imagine that this lot can handle pretty much anything a supervillain can throw at them.

There is, of course, no suggestion just yet what that problem might be, and we’re speculating on the inclusion of The Flash here, purely based on the fact that he’s already been cast and on the fact that his own film will follow just four months later. But that Part One is significant: Snyder is directing both films, so will they shoot back to back? With a two-year gap between films, they won’t leave us on a cliffhanger – will they?

Ezra Miller The Flash

Director: None Confirmed
Due Date: March 23, 2018

Confirmed Cast
Ezra Miller – The Flash

This is an interesting piece of casting. The Flash TV series that has just started has Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, now a forensic scientist who is hit by lightning and wakes up from a coma with super-speed. Ezra Miller, however, is already announced as the movie Flash: could he be another occupant of the role? Maybe he’ll be Wally West or Jay Garrick, two alternative Flashes who have taken the role in the comics. Even so, this impliedly rejects any tied-together universe, also ruling out appearances by the TV Green Arrow, who shares a universe with the TV Flash.

Miller may first appear in Batman V. Superman, given that it seems a bit perverse to cast him so far in advance otherwise (then again, see Shazam for details on that front) so he may be well-established by the time this film rolls around. He steps into a cinema suddenly crowded with super-speedsters, with two Quicksilvers already battling it out for Marvel in the X-Men and Avengers universes. Miller, however, brings a fey, ironic sense of intelligence to his roles that could make him stand out. Colour us interested.

Jason Mamoa Aquaman

Director: None Confirmed
Due Date: July 27, 2018

Confirmed Cast
Jason Momoa – Aquaman

Water-based heroes like Namor or Aquaman have been the butt of some cruel jokes in pop culture, not least the long-running thread on Entourage that saw Vinnie Chase starring in James Cameron’s Aquaman project. And yet here we are, with the real thing on its way and Cameron unfortunately tied up on Pandora. Momoa could be good casting for this – cast your mind back to his role in Stargate: Atlantis (foreshadowing!) rather than the disastrous Conan – as long as they can make this dude cool again.

The comics may show the way there. In recent times they’ve started to play down the whole ridiculous fish-telepathy power that Aquaman has, acknowledging that fish aren’t great conversationalists and instead explaining that he can compel sea creatures to move or assist as necessary. He also gets bonus powers simply from being able to survive anywhere in the ocean: not only can he breathe underwater, but he has the strength and toughness you’d need to survive in the pressure of the depths, which then translates into being nearly bullet-proof, in or out of the water. He swims so fast he puts Michael Phelps to shame, can see in near-darkness and has his own form of sonar. All useful things to have around, right?

Dwayne Johnson Shazam!

Director: None Confirmed
Due Date: April 5, 2019

Confirmed Cast
The Rock – Black Adam

Expect this one to skew a bit younger than some of the films here. Shazam, also confusingly known as Captain Marvel on occasion, is actually a small boy called Billy Batson. When Billy says the word “Shazam” he transforms into a hulking, super-strong, flying genius with magical lightning powers. Basically, imagine if Oliver Twist could become Superman at a moment’s notice and you’re halfway there. Black Adam is the villain / anti-hero he battles and occasionally convinces to do good.

We’re saying that this will be aimed at a younger audience because, even were David Fincher to take over directing duties and Aaron Sorkin to write the screenplay (currently in the hands of Jack The Giant Slayer’s Darren Lenke), it’s still a crazily child-friendly concept. There’s no suggestion yet that there will be much or any crossover with the Justice League characters, so this may be – in the way that Ant-Man currently appears in the Marvel universe – something of a stand-alone.

Justice League Movie Part Two

Director: Zack Snyder
Due Date: June 14, 2019

Confirmed Cast
Ben Affleck – Batman
Henry Cavill – Superman
Amy Adams – Lois Lane

Presumable Cast
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
Ray Fisher – Cyborg
Jason Momoa – Aquaman
Jeremy Irons – Alfred Pennyworth
Ezra Miller – The Flash

We’re guessing that some as-yet unknown actor will appear as Green Lantern in this film at the latest, given that that reboot will follow a year later. Otherwise, we don’t know much. The “Part Two” definitely suggests a continuity of story between this and the 2017 effort, and in fact the huge number of cast members that we know will be established by Batman V. Superman in 2016 suggests that this may be a sort of trilogy.

But what could possibly challenge this gang? Could it be alien dictator Darkseid? Will super-intelligence Brainiac be behind a huge conspiracy? (If so, has Ultron got there first?) As we’ve said before, you need a lot to really give the entire Justice League a workout.

Ray Fisher Cyborg

Director: Not confirmed
Due Date: April 3, 2020

Confirmed Cast
Ray Fisher – Cyborg

If the plan all goes smoothly to this point and Fisher becomes enough of a fan favourite for this to happen, huge applause for DC! And he’s an interesting figure for a solo outing. Originally a member of the Teen Titans, DC’s slightly younger JLA parallel series, Cyborg was subject to his scientist parents’ intelligence-raising experiments as a kid. His origin as Cyborg has been ret-conned over the years, but both versions have young Victor Stone horrifically injured at STAR Labs, where his scientist father works, leading Silas Stone to fit his son with cybernetics to replace his damaged body. He’s left with super-strength, supersonic flight, genius-level intellect and gadgetry that enhances his considerable fighting abilities.

What story could this tell? Ongoing threads in Cyborg’s world see him fretting about his level of humanity, and whether his cybernetic parts make him less of a real person. One arc that saw him encounter an alien race called Technis saw Cyborg turned into the more thoroughly robotic Cyberion, which probably isn’t a way to go on screen. There’s also the potential for a massive father complex, since there’s a whole guilt/anger thing going on between the pair there.

Green Lantern

Director: Not confirmed
Due Date: June 19, 2020

Confirmed Cast
None

Forget about the rather disastrous Ryan Reynolds movie. Green Lantern will fly again, and he will do so with another actor in the role (don’t cry for Reynolds; it looks like he gets his Deadpool wish instead). And there’s lots more to explore in the Green Lantern universe. He is, after all, just one of a corps of sort of space police, who each protect their own planet and can also team up against bigger threats.

There are also lots of different, and potentially more interesting, Earth Lanterns to focus on. As well as test pilot Hal Jordan, probably the best known, there’s US Marine John Stewart, artist Kyle Rayner, Lebanese-American Muslim and former car thief Simon Baz (the most interesting option for a number of reasons) and Alan Scott, who in the most recent reboot is one of the major gay superheroes in the DC Universe. Could we see a further step away from the white-straight-male-probably-called-Chris model of superhero casting? It’d be nice to think that we’d be ready for that by 2020.

Man Of Steel 2

Man Of Steel 2

Director: Not confirmed
Due Date: Not confirmed

Confirmed Cast
None

Probable Cast
Henry Cavill – Superman
Amy Adams – Lois Lane
Laurence Fishburne – Perry White
Diane Lane – Martha Kent
Harry Lennix – General Swanwick
Russell Crowe – Jor-El


Batman Reboot

Batman Reboot

Director: Not confirmed
Due Date: Not confirmed

Confirmed Cast
None

Probable Cast
Ben Affleck – Batman
Jeremy Irons – Alfred Pennyworth

All we have so far on these two is a vague assurance that standalone Batman and Superman films are on the cards, and without seeing the films due between now and these, it’s impossible to predict what these will involve. But when have we ever hesitated to speculate wildly?

The real question is where these films fit in. Affleck and Cavill will be appearing in team-ups in 2016, 2017 and 2019 as it is. Will they try to squeeze in solo films for 2018 and 2020? Or are we really going to have to wait seven years to see these two standalones? Affleck also has a directing career on his hands, after all, and Cavill has another potential franchise to juggle in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., as well as whatever other work he chooses, so it's difficult to see these fitting in anywhere much sooner. And by 2021 or so, we could be looking at further reboots of the character - if the superhero train is even still rolling at that point.

Right now, these feel like speculations too far, even for us. That's not to say that they won't happen as promised, just that it's impossible to say when or in what form. If you have a better idea (The Dark Knight Returns, proper? All-Star Superman?) leave your coments below.

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