Any DC fan will tell you one thing for sure: the DC film and television universes can be…confusing. Unlike its competitor Marvel, DC has movies and television shows in a variety of places, and there are even multiple adaptations for the same character. Almost every major cable network has had a DC superhero at one point, including Lucifer and Gotham on Fox and the short-lived Constantine on NBC. Fortunately, in recent years the separate universes have become easier to track since most content has moved to HBOMax or Netflix.
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) encompasses all theatrical movie releases from Man of Steel to now. These films are where DC hopes to create a continuous story, where each hero or villain’s actions in one film translates to others. The only notable exception so far is The Batman starring Robert Pattinson, which is separate from the overarching storyline in the DCEU.
In the coming years, there’s a number of new characters planned to receive the silver screen treatment for the first time, in addition to the continued stories of well-known superheroes like Aquaman, Shazam! and Wonder Woman. The movies as of now have no connection to the DC television shows, but HBO Max will likely be the comic giant’s attempt to bring cohesion within the two mediums, with spin-offs like The Suicide Squad’s Peacemaker (John Cena).
Since the DC Universe streaming service moved from hosting original programming and back to selling digital comics, HBO Max now distributes most non-Arrowverse television shows and movies, both animated and live-action. So far the only movie from the cinematic universe the service has premiered is Wonder Woman 1984. Still, the platform hosts DCEU-adjacent programming like Doom Patrol, and there’s a plan to have two television spin-offs of The Batman.
In addition to the DCEU movies and shows, however, it’s also worth mentioning the vast array of non-DCEU content among various cable channels and streaming services. First, there’s the Arrowverse. The CW has hosted DC’s characters since 2012, starting with Arrow, a take on DC’s Green Arrow. Since then, numerous other live-action shows and animated series have premiered and engaged in multiple major crossovers along with their own self-contained storylines. The story arcs in the Arrowverse are kept within The CW and have no major influence on characters on other networks or in the movies.
There’s also Netflix, a newcomer to hosting DC shows. After picking up Lucifer and Sweet Tooth, the streaming giant has become yet another home to DC content. The streaming service is also about to premiere the DC property The Sandman for fantasy and science fiction fans who want more DC adaptations that aren’t just superhero related.
For the sake of this list though, we’ll only be focusing on DCEU movies and television shows, plus the few DC properties which are adjacent to the extended universe or have had major theatrical releases (like Doom Patrol and The Batman). Here are all the DCEU movies and shows on the way.
Black Adam (October 21, 2022)
If somehow you haven’t been keeping tabs on The Rock’s Black Adam workouts, you’re missing out. Black Adam is an antihero who shares the same magical powers with Shazam, and could become the superhero’s archenemy in the DCEU. Due to Covid-19, the film has been pushed from its December 2021 release date to summer 2022. For now, there’s not much else to share besides The Rock’s Instagram updates on the movie and his shredded physique.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods (December 21, 2022)
Originally planned for a 2022 release, the pandemic delayed production for the kids-turned-superheroes sequel. Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren and Rachel Zegler have been cast in new roles and could be the villains for the upcoming sequel. There’s also no word if Black Adam will have any direct connection to the Shazam! sequel.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (March 17, 2023)
Not much is known about the sequel to Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Various cast from the first film are expected to reprise their roles, including Yahya Abdul-Mateen.
The Flash (June 23, 2023)
After his first appearance in Batman V. Superman, The Flash has his own film on the way. Starring Ezra Miller, The Flash is inspired by the comic storyline Flashpoint, where the superhero attempts to travel back in time to prevent his mother’s murder. Because of what will hopefully be less confusing time travel than Marvel’s, the movie will feature not one, but two versions of Batman, played by both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton, who reprises his role as Batman from the 1989 and 1992 films (and may have a large role in the future).
Blue Beetle (August 18, 2023)
Earlier this year, Variety reported that Angel Manuel Soto of Charm City Kings will be directing a film on DC’s Blue Beetle. His version will focus the newest rendition of the hero, a Mexican-American teenager named Jaime Reyes who gains alien armor and weapons when a mysterious scarab bings to his spine. Gross.
The Batman 2 (TBD)
Despite its commercial success and critical acclaim, we don’t have 100% confirmation there’ll be a sequel to The Batman. Still, with an at least $700 million profit, it’d be shocking if we didn’t get to see Robert Pattinson play the moody superhero again. In the meantime, there are two definite spin-offs to the film coming to HBOMax, probably in 2023.
Joker: Folie a Deux (TBD)
The critically acclaimed (and socially divisive) Joker is slated for a sequel film. Not much is known about the upcoming film, but The Hollywood Reporter says Lady Gaga is in early talks to star alongside Joaquin Phoenix in the movie.
Wonder Woman 3 (TBD)
After Wonder Woman 1984, there’s already a third film for the powerful Amazon in the works. Due to Covid-19, Jenkins put the story on hold in 2020, so there is no telling when Jenkins will return to the script or when the film will enter production. Plus, Jenkins is busy directing Cleopatra (which Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot will star in) and a new Star Wars film called Rogue Squadron.
Superman’s young protege will finally make her newest feature film appearance soon. The Young and the Restless star Sasha Calle has been cast as Supergirl in the upcoming The Flash film, making the film the Girl in Steel’s DCEU debut before her own standalone movie. And if we’re lucky, Henry Cavill will make a Superman cameo to teach Supergirl the ropes.
In the comics, Zatanna is a magician who has worked with the Justice League and Batman in the past. She’s also a member of Justice League Dark, a magical offshoot of the original Justice League. She’s only appeared in live-action in the final three seasons of Smallville, and was portrayed by Serinda Swan. No actress has been cast for the upcoming movie yet. The script will be written by Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell, according to Variety.
Static Shock (TBD)
A lesser known superhero, Static Shock follows a Black teenager who suddenly gets electric powers and takes on the superhero name Static. The character had an animated show back in 2000, but hasn’t been revisited since. According to A.V. Club, Michael B. Jordan signed on to produce the film, and Grand Army’s Randy McKinnon is writing the script. Jordan hasn’t given much more news than that, but it’s another new hero to keep an eye on.
Produced by JJ Abrams, with a script written by Ta-Nehisi Coates? This upcoming Superman reboot is already looking good. There’s little word on who is directing or starring in the film, but if it’s ripped directly from the comics, the new Superman will take place on Earth-2, an alternate Earth timeline that features a Black alien superhero. It would then have no impact on Henry Cavil’s version of the character.
Green Lantern Corps (TBD)
It’s unclear if this project is still in the works with a Green Lantern television series also coming to HBO Max. But since we haven’t heard anything about the film being shelved, Green Lantern Corps is another upcoming DC film that has no director or release date announced. According to Deadline, screenwriters David Goyer (Batman V Superman) and Justin Rhodes (Terminator: Dark Fate) created a script back in 2019, but that’s the most recent news on the movie.
Titans Season 4 (Likely 2022)
Dick Grayson’s team of teenage superheroes is returning soon. The next season could have characters potentially returning from the dead, the Titans relocating to Gotham City, and the official appearance of villain Red Hood, another of Batman’s former Robins. A third season of Titans is expected in August 2021.
Doom Patrol Season 4 (Likely 2023)
Initially announced as a spin-off of DC’s Titans, Doom Patrol’s ragtag team of kind-of superheroes are now completely separate from other DC shows. In fact, the show’s main characters even made cameos within the Arrowverse during the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. Now on HBOMax, Doom Patrol is now on its fourth season, so more episodes could drop sometime in 2022.
Peacemaker Season 2 (Likely 2023)
Based around John Cena’s character from The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker will follow Christopher Smith, a pacifist who decides to forgo his non-violent morals in order to obtain peace. From The Suicide Squad trailer, he appears more than happy to kill anyone who stands in his way.
Justice League Dark Series (TBD)
JJ Abrams will be developing a series based on Justice League Dark. In the comics, the team consists of magical heroes who deal with supernatural forces the regular Justice League may feel less equipped to handle. With an upcoming Constantine series also on the way, DC looks like it will launch a new universe with Abrams’ adaptations.
Unrelated to Keanu Reeves’ 2005 film, or the 2014 NBC show, IGN reports that JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot Productions will develop a new Constantine series, tied to Abrams’ other television adaptation of Justice League Dark, which will premiere on HBOMax sometime in the future. It’s too soon to tell, but DC could be looking to officially bring Constantine into the DCEU movies, along with fellow magician Zatanna.
A Gotham P.D. Series (TBD)
A spin-off series of the upcoming The Batman movie, the untitled project will further explore corruption within Gotham City and take place before the events of the upcoming film. Not much is known besides the series’ showrunner, who Variety reports is Joe Barton, who created and wrote Netflix’s Girl/Haji.
A Gotham-focused series will have to veer away from Fox’s Gotham, which ended in 2019. That series focused on the not-yet commissioner Jim Gordon and the city’s police department as a whole. It also had a number of well-known villains and their origin stories, including the Joker (although the show couldn’t really call him that, we knew what they were doing). Since it takes place after Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, though, it should be safe.
Green Lantern Series (TBD)
You know what they say, if you don’t succeed, try try again….at HBOMax. Greg Berlanti, who has worked on Arrowverse, directed Love, Simon and executive produced Doom Patrol, will now write and produce a new Green Lantern series for the streaming service. Berlanti also wrote and produced the poorly-received 2011 Ryan Reynolds adaptation, so he knows the material well. The series still has no official release date.
Madame X (TBD)
In 2021, The Hollywood Reporter announced JJ Abrams would be working with Angela Robinson to create a Madame X television show inspired by the DC Comics character Madame Xanadnu. No word on the state of the show as of now.
Dead Boy Detectives (TBD)
After appearing in Season 3 of Doom Patrol, the Dead Boy Detectives will also get a standalone show on HBOMax, according to Variety.
Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.
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