Despite their track record standing as past evidence to the contrary, I’d like to give Warner Bros’/DC Comics the benefit of the doubt and assume that they – like their biggest rival, Marvel Studios – actually have a gameplan. Based on how the not quite as successful Man of Steel‘s sequel suddenly morphed into a Batman/Superman movie, and then finally became what is essentially Justice League the Beta Testing, that plan always seemed to me to be more reactionary than well thought out though. But apparently I may have been wrong.
Polarizing ex-Deadline headmistress Nikki Finke, after being very public ousted last year from the Hollywood news site she built up, is back to blogging and reporting after the 7-month non-competition clause that was part of her departure contract. And to kick her return off with a bang, she’s apparently managed to get her hands on what WB/DC was planning as their big reveal at San Diego Comic-Con next month: The timeline of all their future movies.
May 2016 – Batman v Superman
July 2016 – Shazam
Xmas 2016 – Sandman
May 2017 – Justice League
July 2017 – Wonder Woman
Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2
There are a few things that immediately spring to mind from looking at that line-up: Firstly, that lineup is VERY stacked. Three movies a year is a big ask, and yes, Marvel is already doing that, but they – barring the recent Edgar Wright/Ant-Man fiasco – seem far more like the well-oiled machine that you would need to pull this off. Yes, it’s very likely that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Sandman won’t tie into their main cinematic universe (just like the Sandman comics, didn’t tie-in 100% to the main DC Comics universe), but that’s still a very busy schedule.
Secondly, no standalone Batman movie. Seeing as how WB\DC essentially brought the character in to pump up their planned Man of Steel sequel (they essentially had the star of one of the most successful movies of all time, appear in the sequel to a movie that just did okay-ish at the box-office), you would expect that he would get his own showing as well. It could be that WB is waiting to gauge how audiences will respond to this Chris Nolan-less version of the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League before going ahead, and if that is the case, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in 2018 as well.
The third and last thing that stands out, are the mention of a Shazam and Green Lantern/Flash team-up movie. Flash and Green Lantern have never really done an official team-up per se, but they have been shown to work really well together, most recently in Justice League: War, WB’s animated adaptation of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s opening story arc in the New 52 Justice League reboot. Throwing the two together is a bit of an odd move though. A few years ago, when your average man on the street had no idea who either Green Lantern or Flash was, it would have made more sense. But seeing as we’re about to have a pretty high profile Flash TV series, and folks were already introduced to the concept of Green Lantern in a feature film, having the two back each other up just feels a bit weird.
And before you ask, Finke explicitly states that this Green Lantern will definitely not be played by Ryan Reynolds – not surprising seeing as his Green Lantern movie was a verdant turd.
And if I were to hazard a guess, I would say that that big “powerful” role that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been teasing for months now already, would be none other than Shazam. Yes, he’s been tied to the role of Shazam’s arch nemesis, Black Adam, for ages now already, but he’s a good physical match for both, and just by the tone of his teases, it seems to imply that the character is more of a hero than a villain.
Whoever plays what, Finke’s source says that all these heroes – including Aquaman – will be making cameos in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and this is actually the main reason why the movie was initially delayed. WB/DC wanted to get all the contracts completely locked down for each and every one of these actors, before production began, so that they could be assured of their commitment for future films.
WB/DC securing those deals is a good sign, as it implies that they’re really knuckling down now to finally present a cohesive gameplan, instead of the “see what sticks” approach that they appeared to have adopted previously. All that faffing about as everybody in a suit wanted to do their own thing, and create their own version of characters, meant that they way behind the competition at the moment. This plan is definitely a step in the right direction, if they intend to catch up.
Last Updated: June 13, 2014