The world of DC movies has been through a lot over the past four years. While Marvel started the slow build of its Cinematic Universe back in 2008, reaching 22 hugely successful movies by 2019, the film progression of its comic book rivals DC has been more faltering. With Christopher Nolan’s final Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises ending that particular run of blockbuster DC cinema in 2012, the studio turned its attention to trying to replicate the massive success of the MCU by creating its own interconnecting cinematic universe.
But while the MCU developed organically over the course of a decade, DC clearly didn’t want to wait. The keys were handed to Zack Snyder, who scored massive financial success with Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, but found little of the critical praise that Marvel was enjoying. David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was also a box office hit, but terrible reviews and stories of behind-the-scenes conflicts didn’t help, and the 2017 movie Justice League was a notorious debacle that ended the idea that a DC universe could match what Marvel had achieved in the same way.
But, of course, DC’s superheroes are among the most popular pop culture creations of all time, so it didn’t take long for the studio to find its feet once more. It largely abandoned the idea of making every movie connect, and has instead focused simply on making good movies. Aquaman and Wonder Woman were big hits, both critically and commercially, and Shazam showed a comedic side sorely lacking from Snyder’s films. And the dark, R-rated Joker was both a record-breaking box office success and–almost unheard of for a comic book movie–an awards success.
Like all studios, DC’s parent company Warner has had to readjust its release schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the next few DC movies have moved back. But there’s plenty on the way in 2021 and beyond. We’ve listed all the upcoming films we know about so far–some of these have finished shooting and will arrive next year, others are currently in production. There are movies yet to start filming that have set release dates, and others still in early development. And of course, not all might happen, but nevertheless, there’s a ton of great superhero content for DC fans to enjoy in the coming years.
1. Wonder Woman 1984
Release date: December 25, 2020
The second Wonder Woman movie should’ve arrived back in July, having already been delayed from an initial November 2019 release date. But like virtually all big films scheduled for the second half of 2020, its date has shifted and it’s currently scheduled for a December 25 debut. Whether this happens remains to be seen–director Patty Jenkins didn’t exactly sound confident in this recent interview. But either way, it should be worth the wait, as Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, reuniting with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor and taking on the villainous Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) in the 1980s.
2. Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Release date: 2021
One of the most anticipated upcoming DC releases is not a brand new movie at all, but Zack Snyder’s new cut of the 2017 film Justice League. Snyder left that film during production, and for years, fans have been demanding to see his vision for the film, as opposed to the one we got from replacement director Joss Whedon. In 2021 they will finally get the chance, when the new Justice League hits HBO Max. Snyder is preparing a new four-hour episodic reworking that will combine unseen footage from 2017 with newly shot footage featuring the original cast members, including Ben Affleck as Batman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
3. The Suicide Squad
Release date: August 6, 2021
The first Suicide Squad movie was released in 2017, but despite its $746 million worldwide box office gross, it was critically savaged. Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn takes over as writer and director for the next movie. The new cast includes Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker, Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Alice Braga as Sol Soria, and Michael Rooker as Savant, while Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) all return from the first movie. As to what The Suicide Squad is about, producer Peter Safran has described the movie as “a gritty 1970s war movie,” and the behind-the-scenes footage revealed during the virtual DC FanDome event in August certainly supports this, with jungle warfare and armies fighting on beaches. Will the Suicide Squad be dispatched to fight in a war for the US government? One thing we do know is that characters will die, as Gunn recently revealed that DC gave him “carte blanche to do what I wanted” when it comes to the fate of any character.
4. The Batman
Release date: March 4, 2022
DC’s next standalone Batman movie has had a strange history. It was originally set to be directed by and starring Ben Affleck, but when Affleck stepped down as director, Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) was brought on as director. Then Affleck left the project entirely. Reeves stayed on, and the movie will now star Robert Pattinson as a much younger version of the caped crusader. It’s got an impressive cast that also includes Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Colin Farrell as Penguin, Paul Dano as Riddler, Andy Serkis as Alfred, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone. The movie was shooting in the UK when the pandemic closed down productions worldwide, but is now underway again ahead of its March 2022 release. The movie won’t be an origin story and will instead focus on Bruce Wayne in his second year as Batman, and this early trailer certainly suggests the “noir-driven Batman story” that Reeves has teased in interviews.
5. DC Super Pets
Release date: May 22, 2022.
An animated film focusing on the superpowered animals of the DC universe was first announced in 2018, and last year its 2022 release date was confirmed. Jared Stern, who previously wrote the Lego Batman Movie, will write and co-direct with Sam Levine, so expect to see Krypto the Super-Dog, Streaky the Super-Cat, Bat-Cow, and Flexi the Plastic Bird in action on the big screen for the first time.
6. The Flash
Release date: June 3, 2022.
The Flash movie has had the most troubled history of any movie on this list. Star Ezra Miller has been attached since the movie was first announced way back in 2015, and since then it’s been through multiple directors, including Seth Grahame-Smith, Rick Famuyiwa, and John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. As it currently stands, It director Andy Muschietti will helm, and the film is set for a June 2022 release. The film will reportedly be based on the Flashpoint comics, allowing for a DC multiverse and the returns of both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck as Batman. During DC FanDome, Muschietti suggested that the film will tie all of DC’s live-action properties together. “This movie is a bit of a hinge in the sense that it presents a story that implies a unified universe where all the cinematic iterations that we’ve seen before are valid,” he said. “It’s inclusive in the sense that it is saying all that you’ve seen exists, and everything that you will see exists, in the same unified multiverse.”
7. Aquaman 2
Release date: December 16, 2022
The first Aquaman stands as the most successful DC universe movie yet, so unsurprisingly a sequel is on the way. Jason Momoa returns as the Atlantean hero, with Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson reprising their roles as Mer and Orm respectively. James Wan is back as director, and at FanDome he gave some hints about what to expect from the next aquatic adventure. “I’m trying to find new things to do that I didn’t get around to doing in the first film,” he said, and added that the sequel will be “a little bit more serious, a little bit more relevant to the world that we’re living in today.”
8. Shazam: Fury of the Gods
Release date: June 2, 2023
The sequel to 2019’s comedic superhero movie Shazam will once more star Asher Angel as teenager Billy Batson and Zachary Levi as his heroic adult alter-ego. Director David F. Sandberg is back, and while we don’t know many plot details, the story will presumably deal with the fact that Batson’s entire adopted family all now have Shazam’s superpowers. One thing we do know is that the movie won’t, sadly, feature comedian Sinbad.
9. Black Adam
Release date: TBD
Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but he’s yet to appear in a superhero movie. That will change with Black Adam, which has been in development for many years and will star Johnson as Adam, a former slave from the fictional nation of Kahndaq who was granted powers by the wizard Shazam. At FanDome in August, Johnson revealed that the movie will introduce the Justice League of America to the DC movie universe, and the reported cast so far includes Noah Centineo and Aldis Hodge as JSA members Atom Smasher and Hawkman. The movie doesn’t currently have a confirmed release date, but it’ll be directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows, The Commuter).
Release date: TBD
A Batgirl film was first announced back in 2017, with Joss Whedon on board as writer and director. Whedon left the project a year later, stating that he “didn’t have a story.” Soon after, Birds of Prey and Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson was hired to work on a new script. There hasn’t been any news about the project since then, beyond Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and Guardians of the Galaxy actor Karen Gillan both stating they’d love to be involved if it ever happens.
11. Justice League Dark
Release date: TBD
There have been numerous attempts to make a movie based on DC’s supernatural superhero team Justice League Dark over the years. Guillermo Del Toro, Doug Liman, and music video director Joseph Kahn are among the filmmakers previously attached, and an animated Justice League Dark movie did get released in 2017. In January this year it was reported that JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot is now developing both potential live-action film and TV ideas for the property, so we might yet see the likes of John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Swamp Thing, and Deadman on the big screen.
12. New Gods
Release date: TBD
A film adaptation of Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero saga New Gods has been in the works since 2018, when A Wrinkle In Time’s Ava DuVernay was announced as director. Last year, DuVernay confirmed that she and writer Tom King were still working on the script, and that Darkseid and the Female Furies would feature as villains. The movie is yet to appear on DC’s release schedule, but if Marvel’s similarly-themed Eternals–also based on characters created by Kirby–is a big hit, then it’s possible New Gods will get its own release slot.
13. The Trench
Release date: TBD
The Trench is an Aquaman spin-off that, if it happens, will focus on the weird and scary creatures living at the bottom in the ocean. The movie was first reported in early 2019, when The Hollywood Reporter stated that DC had hired Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald to write a “horror-tinged script,” and that movie would be produced by Aquaman director James Wan and its producer Peter Safran. Safran later stated that he expected that The Trench would arrive before Aquaman 2, but since it hasn’t been given a date yet, this seems unlikely to happen. Hopefully we’ll still get to see this aquatic monster movie at some point.
14. Static Shock
Release date: TBD
A Static Shock movie was first announced during FanDome, and in October it was announced that Creed and Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan will co-produce the movie with House Party director Reginald Hudlin. Static is the alter ego of teenager Virgil Ovid Hawkins and possesses the powers of electromagnetic control and generation. The character is best known for the 2000s animated series Static Shock, and Jordan has described the movie as “part of building a new universe centered around Black superheroes.”
Release date: TBD
Nightwing is the alter ego of Dick Grayson, who previously served as Batman’s sidekick Robin (the first one). A movie based on the character has been in development since 2017, when it was reported The Lego Batman Movie director Chris McKay was attached. At the time, he stated Nightwing would be a “f***ing badass action movie with a lot of heart and emotion.” In 2018, McKay provided an update on Twitter, explaining that while the project wasn’t dead, “you’re going to have to wait.” We’re still waiting.
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