The DC Extended Universe hasn't had the easiest time getting itself off the ground, as the versions of the DC Comics superheroes the movies introduced haven't gone over as well with fans as Marvel's Phase I solo hero films did.
However, the DCEU is arguably entering a whole new phase, one that could begin with a very successful 2017 lineup of Justice League and Wonder Woman. Even though the DCEU slate is plotted out until 2020, there will come a time when the next Phase of DC superheroes needs to be cast.
Honorable Mentions: Green Lanterns
Casting Picks: James Marsden (Hal Jordan); Trevante Rhodes (John Stewart); Glenn Powell (Kyle Rayner)
We know that the Green Lantern Corps will likely show up in Justice League, so this gets an honorable mention, since the casting could already be a done deal.
Hal Jordan - X-Men and Westworld star James Marsden still needs that big breakout role (he really does deserve it), and playing the DCEU Hal Jordan is a perfect fit for his combination of comedic wit, hunky charm, and dramatic/action chops.
John Stewart - Moonlight actor Trevante Rhodes now has Oscar-level acclaim, which is why the DCEU needs to snatch him up now. Rhodes showed the kind of deep dramatic nuance and power that can help him own the role of tortured military man, John Stewart.
Kyle Rayner: Scream Queens star Glenn Powell has been a standout on the show, and even though he plays the sort of obnoxious guy who you might think of as a great Guy Gardner (it would work), it was his role as good-natured John Glenn in Hidden Figures that revealed the sensitivity and optimism of a great Kyle Rayner.
Casting Pick: Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy)
Fans have been after this one for a long time - but since it's one of the better fan casting ideas out there, we're endorsing it.
Sons of Anarchy leading man Charlie Hunnam is still looking for a big breakout movie role (sorry, Pacific Rim and King Arthur weren't it...), and playing the DC Extended Universe version of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen is a perfect launchpad. The biggest roadblock has been Hunnam himself; but with the flop of King Arthur, he's suddenly more open to joining the DCEU.
Hunnam does well when he can swagger around the screen looking tough and kicking ass (See: SoA), and Oliver Queen is a character who definitely fits that mold. The fanbase is already there, thanks to Stephen Amell's Green Arrow TV series, so this would be an easy win for Hunnam, DC fans, and the DCEU.
Casting Pick: Armie Hammer
This is a pick that this writer has been endorsing for a long time - but it's finally catching on!
Like Hunnam, Lone Ranger star Armie Hammer has just been waiting for a real breakout role to bring him to the next level. Hammer has the classic Hollywood square jaw, but also some boyish charm, which is perfect for Shazam, a mystical superman whose alter-ego is a (pre-)teen boy.
Hammer would capture both the superhero physique and childlike wonder of Shazam; he would also look good onscreen facing off against Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam. With Shazam poised to jump into production soon, this is casting that can happen quickly.
Casting Pick: Ron Perlman
Swamp Thing will be one of the supernatural-themed heroes we meet in the Justice League Dark movie, and we can't think of anyone better to play the nature-based monster than expert monster superhero actor, Ron Perlman.
Swamp Thing (and his alter-ego Dr. Alec Holland) has the perfect temperament for Perlman's gruff, tough (but lovable) persona, and having the actor involved would definitely boost the character's visibility with mainstream audiences (Sons of Anarchy fans) and hardcore genre geeks (Hellboy fans) alike.
Batwoman & The Question
Casting Picks: Natalie Dormer and Monica Raymund
The DCEU likes to diversify, and will start to give its female heroes the spotlight when Wonder Woman hits theaters in June. A Gotham City Sirens movie will give the DCEU bad girls a place to shine (led by Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn), but a lesbian superhero couple would definitely be a new milestone.
In the 2000s we got a new Batwoman, Kate Kane, and former Gotham City Police detective Renee Montoya became a new version of the conspiracy theorist detective hero known as The Question. The two also formed a romantic relationship.
There's no better pick we can think of for the badass and tough Kate Kane than Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer; as the lesser-known Renee Montoya/Question, Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund is talented dead-ringer for Montoya.
This is the kind of progressive move that would look good for the DCEU!
Casting Pick: Matt Ryan
The darker, supernatural elements of the DCEU introduced in Suicide Squad are going to get a lot more attention in the upcoming Justice League Dark film, and in order to help ground those fantastical elements, we need a great bridge character. Who better than John Constantine, who has already found moderate success on the big and small screens.
It's almost ironic, but the Constantine movie and TV projects have both ended with dedicated cult-followings (see what I did there?). While the character hasn't found blockbuster success by rolling solo, as part of a Justice League Dark team, he could really find a niche as a strong ensemble player.
For casting Constantine, there's not other pick than Matt Ryan, the UK actor who led the TV series. Fans were heartbroken when Ryan's series didn't get a second season - in fact, their heartbreak was so loud and constant that DC brought the actor back to play the character in the recent Justice League Dark animated film.
Since Ryan wouldn't have to headline the live-action film on his own (not enough star power), he could easily fit into the casting lineup. The fans would go nuts.
More DC Movie News
Justice League: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.