DC might be playing second fiddle to Marvel on the feature film side while dominating the TV airwaves, but that does not mean that there is not plenty to be excited about if you are a fan of DC's live-action or animated movies.
Over the course of the next two calendar years, DC will release not just more TV shows than most fans can even count, but at present, at least four live-action feature films and four animated movies as well.
The DC Universe animated features, which generally come out a few times a year, are only scheduled through 2019, but that is enough to account for four movies...while DC's live-action offerings will continue to be pretty eccentric on the heels of Aquaman's success, with some less-recognizable brands being represented on the big screen...and even the ones who are familiar to casual fans will be spun in a different way.
What's on the calendar for DC and Warner Bros.? Well, we've got you covered...!
Reign of the Supermen
Coming up at the end of the month is Reign of the Supermen, which will be available on VOD platforms, the DC Universe app, DVD, and Blu-ray.
The movie is the second in a two-part animated mega-story which began with last year's The Death of Superman, and deals with not only the reactions that the world has to the loss of the Man of Steel following his fatal battle with Doomsday but also the arrival of four new "Supermen" who are all vying to take his place.
Based on the best-selling comics story from 1993, Reign of the Supermen will also get a limited theatrical release as well as bicoastal premieres in New York and Los Angeles.prevnext
Shazam! is directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Zachary Levi (Shazam), Mark Strong (Dr. Thaddeus Sivana), Djimon Hounsou (The Wizard), Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy Freeman), Asher Angel (Billy Batson), Grace Fulton (Mary Bromfield), Ross Butler, Adam Brody, and Michelle Borth.
You can view the official synopsis for Shazam! below.
"We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he'll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong)."
Shazam! will be released on April 5th, 2019.prevnext
Justice League vs. the Fatal Five
The Justice League will face a group of supervillains with the power to rival even the world's greatest superheroes in Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, a DC Universe Original Movie releasing in the spring of 2019.
Announced during San Diego Comic-Con, the animated movie will pit the Justice League again the Fatal Five, a group of villains more closely associated with the Legion of Super-Heroes.
The Fatal Five have appeared in episodes of Justice League Unlimited and the Legion of Superheroes animated series, but with the Legion missing from DC Comics' publishing line, the villainous fivesome haven't been seen in some time, with the exception of Emerald Empress, who was featured in the recent Justice League vs. Suicide Squad event series.
The Fatal Five were created by Jim Shooter in 1967 and first appeared in Adventure Comics #352. The original members are:
- Tharok, a small-time crook turned super-genius thanks to cybernetic implants installed after a robbery job literally blows up in his face.
- The Emerald Empress, who wields the immense power of the Emerald Eye of Ekron.
- Validus, the child of two founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, whom Darkseid kidnapped, sent backward in time and transformed into a monstrous being with a mind simply enough to be easily controlled by Emerald Empress mind-influencing abilities.
- Mano, who has an anti-matter touch and is considered one of the greatest murderers in the galaxy.
- The Persuader, who wields an atomic ax capable of cutting through anything.
DC Comics fans will likely wonder of Justice League vs. The Fatal Five could stealthily introduce the Legion of Super-Heroes into the continuity of the DC Universe Original Movies. The team was not mentioned in the announcement, so fans will just have to wait and see for now.
Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is one of four new DC Universe Original Movies scheduled for release in 2019, beginning with Reign of the Supermen. Each of the movies will simultaneously be released on the DC Universe app.prevnext
If the release pattern for DC Universe original animated movies holds, Batman: Hush will likely be out in either July or August, although the film is technically not dated at this stage.
While a lot of feature films are "undated" only because they are nowhere near completion yet, and therefore don't make this list even if they were originally supposed to come in the next couple of years, the DC Universe animated films are a bit of a different animal: they have been produced with such consistency that there is no reason to believe they will miss their target dates, and their dates are routinely kept under wraps until the last minute.
Batman: Hush will adapt the fan-favorite storyline by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, about one of Bruce Wayne's childhood friends who becomes a supervillain obsessed with him.
Here's the official synopsis for DC's collected edition of the comics, which has become one of their most evergreen sellers in recent years:
The epic crime thriller that rejuvenated The Caped Crusader is now available in one place as a trade paperback! In this story of murder, mystery and romance, Batman sets out on a simple mission to discover the identity of the mysterious villain wreaking havoc in his life known as Hush. But Batman ends up facing possibly the most intense case of his life as secrets from his past flood into the present, and the most notorious villains to ever haunt Gotham City's street attack simultaneously! Guest-starring The Dark Knight's greatest allies and enemies, this collection features BATMAN #608-619 as well as the 6-page segment from Wizard #0 and a 2-page origin story that originally appeared at dccomics.com. From best-selling writer Jeph Loeb (SUPERMAN/BATMAN, TV's Heroes) and superstar artist Jim Lee (SUPERMAN, X-Men) comes the long-awaited collection!prevnext
With Wonder Woman moved to 2020, the next big theatrical release for DC following Aquaman and Shazam! will be Joker, a movie about the roots of Batman's arch-nemesis.
The movie, made inexpensively under the lens of director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and featuring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, is a grimy, '80s-set origin story that has drawn comparisons to Taxi Driver, a movie directed by Joker producer Martin Scorcese.
While some people are quick to call Joker a superhero film, Phoenix stressed caution and said it's anything but.
"I wouldn't quite classify this as like any genre," Phoenix said in a recent interview with Collider. "I wouldn't say it's a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more then anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that's exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn't, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that's what Todd sees appealing about this idea."
Some people have questioned the need for a Joker spinoff movie, or even why Phoenix would agree to fulfill such a role. But the actor is simply following in the footsteps of legends such as Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill.
"I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I'm gonna work on, always." Phoenix added. "So, in some ways, the process, which is obviously reading a script and meeting a filmmaker and then continuing to have meetings and discussions with Todd [Phillips]. I think he's very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he's trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project. It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the f-cking sh-t out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most."
Joker premieres in theaters on October 4, 2019.prevnext
Wonder Woman: Bloodlines
While Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, an original story featuring Diana in a leading role, was announced at the same time as Hush and Fatal Five, this one may end up pushed to 2020.
We are going to stress "may" here. There is nothing official to suggest that yet.
First of all, the DC Universe animated movies have a long tradition of not announcing release dates until the previous movie has already been released, so it would be at least this spring before we got a glimpse at a release date for Hush or Bloodlines.
Beyond that, though, Warner Bros. likely is releasing a second Wonder Woman animated movie to tie in with the release of Wonder Woman 1984, and so it is possible that pushing the release date of 84 back to 2020 could result in this movie getting a 2020 date, as well.
This would also make sense, because the DC Universe animated features have been coming out three times a year -- once in January (that would be Reign of the Supermen in this case), once in March (a likely date for Justice League vs. the Fatal Five), and once in the summer, either July or August (Batman: Hush). Moving this film to 2020 would keep that pattern in place as well as giving it a more organic tie to the Wonder Woman sequel.prevnext
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Little is known yet about the long-awaited Birds of Prey movie (officially titled Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)), but a new report from Revenge of the Fans reveals some general plot points for the upcoming DC Films venture, which will see Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain teaming up against Black Mask.
Potential spoilers for Birds of Prey below!
According to the report, each of the film's female heroes will be in their own places at the beginning of the film, which will be a combination of new and established DC Comics lore. Canary will be established as a singer who fights crime at night, while Huntress will be a former killer employed by Black Mask, who decides to hunt him down after learning that he killed her family. The pair's crime-fighting body count will put them in the crosshairs of Renee, while Harley will enter the group while trying to move on from The Joker.
Cassandra will apparently be the catalyst that will bring the group together, after Black Mask kidnaps her to become his next assassin. The report compares Cassandra's role to that of X-23's in Logan, with her speaking very little dialogue.
The report says that the Birds of Prey will find a way to rescue Cassandra before the film's third act, which will see the team all working together to fight Black Mask's men. It also alleges that an "epic cameo" is rumored to appear in the film, although there's no telling exactly who that could be.
Birds of Prey will be directed by Cathy Yan, with a script from Bumblebee's Christina Hodson. The film is expected to be an R-rated entry into the DC Extended Universe pantheon, and will be in theaters on February 7, 2020.prevnext
Wonder Woman 1984
Patty Jenkins will return to direct a sequel to Wonder Woman, by far DC's biggest critical hit and one that is generally beloved by the fandom in a way few other films have been since The Dark Knight.
Little is know about the specifics of the plot, although there are widespread reports that it will deal with the Cold War which, given its being set in the mid-'80s, makes sense.
Wonder Woman 1984 will show Gadot's Diana Prince in a new kind of adventure, which will pit her against Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). Chris Pine will also return as the previously-dead Steve Trevor, with Pedro Pascal rumored to be playing Maxwell Lord.
"It's not a sequel, it's its own story," Gadot teased during the film's San Diego Comic-Con panel. "It's own chapter, a whole new movie. The bar is very high, but our aspirations are even higher. so we just give it everything that we have and hoping what we bring you guys will love."
"I never want to do more of everything for the wrong reason, and i was very thoughtful of that when working on the second one," Jenkins revealed. "I don't even want to go that place in my head, like how do you keep it going etc, etc. It's not more of anything though it is evocative of what made it great the first time."
"The thing that I love most about Wonder Woman is that I feel she is us more than other superheroes," Jenkins added. "People find themselves in Wonder Woman and the Wonder Woman in us. She made each of us believe in the Wonder Woman in us."
The film will be in theaters on June 5, 2020.prev