The DC movie universe is in a state of flux. The new bosses of DC Studios — James Gunn and Peter Safran — have just announced a huge slate of new movies and shows that will wipe the slate clean, and launch the new DCU under the banner Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters.
The modern era of the DC Comics movie universe launched in 2013 with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. From its very first entry, the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) made waves with bold decisions and dark choices.
With more controversial movies released within a two year period (Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League) than the MCU managed in a decade, the DCEU had a hard time staying on course. Gunn and Safran were recruited to lead a rebirth and they've already made a huge impact to the studio's slate.
Read more: Every upcoming MCU movie and TV show
So, there’s plenty of hope in the DC’s future. But is it enough to compete with Marvel?
Let’s examine every single entry scheduled for release — as well as some that are yet to secure a premiere date — to see if we can find an answer.
Blue Beetle (18 August, 2023)
Director Angel Manuel Soto will bring the Jaime Reyes incarnation of the (relatively obscure) Blue Beetle character to the big screen for the first time. Beetle is a superhero who utilises the power of a sacred scarab (which transforms into a magic suit for teenage Reyes) to fight crime.
Read more: Everything we know about Blue Beetle
The film's synopsis explains the plot: "Recent college grad Jaime Reyes (Xolo Mariduena) returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it.
As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab.
"When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armour capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Super Hero Blue Beetle."
We imagine it’ll be somewhere between Iron Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Xolo Maridueña (aka Miguel from Cobra Kai) will bring the character to life. Originally scheduled to go straight to HBO Max, Blue Beetle will also now hit theatres.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (25 December, 2023)
James Wan will don his scuba gear once again (what do you mean the water’s all CGI?) to direct Jason Momoa’s brilliant Aquaman in the follow-up to his 2018 smash-hit original.
The bad dudes will also be back. Patrick Wilson’s Orm Marius / Ocean Master, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s David Kane / Black Manta are set to return, as will — presumably — Amber Heard’s Mera.
The plot’s currently buried in Davy Jones’ locker, and the film has faced a number of delays.
Creature Commandos (TBA)
James Gunn has written this seven-part animated series and it's already in production. The comic incarnation was a team of classic monsters assembled into a team to fight nazis.
The cast has yet to be announced, but the studio plans to cast actors to voice their parts as well as play them in live action should they cross over to the big screen. The seven main characters are Rick Flag Sr., Nina Mazursky, Dr. Phosphorus, Eric Frankenstein, G.I. Robot, and Weasel. Gunn also confirmed that the lead character will be The Bride of Frankenstein. Viola Davis' Amanda Waller will also feature.
Following directly from Peacemaker’s season one cliffhanger, James Gunn’s untitled Amanda Waller series is said to be a much more serious affair.
The already perfectly cast Viola Davis (who’ll also executive produce) will reprise her role from Suicide Squad and The Suicide Squad for the series.
It will be written by Christal Henry (Watchmen) and Jeremy Carver (Doom Patrol).
"This is also going to you know have some of the team Peacemaker and is the regulars on the show," says Gunn. "This basically follows up Peacemaker. We have two great creatives working on it. Christal Henry, who is a writer on Watchmen and Jeremy Carver who created Doom Patrol have this incredibly marvelous story worked out that I think is really fantastic and HBO loves, and so they're you know, putting this all together."
Peacemaker season 2 (TBA)
HBO Max’s enormously successful Peacemaker series was renewed for a second season in February 2022, with James Gunn set to write and direct every single episode (he directed every episode of season one).
With the Amanda Waller series forming a bridge to Peacemaker’s second season, expect a significant crossover between the two The Suicide Squad spin-offs.
Gunn confirmed on Twitter, that Waller would be out first, with S2 of Peacemaker following after.
Joker: Folie a deux (4 October, 2024)
Existing in another DC universe entirely — DC Elseworlds — Todd Phillips' Joker movie was a runaway hit for DC in 2019, so a sequel was guaranteed to follow.
Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix insisted the movie had been intended as a standalone without links to The Batman or the wider DCEU, and its vague 1970s setting helped put some time and distance between other incarnations of the character. All that being said, a sequel was confirmed by Phillips in June, 2022.
Read more: Joker sequel confirmed
The director shared a picture of a script to Instagram, as well as another with star of the original, Joaquin Phoenix, reading it.
The screenplay is titled Joker: Folie a deux, the French referencing a medical term relating to a mental disorder which affects two or more people. Written by Phillips and Scott Silver, who also helped pen Joker, the script is dated May 18 2022.
Lady Gaga will also appear in the film as Harley Quinn.
Superman: Legacy (11 July, 2025)
James Gunn is rebooting Superman with a new take on the Man of Steel, scheduled to be released in 2025. The Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker is writing the script, and will direct too.
“It’s not an origin story,” Safran said. “It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.”
Superman: Legacy will be the official start of the new DCU.
Greg Berlanti's long-gestating Green Lantern series has been scrapped entirely and replaced with this TV series which is described as being 'in the vein of True Detective'.
It will feature two Green Lanterns — Hal Jordan and John Stewart — and is set on Earth. “This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV,” says Safran.
"These guys are basically, you know, super cops on precinct Earth.”
The Authority (TBA)
Previously released under the Wildstorm comics imprint, this movie will bring the rogue heroes into the DCU. Created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, and also written by Mark Millar and Grant Morrison, The Authority are a superhero team who resort to extreme measures to protect the Earth,
“One of the things of the DCU is that it’s not just a story of heroes and villains,” said Gunn. “Not every film and TV show is going to be about good guy versus bad guy, giant things from the sky come and good guy wins. There are white hats, black hats and gray hats.”
Paradise Lost (TBA)
This HBO Max series will return to the world of Wonder Woman for a Game of Thrones style drama set on the island of Themyscira, the birthplace of Diana Prince. Set before the events of the Wonder Woman films, you can expect political power plays, back-stabbing, intrigue, and an all-female cast.
Wonder Woman star Robin Wright told Yahoo she was keen to be involved in the series, saying: "I kinda feel like I was the leader of an Amazon tribe in my past life. I haven't received that call [about Paradise Lost] yet. Maybe I'm too old!"
The Brave and the Bold (TBA)
The DCU will introduce its own take on the Dark Knight, separate from Robert Pattinson's version, with The Brave and the Bold, as well as Robin in the shape of Damian Wayne.
Damian is the son of Batman, first introduced in Grant Morrison's Batman run from 2006, and he's described by Gunn as "a little son of a bitch.”
“It’s a very strange father-and-son story.”
The Batman Part II (3 October, 2025)
After the rip-roaring success of Matt Reeves' Dark Knight reboot ($768m and counting) a sequel to The Batman was as inevitable as the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents.
It was announced at CinemaCon 2022 Robert Pattinson would don the cowl and cape again to return as the defender of Gotham, with Reeves also back to write and direct the sequel. No other cast members have been confirmed so far, but those expecting Barry Keoghan's Joker to turn up may be disappointed.
“It’s not an Easter egg scene,” Reeves told Variety after the release of the film. “It’s not one of those end credits Marvel or DC scenes where it’s going, like, ‘Hey, here’s the next movie!’ In fact, I have no idea when or if we would return to that character in the movies.”
Not a part of the DCU, Reeves' Batman series is part of the DC Elseworlds banner alongside Todd Phillip's Joker films and — randomly — Teen Titans Go!
“2025 is going to be a very big year for DC,” said studio exec Safran. “Superman and Batman within the same year.”
One character we do know will return is Colin Farrell's Penguin...
The Penguin series (TBA)
Matt Reeves will expand his vision of Gotham in a spin-off series based on Farrell's Penguin, which will chart his rise to power, inspired by Scarface and The Long Good Friday.
Reeves, who is exec producing, says we'll see this HBO Max spin-off series before we see The Batman 2.
Arkham Asylum series (TBA)
A procedural The Batman spin-off set in the Gotham City PD about a corrupt cop was announced in July 2022 for HBO Max, with Boardwalk Empire's Terence Winter set to write and act as showrunner.
Read more: Meet the new Joker
However, after the release of The Batman it was revealed that this had been canned in favour of a series about Arkham Asylum, based on an idea from Matt Reeves. "It’s like a horror movie or a haunted house that is Arkham,” Reeves told Variety about the series.
Booster Gold (TBA)
Another HBO Max series, Booster Gold is centred on a cult DC character who is "a loser from the future who uses basic future technology to come back to today and pretend to be a superhero.”
Gunn said it is about "imposter syndrome as supehero".
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (TBA)
Sasha Calle will make her debut as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl in The Flash, and a solo movie was set to follow.
However, in 2023 James Gunn announced a new Supergirl movie inspired by Tom King's recent miniseries, and it's not yet clear if Calle is still involved.
Gunn explained Woman of Tomorrow: “We will see the difference between Superman, who was sent to Earth and raised by loving parents from the time he was an infant, versus Supergirl, raised on a rock, a chip off of Krypton, and who watched everyone around her die and be killed in terrible ways for the first 14 years of her life and then come to Earth. She is much more hard-core and not the Supergirl we’re used to.”
Swamp Thing (TBA)
Inspired by the long-running DC character, Swamp Thing promises to be a horror-influenced origin story for the cult anti-hero. It's also been mooted as the final part of the DCU's Gods and Monsters phase.
Untitled Val-Zod series (TBA)
Originally developed as a feature starring Michael B Jordan, the Val-Zod Superman project is instead being developed as a limited series for HBO Max. In whatever final form it takes, the project will follow the DC multiverse’s African American Superman Val-Zod.
Darnell Metayer and Josh Peters are writing the scripts, with Michael B Jordan producing (he’ll also still star, if his schedule allows).
Batman: Caped Crusader (TBA)
Batman: Caped Crusader is an upcoming animated project that will take its cues and reportedly build upon the Dark Knight lore previously established in the fan-favourite show Batman: The Animated Series.
Devised by Bruce Timm and starring the late, long-time Bruce Wayne/Batman voice artist Kevin Conroy, this popular series aired 85 episodes on Fox Kids between 1992 and 1995.
Under the guidance of J.J. Abrams and The Batman helmer Matt Reeves, Batman: Caped Crusader was recently picked up for a two-season order by Amazon after it was previously shelved by HBO Max.
Described as “a reimagining of the Batman mythology through [a] visionary lens,” this new animated adventure will welcome Timm back to the fold who will join Abrams and Reeves to deliver executive producer duties.
While an official debut date is still unconfirmed, an early synopsis of what’s in store teases something that’s sure to be a real treat for those who grew up with Batman: The Animated Series.
“This powerful creative partnership will once again reinvent Batman and his iconic rogue’s gallery with sophisticated storytelling, nuanced characters and intense action sequences all set in a visually striking world.”
As of writing, no voice stars have been announced.
Constantine 2 (TBA)
After years of fan demand, the creative team behind Keanu Reeves' 2005 supernatural DC movie are reuniting for a sequel. Akiva Goldsman is back to write the script with Francis Lawrence also attached to direct.
Reeves has admitted to pestering Warner Bros. execs 'every year' until the sequel was put into development.
"I don't know if it was unfinished business but it was definitely a role that I loved," he told Total Film. "And I thought that Francis Lawrence, the director, did such amazing work. I loved playing that character, and I really enjoyed the film.
"I kept asking almost every year. I'd be like, 'Can I please?' [and] they'd be like, 'No, no!'"
"It's almost like an open playground that we can hopefully cook something up and play in, and I guess get out of the playground and prepare a meal," Reeves added.
"But I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully it can happen. You don't know how these things go. But I'm definitely going to try my darndest to try and realise that dream."
Wonder Woman 3 (TBA)
Despite being confirmed immediately after the release of Wonder Woman 1984, Wonder Woman 3 soon shifted into limbo after director Patty Jenkins left the project shortly before Gunn’s DC take over was announced.
For a while, it was unclear just how Gal Gadot’s Amazonian Queen fit into Gunn and his partner Peter Safran’s new vision until Wonder Woman herself shared some positive news.
Speaking to ComicBook.com, Gadot assured fans that “I love portraying Wonder Woman. It’s so close and dear to my heart,” before dropping the news that “From what I heard from James and from Peter is that we’re gonna develop a ‘Wonder Woman 3’ together.”
As for what her Gunn colab will entail or whether Jenkins or her Wonder Woman co-star Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor will join her in the new DCEU - we’ll all have to wait and see…
Untitled John Constantine series (STATUS UNKNOWN)
Executive produced by JJ Abrams and written by Guy Bolton, this new HBO Max series would have seen John Constantine make his DCEU debut, following the non-canon Keanu Reeves film, and the 2014 series, Constantine, starring Matt Ryan.
The status of JJ Abrams' slate of DC projects is currently unknown following the cancellation of Justice Leak Dark at HBO Max.
Madame X (STATUS UNKNOWN)
Another upcoming JJ Abrams HBO Max series, Madame X would follow the adventures of Madame Xanadu, a magical mystic with ties to Arthurian legend. But why is Madame X getting her own show?
All will become clear momentarily, but first…
Zatanna (STATUS UNKNOWN)
You wait for one JJ Abrams led project about a magical lady, and two come along at once. Zatanna was to follow the titular superhero stage magician (who does actual magic), who has previously appeared in live action on the Smallville TV show (played by Serinda Swan).
Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) was writing the script, and Abrams was to produce.
It’s currently planned as a movie, but that might change, because it seemed to fit in quite nicely with Abrams’ other upcoming small screen project…
Justice League Dark (CANCELLED)
Developed as a feature way back in 2013 by Guillermo del Toro, Justice League Dark was being retooled as an HBO Max series, which would have been overseen by Abrams. This was officially cancelled as of February 2023.
The Justice League Dark is a superhero team led by John Constantine, that deals with magical threats to the universe. The original line-up also featured — you’ve guessed it — Madame X and Zatanna, as well as Deadman, and Shade: The Changing Man.
The plan appeared to be to release several solo series on HBO Max before the team-up show, similar to what Netflix did with its Defenders property.
Currently on the shelf after being lined up for a 2022 release direct to HBO Max, Batgirl is one of the more intriguing entries on the DCEU’s docket. Leslie Grace will star as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, alongside Zack Snyder’s choice for Commissioner Gordon, J. K. Simmons. Michael Keaton was also set to appear as Bruce Wayne/Batman,