DC Updates: Batman villain spinoffs, J.J. Abrams’ Superman & more!
DC Films got a tough start out the gate with rocky receptions and lackluster box office returns but after the last few hits, they’ve caught their stride and are already looking to the future with plans to craft spin-offs to the upcoming The Batman, finally getting cameras rolling on The Flash and meetings with J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and Michael B. Jordan (Creed) for a new Superman film, according to Variety.
Following taking over DC Films as President last year, New Line Executive Walter Hamada has been credited for the new successful path the films have found since struggling to get off the ground with Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Insiders state Hamada has taken on a Kevin Feige-type role in keeping an eye on the creative development of all films and reigning in budgets on the films to ensure should they prove lackluster at the box office they won’t cost the studio money as with the previous installments in the franchise.
Thanks to Hamada and Warner Bros. Film Chief Toby Emmerich, the studio has found more comfortability with crafting comic book adaptations for adults, with Joker not only being the first to land an R-rating but also reaching the milestone of the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time with over $1 billion earned thus far at the box office. Insiders report that this won’t be the end for the rating either as Birds of Prey is expected to get the rating, though aiming for a more humorous and spirited tone, and that James Gunn’s upcoming Suicide Squad sequel/soft reboot is also expected to reach those heights.
On the subject of the Batman-connected films, there is also chatter that the two studios are exploring the possibility of spinning off more of The Dark Knight’s villains into more solo films. Multiple scenes are reportedly going to be set in Arkham Asylum and should the film prove to be successful, the two will look into bringing the characters back, with key cast members in both The Batman and Birds of Prey having contract options to appear in sequels and standalone films.
While a path has been laid out for the Batman universe, Superman is still proving to be a major struggle for the studio, with previous star Henry Cavill (The Witcher) recently stating he hasn’t left the role just yet. However, Warner Bros. has reportedly had discussions with J.J. Abrams, whose banner Bad Company recently signed a first-look with the studio, to craft a new solo film for the Man of Steel and that Jordan has even pitched his own vision for the role. However, chances seem low for the Creed star to take over the character as a new film isn’t expected to hit theaters before 2023 and Jordan doesn’t want to commit to the project as his schedule is already jam-packed and it won’t shoot for years.
In addition to struggling to find the next move for Superman, the studio is also looking to try and revisit characters that may have failed previously on the big screen. The most notable being the long-in-development Green Lantern Corps, which is reportedly still a priority for the studio despite 2011’s Ryan Reynolds-starring outing proving to be a commercial disaster. However, Geoff Johns is set to turn in a script for Corps at the end of the year and it may be presented to either Abrams or Greg Berlanti, who has proven to be a major talent for Warner Bros. in the TV world and is currently teaming with Johns for a Green Lantern series.
The studios also have faith that Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts) can once again deliver as The Flash and that it can begin shooting in 2021, as Andy Muschietti (It) signed on to direct and Christina Hodson (Bumblebee) has signed on to pen the screenplay. Hodson will also go on to craft the screenplay for Batgirl, which was previously set to be written and directed by Joss Whedon (The Avengers) before he dropped out over difficulties finding a way to bring the character to life. Filming is not expected to begin shooting until 2021 once Miller has wrapped filming on Fantastic Beasts 3.
While DC also look to keep the success of Aquaman going with the horror-tinged spin-off The Trench, the hunt is still on for that film’s director while a sequel to the original is taking shape quickly and is set to have Jason Momoa in front of the camera and James Wan behind it and expected to begin shooting in early 2021.