With the success of Wonder Woman in theaters earlier this year, hopes were high for another cinematic success featuring the real-life version of the “Super Friends” in last weekend’s latest attempt at box office gold, Justice League. But what DC Comics movies are planned now, after Justice League had a fairly mediocre reception?
Editor’s note: This story contains a few Justice League spoliers. Continue at your own risk!
According to the world’s new litmus test of whether a movie is successful or not — Rotten Tomatoes — Batman and friends have stumbled a bit. As a person heavily into superheroes (Marvel and DC … I’m bi), I went into Justice League with zero expectations and a “show me what you’ve got” attitude.
I was not disappointed.
This movie is not going to change your life, but if you want to watch Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman and *spoiler alert* Superman flying around and kicking ass while trading quips, you’re in for a treat. But the question remains: Will the film’s disappointing domestic opening have any influence on future shared Warner Bros./DC Universe movie projects? What will the next Justice League film look like?
Here’s what we know: Aquaman is already well into production, having finished its principal photography, with a 2018 release date, making it next up in the slate of DC Comics movies. Sex on wheels star Jason Momoa will be reprising his role as the titular character.
In Justice League we learned that Aquaman is the son of Queen Atlanna, but judging by his interaction with Mera (Aquaman’s comic book wife, played by the beautiful Amber Heard), he’s never been to Atlantis. I imagine the Aquaman movie is going to be a “prodigal son returns” story meets Game of Thrones. Expect plenty of flashbacks to Aquaman’s origins, since Nicole Kidman is playing the aforementioned Queen Atlanna.
As an Aquaman fanboy, I’m finding it hard to manage my expectations.
Slated next is Shazam, starring Zachary Levi and Asher Angel in 2019. For those of you not in the know, the comic book version goes like this: Billy Batson (Angel) is an orphan empowered by the wizard Shazam. When Billy says the wizard’s name (SHAZAM!) he is transformed into an adult (Levi) and is given Superman-level powers. These include the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.
After Justice League and Wonder Woman, we know the Old Gods are real, and we got to see Zeus, Artemis and Hercules in action during the Justice League flashback battle. They looked pretty awesome, so hopefully some of that fun carries through into the Shazam production. It should also be mentioned that the internet is filled to the gills with rumors about Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson playing Shazam’s arch-villain, Black Adam. It has also been rumored Shazam will be split into two movies, focusing on Shazam and Black Adam separately.
Later in 2019, potentially two years after Justice League this winter, we should also get Wonder Woman II, one of the most anticipated projects in the DC Comics movies slate. Very little is known about this production other than Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins will both return, trying to recreate the lightning in a bottle that was the original film. Jenkins told Entertainment Weekly the sequel will take place in America, and Screen Rant has reported that it would be another historical adventure, possibly taking place during the Cold War. Personally I have my fingers crossed for arch-nemesis Cheetah to make an appearance. Wonder Woman needs a strong female physical threat.
Next, in 2020, is Cyborg. I was indifferent to this character in the comics, but I really liked Ray Fisher’s portrayal of reluctant hero Victor Stone in Justice League. In the cinematic universe we know that Victor’s body was mostly destroyed in a lab accident that also took his mother’s life. His scientist father, using Mother Box technology, built him his constantly evolving, cyborg body. The Mother Box hails from comic legend Jack Kirby’s “4th World,” which gave us Darkseid (the DC Comics version of Thanos) and The New Gods, both of which are mentioned by Steppenwolf in Justice League.
I was really hoping there would be strong tie-ins to the 4th World in the Cyborg movie, but Fisher has stated the story will be intimate, focusing on the character, so the audience doesn’t wonder why the rest of the Justice League doesn’t show up for battle.
Last we have Green Lantern Corps, also slated for 2020. During the flashback battle in Justice League we’re given a tease of a very alien Corps member who is killed, and we see his/her ring fly off looking for a replacement.
As far as the Green Lantern Corps movie goes, David S. Goyer and Justin Rhodes were hired to co-write the screenplay based on a story draft by Goyer and Geoff Johns; the former will also be involved as a producer. There are no casting announcements just yet, but the studio is calling it “Lethal Weapon in space,” so I’m expecting a Hal Jordan / John Stewart buddy action movie … with lasers.