According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has shifted its DC Comics film slate a bit. First off, Wonder Woman, which was previously set for June 23, 2017, has been moved up a couple weeks to a new June 2, 2017 date. Why the shift? Likely to move it out of the crosshairs of Paramount’s Transformers 5 and also push away from Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle as well. Of course this pits it directly against Bad Boys 3, but only assuming that date holds for the latter. After all, it has yet to shoot and Will Smith (who is expected to star) has packed schedule for the next year. Odds are, Bad Boys 3 will bounce off to a 2018 date, leaving Princess Diana no adult competition that weekend.
In addition to the small shift in Wonder Woman‘s date, the studio has announced two further films for their DC slate. As-yet-undetermined films have now been dated for October 5, 2018 and November 1, 2019. Before we get into what these films may or may not be, let’s take a look at the existing DC film slate…
August 5, 2016 – SUICIDE SQUAD (dir. David Ayer)
June 2, 2017 – WONDER WOMAN (dir. Patty Jenkins)
November 17, 2017 – JUSTICE LEAGUE: PART ONE (dir. Zack Snyder)
March 16, 2018 – THE FLASH (dir. Seth Grahame-Smith)
July 27, 2018 – AQUAMAN (dir. James Wan)
October 5, 2018 – Undetermined Film
April 5, 2019 – SHAZAM
June 14, 2019 – JUSTICE LEAGUE: PART TWO (dir. Zack Snyder)
November 1, 2019 – Undetermined Film
April 3, 2020 – CYBORG
June 19, 2020 – GREEN LANTERN CORPS.
So what are these two new films that have been added to the above slate? Many are already speculating that one of them will turn out to be the oft-discussed potential solo Batman film that Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns have reportedly been working on. While that’s always a possibility, I sincerely doubt it will happen before we see both Justice League films grace the screen.
For one, you have to remember that Affleck appears to have partially accepted his Batman gig on the understanding that he get to make his own films in between caped adventures. His next directorial effort, Live By Night, has already been shot and is slated to arrive in theaters next year. Chances are high that he intends to slot another directorial outing in between both Justice League films, leaving the prospect of also squeezing a solo Batman movie in there highly unlikely.
There’s also the fact that his deal was only for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the two Justice League films. Anything he does beyond that (i.e. his appearance in Suicide Squad) has to be separately negotiated. Given the mixed reaction to Batman v Superman, it isn’t hard to believe that he might be hesitant to add more on top of his still-hefty workload as Batman. Anything could happen at this point, but it seems far likelier at this stage that a solo Batman film starring Ben Affleck will not arrive until 2020 or later.
So what are those two films? Chances are that they are both films we’ve talked about here recently that are currently being developed. I’d almost be willing to bet money that the above new 2018 date will be for Suicide Squad 2. Warner Bros. already seemed to be in love with David Ayer’s first supervillain-filled outing late last year and now that BvS has stumbled, they are looking towards this August with a lot of hope in their eyes.
Development on a sequel has already begun and should the first one prove successful, it’s full steam ahead on the follow-up. Ayer and Smith will be shooting the fantasy cop thriller Bright for Netflix this fall, but are currently expected to step back into the DC world early next year. Nothing is official as of yet, but if all goes well, Suicide Squad 2 will be shooting in early 2017 and that October 2018 date has “SKWAD” written all over it.
The November 2019 date is less certain in terms of prospective projects, but barring holding it for another sequel or spin-off, my money is on Dark Universe (aka Justice League Dark). The horror-centric superhero team project roared back to life months ago when producer Scott Rudin set his sights on it upon his arrival at Warner Bros. It has since seen at least one rewrite and a handful of directors have been courted for the project, with Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe) as the latest top contender. Assuming development has steadily continued, November 1st would be a good date for a horror-tinged superhero outing; positioning it not only on Halloween weekend, but also at the start of the end of year blockbuster push.
More than anything, however, I find it interesting that Warner Bros. is doubling down on their slate now. Many have expected them to start pushing some of these films back after Batman v Superman has underperformed so far, but that’s clearly not what they have in mind. For better or worse, they are still barreling forward and, like Marvel, are now looking to push out three films a year in the near future.
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