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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

4 DC Films That Could Join Aquaman & Flash in 2018

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Edited by Robert Beach

We’re three movies deep into what’s being called the DC Entertainment Universe. So far none of those entries have managed above “passable,” but they’ve all scored profit, so we’re going to be getting more of these films regardless. However, there might be some hope left for the DCEU as we blaze forward to the end of the decade. Most of the problems with the entries so far come from the meddling of the studio and directors who hold the material in general contempt. And yet, upcoming movies like Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman seem to be helmed by people with real energy for the material. 

There’s still some ambiguity awaiting us, and that’s where I’m going to focus today, specifically on what’s happening with one of DC’s unclaimed movie slots. We know that DC will be releasing a film on October 5, 2018, after Aquaman but before Shazam, but we have no idea what that movie is. Thankfully, DC has a ton of projects in the works that could fit that slot. With that in mind, here are four DC movies we might see in 2018. 

If you had asked me about 2018’s mystery movie a week ago, I actually wouldn’t have guessed this. A lot can change in a week.  Most specifically, in that time Ben Affleck tweeted a video of Deathstroke test footage that sent the Internet into meltdown, Affleck confirmed Deathstroke is going to have a role in both Justice League and Batman. 

Deathstroke’s presence in Justice League is what sticks out most to me as, at this point, the JLA movie is shaping up to be more of a launch pad for the assembled heroes solo features than anything else. That was allegedly DC’s plan back in 2011 when they first announced Justice League movie plans. Given the structure of the new movie and the assembled characters, it’s looking like that plan hasn’t changed at all in the last five years. 

Aside from launching Deathstroke as a Bat-foe, Justice League is also set-up to introduce us to Commissioner Gordon. That's two aspects of the attendant Batman universe set to premiere. Couple that with the Batman groundwork already laid in Suicide Squad, it’s starting to seem like DC is anxious to get to this film, which makes sense.  

At this point, Batman is the sole big gun of WB, the one hero they know can produce profitable films with consistency that manage to secure actual cultural interest (even it's fading given how little anyone cares about Dark Knight Rises anymore). With the mediocre response to most of their superhero universe so far, rushing to the Bat finish line seems like the logical choice. 

Here’s another one I wouldn’t have expected anytime soon if Henry Cavill hadn’t tweeted a picture of a black Superman suit. Hold on; that’s not entirely true. I expected Man of Steel 2’s release date to be, in some way, tied to the structure of the two Justice League films. In that regard, making a Superman sandwich with the JLA movies as the bread makes a lot of sense, especially if the mechanics of his resurrection end up handled in next year’s Justice League movie.  

If that is the case, it could confirm what a lot of fans have speculated. Some form of evil undead Superman will end up the villain of the Justice League movie, which would certainly be on brand with director Zack Snyder’s approach to the hero. Speaking of, Zack Snyder’s own time table of commitments is the only real reason I could think this wouldn’t happen as, if this is the case, he’d be working pretty consistently on DC products for four straight years from Justice League, Man of Steel 2, and Justice League 2. 

Here’s one I thought was pretty much dead till two weeks ago. Dark Universe is the new name applied to the old concept of a Justice League Dark movie once director Doug Liman took over the project from Guillermo Del Toro. Both of those changes reek of “downgrade,” and I’m still less than confident the DCEU is in that desperate need for this flick.  

At the same time, Liman did make Edge of Tomorrow and the fantasy genre still lacks any guiding major franchise, so I guess this could end well too.  If WB does go this route, it’ll be the most on-brand decision as they’ve so far been very inclined towards making big, heavily packed films that spawn out into the individual features. That could be the case with this latest venture. 

Dark Universe’s presence on the DCEU line-up could act as a clean break in their version of “phases.” See, while Marvel clearly structures their release schedules into phases, usually scheduled around Avengers releases, DC has elected to throw structure to the wind and just release whatever.  

However, there is a structure to their madness. With the Superman paranoia inspired by Man of Steel, it introduced us to Wonder Woman for her movie and set the stage for the Justice League film, which will set-up Flash and Aquaman. Dark Universe would stand separate from this film chain, and, more importantly, could work as the catalyst for 2019’s Shazam, especially given that he’s basically “magic Superman.” 

Given how many DCEU projects are confirmed to be still happening, I’m surprised we haven’t received new confirmation of this project yet. In case you’d forgotten, Joseph Gordon-Levitt announced awhile back his plans to adapt Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking and beloved comics work Sandman. Since then, the film’s publicity has been a mess of changes, drop outs, contradictions, and everything else associated with development hell. Gordon-Levitt dropped out of the project in March of this year. 

That left everyone pretty unclear on where the movie stands, but it’s still allegedly happening. Even if it was, it’s unclear how connected it would be with the DC movie universe. Given that there’s been no official cancellation and this list is full up with movies I didn’t think were happening till about two weeks ago, I’m giving it a shout out because there’s no real way to tell with these things. 

If this is the case, it’d be an impressive trick if WB had managed to keep the Sandman production under wraps up until its release. I highly doubt that’s the case. No, it seems more likely that we’d hear something soon about this film if it’s scheduled for a 2018 release date. Our last update was when David Goyer said there was a new scriptwriter and the film was to begin production this year. So far, there’s been nothing to contradict this, so we very well could be seeing the Sandman on screen sometime soon, whether we want to or not. 

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