It’s no secret that the Worlds of DC (formerly known as the DCEU) is at a critical point in its existence. It has failed at multiple points to start up its own cinematic universe to rival Marvel’s MCU. Its mistakes have been numerous and are indicative of a rushed attempt to catch up. First, it tried to let a single auteur control every aspect of its fledgling universe and that didn’t work. Then the studio, in a panic, tried to interject and made things even worse, and now that it’s become apparent that the initial goal won’t bear the desired fruit, it has switched up the approach. Now its going to focus more on individual, creator-driven projects instead of trying to cram together a cinematic universe as soon as possible.
This approach could be what saves Warner Bros' comic universe and the Worlds of DC. Shazam! looks to be so much fun, Swamp Thing sounds like it has the potential to become a top series, and Joker just may be the surprise hit of 2019. However, there are potential missteps looming ahead of Warner Bros such as a Cyborg movie that likely won’t draw in a huge crowd, and a Flashpoint movie that will more than likely have to cram in way too much into two hours. Warner Bros has a great deal of projects to look forward to, so let’s look at these potential saviors and duds in 10 Upcoming DC TV and Movie Projects That Can Save Warner Bros (And 5 That shouldn’t be Made).
15 SAVE: AQUAMAN
Some people have their reservations about Aquaman, which is justified because we’ve all been burned by modern DC movies before. However, there are numerous factors in play that suggest this project may continue the trend started by Wonder Woman of well done and unique solo movies.
The San Diego Comic Con trailer for Aquaman looked extremely exciting. The movie seems to embrace the weirdness of the undersea world and using it to their advantage. James Wan is a very talented director and it’s obvious that this corner of the world lends itself to his highly visual style. Whether it’s an awe-inspiring shot of Atlantis or a tense shot of the Trench closing in on Arthur and Mera, this is what James Wan does.
14 SHOULDN’T BE MADE: CYBORG
We’re not saying that this never should be made, but Cyborg is a character that needs some more time for audiences to bond with him. Cyborg is a well-known character to comic book fans and fans of the Teen Titans television shows. But outside of that, he’s a younger and less prominent character that has yet to enter public discourse.
He did appear in Justice League, but a lack of development and failure to flesh him out kept him from making enough of an impact to facilitate his own movie. If he co-starred with another well-known character that he had chemistry with (*cough* Flash *cough*), then he could become beloved enough to facilitate his own movie.
13 SAVE: NIGHTWING
This could be the way that DC moves on from Ben Affleck’s Batman. After battling Jason Todd and rediscovering what the Batman meant to Gotham, Dick took on the mantle of Batman for years and he did an excellent job of it. This was a different Batman who was fine with cracking jokes and being happy. Meanwhile his Robin, Damian Wayne, was far more serious, forming an inverted dynamic.
All of this aside, Nightwing has become one of the most respected superheroes over the years and one of the most fun to explore. His relationship with Batman is ripe for dramatic tension while his more fun-loving demeanor would make for a different kind of hero. Seeing him take on Joe Mangianello’s Deathstroke would be amazing.
12 SAVE: YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS
Young Justice was well on its way to becoming one of the most beloved cartoons of all time. With a talented voice cast, well-defined characters, a rich lore, and an amazing story that forged its own path, people fell in love with this series... and then it was abruptly canceled after its second season.
Luckily, a consistent and powerful presence from millions of fans kept up the pressure on Warner Bros until they finally relented and announced Young Justice: Outsiders. With much the team behind the previous two seasons on board, this new season looks like it could be exciting. It’ll follow the team’s efforts to stop global metahuman trafficking and hopefully follow up on the tease of an alliance between Vandal Savage and Darkseid.
11 SHOULDN’T BE MADE: JARED LETO’S JOKER
There are a few reasons for this, but the most obvious is that seemingly everyone hates how Leto’s Joker has been characterized. The Joker in virtually every medium is a dangerously insane force of nature determined to his worldview by doing the most depraved things a human can do. Meanwhile, Leto’s version of Joker was just an eccentric gangster who hung out in clubs and got defensive over Harley.
It may be interesting to see where this character goes, but it should not happen so soon after the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker. DC needs to choose one or risk confusing audiences and since the audience has such strong negative feelings towards Leto’s Joker, Phoenix’s Joker should be the only version getting a movie.
10 SAVE: SHAZAM!
The trailer that stole San Diego Comic Con gave us a glimpse at a movie that could easily steal all of our hearts. Shazam! appears to be taking many cues from Big which would be a great way for the movie to forge its own identity that makes it markedly different from all of the other superhero stories. Plus, the tale of Billy Batson lends itself to that kind of story.
Zachary Levi seems like a big kid having so much fun on that set and Jack Dylan Grazier looks as fun as his character was in IT. Mark Strong as Dr. Sivana and Djimon Hounsou as the wizard Shazam round out this talented cast. If the movie has as much heart as the trailer, we’re in for a treat.
9 SAVE: BLACKHAWK
Steven Spielberg is an incredible director with a knack for giving us relatable characters that find strength and overcome their their vulnerabilities in horrific situations, and he’s proven that he can still direct a blockbuster movie with Ready Player One. Therefore, having Spielberg attached to any movie is a great idea.
Blackhawk is a really interesting and unique concept for a movie. It follows a team of multinational ace pilots who battle threats both man-made and supernatural. This concept is new for comic book movies and opens the door for numerous great stories, and it's right down Spielberg’s alley. As shown by the excellent Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg can make a great war movie following a singular squad of personalities.
8 SHOULDN’T BE MADE: SUPERGIRL
This isn’t saying that Supergirl would be a bad character to have in a currently dour DC movie universe. Her power and demeanor allows you to offer an alternative to the Zack Snyder version of Superman we’ve been presented with. All of this makes perfect sense except for one crucial detail: there’s already a Kara on-screen and she’s beloved by millions and millions of fans.
CW’s Arrowverse has attracted quite a bit of mainstream attention since its inception in 2012 with Arrow. This universe has a version of Supergirl leads her own show and is played expertly by Melissa Benoist. Introducing another version that’s not played by this same person will confuse casual fans and alienate die-hard fans of the CW television show.
7 SAVE: JOKER
Something about this movie is very intriguing, including all of the small updates we’ve gotten. An origin story for the Joker seems superfluous, however this project seems poised to give us a unique Joker story that feels far more realistic than most other comic book movies.
With Martin Scorsese, one of the premiere crime director in all of time, as a producer and Joaquin Phoenix signed on as the Joker, this movie seems like it’ll be exactly what DC needs to reinvigorate its cinematic ventures. It’s also the first movie to exist outside of the Worlds of DC continuity. DC Comics have often found great success with their Elseworlds stories, and perhaps that’ll translate to the screen as well.
6 SHOULDN’T BE MADE: SUICIDE SQUAD 2
We think that audiences may need some space from the squad after the debacle of Suicide Squad. David Ayer’s take on the team of supervillains appeared to be intriguing when the first trailer came out. However, every subsequent trailer shifted the style until the final product ended up as a shell of a movie ruined by studio interference.
The movie’s failure seems to rest mostly on the studio’s shoulders, however whoever is helming this movie has a very difficult cast. For one, ensemble movies are tough to handle. But also, with the previous movie being rotten, it will take incredibly strong direction to separate the two, and maybe even James Gunn can't save the franchise.
5 SAVE: WONDER WOMAN 1984
Nobody saw it coming, but Wonder Woman is the only DC movie that has been a nearly unanimous success. The perfect storm of Patty Jenkins’ amazing direction and Gal Gadot’s iconic take on Diana gave us a movie that audiences will never forget. If Wonder Woman 1984 is anywhere near as good as the first film, we’ll all be in for an experience.
Thus far, all signs point to this going well. Kristen Wiig has signed on to play one of Diana’s most popular and persistent villains: Barbara Minerva, aka Cheetah. On top of all of that, the mysterious return of Steve Trevor after his demise in the first movie is sure to provide us with some very emotional scenes.
4 SAVE: NEW GODS
The New Gods are an otherworldly race that would greatly expand the Worlds of DC and introduce a bunch of interesting characters. Plus, this would be a way to expand on the lore of the New Gods so that the audience won’t be confused the next time DC wants to bring these characters in.
A further boon to the project, Ava Duvernay is a talented director with a talent for getting great performances out of her stars, and while A Wrinkle in Time may not have been warmly received by critics, Duvernay’s direction was not the culprit. In fact, she brought fantastical elements to the screen with a sense of wonder befitting Steven Spielberg, meaning she’ll be right at home in Apokolips and New Genesis.
3 SAVE: THE BATMAN
Matt Reeves is an incredible filmmaker who gave us the best two entries in one of the best trilogies of all time. Reeves excels at bringing out the emotion in his solemn star, and his ideas are so exciting.
Reeves made it known that he wants to tap more into the detective side of Batman which is a welcome change from other movies. Batman is the “World’s Greatest Detective”, so it’s exciting to explore that side of him, and his decision to make Batman younger ensures that his best adventures are ahead of him rather than behind him. So whether this is connected to the Worlds of DC or is an Elseworlds story, we’re looking forward to seeing what Reeves does with the character.
2 SAVE: SWAMP THING
An R-rated superhero/horror series? Sign us up! One big problem with comic book movies and television shows is that their increased prevalence has made many of these new properties feel stale and well-trodden. However, as Logan and Captain America: The Winter Soldier have proven, mixing in heavy genre influence with your superhero movie can yield some fantastic results.
Swamp Thing was already a heavily-requested character, but infusing a horror element into it would effectively make this property unique from all of the other superhero shows and movies out there -- plus, Swamp Thing was made to be a horror. Fox’s New Mutants may never see the light of day, so Swamp Thing could be the property to start a new trend of mixing superhero stories and horror stories.
1 SHOULDN’T BE MADE: FLASHPOINT
"Flashpoint" is a storyline that requires a more experienced Flash. Not only does he need a high degree of mastery over his powers to travel in time, but audiences also have to get to know him and what his mother’s demise means to him.
If the first Flash solo movie jumped straight into "Flashpoint", they would be stuck with translating an incredibly dense story to the big screen while also introducing a lot of elements that viewers need to know about Barry before this story comes about. Without the prerequisite knowledge, audiences won’t care as much about the story or Barry. If you dumb down the story, you lose the visceral impact of "Flashpoint" and ruin any chance of doing it correctly in the future.