When it comes to launching a cinematic universe, it's best not to reveal a release slate too far out in advance. After all, if there's one certainty in Hollywood, it's that nothing is ever set in stone.
After the success of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, Warner Bros. opted to go a new route in 2013. Man of Steel, the studio's first Superman movie since 2006's poorly received Superman Returns, was set to launch a cinematic universe intended to rival Marvel Studios' Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the film had mixed reviews, it still turned a profit for the studio, and was followed up in 2016 with Batman v Superman. That film, of course, introduced Ben Affleck's Batman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman to the nascent DC Extended Universe, while also teasing Ezra Miller's Flash and Ray Fisher's Cyborg -- both of which were set to launch their own franchises.
Now, four years later, Warner Bros. has dramatically altered its original release slate significantly after a few misfires and one box office phenenomeon.
In 2014, Warner Bros. finally put a rest to the rumors surrounding its secretive DC slate and dropped a press release that broke down its plans through 2020. Included on that slate, of course, were Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman, all of which were all released as planned. Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, while critical failures, still managed to perform well enough at the box office and gain some loyal fans. However, neither film came close to the success of 2017's Wonder Woman, which took in an astounding $821 million at the worldwide box office and led to the studio fast-tracking a sequel. More importantly, though, Diana's first solo movie signaled a major shift within the DC Extended Universe, one that is still being felt today.
Unfortunately, that film was followed up by Justice League, which was initially meant to be Justice League: Part One, the first of a two-part epic from director Zack Snyder who had established the feel of the DCEU early on. The Part One was eventually dropped from the title, and Snyder was forced to exit the project due to a personal tragedy late in filming, leaving the future of the DCEU in question. For a time, it appeared Joss Whedon (The Avengers) would play a big part in the universe's future, as he was brought in to finish the ensemble superhero film for Warner Bros. and Snyder. Bu as we now know, this would only be the first of many changes for DC's slate going forward.
After a lackluster box office performance and mixed reviews from fans, Warner Bros. was forced to make some major changes behind the scenes. Snyder is no longer at the helm of the DCEU -- which may have recently landed a new name? -- and former DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson is out as well. This has left much of the prior slate's future up in the air outside of Aquaman and Shazam!, two films which have already completed production and are set to hit theaters relatively soon.