It's a frustrating time to be a DC fan. Whether you're a fan of the output from Warner Bros. following 2013's Man of Steel or not, it's safe to say that the studio's strategy with our beloved DC characters is a trifle perplexing. With each new announcement, some fans scratch their heads in bemusement, while others bang their heads against their desks in sheer frustration. The recent uncertainty around Henry Cavill's tenure in the red cape, the increasing likelihood that Ben Affleck has hung up the cowl, and the proliferation of announced Harley Quinn and/or Joker projects is enough to give even the most forgiving fan pause.
Nonetheless, there remains a lot to be excited about. Whether you're a fan of DC on the big or small screen, there are a number of great characters coming to the Worlds of DC and DC TV universe. With the launch of the DC Universe app and a tentative re-invigoration of DC's cinematic output in the wake of Justice League, DC fans still have a lot to look forward to. As well as seeing returning heroes like Wonder Woman and Batman (in whatever form he may take), we also have some great characters on the way in upcoming movies and TV. Here we'll take a look at 10 we're excited to see, and another 10 who are rumored... but we live in hope. And, while it may have taken some dark and grim turns over the years, what is the DC universe founded upon if not hope?
20 EXCITED FOR: NIGHTWING
That we haven't yet had Nightwing movie is both a mystery and a travesty. There are few characters in the DC stable that are so brimming with cinematic potential. Nightwing is, in many ways, DC's answer to Spider-Man. He's a character with a tragic background, sure, but he has a witty and charming demeanor and makes crimefighting look, dare we say, fun!
Perhaps the uncertainty of Batman on film is a contributing factor. Nonetheless, the project already has a perfect director signed up, The Lego Batman Movie's Chris McKay. Embodying the perfect combination of darkness and light, Nightwing is exactly what the tonally inconsistent Worlds of DC need!
19 RUMORED: MISTER MIRACLE
The Worlds of DC and Warner Bros. scored a major coup when they recruited A Wrinkle In Time director, Ava Duvernay, to direct a film based on Jack Kirby's legendary New Gods. Kirby's fingerprints are all over the MCU's Thor: Ragnarok and it behoves DC and Warner Bros. to move forward with this project quickly to capitalize on Kirby's current influence on the superhero movie zeitgeist.
While no characters have been officially announced yet, it's more than likely that Scott Free/Mister Miracle will make an appearance. He's a pivotal character in the mythology, he has a great visual and as the universe's greatest escape artist, he has a unique ability that's inherently cinematic.
18 EXCITED FOR: BATWOMAN
The Batwoman series coming to the CW's 'Arrowverse' next year is a big deal for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's an important step forward for representation. Actress and LGBTQ icon Ruby Rose playing one of the DC Universe's most celebrated gay characters is notable, and with luck Ms. Rose will show her enormous fan base just how special this character is.
Because, issues of equality and representation aside, Kate Kane is a fantastic character. She's fascinating, flawed, compelling, dryly witty, smart and as hard headed as her male namesake. Audiences of all genders and orientations will have reason to tune in when Batwoman hits the small screen!
17 RUMORED: THE PENGUIN
Notwithstanding Robin Lord Taylor's masterful performance in Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot has been absent from our screens since 1992. If rumors are to be believed, however, he may make at least a cameo appearance in Matt Reeves' upcoming The Batman. As great as Danny DeVito's performance was in Batman Returns it would be awesome to see a comic book accurate Penguin brought to life on the big screen. Especially since the 2011 miniseries Penguin: Pain And Prejudice showed us just how great that could be.
While no casting announcements have been made, actor Josh Gad has been lobbying for the role on social media. I, Tonya's Paul Walter Hauser has also thrown his top hat into the ring.
16 EXCITED FOR: SHAZAM!
While studio heads at Warner Bros. agonize over just what to do with this here Superman character, audiences won't have to wait long to see some good old wholesome superheroics with DC's Big Red Cheese! The trailer for next year's Shazam! appears to be leaning very heavily on the action comedy angle, selling the film as Big with superpowers.
Hopefully, though, the film will scratch that surface and show us just what a pure and noble hero Billy Batson really is. While we may not be getting the Henry Cavill cameo that was teased earlier this year, the film and its eponymous hero will no doubt treat us to a great time at the movies!
15 RUMORED: BIG BARDA
When future New Gods director Ava Duvernay was asked her favorite superhero on Twitter last December, her response was "Gosh, that's hard. Big Barda. Many reasons." With this in mind, it seems a no-brainer that the celebrated director will feature the Apokoliptian warrior.
Not only would Ms. Duvernay presumably jump at the chance to bring her favorite superhero to life on-screen, we as an audience can't get enough of empowered women in these roles. With Wonder Woman's ongoing success on screen and the inevitable slam-dunk that will be Captain Marvel, we'd be astonished if we don't see this New Goddess don her armor and signature helmet in the movie.
14 EXCITED FOR: THE BIRDS OF PREY
One of many Harley Quinn-centric outings announced for the Worlds of DC, Birds of Prey does not currently have an official release date, although it does have a director (Cathy Yan) attached and many expect it to land in 2020. The project will likely be a whole lot of fun, but it will also be important for DC Comics lovers who've been frustrated with the handling of these characters in previous incarnations.
While Huntress and Black Canary have both appeared on TV's Arrow with mixed results, the movie will hopefully breathe new life into the characters. It will also bring us the first Batgirl we've seen on film since 1997 and the first ever not to be Alfred Pennyworth's illegitimate child!
13 RUMORED: LOBO
Enthusiastic responses to Guardians Of The Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Captain Marvel demonstrate that audiences have developed a taste for cosmic comic book properties. Especially those with irreverent tones and devil-may-care protagonists. In this context, it seems a no-brainer that 'The Main Man' will make his screen debut soon.
Rumors have been circulating for years that Warner Bros. have plans to bring the character to the big screen. At one point the scuttlebutt was that Michael Bay may even direct. However, if recent rumors are to be believed, the last Czarnian will actually debut in season two of Krypton. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed!
12 EXCITED FOR: BLACK ADAM
This one has been a long time coming! To fans of DC's magical antihero and fans of the eminently likeable Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, it feels like this project has been teased since forever. Nonetheless, assuming that next year's Shazam! does well at the box office (our fingers and toes are crossed) we could see production ramp up soon.
We know that Johnson has been a driving force behind this movie, and now that we reportedly have a script with which Johnson is happy, we will likely start to hear more concrete news soon. Johnson's manager Dani Garcia, who also represents Henry Cavill, told Collider last month that despite the current state of flux in DC films; "Black Adam is definitely happening.".
11 RUMORED: GOTHAM CITY SIRENS
As Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman are among the Worlds of DC's most viable properties, we're hoping that the upcoming Birds of Prey movie won't preclude us from a movie featuring Gotham City's triumvirate of lawless antiheroines. The last we heard Suicide Squad's David Ayer was attached to direct while Margot Robbie would presumably produce.
With the uncertainty surrounding Ben Affleck and the Batman property on film, perhaps it will be some time before we hear more about a Batman-adjacent property such as this... but it would be a real crime if we never got to see Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy share a screen together.
10 EXCITED FOR: BATGIRL
While we have yet to receive an official announcement on what the Birds of Prey's lineup will be, it seems likely that Barbara Gordon/Batgirl will be in the mix. Indeed, it's widely believed that the movie will set up a Batgirl solo movie. While the project's future was uncertain after Joss Whedon left the project earlier this year, it has since been revived. Bumblebee scribe, Christina Hodson is currently working on the script.
As far as we're concerned, this film can't come quickly enough. It's a travesty that a character as charming and heroic as Barbara Gordon has never yet graced the big screen!
9 RUMORED: BLACK MASK
Although he may lack the mainstream recognition of the likes of The Joker, The Penguin, or Catwoman, Black Mask is a great Batman villain who has really come into his own since the turn of the millennium. While rumors circulated that he may play a role in the nebulous upcoming solo Batman movie, it now appears that he will actually antagonize the Birds of Prey.
Last Month, The Wrap reported that the masked mob boss would be the primary antagonist in the girl gang movie, and if this turns out to be legit you can consider us very excited. Black Mask has played a part in some of the best Batman stories of the past 20 years and he deserves his due on the big screen.
8 EXCITED FOR: SWAMP THING
When is a superhero not a superhero? When he's a gigantic rampaging swamp beast with control over all plant life. For decades, Swamp Thing has walked the fine line between superheroism and horror comics. With horror maestro and Aquaman director James Wan producing the project, which will be available exclusively on the DC Universe app, it looks like we're in store for some spine-tingling body horror mixed with a healthy dose of eco-heroism.
Former Jason Vorhees Derek Mears looks set to play the beast, although his human counterpart Alec Holland has yet to be cast. Swamp Thing is a servant of The Green; the unknowable force that governs all plant life. In today's increasingly eco-conscious times, he could well be the hero we need.
7 RUMORED: JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
Perhaps it's fitting that a super team with such occult roots should be trapped in development hell for so long! The project was first announced in with the legendary Guillermo Del Toro at the helm. Unfortunately, like every third project the celebrated director announces, it fell through. A fairly decent animated movie was released last year, giving DC fans a taste of the franchise's potential.
However, production designer Joseph Kahn shared some stunning concept art with The Nerdist last December which makes us hungry to see this magic wielding team of misfits on the big screen. While there are rumors abound that the project is, like Boston Brand, not entirely dead it remains to be seen whether the film will ever get made.
6 EXCITED FOR: CHEETAH
If you're a superhero movie fan, you've likely learned to trust out of left field castings. After all, some of the greatest actors to grace the genre from Michael Keaton to Heath Ledger and even Gal Gadot herself were far from obvious choices to bring their respected comic book icons to life.
Although Kristen Wiig is known primarily for her comedic roles in films like Bridesmaids and 2016's Ghostbusters, she has proven time and again that she's a great dramatic actress. Comic book fans know that the dual role of Barbara Minerva/Cheetah deserves nothing less. She is to Wonder Woman what Lex Luthor is to Superman. We can't wait to see what Wiig brings to this iconic role!
5 RUMORED: BLACKHAWK
After Captain America: The First Avenger, Wonder Woman, The Rocketeer, Watchmen and the first few minutes of The Wolverine, it's clear that comic book characters don't have to be rooted in the present day to resonate with audiences. Indeed, there's something special about period comic book movies that we'd hate to lose.
After the release of Ready Player One earlier this year, rumors began circulating that the great Steven Spielberg (who has been decidedly vocal on the subject of comic book movies) was interested in bringing Blackhawk to the big screen. There hasn't been much news since Variety's first report in April, but we'd love to see the WW2 fighting force grace the history of DC's cinematic universe.
4 EXCITED FOR: JASON TODD
Dick Grayson's potty mouth aside, subscribers to the DC Universe app wait in eager anticipation for the Titans series. Fan excitement reached new heights recently when it was revealed that the show would feature not one Robin, but two. A recently released clip showed dialogue between Dick Grayson and his successor, Jason Todd.
While he was famously ended by The Joker in the comics and resurrected as The Red Hood, very little of his tenure in the yellow cape was collected or reprinted. Outside of the "Death of the Family" trade in which he met his end, and the Nightwing: Year One miniseries, he didn't have many memorable story lines. Hence, we're very excited to see the relationship between these Robins play out on-screen.
3 RUMORED: THOMAS WAYNE BATMAN
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan's role as Thomas Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was short-lived, but it made quite an impression on fans. Indeed, it didn't take long for Morgan's likeness to be photoshopped into myriad facsimiles of the Thomas Wayne version of Batman seen in Geoff Johns' Flashpoint miniseries.
The celebrated comic book event relaunched the DC comics universe, leading into the New 52 reboot. While at one point the solo Flash movie was indeed going to be an adaptation of "Flashpoint", rumors suggest that the miniseries may still have an influence on the upcoming Flash movie which is expected to start shooting next year. If that's the case, perhaps we haven't seen the last of Morgan's Thomas Wayne.
2 EXCITED FOR: JOHN STEWART
While it had a sprinkling of great moments 2011's Green Lantern is not well remembered by audiences. It's not even well liked by its star Ryan Reynolds who hilariously lampooned his decision to be in the film in Deadpool 2's time travelling post-credits scene. This is likely the reason why, although he may have an appearance in the upcoming Green Lantern Corp he will not be the film's protagonist.
Instead, the scuttlebutt is that John Stewart will be the film's point-of-view character and we will see the cosmic wonder of the Green Lantern Corps through his eyes. This makes a lot of sense, since for those who grew up on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated shows, Stewart is Green Lantern.
1 RUMORED: DARKSEID
He was teased very briefly in Justice League, but the biggest bad in the DC Universe has yet to make an appearance in a live action movie. Whatever the future has in store for the Worlds of DC, it's a no-brainer that the despotic ruler of Apokolips will make his screen debut some time soon.
Whether it's in Ava Duvernay's upcoming New Gods movie or a Justice League sequel (hey, we can dream!) this is a character that needs to be brought to life on film. While comparisons to Thanos will be inevitable at this point (although The Mad Titan came later in the comics) there are plenty of ways in which Warner Bros. and DC can show audiences why we love to hate Darkseid!