Any DC fan will tell you one thing for sure: the DC film and television universes can be…confusing. Unlike its competitor Marvel, DC has movies and television shows in a variety of places, and there are even multiple adaptations for the same character. Almost every major cable network has had a DC superhero at one point, including Lucifer and Gotham on Fox and the short-lived Constantine on NBC. Fortunately, the separate universes have become easier to track in recent years.
First, there’s the Arrowverse. The CW has hosted DC’s characters since 2012, starting with Arrow, a take on DC’s Green Arrow. Since then, six other live-action shows and two animated series have premiered and engaged in multiple major crossovers along with their own self-contained storylines. Of the shows The CW has debuted, only Arrow, Black Lightning and Supergirl have officially ended so far. The story arcs in the Arrowverse are kept within The CW and have no major influence on characters on other networks or in the movies. Although with its crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” The CW cameoed a number of DC characters from HBOMax and Lucifer, explaining that most of the non-Arrowverse shows existed on other versions of Earth. So if the two ever wanted to, DC and Warner Bros. could theoretically combine all their properties into one place. But that’d probably make things more complicated than they already are.
Since the DC Universe streaming service moved from hosting original programming and back to selling digital comics, HBO Max now distributes non-Arrowverse television shows and movies, both animated and live-action. So far the only movie from the cinematic universe the service has premiered is Wonder Woman 1984, and as movie theaters reopen, Warner Bros. looks like it will continue its hybrid release model with HBO Max, as a number of films will get simultaneous streaming and theater releases, whilee the upcoming Batgirl film will have an HBO Max exclusive release.
There’s also Netflix, a newcomer to hosting DC shows. After picking up the fourth season of Lucifer, the streaming giant has become yet another another home to DC content. Sweet Tooth, based on a DC/Vertigo comic by Jeff Lemire, and the recently-casting adaptation of The Sandman are both landing on Netflix. Despite bringing its Marvel-verse to a close (Daredevil, The Punisher, Luke Cage, etc.), Netflix isn’t done with the superhero genre yet.
Finally, there’s the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), which encompasses all theatrical movie releases from Man of Steel to The Suicide Squad. These films are where DC hopes to create a continuous story, where each hero or villain’s actions in one film translates to others. In the coming years, there’s a number of new characters planned to received the silver screen treatment for the first time, in addition to the continued stories of well-known superheroes like Aquaman, Shazam! and Wonder Woman. The movies as of now have no connection to the DC television shows, but HBO Max could be the comic giant’s attempt to bring cohesion within the two mediums, with characters like The Suicide Squad’s Peacemaker (John Cena) getting a television spin-off on the streaming service.
Now that you have the rundown, here’s every notable movie and television show DC has on the way.
The Suicide Squad (August 6, 2021)
Not to be confused with the 2016 Suicide Squad, The Suicide Squad will be a standalone sequel to the first film. There will be a few familiar faces, like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, plus a lot of new ones. Names including Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and Peter Capaldi will join the film about an ensemble of prisoners forced to become temporary superheroes. John Cena stars as Peacemaker and will get his own spin-off television show on HBO Max.
The Batman (March 4, 2022)
With Ben Affleck gone, Robert Pattinson will be the next actor to become Gotham’s caped crusader. The Batman is DC’s newest attempt to reboot the character. Director Matt Reeves will helm the film. This Batman is expected to exist in its own cilo, outside of the DCEU. We don’t know too much of what to expect, but so far, these first images are looking pretty exciting.
DC is putting a lot of faith on The Batman. The film is the first of a planned trilogy, and a spinoff show centered on the Gotham Police Department is in the works at HBO Max.
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Black Adam (July 29, 2022)
If somehow you haven’t been keeping tabs on The Rock’s Black Adam workouts, you’re missing out. Black Adam is an antihero who shares the same magical powers with Shazam, and could become the superhero’s archenemy in the DCEU. Due to Covid-19, the film has been pushed from its December 2021 release date to summer 2022. For now, there’s not much else to share besides The Rock’s Instagram updates on the movie and his shredded physique.
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The Flash (November 4, 2022)
After his first appearance in Batman V. Superman, The Flash has his own film on the way. Starring Ezra Miller, The Flash is inspired by the comic storyline Flashpoint, where the superhero attempts to travel back in time to prevent his mother’s murder. Because of what will hopefully be less confusing time travel than Marvel’s, the movie will feature not one, but two versions of Batman, played by both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton, who reprises his role as Batman from the 1989 and 1992 films (and may have a large role in the future).
Aquaman 2 (December 16, 2022)
Not much is known about the sequel to Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Various cast from the first film are expected to reprise their roles, including Amber Heard and Yahya Abdul-Mateen.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods (June 2, 2023)
Originally planned for a 2022 release, the pandemic delayed production for the kids-turned-superheroes sequel. Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren and Rachel Zegler have been cast in new roles and could be the villains for the upcoming sequel. There’s also no word if Black Adam will have any direct connection to the Shazam! sequel.
Wonder Woman 3 (TBD)
After Wonder Woman 1984, there’s already a third film for the powerful Amazon in the works. Due to Covid-19, Jenkins put the story on hold in 2020, so there is no telling when Jenkins will return to the script or when the film will enter production. Plus, Jenkins is busy directing Cleopatra (which Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot will star in) and a new Star Wars film called Rogue Squadron.
Gotham will have one more hero to defend it. Batgirl is coming to the DCEU sometime in the near future. Christina Hodson (Bumblebee, Birds of Prey) will write the screenplay, and Adil El Arbi and Bilal Fallah (Bad Boys for Life) will co-direct. We don’t know yet if Batgirl will have any connection to The Suicide Squad or other upcoming projects.
The best known version of the character is Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City’s police commissioner (a plot development handled wonderfully in the Harley Quinn animated series). Her backstory makes room for crossovers with HBO Max’s upcoming show within the Gotham City police department.
Superman’s young protege will finally make her newest feature film appearance soon. The Young and the Restless star Sasha Calle has been cast as Supergirl in the upcoming The Flash film, making the 2022 film the Girl in Steel’s DCEU debut before her own standalone movie. And if we’re lucky, Henry Cavill will make a Superman cameo to teach Supergirl the ropes.
In the comics, Zatanna is a magician who has worked with the Justice League and Batman in the past. She’s also a member of Justice League Dark, a magical offshoot of the original Justice League. She’s only appeared in live-action in the final three seasons of Smallville, and was portrayed by Serinda Swan. No actress has been cast for the upcoming movie yet. The script will be written by Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell, according to Variety.
Blue Beetle (TBD)
Earlier this year, Variety reported that Angel Manuel Soto of Charm City Kings will be directing a film on DC’s Blue Beetle. His version will focus the newest rendition of the hero, a Mexican-American teenager named Jaime Reyes who gains alien armor and weapons when a mysterious scarab bings to his spine. Gross. The project aims to start production in fall 2021.
It’s been a long time coming, but Steven Spielberg is almost ready to make a Blackhawk movie. The director plans to adapt the story of a special World War II-era team of ace pilots, although there’s no telling exactly when. As of 2018, Variety says Spielberg will direct and produce the film after completing his film adaptation of West Side Story. It’s unclear if it will relate to the DCEU and if so, how, but Spielberg’s passion project should make it to the silver screen soon.
After his stint as Robin, Dick Grayson becomes a masked vigilante named Nightwing. Hollywood Reporter says that Chris McKay from The LEGO Batman Movie is directing the movie, and Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) will write the script.
There’s no word yet on how it will relate to previous Batman films, or if the movie will feature a Batman at all.
Blue-skinned, interstellar bounty hunter Lobo could join the DCEU. According to The Wrap, in 2016 Wonder Woman’s Jason Fuchs began writing the script for the untitled Lobo film and the publication also says Michael Bay was eyed as a possible director, although nothing has been confirmed by Warner Bros. Since then, there’s been no news on when the anti-hero blue-skinned biker will make his official debut.
Static Shock (TBD)
A lesser known superhero, Static Shock follows a Black teenager who suddenly gets electric powers and takes on the superhero name Static. The character had an animated show back in 2000, but hasn’t been revisited since. According to A.V. Club, Michael B. Jordan signed on to produce the film, and Grand Army’s Randy McKinnon is writing the script. Jordan hasn’t given much more news than that, but it’s another new hero to keep an eye on.
Produced by JJ Abrams, with a script written by Ta-Nehisi Coates? This upcoming Superman reboot is already looking good. There’s little word on who is directing or starring in the film, but if it’s ripped directly from the comics, the new Superman will take place on Earth-2, an alternate Earth timeline that features a Black alien superhero. It would then have no impact on Henry Cavil’s version of the character.
Green Lantern Corps (TBD)
It’s unclear if this project is still in the works with a Green Lantern television series also coming to HBO Max. But since we haven’t heard anything about the film being shelved, Green Lantern Corps is another upcoming DC film that has no director or release date announced. According to Deadline, screenwriters David Goyer (Batman V Superman) and Justin Rhodes (Terminator: Dark Fate) created a script back in 2019, but that’s the most recent news on the movie.
Sweet Tooth (June 4, 2021)
Sweet Tooth is a new Netflix adaptation taken from DC’s Vertigo imprint. “The Great Crumble,” devastated the world and created mysterious babies born part human, part animal. A deer-boy named Gus lives in a secluded forest until he meets a loner named Jepperd. Together, they decide to travel the country in search of Gus’s origins and Jepperd’s past. Along the way, they face allies and enemies alike. Former Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey executive produced the upcoming series.
Hell got a little too hot for Lucifer. A character adapted from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comics and DC’s Vertigo imprint, the Devil himself decides he needs a break from the underworld and moves to Los Angeles. There, he sets up a nightclub called “LUX,” and aids the LAPD on crimes. The series began on Fox in 2016, but was cancelled after three seasons. Netflix picked up the show for its fourth season, jumping back into the superhero game. Lucifer was renewed for a sixth and final season that’s set to come out sometime next year.
The Sandman (TBD)
Based on the popular comics by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman is another Netflix partnership with DC. In 1916, the king of dreams was captured in an occult ritual. Over a century later, he emerges from captivity, in 2021, determined to reclaim his throne and restore order. Already, the show has a stacked cast including Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, Stephen Fry, Patton Oswalt, Charles Dance (also from Game of Thrones) and others.
Stargirl (August 10, 2021)
Season two of Stargirl will premiere this summer. The first season’s finale teed up the introduction of villain Eclipso, who in the comics is a dark god who can possess people. The CW appears to see a bright future for the show, since Stargirl has already been renewed for a third season.
The Flash (TBD)
Now on its eighth season, The CW’s version of The Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. The show is a direct spin-off from Arrow, and has since created its own spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow. The series was renewed in February 2021, so based on previous production schedules, a new season is not expected until 2022.
Legends of Tomorrow (TBD)
Legends of Tomorrow follows several DC comics heroes and villains who team up to stop any threats to the universe’s timeline. The show features multiple references and characters from its parent show The Flash, and even has actor Matt Ryan reprise his role as magician John Constantine, based on his short-lived NBC series. Legends of Tomorrow was renewed for a seventh season in May 2021.
A recent addition to the Arrowverse is Batwoman. Originally starring actreess Ruby Rose, Batwoman now stars Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, an original character created for the television series. The show features many of the shocking twists and crossovers that Arrowverse fans expect, including Rose’s character, Kate Kane, returning, but now portrayed by actress Wallis Day and her different appearance explained on the show as facial reconstruction surgery after an accident. While season two is currently airing, season three has already been ordered.
Superman & Lois (TBD)
No, this isn’t a Smallville reboot. A spin-off of Supergirl, the newest addition to the Arrowverse follows Superman and Lois, all grown up and settled down with two sons. They return to Smallville in hopes of a quiet life, until a stranger named “Captain Luthor” appears. While the series has had a few Easter Eggs and cameos from Smallville, The CW confirmed in the Arrowverse crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” that Smallville takes place in an alternate universe named Earth-167. Superman & Lois was renewed for a second season in March 2021.
Titans (August 2021)
Dick Grayson’s team of teenage superheroes is returning soon. The next season could have characters potentially returning from the dead, the Titans relocating to Gotham City, and the official appearance of villain Red Hood, another of Batman’s former Robins. A third season of Titans is expected in August 2021.
Harley Quinn (TBD)
Last we saw the animated version of Harley Quinn, she was driving off into the sunset with her now official girlfriend Poison Ivy. The animated series is another show that recently migrated from the streaming service DC Universe and onto HBO Max. The third season could be here as soon as late 2021, or sometime in 2022.
Doom Patrol (TBD)
Initially announced as a spin-off of DC’s Titans, Doom Patrol’s ragtag team of kind-of superheroes are now completely separate from other DC shows. In fact, the show’s main characters even made cameos within the Arrowverse during the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. Now exclusively on HBOMax, Doom Patrol is currently filming its third season, so more episodes should drop later in 2021 or sometime in 2022.
Peacemaker – January 2022
Based around John Cena’s character from The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker will follow Christopher Smith, a pacifist who decides to forgo his non-violent morals in order to obtain peace. From The Suicide Squad trailer, he appears more than happy to kill anyone who stands in his way.
Written and directed by James Gunn, the first season will consist of eight episodes. It’s the first official DC Extended Universe television show, meaning it is directly tied to the movies and their events.
Justice League Dark Series (TBD)
JJ Abrams will be developing a series based on Justice League Dark. In the comics, the team consists of magical heroes who deal with supernatural forces the regular Justice League may feel less equipped to handle. With an upcoming Constantine series also on the way, DC looks like it will launch a new universe with Abrams’ two adaptations.
Unrelated to Keanu Reeves’ 2005 film, or the 2014 NBC show, IGN reports that JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot Productions will develop a new Constantine series, tied to Abrams’ other television adaptation of Justice League Dark, which will premiere on HBOMax sometime in the future. It’s too soon to tell, but DC could be looking to officially bring Constantine into the DCEU movies, along with fellow magician Zatanna.
A Gotham P.D. Series (TBD)
A spin-off series of the upcoming The Batman movie, the untitled project will further explore corruption within Gotham City and take place before the events of the upcoming film. Not much is known besides the series’ showrunner, who Variety reports is Joe Barton, who created and wrote Netflix’s Girl/Haji.
A Gotham-focused series will have to veer away from Fox’s Gotham, which ended in 2019. That series focused on the not-yet commissioner Jim Gordon and the city’s police department as a whole. It also had a number of well-known villains and their origin stories, including the Joker (although the show couldn’t really call him that, we knew what they were doing). Since it takes place after Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, though, it should be safe.
Green Lantern Series (TBD)
You know what they say, if you don’t succeed, try try again….at HBOMax. Greg Berlanti, who has worked on Arrowverse, directed Love, Simon and executive produced Doom Patrol, will now write and produce a new Green Lantern series for the streaming service. Berlanti also wrote and produced the poorly-received 2011 Ryan Reynolds adaptation, so he knows the material well. The series still has no official release date.
A Vertigo comics creation, DMZ is not a superhero show, but a dystopian drama. Director Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time) and showrunner Robert Patino (Westworld) completed filming for the pilot in March. The show stars Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt, and follows two factions fighting for the future of America in a new Civil War. DMZ will be a four-part limited series.
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DC Super Hero High Series (TBD)
Charlie’s Angels and Pitch Perfect 2 director Elizabeth Banks will helm this teen comedy series. There’s little information on when it will be released, or the premise, besides following a group of teens who will one day become superheroes, but first have to deal with puberty, acne and everything else that makes growing up so hard. Oh, and mastering their superpowers.
Strange Adventures Series (TBD)
Greg Berlanti will produce this anthology series based on comics of the same name. At WarnerMedia Day back in 2019, Berlanti described Strange Adventures as a show about “cautionary tales set in a world where superpowers exist.” It sounds like it could be a comic book-inspired version of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, but it’s too soon to tell. There hasn’t been any further news on the project.
In the comics, Strange Adventures follows Adam Strange, a war hero who returns to his home planet for a quiet life. But the decisions he made while away at way come back to haunt him, thus threatening the entire DC Universe.
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