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The Status of DC Entertainment: What's Coming Soon to Theaters

These films are all ready to shoot or will hit theaters soon.

After Justice League under-performed in the box office, DC and Warner Bros. began shifting direction, and soon the fate of DC's cinematic universe was on the mind of every blogger in the galaxy. At that point though, we didn't know much, so the actions that DC would take moving forward were really anybody's guess.

Now we're approaching many of the release dates DC had previously announced, back when everything was kittens and rainbows - and fast-tracking six characters in one superhero team-up movie with no prior set-up was the greatest idea ever, and not a predictable oversight.

There's been a lot of talk about a lot of DC movies, so I thought I'd clarify which movies are definitely happening, and should be ready within the next couple years. 

I wanted to talk about the status of every DC project ever announced in one article, but as I started to get into this, I realized it could easily take 5000 words to cover the 20-25 movies I'd have to go into. I don't want to write a 5000 article, and I doubt you want to read one, so we're breaking it up into parts, released every week, instead.

Aquaman

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Production: We were almost certain to get an Aquaman movie eventually, no matter what happened. Hollywood has been talking about making an Aquaman movie for about as long as superhero movies have been around. The problem is that many jokes have been made at Aquaman's expense. Until recently, when you brought up Aquaman, people thought of the corny Superfriends version, who talks to fish, swims fast, and not much else.

Enter Batman v. Superman, and Jason Momoa. The version of Aquaman we have in the DCEU is gritty enough to be taken seriously, like the 90s version of the character, or like Arthur Joseph Curry. Whether it's an over-correction or not is up for interpretation.

Fast and the Furious director James Wan was attached to the project. The trailers took quite awhile, since Wan had some trouble with the underwater effects, but shooting wrapped late in 2017, and the movie's ready for theaters.

Plot: Aquaman, reluctant ruler of the ocean and Atlantis, is caught in a war between surface- and ocean-dwellers. He will have to fight some of his strongest adversaries, as well as his half-brother Orm, (Patrick Wilson) known in the comics as Ocean Master, who wants nothing more than to reclaim Earth for the ocean, killing billions in the process. Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) also appears.

Shazam!

Official Shazam! teaser poster

Release Date: April 15, 2019

Production: A Shazam movie has actually been in the works for quite awhile, but it's gone through a number of production changes.

Planned in the early 2000s by New Line, the early Shazam was a more light-hearted take on the hero. But then New Line was absorbed by Warner Bros., and they wanted something darker—the director on the project, Peter Segal, attributes this to the success of the Dark Knight.

That version of Shazam would have been too similar to Superman in Man of Steel, and the film was put on hold. Then Warner Bros. announced plans to make Shazam! in 2014. The film started to come together in 2017, and shooting wrapped in April. 

Plot: Billy Batson meets the elderly wizard Shazam, who gives him magical powers. With the cry of "Shazam!" he becomes an adult superhero, discovering the perks—and responsibilities—of being a superhero with his new foster brother, Freddy Freeman, who has a real love for comics.

Doctor Sivana appears as the film's main antagonist. He's got some gifts of his own, and he's looking to use mad science to wreak real havoc.

Wonder Woman 1984

Release Date: November 1, 2019

Production: Mere months after Wonder Woman's success and critical acclaim, DC and WB revealed plans for the sequel. Geoff Johns announced that he and Patty Jenkins had been working on the script, and at SDCC, Warner Bros. announced that Jenkins would reprise her role as director.

Shooting began in June, and should finish by December of this year.

Plot: What we know at this point, given that there's no trailer or official synopsis yet, is that the film will take place in the 80s (hence the title), and will include Kristen Wiig as the Cheetah. It will also involve the Cold War somehow.

Joker

Release Date: October 4, 2019

Production: The upcoming Joker movie, which started shooting last month, has been described as a lower-budget "character study" focused on the Joker and what makes him tick. Prior to its release, former president and chief content officer at WB Diane Nelson indicated a change in direction moving forward for DC, saying that it would stop emphasizing continuity so much, and look at more interesting solo projects. The Joker movie will be the first example of a movie not tied to a cinematic universe.

Joacquin Phoenix will play the Joker, with Todd Phillips, director of the Hangover trilogy, directing and co-writing. Alec Baldwin was initially going to play Thomas Wayne, but left the project due to scheduling conflicts, being replaced by Brett Cullen.

Plot: All we know so far is that it will explore Joker's backstory as a comedian and his development into the psychopath we know and love. Also, Thomas Wayne runs for mayor, and for some reason, the batmobile from the Adam West show was seen on-set.

Birds of Prey

Release Date: Feb. 7, 2020

Production: If you've heard anything about a Harley Quinn (Robbie) solo movie, this is the one. And it's not so much a solo movie as a team-up film.

Harley Quinn is not an established team member in any of the Birds of Prey series, but in this film, she'll be joined by Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and the Question (Rosie Perez), replacing the role typically filled by Batgirl/Oracle.

Christina Hodson, who is also working on the script for a solo Batgirl movie, has finished the script for this film, and director Cathy Yan is attached to the project. Shooting is scheduled to start in January

In all likelihood, you'll hear a lot more about this one very soon. If it does well, it might fast track a version of the DCEU built around Suicide Squad rather than Justice League, as there seem to be a lot of films related to Harley Quinn currently up in the air. 

Right now, pretty much everything else about the script and casting is a mystery. But everything seems to be coming together regardless.

Next week, we'll take a look at some DC movies that are just waiting on directors or scripts. 

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