DC Entertainment: 2015 In Review – Part 1 [Movies]

2015 was yet another successful year for DC Entertainment. The second film in the DC movie universe – now titled the DC Extended Universe – entered post-production, with two more movies undergoing production and other films moving forward in other stages of development. The DC television world expanded with a new show and more seasons of last year’s. More direct-to-DVD animated features were released, bringing more iconic DC Universe characters to life. And one of the most highly anticipated video games in history was released last summer.

In this part of our annual reflection, we will be looking at all the major news and announcements on DC Entertainment’s movies.

For our recap of DC’s five best moments from San Diego Comic-Con 2015, click here.

2015 did not see the theatrical release of any DC or Vertigo movies. However, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment moved full-speed ahead with their cinematic universe, which now has an official name: the DC Extended Universe.

After wrapping up production last December, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is undergoing an extensive marketing campaign this year. As expected, there were three trailers released – one in April, one at San Diego Comic-Con 2015 (accompanying an excellent panel), and one in December. The trailers already confirm a lot of rumors about the Zack Snyder-directed film: Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Thomas Wayne in a flashback, a Robin has died (probably by the hands of The Joker), and Doomsday is the secondary villain.

This year, we also saw a slew of posters for Batman v Superman. We got our first look at merchandising, with companies such as Hot Toys, Funko and LEGO contributing products. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the film will be rated PG-13. The movie will finally give credit to Bill Finger, the often-ignored co-creator of Batman who has contributed so much to the character. DC Comics will publish variant covers based on the film next month. Finally, Dawn of Justice covered an array of magazine covers, such as Entertainment Weekly, Total Film and Empire.

This was a big year for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Warner Bros. embarks on the marketing campaign. It will only grow stronger as we approach March 25th, 2016.

The next installment in the DC Extended Universe is Suicide Squad, which assembles a team of DC’s finest supervillains. Written and directed by David Ayer, the film began production in April and concluded in August. The initial cast was announced last year, with many more new additions joining afterwards. Viola Davis is Amanda Waller (having signed a three-picture contract), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is Killer Croc, Karen Fukuhara is Katana, and Joel Kinnaman replaces Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg. Additionally, following rumors, the Comic-Con trailer for the film confirmed that Ben Affleck’s Batman will make some sort of appearance. A first-look image of the Task Force X cast can be found here.

Speaking of the trailer, Warner Bros. screened a three-minute first look at Comic-Con. The trailer leaked online, prompting the studio to officially release it online. Later on in the year, Empire Magazine released four covers featuring four different characters – Joker, Enchantress, Harley Quinn and Deadshot. As for the rest of the marketing campaign, DC Collectibles will be releasing statues next year. No posters have been released yet. Also, despite speculation that the film will be rated R, it has been confirmed that it, along with every upcoming DCEU movie, will be rated PG-13.

As we enter 2016, expect to see much more from Suicide Squad‘s marketing campaign. The film hits theaters on August 5th, 2016.

Next up is Wonder Woman, a film that has been in development hell for decades and is finally shooting as we speak. After Michelle MacLaren dropped out, Patty Jenkins signed on to direct the feature. Gal Gadot will reprise her role as Wonder Woman from Batman v Superman, and she is surrounded by a strong supporting cast. Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor, while actors such as Robin Wright, Danny Huston and David Thewlis are playing unknown characters. Jason Fuchs wrote the script, after a slew of screenwriters for both Wonder Woman and Aquaman competed with their own drafts.

Other than that, we haven’t gotten too much news on Wonder Woman, save for inevitable plot rumors. Filming is now underway in the UK, and the production will move on to France and Italy. Shooting is expected to conclude early next year. Afterwards, Warner Bros. can begin marketing the film – San Diego Comic-Con 2016, perhaps?

Wonder Woman is set to hit theaters on June 23rd, 2017.

After Wonder Woman wraps production, WB/DC will move on to Justice League Part One, which is scheduled for release on November 17th, 2017. The movie is set to begin production in the “first or second quarter” of 2016 in the UK. And no, it’s not shooting back-to-back with 2019’s Part Two. Rumor has it that the combined budget for both parts is $500M – so likely $250M for each part. Chris Terrio has finished writing the script, so now, the studio has to cast its new characters and can then move on to production.

Last year, it was rumored that Green Lantern would be appearing in Part One as the seventh member of the team. While that role has yet to be cast – more on him later – Mera and Black Canary are rumored to have roles in the film. For the latter, Abbey Lee and Alona Tal are said to be in contention to land the role. If Black Canary is well-received, she could then go on to star in a Birds of Prey movie. No other details are known, except Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl/Oracle (rumored to be played by Jena Malone in Batman v Superman), may appear.

Moving onto WB/DC’s 2018 offerings: Aquaman and The Flash. We received our first look at Jason Momoa as the King of Atlantis earlier this year. James Wan is set to direct, with Kurt Johnstad writing the script. David Leslie Johnson was more recently hired to rewrite the screenplay.
While Mera’s appearance in Justice League Part One is unconfirmed, she will most likely be in Aquaman. Reportedly, Warner Bros. wants to cast a “non-white” actress, while the character has been compared to Mad Max: Fury Road‘s Furiosa as a “force to be reckoned with.” Orm, aka Ocean Master, is rumored to be the film’s villain. Karl Urban is/was allegedly being sought for a role; maybe Orm is the one?
As for The Flash, it has been confirmed that Ezra Miller’s Scarlet Speedster will first pop up in Batman v Superman. Chris Miller and Phil Lord signed on to write a story treatment for the solo film. However, due to their busy schedule, they are unable to direct. Taking the helm on this project is Seth Grahame-Smith, who will write and direct the film. This will mark his feature film directorial debut. Oh, and if you had any doubt, this Flash will definitely be Barry Allen.
Also, it looks like we may not have to wait until 2019 to see Shazam. Dwayne Johnson, who plays Black Adam, said last summer that the film will probably be released sooner. Darren Lemke is writing the script, but a director and actor for Billy Batson have yet to be hired. And, if it wasn’t clear already, Johnson says that Shazam is indeed “interconnected” with the DC Extended Universe.

Meanwhile, no major news this year on 2020’s Cyborg, which makes sense considering that we’re five years away from this film. However, rumor has it that Warner Bros. is considering replacing this film with a Teen Titans movie.

However, this year, we got a lot of updates on DC’s other 2020 film, the Green Lantern reboot. Chris Pine was rumored to be playing Hal Jordan, but he’s now playing Steve Trevor in the DCEU instead. Meanwhile, actors such as Tyrese Gibson and DeMark Thompson have been campaigning to play John Stewart. Which Green Lantern will be the star of the movie? Well, it looks like we’ll see both Jordan and Stewart.

At Comic-Con, WB confirmed that the movie will be titled Green Lantern Corps, substantiating rumors of multiple human Lanterns starring. Stewart and Jordan are specifically named, while Guy Gardner is another possibility. Later, the film was described as a Lethal Weapon-esque team-up adventure in space with Jordan and Stewart. In fact, rumor has it that they will both appear in Justice League, rather than just one.

Hopefully, we will hear official casting news soon, especially with Justice League beginning production in a few short months.

This year, Guillermo del Toro dropped out of directing the Justice League Dark movie, also known as Dark Universe. However, Warner Bros. is so pleased with the script, the studio is fast-tracking it. The adaptation will reportedly begin production sometime next year, while Fede Alvarez and directing duo Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado are said to be in contention to helm. Alvarez is/was allegedly the frontrunner.

As for casting, a lot of actors are linked to the movie. Colin Farrell is reportedly the frontrunner to play John Constantine, with Ewan McGregor being another contender. Whoever doesn’t land this role could play Jason Blood, aka Etrigan the Demon. Monica Belluci is wanted for the role of Madame Xanadu, a comedic actor is being sought for Deadman, Ron Perlman might play Swamp Thing, and an unknown Hispanic/black actress is being sought for Zatanna. Meanwhile, Ben Mendelsohn is being considered to play the villainous Anton Arcane, while Cara Delevingne may reprise her role of Enchantress from Suicide Squad.

Another DC team-up film in development at Warner Bros. is Booster Gold/Blue Beetle, which will bring one of comics’ finest bromances to the big screen. Greg Berlanti is rumored to be directing and executive producing the film, while Zak Penn might write the script. The film will serve as a buddy cop comedy, something which will add more lightheartedness to the DCEU. None of this info has been confirmed officially, and no other details are known; however, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk have both expressed interest in taking on the two roles.

Next, Warner Bros. is said to be developing a Legion of Superheroes film, and it has been called a response to Marvel’s wildly successful Guardians of the Galaxy. However, there have been no official updates on this potential project…yet.

Last year, Warner Bros. confirmed that new Batman and Superman solo films were in development, and they would both be released in the 2016-2020 timeframe. Well, we got a slew of rumors and updates on both this year.

After much speculation, it looks like Ben Affleck will direct and star in his own Batman movie, rumored to be titled The Batman. Additionally, he will co-write the script with Geoff Johns. A November 2018 release is rumored. While WB has yet to confirm this, both Affleck and producer Charles Roven hope to make it happen, so long as the script is good and it fits Affleck’s schedule.

The Batman is rumored to be an adaptation of the “Under the Hood” and “Death in the Family” storylines, with the Dark Knight taking on Jason Todd/Red Hood. Nightwing and Joker are also said to be appearing, while Batman may team up with none other than Will Smith’s Deadshot. Additionally, Ellen Yindel is rumored to make an appearance.

Moving on to Man of Steel 2… hot off the huge success of Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller was rumored to be directing Superman’s next solo adventure. However, he denied the rumors shortly afterwards. Henry Cavill expressed interest in more standalone adventures after the expansion of the DCEU. Meanwhile, Man of Steel 2 likely won’t be released until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest. Brainiac and Bizarro are rumored to be the villains, while Supergirl is said to have a key role.

Now, onto Vertigo adaptations. It was announced this year that Warner Bros.’ sister studio, New Line Cinema, will be taking over development of any Vertigo films. These include Sandman, which is being developed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. New Line will be overseeing the Vertigo films, while WB is focused on all the mainstream DC properties (save for Shazam, which is still at New Line). As for Sandman, little news on the film was made this year, but Gordon-Levitt weighed in on the creative challenges of adapting the property.

Meanwhile, a film adaptation of 100 Bullets is in the works. After teasing his involvement with another DC or Vertigo property, Tom Hardy is set to produce and possibly star in the New Line-produced adaptation. Chris Borrelli wrote the script, while a director has yet to be hired.

Additionally, we got an update on the Fables movie earlier this year. Jane Goldman is writing a draft, while director Nikolaj Arcel is overseeing the script. A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen reboot, based on the comic published by DC/WildStorm imprint America’s Best Comics, is in the works at 20th Century Fox. And finally, former DC Comics title T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is being developed as a film and television franchise by Michael E. Uslan, who produces all of the Batman movies.

As you can see, this has been a very big year for DC Entertainment’s film projects. We got our first looks at several films, including trailers and merchandising. Directors and screenwriters were hired for other films. We read a lot of plot rumors for these movies, while even more adaptations are reportedly in the works. As we enter 2016, there will be even more news on the DC Extended Universe and beyond.

Which upcoming DC Entertainment movie are you looking forward to the most? Stay tuned for the next part in our “Year in Review,” which will cover the various DC television announcements of 2015.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WOBAM! Entertainment.

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