So, what’s up with DC’s movie directors? Warner Brothers / DC has been in the news a lot lately regarding the tumultuous state of affairs within their DC Entertainment Universe, that is their on-screen universe. Both Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith were at one point tapped to direct the Flash movie. Both walked away. Ben Affleck was set to direct The Batman. Rumors abounded recently that Matt Reeves was going to walk from talks with DC about taking over for Batman. People just seem to feed off of the changes at DC and interpret them as “Things are a mess” and “they can’t seem to get their cinematic universe together”.
Well let me tell you, folks, that that’s not the case. To illustrate that, let’s run down the list of who is going to be directing what in the next couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, things do change and further changes are likely but not because DC/WB has issues. It’s because changes like that are not uncommon, especially in the pre-production stages of a film project. So let’s take a look. But let’s bring some hope and optimism back to the news.
Nightwing – The hugely successful Lego movies – most recently the Batman Lego Movie – is a fan favorite among DC film fans. The director, Chris McKay, is currently in talk with execs to direct a film about Dick Grayson, Nightwing. Bill Dubuque, the same guy who wrote The Accountant is currently writing the script. Will this tie in to the scene from Batman V Superman where we see a Robin costume enblazed with the Joker’s iconic HAHAHA remains to be seen but presumably any film now will tie to Snyder’s shared universe.
The Batman – Matt Reeves is now confirmed to be directing The Batman. He is not walking away as was the general though up to even last week. He will directing and producing the film. WB’s President and Chief Content Officer made a statement shortly after they closed the deal; “We are thrilled to have Matt Reeves taking the helm of Batman, the crown jewel of our DC slate,” He said and goes on to say; “Matt’s deep roots in genre films and his evolution into an emotional world-building director make him the perfect filmmaker to guide the Dark Knight through this next journey.” The Batman was scheduled to begin filming sometime this spring and I full expect the movie to stay true to its original time frame.
Justice League Part 1 and Part 2: Zack Snyder will indeed be back to continue with the shared universe he started with Man of Steel back in 2013. Not only that, but he will be overseeing a slew of upcoming DC films as the Producer and those films include Suicide Squad 2, Wonder Woman, Deadshot, Gotham City Sirens, Aquaman, The Flash, and an as yet untitled DC film scheduled for release in 2019.
Aquaman – James Wan is indeed still directing the upcoming Aquaman film starring Jason Mamoa, Nicole Kidman and Amber Heard. Wan has weather the storm of the rumor mill around the project’s stability and his interest in seeing it through. In fact, Aquaman has arguably been the most stable of the DC/WB’s slate of film projects. Already in pre-production, Aquaman will hit theaters in 2018.
SHAMZAM! / Black Adam – Another breakout director, David F. Sandberg, is in late stage talks with the studio to direct Dwayne Johnson and cast in Shazam! Sandberg broke on to the scene with the film “Lights Out” and the anticipated “Annabelle 2” due out later in 2017. As a close tie-in to SHAZAM, it makes a lot of sense that he will indeed also direct Black Adam.
Suicide Squad 2 – The director of the first Suicide Squad movie, David Ayer, is not going to be directing it’s upcoming sequel. WB however is in talks with directors such as Mel Gibson to helm the project. With Gibson’s resurgence on the Hollywood scene with films like Hacksaw Ridge, it makes sense for the studio to tap him before his star rises even more. Based on his filmography, you can see the type of film to expect.
Gotham City Sirens – Instead of pursuing a Suicide Squad sequel, a movie that was met with lukewarm reception and rather mixed reviews, David Ayer has instead decided to direct a DC movie starring the sirens of the DC universe: Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Ayer hasn’t left DC in frustration over executive control (or whatever the latest rumor du jour is) but has instead moved over to helm another DC project.
Wonder Woman – Being that the film is out this year, June 2nd 2017 to be exact, I don’t have to tell you that the cast and crew will not be changing at this point. Patty Jenkins directed Gal Gadot in a wonderful portrayal of the Princess of Themyscira. This movie is highly anticipated by fans, especially after her standout portrayal of the same character in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The Flash – The only movie that has seemingly had ongoing issues is The Flash. Both Rick Famuyiwa and Seth Grahame-Smith left over “creative differences”. That nebulous term could mean any one of a number of potential problems but whatever they are led to the departure of two separate directors. The casting has remained the same with Ezra Miller still starring at The Flash. Last month, Variety reported that the script would be reworked by Joby Harold. So, even with a movie whose production has been plagued with issues, seems to be on the mend and heading back towards being “on track”.
2020 and beyond – There are other movies still in early talks and development but still very far out to speculate on. Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, Lobo are a couple of movies that DC has planned for its steadily growing shared cinematic universe. But these are indeed on the way, along with whatever else Geoff Johns and crew conjures up. What this tells us is that the universe has a lot of room to grow outside of the core Justice League story. DC has a vast library of IP to pull from and it seems they are getting more and more comfortable doing just that.
So, when someone tells you that the DC cinematic universe is dying, that it has failed or that DC “doesn’t know what they’re doing” take a moment to break it down like we did here. Take a moment to really think about the truth and reality behind that statement. This article is not about the critical reviews and fan reception of their movies released thus far but about the state of the universe as it is to unfold over the next few years. The shake-ups on The Flash project understandably put some doubt and question. But, I assure you, once you look at each project you will see that perception does not match reality. They’re not dying. They’re not collapsing. They’re not failing. They are, in fact, highly successful (especially financially) and will only be growing as the months and years and film reels roll by.