Movie Ideas That Could Save the DC Extended Universe

There’s no shortage of superhero movies on the docket for the next five years, coming to us from both Marvel and DC. But while Marvel has thrived at the box office almost every year, DC stumbled out of the gates in the beginnings stages of its own movie-verse. The DC Extended Universe got off to a rocky start with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and matters weren’t helped much by the even worse reception of Suicide Squad.

Though DC rebounded a bit with the huge critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman, its team-up film, Justice League, is already garnering mixed reviews.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of DC’s coming attractions are doomed to fail. There’s a wealth of untapped potential still waiting to be adapted, and that’s where these ideas come in.

1. Nightwing

Nightwing - DC Comics
Nightwing | DC Comics

The story of Batman has been told to death in movies, cycling through multiple iterations and actors over a decades-long history of releases. It’s the Dark Knight’s iconic sidekick though who’s never gotten the depiction he so rightly deserves (yeah sorry, Batman & Robin was awful). So what better way to infuse Robin into the DCEU than with his adult alter ego, Nightwing?

Dick Grayson, not content to be Batman’s sidekick forever, strikes out on his own as the hero of Blüdhaven, a city more destitute and corrupt than even Gotham. All in all, it would make for a wonderful alternative to the classic Batman narrative, featuring a hero who’s every bit as capable as his former mentor.

Warner recently announced plans for a standalone Nightwing movie, with LEGO Batman director Chris McKay signed on to helm the project!

2. Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice: Gods Among Us video game
Injustice: Gods Among Us | DC

Yes, we just had a Batman versus Superman showdown movie, and it had all sorts of problems. And yes, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a video game with a comic book story slapped on. But imagine for a second a fight between the Dark Knight and Superman that not only made thematic sense, but had wide-ranging implications for the future of the world based on who won?

The Injustice: Gods Among Us storyline gives us just that: The Joker tricks Superman into killing a pregnant Lois Lane, turning the Kryptonian into a cold-hearted despot who rules the world with an iron fist, while dividing Earth’s heroes down the middle a la Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Everything about it just begs for a cinematic adaptation, pitting the entire DC roster against itself in an epic battle for survival.

3. Green Arrow

Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow
Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow | The CW

Conceptually, we all know that the Green Arrow works as an on-screen hero; that much was proven courtesy of The CW. Now we just need DC to wise up and get Stephen Amell his own movie as the titular archer.

With the recasting of the Flash, it’s likely that any Green Arrow movie would come with a new actor donning the hood, but even that would carry some massive potential. In the comics, Oliver Queen is a master martial artist, swordsman, and archer, even capable of hitting a drop of water with an arrow from a considerable distance. It makes for an awesome movie concept, especially since we already have a ton of material to work with from The CW’s own TV series.

4. Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter - DC Comics
Martian Manhunter | DC

Not all the members of the Justice League grew up on Earth. The one notable exception is Martian Manhunter, the last of the Martian species hiding on our planet. Possessing telepathy, shapeshifting abilities, and invulnerability, he’s a hero so formidable that he’s described by Bruce Wayne himself as a combination between Batman and Superman, buoyed by his considerable strength and intellect.

Martian Manhunter has a rich alien backstory that would take the DC movie-verse outside the boundaries of planet Earth, all the while bringing an iconic hero into the Justice League fold. Yeah, let’s make this happen, shall we DC?

5. Teen Titans

Teen Titans - DC Comics
Teen Titans | DC Comics

Awhile back, the Teen Titans were in for their own live-action TV series on TNT, before unceremoniously getting canceled before pre-production even began. DC creative head Geoff Johns gave us hope for their future though, hinting that the Titans are still “a huge piece of DC,” and they “have plans” for the future. What those plans are isn’t at all clear, but there’s little doubt that the team of young heroes would thrive in a standalone film of their own.

The Titan core member, Cyborg is already a part of DC’s plans for the future, so it’d really just be a question of rounding out a roster that would include Robin, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy among others.

6. Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate - DC Comics
Doctor Fate | DC Comics

If Doctor Strange is the most powerful user of magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Fate holds the same title for the DCEU. The character has a variety of spell casting abilities, making him an appealing candidate for a lead role in full-blown movie. This move would take the DCEU in the same mystical direction that seems to be serving Marvel so well right now.

While Batman and Superman largely rely on their physical abilities and gadgets, here we’d get a hero who relies on magic as his primary ally. This opens all sorts of new thematic doors for DC, who could conceivably use Doctor Strange as either a blueprint for success or a cautionary tale (depending on your own personal opinions on the film).

7. Constantine

Constantine - NBC
Constantine | NBC

Yes, we already had one Constantine movie, but the Keanu Reeves-led adaptation barely felt like the iconic comic book character. NBC gave us an intriguing portrayal when they cast dead-ringer Matt Ryan in the role for their own standalone series, but a quick cancellation of the series once again left John Constantine on the sidelines. A new movie covering the exciting supernatural world of gods and demons from the comics would make for some great cinema, while giving Ryan another chance to don the red tie and trench coat.

8. Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins

The League of Assassins on Arrow
The League of Assassins on Arrow | The CW

In DC lore, Ra’s al Ghul is the nigh-immortal leader of the League of Assassins. The ancient order exists to depose world leaders, cause chaos, and in various iterations, even trained both Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen. A movie covering the order’s origins, Ra’s al Ghul’s early days, and eventual encounters with Batman and Green Arrow would finally give us the exciting villain-centric story promised to us by Suicide Squad. 

9. Lobo

Lobo in DC Comics
Lobo | DC Comics

Here we have an instance of our hopes and DC’s own plans overlapping. Warner Bros. already has a Lobo adaptation cued up, and rumor has it that they’re looking for it to be their very own Deadpool. In the comics, Lobo is a merciless alien bounty hunter, albeit with his own twisted sense of humor. If it does end up landing its own R-rating a la Deadpool, we can see a good director doing some truly great things with the character.

10. The Trinity of Sin

The Trinity of Sin
The Trinity of Sin | DC Comics

Back in the beginning of time, three beings were called before a council of wizards for their crimes against humanity, and punished to walk the Earth in obscurity forever. Each character was responsible for a different sin, and together the mystery surrounding their identities would give us a cool series of films.

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