The DC Extended Universe Phase Two: 5 Movies That Could Be Next

Over the past eight years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has established a firm pattern of announcing sets of films known as “phases.” For example, Phase Three kicked off with Captain America: Civil War and spans 10 films (!), running through the fourth Avengers film in 2019.

So far, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) — which is only four films deep (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and most recently, Wonder Woman) and still ironing out some of its own rough edges — hasn’t landed on a rollout plan for their future films. At the moment, there are several films with release dates but little to no indication beyond that.

There are a number of projects reportedly in the works for the DCEU that may hit theaters before films like Aquaman, ShazamCyborg, and Green Lantern Corps. ever see the light of day, especially if those productions encounter the same problems that The Flash is currently facing. In any case, we thought it’d be fun to take a closer look at some DCEU films without scheduled release dates that we expect (or hope) to see in the next few years.

1. The Batman

Ben Affleck stands outside in his Batsuit at night in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Warner Bros.

This one is a no-brainer. We already know that Ben Affleck is set to star in a solo film featuring his version of Batman with comics writer Geoff Johns. Joe Manganiello is already onboard to appear as Deathstroke, and filming will reportedly start sometime in 2017.

However, rumor has it that the film is facing some behind-the-scenes struggles. The script has reportedly undergone extensive rewrites and Affleck recently stepped down as director, raising some speculation about the issues plaguing production.

While it makes sense that Warner Bros. would be anxious to take another crack at the most financially lucrative character in DC’s history, we only hope the studio is able together the project back on track.

2. Man of Steel 2

Henry Cavill in his Superman suit in Man of Steel

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel | Warner Bros.

Plans for a proper sequel to Man of Steel were dashed when Zack Snyder and company opted instead to inject the Dark Knight into the equation, resulting in the Justice League setup film that is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now that the latter film has introduced the team and key villains like Lex Luthor and Steppenwolf, the way is presumably clear for Superman to headline his own sequel.

For years, there has been talk about Supes facing off against Brainiac on the big-screen. That would certainly be a refreshing change of pace from his films’ fixation on Lex Luthor and/or General Zod.

3. Dark Universe

A team of heroes pose under a monster in an issue of Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark | DC Comics

Based on the comic book series Justice League Dark, this one has been in the works for quite a while, initially with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro attached to direct. Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman was also signed on to lead the project, but has since made the exit.

The movie centers on a team of heroes poised to tackle supernatural threats. Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Deadman, and the Spectre are all expected to play a role, and the imminent release of an animated film centered on the team indicates that the live-action project may be a bigger priority for DC than originally thought.

4. Birds of Prey

Batgirl leads the Birds of Prey in a DC Comics issue

Birds of Prey | DC Comics

It didn’t take long for Warner Bros. to announce that Margot Robbie — the breakout star of this summer’s mega-hit, Suicide Squad — would reprise the role of Harley Quinn in an upcoming spinoff film. While audiences would relish the chance to see Harley on-screen in any project, recent news that the new release will also feature the all-female hero team, Birds of Prey has only heightened excitement over the impending film.

At this point, there’s no indication how the story will incorporate Harley and the Birds of Prey, seeing as Harley’s never been a key part of the team. Likely, the film will position Robbie’s Harley as the main antagonist, though anything’s possible right now.

5. Lobo

Lobo clenches his fists in a DC Comics issue

Lobo | DC Comics

After Fox hit box office gold with the quirky comic book anti-hero in Deadpool, it seems like a smart move for Warner Bros. and DC to develop a feature-length film around this interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. Debuting as a villain in 1983, Lobo has since become an integral part of DC Comics and has appeared in several animated projects over the years. Now that Wonder Woman writer Jason Fuchs has reportedly been brought onboard to write a Lobo script, expect to hear more about the character’s big-screen debut soon.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

Additional reporting by Michelle Regalado

Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!