The future of DC Films is up in the air and a new 10-year plan means WB could restart the DCEU, but recent delays suggest that may not happen.
The future of the DCEU is in the stars, but recent changes to the DC movie schedules suggest Warner Bros. Discovery plans to keep the current DCEU canon. The studio has yet to reveal their long-term plan for DC movies, but the way they’re handling the films already in production could say a lot about the direction they want DCEU to take.
DCEU has been taxless since then justice league debacle, resulting in the plans Zack Snyder had for the characters being effectively canceled, but a new plan was never fully implemented. Warner Bros. Discovery recently announced plans to introduce a “Kevin Feige”-style figurehead and a Marvel Cinematic Universe-style 10-year plan, although any additional details of what that plan might be have been kept under wraps.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! wrath of the gods have seen a number of release date changes, most recently the release was pushed back even further. While the delay is frustrating for everyone anticipating these films, the release date changes could offer a behind-the-curtain look at what Warner Bros. Discovery wants from DC Films.
The future canon of the DCEU is uncertain
One of the biggest questions after the theatrical release of 2017 justice league was about what canon the DCEU would follow. While many of the following releases managed to straddle a line that didn’t say much about Joss Whedon’s version of justice league or the rest of Snyder’s DCEU films, the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League made the question even more uncertain, especially when Patty Jenkins said other DC directors were still sticking to Snyder’s canon instead of the changes made to Whedon’s theatrical version.
With an uncertain canon and the future of many justice league characters in question, particularly those involving Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman, have reportedly been The Lightning The film would be used to reset some of the larger continuity to allow the franchise to move in a new direction. Thanks more delays for The Lightning and the return of Ben Affleck’s Batman and rumors of Henry Cavill’s Superman return, a reboot may not be necessary but the numerous issues launching various plans for this “OG” DCEU cast raise concerns whether another attempt will succeed or not also survive.
Warner Bros. Discovery has inherited a lot of DCEU baggage
Aside from concerns about actors and continuity, the DC fanbase is also divided between the different styles of DC movies WB has made over the years. Outside of the Snyderverse, which evolves into a Final Crisis-inspired confrontation between the Justice League and Darkseid, none of the DCEU films have led to anything particularly inspirational. Given all the DCEU’s drama and baggage up to this point, it’s not clear what there is to salvage, and a contrived attempt to fix everything about a multiverse conceit might be more effort than worth unless there is a clear path to something greater for all of these characters.
This thinking is no stranger to Warner Bros. Discovery either, as evidenced by their willingness to cancel outright bat girl although the film is already fully shot. Willingness to dismiss without consideration bat girl stands in stark contrast to the long delays Shazam! wrath of the gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. While bat girl had a connection to earlier DCEU canon, it featured Michael Keaton as Batman, presumably a product of the multiversal events of The Lightning. bat girl was reportedly canceled for financial reasons, but the continuity differences are hard to rule out as a possible factor.
Delayed DC films could indicate WB’s canon preferences
The delay of Shazam! wrath of the gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom What’s particularly interesting is that it extends the franchise’s commitment to the current iteration for the DCEU. If Warner Bros. Discovery wanted a clean slate, meaning recasting characters like Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, they wouldn’t delay his next appearance until December 2023 and include Ben Affleck’s Batman in the film. Of course there was a very similar situation with X-Men: Dark Phoenix after Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, but in this situation, Disney already had a thriving MCU and needed it Dark Phoenix Reshoots to end the existing X-Men iteration without introducing more sequels or spin-offs or doing anything else that conflicts with MCU canon.
While the delays suggest Warner Bros. Discovery may not choose to wipe the DCEU slate completely clean, it doesn’t indicate whether the plan will perform a soft restart or continue with one of the other incomplete plans like Zack Snyders Knightmare future and Darkseid confrontation or Walter Hamada’s rumored Crisis on Infinite Earths plan. In all likelihood, it will be a fresh story, building on the established characters and films where necessary without following any particular plan.
Of course, it’s still possible that the new head of DC Films will come on board and decide to start the DCEU from scratch with a new cast and a new line of films, but the fact that they won’t just die Throwing existing list into theaters (or even when streaming) asap or immediate cancellation could be a good sign. Shazam! wrath of the gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom They may not be grand, universe-defining stories, but their place in current (and possibly future) DCEU canon cannot be ignored.