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DC Extended Universe
American superhero film franchise based on DC Comics
In 2013, a reboot of the Superman franchise, Man of Steel, was set to lay the groundwork for future DC films. The film contained references to other characters in the DC Universe, so if it were a success, it could launch a shared universe. Days before Man of Steels release in June, it was reported that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer would be returning for a sequel, which was being fast-tracked by Warner Bros. In July, at San Diego Comic-Con, it was revealed that the sequel would include Batman in a main role, thus establishing the shared universe. In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced a slate of ten DC films.
While the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) includes television productions, the DC's new crossover film series is a shared continuity for films. Several television series featuring DC characters and storylines have their own shared continuity, frequently referred to as the Arrowverse. DC's chief creative officerGeoff Johns explained DC's difference in approach to Marvel Studios and their cinematic universe, saying, "We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. For us, creatively, it's about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world. Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through ... It's just a different approach." In June 2015, Warner Bros. president of creative development Greg Silverman expanded on DC's approach to their cinematic universe, saying, "We ... take these beloved characters and put them in the hands of master filmmakers and make sure they all coordinate with each other. You'll see the difference when you see ... the things that we are working on."
In May 2016, following criticism of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. established a DC Films division with Geoff Johns and Warner Bros. executive vice president Jon Berg as its heads, which oversees production to form a cohesive creative direction for the franchise. DC Films will not be fully autonomous, with Johns reporting to DC president Diane Nelson and Berg reporting to Silverman.Charles Roven was also moved from his day-by-day producer role on future DC films, which he had served since 2005's Batman Begins, to an administrative executive producer role. In December, Silverman was ousted from his role in Warner Bros., and Toby Emmerich was promoted to president and chief content officer, in his place. By January 2017, Johns and Berg reported to Emmerich. Following the financial and critical success of Wonder Woman in June 2017, Johns stated that moving forward the films will focus on the heart, humor, hope, heroics, and optimism of the characters. DC also decided to begin deemphasizing the shared nature of their films, with Diane Nelson stating, "Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn't make sense, but there's no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe... Moving forward, you'll see the DC movie universe being a universe, but one that comes from the heart of the filmmaker who's creating them." As a result of Justice League's underperformance at the box office, Berg left his position by January 2018 and became a production partner with Roy Lee.
In January 2018, Walter Hamada was appointed the President of DC Films and the new co-runner of the DCEU, replacing Berg. The following month, Chantal Nong was hired as Vice President of the film studio, additionally overseeing the production of the franchise. The pair were hired to oversee the future of the franchise with Johns, as the key production team managers. However, in June of the same year, Johns stepped down from his role as co-head of DC Films and co-runner of the DCEU. He will remain with the studio as co-chairman, while starting his own studio where he will take on a greater hands-on role with film media as a producer and screenwriter. His production company, Mad Ghost Productions, will produce future films in the franchise, as well as comic book and television media.
In June 2013, it was reported that Snyder and Goyer would be returning for a sequel to Man of Steel, which was being fast-tracked by Warner Bros. Nolan was involved in an advisory role as executive producer. In July, at the San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. announced that Superman and Batman would meet for the first time in a cinematic format in the film, which would be the follow-up to Man of Steel and a reboot of the Batman film series. According to Snyder, the film took inspiration from the comic The Dark Knight Returns. Cavill, Adams, Lane, and Fishburne reprised their roles. In August, Ben Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne / Batman. In December, Gal Gadot was cast as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, marking the character's first appearance in a live-action theatrical film. Later in the month, Chris Terrio was hired to rewrite Goyer's script. In January 2014, the film was delayed from its July 17, 2015, release date to May 6, 2016, to give the filmmakers "time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story". Later that month, Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons joined the cast as Lex Luthor and Alfred Pennyworth, respectively. In May 2014, the film's title was revealed to be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Initial filming occurred on October 19, 2013, at East Los Angeles College, before full principal photography began on May 21, 2014, in Detroit. Production also took place in Illinois, New Mexico, Africa and the South Pacific. After another date change, the film was released in North America on March 25, 2016.
David Ayer: the writer and director of Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad (2016)
After the death of Superman, a secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions and rescue the world from a powerful threat, in exchange for clemency.
The film is set after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman and Miller as Barry Allen / The Flash made appearances in the film. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets Wayne in a restaurant and hands him a dossier containing information on future members of the Justice League.
Patty Jenkins: the director of Wonder Woman; and co-writer and director of Wonder Woman 1984
Motivated by Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday, Batman and Wonder Woman assemble a team of metahumans to face a new catastrophic threat.
In June 2013, it was reported that Goyer would be writing Justice League as part of a three-film deal he signed for Man of Steel. In April 2014, it was announced that Snyder would return as director. The film was announced in October as Justice League Part One. In March 2016, it was confirmed that Chris Terrio had written the script, who said that the film would not be as tonally dark as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In June, Geoff Johns announced that the title had been changed to simply Justice League. Affleck, Cavill, Gadot, Momoa, Miller, Fisher, Irons, Lane, Adams, Eisenberg, Nielsen, Wright, and Morton reprised their respective roles from previous films.Ciarán Hinds provides the voice and performance capture for the villain Steppenwolf. Beginning on April 11, 2016, filming took place at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, in England, as well as locations around London and in Iceland. Filming concluded in October 2016. In May 2017, Snyder stepped down from his duties on the film due to his daughter's death; Joss Whedon filled his position on post-production, with additional scenes being written and directed by him. Though Whedon was not officially credited for his role as post-production director, he completed enough additional work for a screenwriting credit on the film.Justice League was released worldwide on November 17, 2017.
The "Communion" scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teases the events in Justice League, showing the villain Steppenwolf and the three Mother Boxes.
In order to expand and build the universe the films are set in, some additional material has been released, such as additional scenes or bonus material included in the home releases of the films. The purpose of said material is also to set up and tease the overarching narrative that future installments of the franchise will adhere to. In the case of additional scenes, on March 28, 2016, Warner Bros. released to the public via its YouTube channel, a scene not shown in theaters from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, titled "Communion", which teased the events that would be depicted in Justice League; the scene was later integrated in the Ultimate Edition home release of the film. Similarly, in the Blu-ray disc home release of Wonder Woman, an epilogue is included in the form of a short titled "Etta's Mission", which details a final incident that transpired after the events of the film. Etta teases the existence of a Mother Box, which is crucial to the storyline of Justice League. Also, in the Blu-ray home release of Justice League, two additional scenes not shown in the theatrical cut are included, which further flesh-out the return of Superman and him joining the League.
Furthermore, the various special featurettes and documentaries included in the Blu-ray home releases of the films feature concept arts and designs, as well as background information that greatly expands the shared universe; giving detailed insight into the fictional history, technology, worlds and cultures that appear in the films.
Although not all the films in the franchise resort to this practice, some of them make use of post-credits scenes to further develop character relationships and establish the plot elements that will influence future installments, such as Suicide Squad and Justice League.
By shouting "Shazam", a 14-year-old foster child, Billy Batson, can turn into an adult superhero, courtesy of an ancient wizard. He attempts to master his powers and defeat the evil forces controlled by Doctor Sivana.
The film began principal photography in Toronto on January 29, 2018, and wrapped on May 11, 2018, with most of the filming taking place at Pinewood Toronto Studios, among other locations around the city.Shazam! will be released in North America on April 5, 2019.
By June 2017, Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins had begun work on the story treatment for a Wonder Woman sequel. By July, Johns announced that he is working on the script for the film. That same month, the sequel was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con. Gadot will reprise her role as Wonder Woman. By September, Jenkins signed a deal to return as director, and brought on David Callaham to pen the script with her and Johns. The film takes place in the 1980s during the Cold War. Jenkins said the film, like its predecessor, will be a love story, but with a new love interest. Pre-production had begun by early December 2017, with filming scheduled to start in June 2018, under the working title Magic Hour. By March 2018, Kristen Wiig was cast to portray the film's primary antagonist, Barbara Ann Minerva / Cheetah. That same month, Pedro Pascal was also cast in a key role.
Matt Reeves: the screenwriter, co-story writer, director and co-producer of The Batman
In October 2014, a Batman standalone film was announced by Warner Bros. By 2016, Ben Affleck was set to star in, produce, direct, and write the project. Geoff Johns was hired as co-writer. The film was on track to begin shooting in 2017, until Affleck stepped down as director in January 2017, in order to more efficiently focus on starring as the eponymous role. In February 2017, Warner Bros. announced the title as The Batman and revealed that Matt Reeves would direct and co-produce the film. By July of that year, Reeves confirmed that the script was being rewritten. The story has reportedly been reworked to focus on Batman earlier on in his career as a vigilante. The film will be character-driven and stylistically noir, and will explore Batman's experiences as the world's greatest detective. Reeves stated that the film will feature this aspect of the character to a greater extent than previous Batman films. In August 2018, Reeves announced that the script is near its final draft, and that principal photography is planned to begin early 2019. Affleck remains attached to the project and will serve as producer alongside Johns. In September 2018, Reeves completed his draft of the script and submitted it to Warner Bros. for approval.
Other films in development
Warner Bros. and DC Films have a variety of DCEU films in varying stages of development.
In September 2009, Warner Bros. announced that a film centered around Lobo was in development. The film underwent direction by Guy Ritchie, followed by Brad Peyton at different stages in the project's progression. Originally intended to star Dwayne Johnson as the main character, after various iterations, Jason Fuchs was hired as screenwriter. By February 2018, it was announced that Warner Bros. is courting Michael Bay to direct the film. Fuchs is rewriting the script, as Bay advised some changes so that the budget can be considerably lowered.
In January 2013, Guillermo del Toro confirmed that he was working on a film based on the Justice League Dark team. Del Toro submitted a script in November 2014, but was no longer attached to the project by June 2015. In August 2016, Doug Liman was hired to direct the film, with Scott Rudin producing and Michael Gilio writing the script. In May 2017, Liman dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. In July 2017, the film was titled Justice League Dark. In August 2017, Gerard Johnstone was hired to also work on the script.
In April 2014, Ray Fisher was cast as Victor Stone / Cyborg. The following October, Warner Bros. announced Cyborg. Joe Morton will reprise his role as Dr. Silas Stone. In November 2017, Fisher stated the film will focus specifically on Cyborg, and that the cast and production team will be diverse. In August 2018, Morton stated that he believed cut Justice League scenes involving Cyborg were going to be reworked into Cyborg. Morton stated that he believed the project will begin production in 2020, while other sources continue to report that Cyborg is scheduled to be released on April 3 of that same year. In October 2018, Fisher stated that he wants Zack Snyder to direct the solo movie.
In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced a Green Lantern film. The title was revealed as Green Lantern Corps in July 2015 at San Diego Comic-Con. In January 2017, David S. Goyer and Justin Rhodes were hired to co-write the screenplay, based on a story draft by Goyer and Geoff Johns, with Goyer also serving as producer. The film was described by the studio as "Lethal Weapon in space" and will feature Hal Jordan and John Stewart as the main protagonists. In January 2018, Goyer reaffirmed that the film was still in development despite Warner Bros.'s leadership shakeup. By June 2018, Geoff Johns was hired to rewrite the film's script in addition to his producing. The story is influenced by his New 52 comics on the Green Lantern Corps. In October of the same year, Christopher McQuarrie confirmed that he has had discussions with the studio regarding directing the film.Green Lantern Corps is scheduled to be released in North America on July 24, 2020.
In October 2014, Justice League Part Two was announced, with Snyder returning as director. In June 2016, it was revealed that Justice League would be a standalone story, leaving the sequel untitled. Originally scheduled to be released on June 14, 2019, the film was reportedly pushed back to an unspecified date to make room for The Batman. By October 2017, J. K. Simmons stated that work on the script was in-progress. In December of the same year, Variety reported that there were "no immediate plans" for Snyder to direct the sequel.
Starting in October 2014, a sequel to Man of Steel was in development. In November 2016, Amy Adams stated that work had begun on the screenplay. By September 2017, Matthew Vaughn confirmed he had met with the studio to direct the film. In June 2018, Cavill revealed that he is preparing to reprise the role.
In March 2016, Suicide Squad 2 was announced to be in development. The following year, Adam Cozad was hired to write the script, with additional contributions provided by Zak Penn. By September 2017, Gavin O'Connor was hired as director, as well as co-screenwriter with Anthony Tambakis, David Bar Katz and Todd Stashwick. The final draft of the script was completed in October 2018, though O'Connor left the project due to scheduling conflicts. Production was placed on hold as Warner Bros. believed the script was too similar to Birds of Prey.Charles Roven, Michael De Luca, Geoff Johns, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Richard Suckle, Dan Lin and Andy Horwitz will produce the film, while James Gunn will write a new script with intentions of also serving as director.
Gotham City Sirens, based on the team of the same name, was announced to be in development starting in December 2016. David Ayer signed on as director/co-producer from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. The team will consist of Harley Quinn, Selina Kyle / Catwoman, and Pamela Isley / Poison Ivy. Margot Robbie will reprise her role from Suicide Squad and take the role of an executive producer, while Geoff Johns and Jon Berg will serve as producers on the project. Production was originally scheduled to begin in mid-2017, but following the restructuring of DC Films leadership the film's development was placed on hold in favor of Birds of Prey. In August 2017, Leto was confirmed to reprise his role as the Joker. Despite a busy production schedule on other films, Ayer has continued to be involved with the development of the project, meeting with the team's creator Paul Dini in August 2018.
In February 2017, a film centered on Dick Grayson / Nightwing was in development, with Chris McKay and Bill Dubuque signed on as director and screenwriter, respectively. The film will focus on Grayson's origins, as well as his later vigilante career. In February 2018, McKay stated the script was nearing its final draft.
After years of previously being attached to other DC projects, Dwayne Johnson was cast in September 2014 to portray Teth-Adam / Black Adam in the DC Films shared universe. Initially set to be introduced in Shazam!, by January 2017 the production studios involved divided the narrative of William "Billy" Batson / Shazam and Black Adam in order to focus on the latter's superhero origin, and downfall into villainy. Johnson, who will also serve as a producer on the film, has stated the two characters will cross paths in another movie. By October 2017, Adam Sztykiel was hired as the screenwriter. The plot will follow the character as he fights for freedom from slavery, to protect his people as an anti-hero in ancient Kahndaq. Co-producer Hiram Garcia stated the film will be gritty and violent, similar to Black Adam's solo adventures in the comics. In April 2017, Dwayne Johnson announced that the script involves appearances from other DC Comics superheroes. Production will begin with principal photography slated for late-2019.
By March 2017, Joss Whedon was hired to write, direct and produce a film centered around Barbara Gordon / Batgirl. Whedon was to begin production on the film in 2018, but stepped down in February 2018. In April 2018, after impressing the studio with her work on Birds of Prey, Hodson was hired as screenwriter for Batgirl. Warner Bros. is actively looking for a female director to replace Whedon.
In July 2017, an untitled film centered around Harley Quinn and the Joker was announced to be in development, with a working title of Harley Quinn vs The Joker, which was scheduled to begin production after Suicide Squad 2. Filmmaking duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa will co-write/direct/produce the project. In September 2018, Ficarra and Requa announced the script was completed and submitted to Warner Bros. stating that production will start after Birds of Prey is completed. The story will explore the toxic relationship of the characters, combining the tones of the Ficarra and Requa's previous collaborative work on Bad Santa and This Is Us.
In October 2017, a film centered around Slade Wilson / Deathstroke was announced, following a story pitch to the studio by Gareth Evans. The studio has had discussions with the filmmaker to write/direct the film, though by the following year he has reportedly not yet been contractually attached to the project.
In March 2018 a film about superhero team the New Gods, composed of an alien race introduced in Justice League, was in development with Ava DuVernay signed on as director. Kario Salem wrote a story treatment with DuVernay, while Warner Bros. searches for a screenwriter.
By June 2018, Variety reported that a film centered around the Joker is in development. Leto will serve as an executive producer in addition to reprising his role as the Joker. Warner Bros. intends for the film to "pave the way" for all other Suicide Squad-related projects. Leto will also be involved with hiring the film's production crew.
^Upon announcement of the film series, the universe was commonly called the "DC Cinematic Universe" by fans and the media, in keeping with the naming convention of the already established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Keith Staskiewicz, writing for Entertainment Weekly, coined the term "DC Extended Universe(TM)" as a joke on an article of his about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on July 1, 2015. This and the abbreviation DCEU quickly spread among the press and fans thinking of it as the official name of the franchise over the following years. According to Vulture writer Abraham Riesman, DC confirmed to him in September 2017 that the term is not used internally and they do not consider it official. In 2016, as part of DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League, both Geoff Johns and Kevin Smith referred to the franchise's name as being the "Justice League Universe". During the DC Films panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, a video banner displayed the words "Welcome to the Worlds of DC", after showcasing some upcoming films. As a result, some media outlets interpreted this as DC officially naming their shared film universe as the "Worlds of DC". Despite this, there has been no official announcement from Warner Bros. nor DC Films to confirm this.