When we talk about future plans for superhero movies, it’s often easiest to point to Marvel. The so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) has been a carefully outlined plan for years and has been executed to perfection. At least, as far as earnings and sustainability are concerned. The DC cinematic universe (or “extended” universe, abbreviated DCEU) has been a little slower out of the gate, and is only just beginning to come together as a cohesive blend of characters and franchises. Despite the fact that the DCEU hasn’t really produced a hit yet, the lineup of future films is incredibly ambitious. Let’s take a quick look at the future of the connected universe attempting to challenge Marvel.

Wonder Woman (June 2017)

We posted the trailer for Wonder Woman back in November, and though we haven’t learned much more since then, excitement is beginning to build. As much of a head start as Marvel has gotten, this will be the first feature film from either studio to put forth a female lead, and most every superhero movie fan agrees that it’s about time. With the relatively little known Gal Gadot in the title role, Wonder Woman has a chance to advance the DCEU significantly.

Justice League (November 2017)

Justice League is DC’s real chance at a fresh start. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice was by most accounts underwhelming, and failed to become a legitimate counter to Captain America: Civil War. This time around more characters will be involved, and we’ll have already gotten to know Wonder Woman. It’s always a challenge for these “universe” films to balance numerous superheroes but this will be DC’s big chance. We’ll see The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and a host of supporting characters like Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) appear on screen alongside Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), and Wonder Woman. The downside for those who didn’t enjoy Dawn Of Justice is that Zack Snyder is directing again, and was in charge of coming up with the story, with Chris Terrio (who wrote Dawn Of Justice) on board to write the screenplay.

Aquaman (2018)

This could be the biggest wildcard among the coming DCEU movies. That’s because the character has historically been regarded as an exceptionally lame superhero. The studio is clearly looking to do away with that association with this effort. Director James Wan, who was in charge of the smash hit Furious 7, has indicated he’s up to the challenge, and the casting of the beastly and beloved Jason Momoa (known for playing Khal Drogo on Game Of Thrones) definitely lends a new, badass image to the character. Still, it’s pretty hard to imagine how this one might play out but we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed.

The Batman (2018-2019)

This project is still slated for 2018, but with Affleck recently dropping out as director, one has to wonder if it could be pushed back a year. At any rate the task of putting the Christopher Nolan Batman movies out of people’s minds is a monumental challenge. Nolan’s films were praised by critics, adored by fans, and established an entire generation’s image of Batman and Gotham City. Even beyond film, it arguably inspired the wildly popular Arkham gaming franchise, and the second film, The Dark Knight, has a place among the internet’s most popular slot games. These games often involve superhero and movie characters, and The Dark Knight was the only DC project to crack the top five. Throw in an Oscar-winning Joker performance by Heath Ledger and it becomes difficult to count the ways in which Nolan’s films are the cream of the crop when it comes to comic book movies. The Batman has its w
ork cut out for it to even come close to standing up to that legacy.

The Flash (2018-2019)

This is another project with an uncertain release date, and for that matter a great deal of uncertainty in general. We know that up-and-comer Ezra Miller will play the role of The Flash, but otherwise there’s very little information out there about this one. This will be meant to fill the role of something like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and help to introduce a new character in between ensemble projects.

That about covers it for definite projects throughout the current decade. Shazam is rumored for a 2019 release, with Dwayne Johnson on board, but there’s some speculation that DC might use that opportunity to release Man Of Steel 2 instead. Additionally, Justice League 2, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps are slated for 2020, and there’s a chance we’ll see Dark Universe or Harley Quinn spinoff Gotham City Sirens by 2019. For now, the projects listed above represent the core of the DCEU and we only hope that they can help to establish a whole new comic book universe for fans to enjoy.