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Isn’t This Super?

They’re recruiting them young these days.

Thanks to the internet we know some things to be true. Specifically that Ben Affleck has been fired, or quit, and is no longer Batman. Except for the fact that he is, and is scheduled to appear in the next Justice League. We’ll get to why that is in a few. Other things we know is that Chris Hemsworth will never play Thor again. Except in Guardians of the Galaxy 3. And maybe in another Marvel film. There are no plans for a stand-alone Thor film, but that could be changed before my diaper. Suffice it to say there’s a lot of bad information out there. And, thanks to people needing to fill in blank spots with their burbling thoughts, it’s only going to get worse. There are, as of this typing, eight Marvel, and two Sony, movies slated for release with no information attached to them. Now, obviously, one will be a sequel to Venom. It made stupid money and, thanks to people like me who want to see it again, is doing steady biz as a download. The other Sony flik will probably be Morbius. It’s dark, has room for gratuitous violence and sex, and is a movie designed to make everyone who hated Twilight happy. That’s a potential fan base of billions.

Beyond that, like John Snow with a Wildling, we know nothing.

At least about those films.

Here are some films that we do know something about.

Dark Phoenix

Release Date: June 7, 2019

Director: Simon Kinberg

Cast: Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Evan Peters

What We Know So Far: The sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse has been firmed up as Dark Phoenix, which will tackle the beloved Jean Grey story arc from the comics that was first broached (and botched) in X-Men: The Last Stand. X-Men writer/producer Simon Kinberg has penned the script and is making his directorial debut on the project, which also stars Jessica Chastain as maybe the villain Lilandra and is bringing back pretty much the entire main X-Men cast. The movie won’t be skimping on the weirdness, as it’s been confirmed that the story will find the X-Men finally venturing to space. Hans Zimmer is coming out of superhero movie retirement to compose the score.

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Director: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, and Cobie Smulders.

What We Know So Far: Bolstered by the positive response to Homecoming, director Jon Watts returned to direct, and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, who came on to rewrite Homecoming, wrote the script. The story finds Peter and his friends traveling to Europe for summer vacation, where villainous Elementals wreak havoc.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays comics villain Mysterio, although Mysterio is a good guy in this movie. Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders also co-star, adding a S.H.I.E.L.D. presence to the whole shebang.

Joker

Release Date: October 4, 2019

Director: Todd Phillips

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beets, Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, Frances Conroy, Glenn Fleshler, Shea Whigham and Bill Camp.

What We Know So Far: This is a weird one. In the wake of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, and with Wonder Woman proving to be a massive success, Warner Bros. began changing up its plans for the DCEU. One idea is to kickstart a new arm at WB that will develop and produce one-off DC Comics adaptations not connected to the DC Extended Universe, meaning filmmakers can come in, try something really radical, and not have to worry about setting up a franchise or fitting into an established timeline. The first of these to hit the trades was a Joker origin movie directed by The Hangover and War Dogs filmmaker Todd Phillips, who is co-writing the script with The Fighter scribe Scott Silver. The idea is to craft something in the vein of Taxi Driver, a gritty, hard-boiled crime picture set in the early 1980s.

The movie is an adaptation of the famous scene in The Killing Joke where Joker tells Batman he’s just “one bad day” away from being him. It’s also a play on a few episodes from Batman: The Animated Series with the same line, and theme.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Release Date: February 7, 2020

Director: Cathy Yan

Writer: Christina Hodson

Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, and Ewan McGregor

What We Know So Far: This project hit the fast track at Margot Robbie‘s urging, as the Harley Quinn actress lobbied Warner Bros. an DC to put together a female-centric DC movie based on the Birds of Prey comics. The studio not only put this together, but has Cathy Yan in line to direct based on the strength of her indie feature Dead Pigs. The idea is to potentially introduce a few DC comics characters in this film, like Batgirl, which would then pave the way to their own solo films a la Black Panther and Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War.

One thing no one seems to be talking about, but seems kind of important, is the lesbian love affair / committed relationship which happens between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. In fact, they were married by an Elvis impersonator.

The New Mutants

Release Date: April 3, 2020

Director: Josh Boone

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga

What We Know So Far: Writer/director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) has been attached to direct New Mutants for some time now, but 20th Century Fox finally moved this thing into production after the success of Deadpool and Logan. The film is both YA-esque and horror-tinged in tone, revolving around a group of much younger mutants in the X-Men universe than the adults from the proper X-Men movies. The story will also ditch traditional superhero costumes and supervillains in favor of telling a story about these young mutants locked up together in some facility, mirroring a horror haunted house vibe. James McAvoy has been rumored to be reprising his role as Professor X in the film.

Wonder Woman 1984

Release Date: June 5, 2020

Director: Patty Jenkins

Cast: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, and Pedro Pascal.

What We Know So Far: Very little, but Wonder Woman marked a major turning point for the DCEU with wildly positive reviews and massive box office, so anticipation is high. Patty Jenkins returns to direct a story that takes place in the year 1984 against the backdrop of the Cold War (timely!), with Kristen Wiig playing the villain Cheetah and Chris Pine somehow reprising his role as Steve Trevor. The film was originally scheduled for release in November 2019, but Warner Bros. opted to push it into the summer corridor of 2020, which is the release date the filmmakers wanted all along.

The Batman

Release Date: June 25, 2021

Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Robert Pattinson and some other folks.

What We Know So Far: This one has been a long time coming. Warner Bros. finally got Ben Affleck to agree to direct and star in a Batman standalone called The Batman in 2015, with Affleck having penned a script with Geoff Johns. However, Affleck subsequently stepped down from the director’s chair, opting instead just to star in this standalone while Warner Bros. set Dawn of the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves to take the helm instead. After over two yeas of rumors as to whether Affleck would or would not star, Warner Bros. has finally confirmed that he’ll be moving aside and making way for a new Caped Crusader.

Reeves’ take is described as noir-tinged and will star a younger Batman/Bruce Wayne than Affleck’s iteration. The film will also be honing in on the detective aspect of the Batman comics that hasn’t been fully explored in the films. One thing I can promise is that Pattinson will not be a sparkly bat. Beyond that, we’ll all have to wait and see.

The Suicide Squad

Release Date: August 8, 2021

Director: James Gunn

Cast: TBA

What We Know So Far: David Ayer definitely isn’t coming back to direct this sequel, and Warner Bros. looked at some intriguing names for his replacement. Mel Gibson was approached towards the end of 2016, but Warner Bros. eventually moved on and offered the movie to Jaume Collet-Serra of The Shallows and Non-Stop fame to take the helm, only to see him pass. Gavin O’Connor (The Accountant) was subsequently set to direct, but when his take came out similar to the plot of the Birds of Prey movie—which is going into production first—he became frustrated and moved on.

Subsequently, Warner Bros. tapped former Guardians of the Galaxy 3 filmmaker James Gunn to write a script from scratch and potentially direct. Indeed, months later it was announced that Gunn will very much be directing this film, which is titled The Suicide Squad and is rumored to be more of a reboot than a sequel. It’s unclear how many of the original cast members from the first film will return (Will Smith has already confirmed he’s out), but Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney are expected to return an Idris Elba is signed on to play a new character. Filming is due to begin in September 2019.

Aquaman 2

Release Date: December 16, 2022

Director: TBD

Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard

What We Know So Far: When Aquaman hit theaters in December 2018, it surprisingly became the highest-grossing film of the DCEU thus far, topping out at over $1.1 billion. With that in mind, Warner Bros. set about getting the wheels in motion on a sequel, though director James Wan cautioned that he wouldn’t move forward on it until the script was right. The studio has now set a far-away 2022 release date to give the film enough time to develop, and Aquaman co-writer (and frequent Wan collaborator) David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick has been tasked with writing the screenplay. Wan hasn’t committed to directing Aquaman 2 just yet, but this one is no doubt a priority for Warner Bros. given the popularity of the first movie.

Black Widow

Release Date: TBA

Director: Cate Shortland

Cast: Scarlett Johansson

What We Know So Far: A standalone Black Widow movie has long been requested by fans, and Marvel Studios is finally pulling the trigger—although all official details will be under wraps until sufficient time has been given for folks to see Avengers: Endgame. Scarlett Johansson handpicked indie filmmaker Cate Shortland to direct after an exhaustive search, and the most recent draft of the script was written by Jac Schaeffer. Early word is that this movie takes place before the events of The Avengers, but again all confirmed details are under lock and key at the moment.

The Flash

Release Date: TBA

Directors: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley

Cast: Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Kiersey Clemons, and Billy Crudup

What We Know So Far: Miller made his brief debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he’s a fully fledge star of the Justice League. After tasking Phil Lord and Chris Miller with penning a treatment only to see them head off to direct the Han Solo Star Wars film (and then leave that), the studio subsequently tapped Seth Grahame-Smith to make his directorial debut on the superhero picture. Alas, after the disappointing reception to Batman v Superman, Warner Bros. opted to change course and parted ways with Grahame-Smith, seeking to find a more established filmmaker in his stead. They settled on Dope filmmaker Rick Famuyiwa, working from Grahame-Smith’s script that was a buddy film of sorts between Flash and Cyborg. But after months of developing the project and with casting underway (Dope standout Kiersey Clemons landed the role of Iris West), Famuyiwa exited the project in late October.

This put the March 2018 release date in doubt, as it was dependent upon production getting underway in early 2017. Miller was then due to start filming Fantastic Beasts 2 in mid-2017, which would push production of The Flash to late 2017 or early 2018, meaning the March 2018 date was impossible. The film does now have a pair of directors though. Names like Robert Zemeckis were bandied about early on, but WB settled on Vacation and Game Night helmers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein to direct Flashpoint, who also co-wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Warner Bros. announced at Comic-Con 2017 that this Flash movie will be an adaptation of the Flashpoint time travel comics storyline, which could give WB a way to reboot the DCEU somewhat. But it’s unclear if that’s still the plan.

The long road to getting The Flash movie off the ground hit yet another speed bump in October 2018, when it was revealed that production is being delayed from Spring 2019 to late 2019 due to the fact that the script wouldn’t be ready in time and Miller once again has to shoot Fantastic Beasts 3 starting in Fall/Winter 2019. As a result, The Flash movie isn’t expected to hit theaters anytime before 2021 now.

Yes, some of the trailers above are fan made. Studios don’t release trailers for movies they haven’t begun shooting yet. But, since they were based on publicly released plots, I decided to share them. Besides, as we have seen over the years, some of them nail the whole release plan dead on. Certainly the fan trailers for Captain Marvel were spot on.

Now, go check out my buddy Norty’s video back in the days when we had a budget of, and I’m not kidding, $10 to make a music video. The damn thing still gets played. Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them have accounts in public domain video archives.

Although, if you ask nicely, I own a cape and some leather stuff. I’m sure we could work something out.


Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.

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