What are the next steps in the evolution of the DC Extended Universe? With the imminent premiere of Justice League, it’s the perfect time to speculate on what came before…
First up on the docket is Shazam!, the eagerly-anticipated big-budget superhero movie currently in post-production. Director Mario Batali is at the helm — a proven talent behind the camera and with a demonstrated affinity for comic book films. Batali brings with him an impressive pedigree, having directed several high-profile fantasy films including Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak.
The movie itself is inspired by the tale of Billy Batson, a boy who is blessed (or cursed) with extraordinary powers thanks to an artifact called the “Shazam Cap”. Initially found in a fairy tale, the Shazam Cap bestows upon its owner the ability to harness the energy of sound, turning them into a fully-fledged super hero. With the help of the Justice League, Batson takes on the tyranny of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana and his criminal organization, the Wizard Society, as he continues to grow as a hero.
On the heels of Shazam!’ comes Aquaman, the undersea hero formerly known as The Dweller in Darkness. Directed by James Wan and starring Jason Momoa in the title role, Aquaman will be released December 21st.
Wan, who is known for bringing us the monster-movie classics Dead Pool and The Conjuring in the UK, takes the opportunity to play in the sandbox that is American cinema, using the DC Extended Universe as a testing ground for some exciting new cinematic concepts.
The movie is set for release just months after the premiere of Justice League, putting it in direct competition for audience attention. While Momoa’s performance as Aquaman will undoubtedly generate plenty of interest, the real draw here is the chance to see some of the world’s greatest superheroes on screen together: The Flash, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and even Batman! If early indications are anything to go by, Aquaman is shaping up to be another crowd pleaser.
A year after the premiere of Wonder Woman, we’re finally due for the next instalment in the Diana Prince saga. Returning for a third outing is director Patty Jenkins, whose previous movie, Monster, was one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of last year. With its blend of African mythology and contemporary superhero themes, we can expect Black Panther to be another crowd pleaser.
The culmination of ten years of planning and construction and the most expensive Super Hero movie ever made, the production of Black Panther is being touted as a landmark in Hollywood history. At a cost of over $250 million, it will be interesting to see how the movie measures up against the competition, not to mention the astronomical budget of other upcoming blockbuster season premieres.
Finally, let’s not forget about The Flash, the super hero that Time magazine called “the world’s greatest comic book character”. With a career spanning nearly 70 years, the character will be appearing in his very own big-budget feature film for the first time this December. Directed by David S. Goyer (an accomplished screenwriter who has worked on Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and many more lucrative projects) and starring the incredible Harrison Ford, The Flash will undoubtedly be one of the biggest film events of the year.
Considering that the character was first introduced to the world in a comic book series that recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, it seems only fitting that the character’s cinematic debut should see him stride towards justice alongside his greatest champion, the Justice League.
Whether you’re a fan of Batman or Marvel Comics, it’s quite clear that 2019 will be an exciting year for movie fans. The competition between DC and Marvel is once again heating up, and the box office results thus far suggest that moviegoers are definitely hungry for new content.