It's been almost a decade since Marvel's Iron Man made comic book movie skeptics sit up and take notice, and despite the many superhero films (some brilliant, others awful) that have come out in that time, the craze isn't going away any time soon.
There are a slew of superhero flicks scheduled to hit cinemas over the next few years, with studios gearing up to go head to head with their respective properties in the battle for dominance, which is only good news for us fans. But as franchises continue to grow and expand their rosters, it becomes hard to keep track of what (and when) everything is happening.
Well, fear not, because all the information you need to keep ahead of the curve can be found right here. From scheduled release dates to cast and crew announcements, this is everything you need to know about upcoming superhero movies.
What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi will get the chance to prove his blockbuster chops this November, having taken over from Thor: The Dark World's Alan Taylor for the third film in the Thor franchise. Waititi has already given MCU fans a taste of his dry humor and directing style with his hilarious Team Thor shorts, though if the trailer that recently dropped at Comic Con 2017 is anything to go by, Ragnarok won't be short on action.
The new footage shows Chris Hemsworth (reprising his role as the Asgardian god) meeting Mark Ruffalo as both Bruce Banner and the Hulk, and the big reveal coming at the end of the trailer is that he can talk in both forms now. The film looks like it'll follow Marvel's Planet Hulk story arc more closely than the plot of the actual Ragnarok comics, right down to the inclusion of characters like Korg and Miek.
British Oscar winner Cate Blanchett comes on board as Hela, goddess of the underworld and no friend to our hero. “She's been locked away for millennia getting more and more cross,” Blanchett said of her character, “and then, with a mistake, she gets unleashed and she ain't getting back in that box.” Fan favorite Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki, set to team up with Thor and The Hulk as well as newcomer Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).
Scheduled release date: November 3, 2017
The future of Justice League looked uncertain in March after tragedy struck Zack Snyder's family. Despite initially choosing to return to work and keep his mind on finishing the highly anticipated DC team-up, Snyder ultimately decided family came first, saying, “I've decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me.”
Avengers director Joss Whedon agreed to shepherd Justice League through post-production and shoot a few additional scenes, though a recent Variety exclusive revealed that the extent of his work was larger than Warner Bros. let on. The studio is said to be spending around $25 million on extensive reshoots, which have become complicated because of conflicting schedules, and they need to digitally remove a mustache that Henry Cavill (Superman) is contractually obliged to keep during the filming of Mission: Impossible 6.
The November 2017 release date is as yet unaffected, however, and the reaction to the recent Comic-Con trailer has been positive. They managed to show a great deal without giving any key plot points away, and we got our first look at classic DC villain Steppenwolf, who's being portrayed by Ciaran Hinds via motion capture. The biggest reveal came in the dying moments of the trailer, when Alfred all but confirms the resurrection of the Man of Steel.
Scheduled release date: November 17, 2017
For awhile, it looked like Selma director Ava DuVernay was nailed on to direct Marvel's Black Panther, though the African-American filmmaker put those rumors to bed when she confirmed she had passed on the project. “I think I'll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be,” she told Essence before thanking Marvel, who decided to reach out to Ryan Coogler instead.
Coogler (Creed) made some edits to the screenplay after agreeing to terms, and the sizzle reel he screened at Marvel's Los Angeles offices in April reportedly had everyone very excited about Chadwick Boseman's debut. Joining Boseman in a cast that Kevin Feige has promised will be “90 percent” African-American is Lupita Nyong'o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Creed's Michael B. Jordan, who said that Black Panther will be a “very honest and gritty” movie.
Jordan is playing classic Black Panther nemesis Erik Killmonger, but he won't be the movie's lead villain. Boseman revealed that a character we've seen glimpses of already will step up as the main antagonist: Andy Serkis' Ulysses Klaue. “Klaue is the real villain,” Boseman told EW. “I can say that I identify with Killmonger's character. It's going to be a fun character. He definitely has a different point of view. They are polar opposites. A superhero movie is only as great as its villains. I think they both provide a piece of that.”
Scheduled release date: February 16, 2018
Fox has handed the reins of their X-Men spinoff franchise to young filmmaker Josh Boone, confirmed to take charge of a possible trilogy of New Mutants movies. The up-and-coming director of The Fault In Our Stars (2014) has admitted to being “obsessed with Marvel Comics through the 1980s, long before there was a Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie,” and he took it upon himself personally to convince the studio in charge of the property to put the New Mutants on the big screen.
Boone and co-writer Knate Gwaltney put together their own New Mutants comic book based on stories they wanted to adapt for Fox, and the studio loved it. “It walked them through a trilogy of New Mutant films that would build on each other,” Boone said. “[It] took all the images we had loved from the series and strung them together to show them the movie we wanted to do.”
Fox recently confirmed a release date of April 2018 (putting New Mutants directly up against an as-yet untitled Universal Classic Monsters movie) and The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Game of Thrones vet Maisie Williams and The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy have signed on to star. Williams will play Wolfsbane, a young werewolf going through a crisis of faith; Taylor-Joy is set to take the role of Magik, the sister of X-Man Colossus. THR has also confirmed that Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton will portray invulnerable mutant Cannonball, and 13 Reasons Why actor Henry Zaga has agreed to terms over the part of Brazilian ladies' man Sunspot. The fifth and final main role has been won by newcomer Blu Hunt, who will take on the part of Native American mutant Moonstar.
Scheduled release date: April 13, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War
For awhile it seemed like the third Avengers installment would be split into two separate movies, thought to be the case because the fourth movie was given the working title Infinity War Part 2. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo later cleared that up, admitting that the working titles were “misleading” and insisting that Infinity War would actually be a standalone movie. The sibling helmers will re-team with writing duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who provided the script they worked from in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and 2016's Captain America: Civil War.
In terms of the story, one team who we know will be present to help in the fight against Thanos is the Guardians of the Galaxy—behind the scenes footage that Marvel posted online shows Star-Lord actor Chris Pratt on set with Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland. Brie Larson's Captain Marvel is also set to make her MCU bow.
An Infinity War featurette posted by Marvel in June 2017 bigs up the two upcoming Avengers flicks as the culmination of everything they've been working toward since the first Iron Man movie dropped in 2008. “These next two Avengers films will be an event like no one has seen on film before,” Joe Russo says, while Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige addresses their well-documented villain issue in the video, promising, “Thanos shows us why he is the biggest, the best, the baddest villain that we've ever had.”
Scheduled release date: May 4, 2018
After 2016's Deadpool unexpectedly became the highest-grossing film in the X-Men franchise, keeping the creative team together for the follow-up seemed essential. That wasn't to be the case—director Tim Miller soon departed the project, allegedly because star Ryan Reynolds didn't back his demands for a larger budget. “All I can really add is that I'm sad to see him off the film,” Reynolds told GQ. “Tim's brilliant and nobody worked harder on Deadpool than he did.”
David Leitch of John Wick fame has since stepped up to direct, and Josh Brolin will also be welcomed into the fold as the merc with a mouth's time-traveling foil Cable. The actor recently shared a snap of himself working hard at getting into shape for the part, posting it alongside the caption “Cable's coming.” In other recruitment news, Jack Kesy (best known as philandering rocker Gabriel Bolivar in FX vampire series The Strain) has signed on as a villain, reportedly to play Irish mutant Black Tom.
Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand will return metallic X-man Colossus and his understudy Negasonic Teenage Warhead; however, recent rumors that Sunspot, Feral and Shatterstar were going to appear in the Deadpool 2 post-credits tag scene (thus setting up an X-Force feature film) have been shot down by screenwriter Rhett Reese. Things are obviously still in flux right now: the production's start date has already been pushed back a week, according to sources on location in Vancouver.
Scheduled release date: June 1, 2018
The Incredibles 2
After helming a high profile disappointment in 2015's Tomorrowland, Pixar legend Brad Bird is set to return to his bread and butter with a follow up to his 2004 animated superhero smash The Incredibles.
A second outing with the Parr family was first announced a decade after the original during a 2014 Disney shareholder meeting, with a 2019 release date penciled in. “I don't like unwrapping presents before Christmas,” Bird said when pressed for details on the project, but he did say that the film was “very actively moving, and we're excited about it. [We're] trying to take it in some new directions.”
Bird clearly wasn't kidding when he said that the project was moving with speed, as a few months later Frozone voice actor Samuel Jackson was posting photos to Instagram from his Incredibles 2 recording session and the release date had been moved forward to summer 2018, with Toy Story 4 pushed back to make way.
Scheduled release date: June 15, 2018
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Marvel's Ant-Man sequel is now officially underway. The shoot began on the first day of August, days after a big casting announcement at Comic-Con 2017. Star Paul Rudd and his returning right-hand man Michael Peña were part of Marvel's panel at the event, and they revealed some new additions for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Laurence Fishburne has been cast as Dr. Bill Foster, a scientist who became known as Black Goliath in Marvel comics after messing with the Pym Particle and gaining powers. Michelle Pfeiffer has also been added to the bill, taking the part of Hank Pym's (Michael Douglas) wife Janet van Dyke, thought to be permanently trapped in a subatomic quantum realm until the events of the first movie unfolded. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was also present for the panel, and told fans that Pfeiffer was their “dream choice” in the role of Janet, the first owner of the Wasp suit.
Returning director Peyton Reed certainly seems excited about the film, particularly about introducing The Wasp to the MCU. “For me as a comic nerd, I always thought of Ant-Man and Wasp as a team and that's a lot of what the second movie is really about,” he said. “To show her finally fully formed in this movie is really exciting.” According to the official synopsis Marvel recently released, the pair will reunite for “an urgent new mission” and “uncover secrets from their past.”
Scheduled release date: July 6, 2018
Sony has been trying in vain to get a Venom movie out of the blocks for over a decade, but we now have confirmation that the studio is prioritizing the project and is pushing for an October 2018 release. British powerhouse Tom Hardy has signed on to play the lead role of Eddie Brock, the first character to take on the Venom moniker in Marvel comics. Sony confirmed the casting when they tweeted a photo of Hardy wearing a Venom t-shirt along with a caption that revealed production is set to start this fall, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, director duties have been offered to Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer.
Despite being a fan favorite, Venom has only been portrayed onscreen once, when former That '70s Show star Topher Grace donned the black for Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3—now considered one of the worst miscasts in the history of comic book movies. Producers are hoping Hardy is better received by fans, as he's set to play a central role in what they're calling the Sony Marvel Universe. Hardy (who previously played popular DC villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) will be working from a script penned by Scott Rosenberg and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writer Jeff Pinkner.
Scheduled release date: Oct. 5, 2018
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
The direct follow-up to 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse was initially going by the name X-Men: Supernova following a leak from a Fox source, though that insider was misinformed. The studio recently brought an end to the guessing game, announcing both the real title and release date of the 12th film in the franchise (assuming that New Mutants gets its scheduled April release). It will go by X-Men: Dark Phoenix and is set to open November 2018.
Simon Kinberg has been working hard behind the scenes on the X-Men films as a writer and producer since 2006's The Last Stand, a botched attempt at adapting the classic Dark Phoenix Saga. This arc from the comics will of course be the basis of the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie, and Kinberg has been given the chance to personally right past wrongs in what will be his directorial debut. The assumption was that Bryan Singer would remain at the reins, though the Apocalypse director recently confirmed he was passing the torch, posting a photo of himself and Kinberg on Instagram with the caption: “Epic story in great hands.”
Kinberg has confirmed that the film will follow the franchise's decade-skipping trend, jumping forward from the '80s-set Apocalypse to a '90s setting. In terms of cast, the key players from the previous entries are all reprising their roles, including Evan Peters. The American Horror Story star stole the show last time out playing Quicksilver and has wisely been recalled.
Scheduled release date: November 2, 2018
DC fans got their first look at Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last year, and they'll be seeing him again in next year's Justice League before his first solo adventure drops. Originally set for an October release, Warner Bros. decided to move Aquaman back to a Christmas slot to plug the gap left by the delayed Avatar 2, meaning it will be going up against Transformers spinoff Bumblebee in a battle for box office dominance over the festive period.
Joining former Game of Thrones star Momoa on the cast are Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman, playing his love interest Mera and his mother Queen Atlanna, respectively. Images of Heard in full costume have been praised for their likeness to the comics, and we now know Aquaman will start looking a bit more Atlantean in his attire come Justice League. Those in attendance at Comic Con 2017 were shown his costume and given a first glimpse of the movie itself, which featured the Ocean Master's underwater army of shark-riders.
The Ocean Master is Aquaman's half-brother and will be played by Patrick Wilson onscreen. Momoa was asked by a member of the Comic Con audience if the underwater armada belonged to traditional Aquaman villain Black Manta, and he revealed that Wilson's character will be his biggest threat. “That's Ocean Master's army,” he said. “Black Manta doesn't have anything on him. I'm going to be fighting my brother.”
Scheduled release date: December 21, 2018
Untitled animated Spider-Man movie
African-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales was only supposed to be around for four years in the pages of Marvel's comics, created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli in 2011 as part of the alternate universe Ultimate Marvel imprint, which ended in 2015. This version of Spidey proved so popular that Marvel decided to merge him into the main line, and now he will be the focus of a (thus far untitled) feature length animated movie.
The young star of Rick Famuyiwa's Dope, Shameik Moore has signed on to voice the teenage superhero and Liev Schreiber will voice the film's villain, though Sony has managed to keep his character's identity a secret so far. Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey are in place to co-direct a script written by Phil Lord, who is producing the project with regular collaborator Christopher Miller. At present, the film is scheduled to be released on the same day as DC's Aquaman.
Scheduled release date: December 21, 2018
M. Night Shyamalan publicly toyed with the idea of a sequel to his superhero thriller Unbreakable for a long time—and 16 years later he delivered on that promise, though nobody knew it right up until the final moments of 2016's Split. The James McAvoy-fronted film not only marked a return to form for the director, it confirmed the creation of a new shared movie universe with the appearance of Bruce Willis' Unbreakable character. Shyamalan went to great lengths to keep the reveal a secret, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he tested the film with that surprise ending cut out to make sure nobody blabbed about Willis. He also revealed that he wanted make “one final movie that combines the two,” which he's already titled Glass.
The director has confirmed that Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his Unbreakable role for what is to be the third film in his trilogy, and Split stars McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy are also set to return alongside Willis. Universal (who will co-produce with Blumhouse) have already released an official logline for the movie: “Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn [Willis] pursuing Crumb's [McAvoy] superhuman figure of the Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price [Jackson] emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.”
Scheduled release date: January 18, 2019
Thus far, there has only been a single casting announcement regarding the upcoming Captain Marvel, and that is the all important one. Oscar winner Brie Larson will star as Carol Danvers in what is expected to be Marvel's answer to Wonder Woman, and she has given every early indication that she is taking the role seriously, sharing pictures of herself reading the comics with her Twitter followers.
Director double act Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (who helmed the critically acclaimed Mississippi Grind together) have been drafted in to take charge of proceedings, with Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman collaborating on the script.
“I don't think I've ever had a project where I've been more mindful about the impact that it could have and the importance of it,” Perlman admitted before hinting that she and LeFauve are steering away from a completely faithful adaptation. “If you were just going to do a straight adaptation of the comics, her origin story is very similar to Green Lantern. And obviously, that's not what we want to do.”
Scheduled release date: March 8, 2019
Untitled Avengers: Infinity War sequel
Kevin Feige recently confirmed that Avengers: Infinity War and its still-officially-untitled sequel would not be shot concurrently as originally intended. “We're doing them one right after another,” Feige said. “It became too complicated to cross-board them like that, and we found ourselves—again, something would always pay the price. We wanted to be able to focus and shoot one movie and then focus and shoot another movie.”
Part of the problem was the size of the talented ensemble cast, many of whom are in high demand elsewhere (Chris Pratt, for example, has been juggling Marvel duties with the Jurassic World sequel). That problem looks like it might worsen going forward, as the Russos have revealed that they are considering as many as 67 named characters for inclusion in Infinity War.
The title of the sequel was being kept under wraps at Marvel though Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana recently dropped a huge hint by mistake. The Gamora actress told a journalist that she is currently in the middle of shooting Infinity War and that they “all have to go back for Gauntlet later this year.” Does that mean Avengers 4 will be called Infinity Gauntlet?
Scheduled release date: May 3, 2019
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel
After Marvel and Sony finally came to a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding the use of Spider-Man, it seemed unlikely that the wall crawler would get just a single solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland made his debut as Peter Parker in last year's Captain America: Civil War and will front his own standalone movie Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer, but the British actor recently let slip that a sequel was indeed on the cards.
“My next project, I can't tell you about,” Holland said. “But we've just finished Spider-Man [Homecoming] and we're talking about the second one and who the villain is going to be and where we're going.” The film, which is unofficially going by Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 at this point, is slated to be the start of MCU Phase 4, although Kevin Feige recently suggested that they might leave the whole Phase thing behind after the fourth Avengers movie.
Scheduled release date: July 5, 2019
Wonder Woman 2
Another big story coming out of Comic-Con is the official announcement of Wonder Woman 2. A sequel seemed inevitable after the box office success of Gal Gadot's first outing as the Amazonian, and confirmation came in the DC Hall H sizzle reel. DC's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns confirmed that he has already started thinking about how Diana Prince's story will play out. “I'm working right now on the Wonder Woman 2 script,” Johns told Yahoo Movies.
Director Patty Jenkins has previously discussed where she'd take the character should the sequel get greenlit. “The story will take place in the U.S., which I think is right,” she told EW. “She's Wonder Woman. She's got to come to America.” Jenkins also revealed she had second thoughts about returning, though decided it was an opportunity too attractive to ignore. “I had this revelation in the middle of the night: this is your dream cast, you've created a character that you love and you can say anything you want in the world right now,” she added.
According to Screen Rant, the second film will see Diana taking on the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Chris Pine is also reportedly returning, though given the events of the previous movie (and the fact that four decades will have passed in the timeline), that doesn't seem to add up—unless, of course, Pine portrays a descendant of the late Steve Trevor.
Scheduled release date: December 13, 2019
Dwayne Johnson has been attached to the movie adaptation of Shazam for more than a decade, so a wait of just a few more years isn't likely to put him off the project. The WWE star turned Hollywood big hitter is poised to take on the role of Black Adam, a much-loved DC anti-hero and the arch-nemesis of Shazam, a teenager who can give himself superhuman powers by uttering the word “shazam.”
“I've lived with this character, and this opportunity for almost 10 years now, so it's like, in my DNA,” Johnson said of playing Black Adam, a former slave who sets about taking revenge on his captors after he ends up with his own powers. “I'm like a little kid, and it's the opportunity to create his journey, but that journey has to start out properly. And starting off properly is him not being a hero.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shazam will be the next DC project to go into production, with the shoot expected to get underway as soon as January 2018. A meeting took place between Johnson and studio heads recently, where it was decided that the Rock had become too big a name to take second billing in the Shazam feature. Instead of introducing Black Adam that way, New Line Cinema (who have been working towards adapting Shazam properties for many years) will write him out of that film and give him his own solo movie.
Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)
Changes of director and script rewrites meant that the March 2018 target Warner Bros. set for their Flash solo movie was always going to be a long shot. Dope director Rick Famuyiwa (who had already replaced Seth Grahame-Smith) left the project after reported disagreements over his screenplay, which is currently being rewritten from page one by Joby Harold. The release date has been pushed back to 2019 to allow Miller to work on the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel.
Whether new scribe Joby Harold will tone down the role of Ray Fisher's Cyborg (the character had a central role in Famuyiwa's version) remains to be seen, though if DCEU executive producer Deborah Snyder's interview with Forbes is anything to go by, the two are destined to team up. “Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher are kind of our youngest characters, and they have a really nice camaraderie with each other,” she said.
The latest news coming out of Comic-Con is that the project now has an official title: Flashpoint. This is, of course, the name of the DC crossover story arc in which the Flash has to use the Speedforce to travel back in time to stop his mother's murder, altering the fabric of the DC Universe as he does. How closely the DCEU version will follow the dramatic events of the comics is unclear at this stage, but fans have already started theorizing.
Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)
Last year it seemed all but certain that Ben Affleck would direct himself in the first DCEU solo Batman movie, but as 2017 came upon us the A-lister shocked fans with a surprise statement announcing his intentions to step down.
“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said. “Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film.”
That partner ended up being War for the Planet of the Apes director and lifelong Batman fan Matt Reeves, who is currently signed on to helm The Batman. Affleck's screenplay is to get a page-one rewrite from Chris Terrio (Argo), who also gave the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice script a complete makeover.
Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)
Suicide Squad 2
Despite the mauling it took from the critics, Suicide Squad took a whopping $745 million at the worldwide box office, leaving Warner Bros. with no doubt over whether or not to push forward with a sequel. Nothing is concrete as of yet, but Variety's Justin Kroll (whose sources are rarely wrong when it comes to DC) has revealed that a number of directors are under consideration. Kroll reported that Warner Bros. planned to meet with Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) and, last but certainly far from least, Mel Gibson, who is the studio's preferred choice according to the insider.
Gibson played down the rumors, saying that things were still in the “first date” stage, and the spark seems to have been missing according to recent leaks which claim that The Shallows director Jaume Collet-Serra is in the hot seat. The same source claims that DC's occasional Suicide Squad member Killer Frost will replace Harley Quinn as the film's female Task Force-X member.
Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)
When Warner Bros. and DC first laid out their plans for their Extended Universe with the public, the fact that a stand-alone Cyborg picture was among them came as quite a surprise to many, but nobody was quite as shocked as the man who was hired to portray him.
Stage actor Ray Fisher was told only a matter of hours before the announcement was made that he was getting his own vehicle in 2020, having only signed on for a cameo role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “I didn't know the extent to which DC and WB had planned on taking my character,” Fisher said. “When I signed on, I just wanted to be part of this world. But that specific information, I found out then and there. I didn't think I'd be getting my own stand-alone film.” The studio has continued to keep its cards close to its chest, with little other than the release date known at this stage.
Scheduled release date: April 3, 2020
Green Lantern Corps
It always seemed highly unlikely that Ryan Reynolds would return to the role of Hal Jordan after a disastrous stint as the DC hero in 2011's Green Lantern, though now that he has the wildly popular Deadpool on the go, that definitely won't be happening.
Reynolds blamed problems with the script (it didn't even exist when he signed on) for Green Lantern's many failings, though Warner Bros. is determined not to make the same mistakes when they reboot the property to merge with the DCEU.
David Goyer (who wrote Extended Universe opener Man of Steel) and lesser-known scribe/director Justin Rhodes are teaming up to to write the screenplay for Green Lantern Corps, the title of which suggests that this could be a team affair rather than a film that concentrates on one Lantern in particular. There are no cast confirmations as of yet, but Fast and Furious star Tyrese Gibson has been rallying for a role hard.
Scheduled release date: June 19, 2020
The announcement that there is a Batgirl movie in the very early stages of development raised a lot of eyebrows recently, mainly because it came from Joss Whedon. The Marvel stalwart revealed that he would be directing a movie based on the DC character, dropping the bombshell during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 premiere no less.
“She came up, and I started getting obsessed with how a young woman could get hardcore enough to need to put on the cowl,” he said. “Like, what's her damage?” As far as Marvel is concerned, Whedon has their blessing, with Kevin Feige confirming that the Avengers director called him in advance to discuss his plans.
One person on the DC side who is happy about Whedon straddling the divide is Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, who praised his approach to the genre. “I think it's super exciting,” she admitted. “The tone of Joss' work is great for female superheroes. He takes such a fun approach and I think he'll have fun in the DC universe, which will be excited to have him.” Nothing official on casting yet, but star of The 100 Lindsey Morgan has been linked.
Scheduled release date: TBD
Gotham City Sirens
Suicide Squad director David Ayer faced some tough criticism in the wake of the film's release, and while at first he seemed happy to just shrug off the negative reviews, he later conceded that there were changes he wished he could make in an open letter posted on Twitter.
Lucky for him, he will have a chance to put things right with Gotham City Sirens, a DC team-up movie based on the short-lived but super popular comic series of the same name. The huge reaction to Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn has led Warner Bros. to fast track this film, which is being written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Sherlock Holmes 3) and is being prioritized over a Deadshot solo outing.
Joining Quinn will be regular Batman foes Catwoman and Poison Ivy, with the latter role currently linked to both Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard. Ayer's open letter apology also hinted that Jared Leto's Joker could play a part here.
Scheduled release date: TBD
What is becoming clear early on with the DC Extended Universe is that Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne will be a central figure throughout, much in the way that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On top of The Batman gaining momentum with new director Matt Reeves and Joss Whedon signing on for the first ever Batgirl film, Warner. Bros is also planning on introducing classic Bat-family member Nightwing to beef up the ranks.
Chris McKay recently directed The Lego Batman Movie for WB and is now being tapped for this DCEU project, with the studio reportedly keen for him to move into live action. Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) is working on a screenplay, and, while nothing official has been said about casting, Dave Franco recently threw his hat into the ring when asked if he was interested in the lead role. “Absolutely,” he answered, but added that the filmmakers could “literally go to anybody—but I'm here if they want me.”
Scheduled release date: TBD
In 2015, Sony struck a deal with Valiant Comics to bring their superhero universe to the big screen. The studio agreed to terms over a five-picture deal that would begin with a standalone film based on the Harbinger series, created by former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter for Valiant and released as part of the company's launch in 1992. The comics follow a teenage harbinger (a race of evolved superhumans with psionic powers) named Peter ‘Sting' Stanchek—the only one of his kind with abilities equal to Toyo Harada, a ruthless Japanese tycoon hellbent on building a superhuman army.
After the initial announcement, things went quiet on the Valiant front for awhile, although we've since learned that Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer worked on the Harbinger treatment and was also working on other Valiant projects. More recently, Deadline reports that Heisserer's script is to be re-written by Justin Tipping and Joshua Beirne-Golden, whose 2016 collaboration Kicks earned critical acclaim for its “unique mix of adolescent anxiety, urban decay and societal friction in a remarkably confident fashion.” Fast and Furious franchise producer Neal Moritz is in place to produce.
Scheduled release date: TBD
Back in 2015 Sony looked liked they had pulled off a shrewd bit of business when they signed a deal with Valiant Comics to bring their thus-far untapped superhero universe to the big screen. It was a five-picture deal that would begin with a standalone film based on Bloodshot, a former soldier who ends up with superhuman abilities after nanites are forcibly injected into his blood.
A 2017 release date was targeted but things went quiet on the production, and details were scarce up until recently. Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer (who wrote the comic series Secret Weapons for Valiant) is penning the Bloodshot script, and he recently let slip who would be directing it.
Dave Wilson (who runs Blur Studios with Deadpool helmer Tim Miller) is best known for his work in video game commercials and doesn't have a feature length credit to his name yet, so Sony is showing a lot of faith in an inexperienced director by handing him the all-important franchise opener.
Scheduled release date: TBD
On top of their five picture deal with Sony, Valiant are also developing adaptations of their comics in-house, which they'll then shop to different studios. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Shadowman—about a supernatural hero who played a central part in Valiant's recent Rapture event—is one of the titles currently being adapted.
In the comics, the Shadowman moniker has been adopted by a few different people, though the version expected to be seen onscreen is Jack Boniface, the most recent character to take up the mantle. An African American jazz musician who finds himself in league with a mysterious organization known as the Coven after a spirit enters his body and gives him strange powers, Boniface has to learn to control his abilities quickly when his native New Orleans comes under threat from a dark dimension known as the Deadside.
Former Marvel writer Reginald Hudlin has been chosen to direct, and he'll join Salem showrunner Adam Simon for a joint re-write of an original script by J. Michael Straczynski, who's also written screenplays and comic books for Marvel. Valiant Entertainment's own Dinesh Shamdasani is producing.
Scheduled release date: TBD
Archer and Armstrong
“Not since Batman and Robin has a more important duo hit the comic world,” Ain't It Cool wrote in their review of Archer and Armstrong's first six issues, re-released as a special hardcover in 2008. “[It] truly delivers the goods from its very first page until the last … you can't believe what a wonderful trip you've just taken with these two magnificent characters.”
Archer is kind of like Marvel's Iron Fist but with a much darker past: raised as a martial artist in a Himalayan Buddhist monastery, he's the son of dangerous child molesters serving time in prison. After returning to the States he meets an immortal vagabond named Armstrong, a boorish lout who teams up with Archer in his fight against the Sect, a dangerous ancient order targeting them both. Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani is producing, and he's brought together an interesting writer-director combination for the project: Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer is in line to helm this raucous buddy flick, working from a script penned by regular Pirates of the Caribbean scribe Terry Rossio.
Scheduled release date: TBD
A solo Gambit movie has supposedly been in active development since 2014 when X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner confirmed that Channing Tatum would play the card-tossing Cajun mutant, whose only previous movie appearance came in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine in which he was portrayed un-spectacularly by Taylor Kitsch.
Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was hired as director with an October 2016 opening penciled in, though that was just one of many release dates that wound up being missed. When Wyatt dropped out, Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) took his place, though he too became frustrated with the lack of activity and decided to jump ship to the Justice League Dark project DC has in development.
Despite Donner reiterating that Gambit was still in the works as recently as January 2017, its omission from Fox's 2018 slate means it looks like a 2019 release at the very earliest.
Scheduled release date: TBD
Justice League Dark
As the director formerly attached to the long-awaited Gambit adaptation, Doug Liman knows all about the superhero genre, and he has plans to make his mark with Justice League Dark. The Edge of Tomorrow helmer announced his intentions to take DC's team of supernatural heroes down a grounded path, earmarking a big role for one fanboy favorite. “I think people will be surprised how character-driven and how intimate Justice League Dark is in kind of a field of bloated comic book movies,” he said. “We've found a way to do something that's actually really personal and small, and that's my goal… For John Constantine, we have an amazing setup for him for Justice League Dark that's really human.”
There are no details on which comic book story arcs are being considered for inclusion, but Liman has hinted that the movie will take an adult approach after the success of recent R-rated superhero fare, which in his opinion have opened up new possibilities within the comic book movie genre. “There's stuff to be mined from the people who have come before me that I'm planning to bring to Justice League Dark… my good friend Simon Kinberg, with Deadpool, really pushed the arena.”
Scheduled release date: TBD
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
If Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was ever in doubt at Marvel Studios, the box office numbers posted by the second film have made certain that Gamora, Groot, Rocket, Drax and Star-Lord will team up for a third time, though the latter hero might not be taking centre stage this time out. Director James Gunn recently admitted that he intends to “complete his trilogy” and revealed that he has already begun working on the screenplay. The most interesting part of Gunn's interview wasn't that the script was underway, however, it was his vision for it, which apparently involves less Chris Pratt and more Zoe Saldana—the director said he's had “some pretty intense conversations” with the actress about Gamora taking a more prominent role in the final Guardians outing.
There's no slated release date as of yet, though casting news is already starting to trickle through, with Gunn confirming that Elizabeth Debicki will reprise her role as Ayesha, the Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign. “I absolutely plan on bringing Elizabeth Debicki back. She's actually one of my favorite actors I've ever worked with. I think on this movie between her, Pom Klementieff who plays Mantis, and Chris Sullivan who plays Taserface, they really were three of the best actors I've ever worked with and were all such a joy on this film to deal with that I would love to deal with them again.”
Scheduled release date: TBD
Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen
The Guillermo del Toro chapter in the history of Hellboy is officially over, with confirmation in that an R-rated reboot is in development. Hellboy creator Mike Mignola first broke the news via Facebook, updating his fans with everything he could reveal at this stage. “Okay, here's some news,” he wrote. “There IS going to be another HELLBOY MOVIE. It's going to be an R rated reboot directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Game Of Thrones) and starring David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Hellboy.” Mignola signed on for co-writing duties alongside Andrew Cosby and Christopher Golden, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who have confirmed that the film has a working title of Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen.
The script is already done according to Cosby, who recently told Silver Screen Beat that the horror elements associated with the character will be fully embraced in the reboot. “I can't really talk about specifics with regard to the story, which they're keeping a pretty tight lid on at the moment, but I can say that this is a darker, more gruesome version of Hellboy. Neil said from the very beginning that he wanted to walk a razor's edge between horror and comic book movie, which was music to my ears, because that's what I was shooting for in the script, and precisely what Mignola does so well with the comics.”
Scheduled release date: TBD
Silver Sable and the Black Cat
On top of their recent Venom news, Sony is also outlining plans to expand their budding Spider-Man universe and take full advantage of the Marvel properties they currently have the rights to. The pair the studio has chosen to focus on has come as something of a surprise, however, as both are minor characters that have little connection in the comics other than being two of Spidey's many female conquests. With the positive fan reaction to Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman about to drop and Brie Larson's debut appearance as Captain Marvel not too far off now, Sony execs are banking on female superheroes being the flavor of the month for a while yet and clearly hope to get in on the action.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Yost (who worked on upcoming MCU installment Thor: Ragnarok) has been hired to tidy up a script penned by Lisa Joy, the co-creator of HBO's Westworld. Ruthless mercenary Silver Sable, who has been both an ally and an enemy to Spider-Man over the years, has never been portrayed onscreen before, though Black Cat did pop up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Well, kind of: Rogue One star Felicity Jones appeared briefly as a character called Felicia Hardy (Black Cat's real name in the comics), though no connection to the acrobatic cat burglar was ever made.
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