Yesterday was a busy day for Warner Bros. Pictures an its associated DC Comics film properties.
Following up on news that a Joker origins film is in the works — separate from the so-called DC Extended Universe — other details of the studios new plan emerged. A month-old podcast was uncovered in which The Batman director Matt Reeves mentioned his film would also stand apart from the DCEU. Both projects, according to reports, will be part of a separate banner from the DC films, allowing different actors to portray characters appearing in the DCEU schedule of movies.
Then, last night, Deadline uncovered that David Ayer’s Suicide Squad spinoff, Gotham City Sirens, was no more. In its place will be a DCEU Joker & Harley Quinn film with Jared Leto and Margot Robbie reprising their Suicide Squad roles. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, creators of NBC’s This is Us and directors of Crazy. Stupid. Love., will helm the new project. The current plan, according to sources at The Hollywood Reporter, is to place the movie after the Suicide Squad sequel, but Warner Bros’ definition of “plan” is dubious of late.
At one point, THR even reported that Ben Affleck was definitely out of The Batman — with Reeves planning to set the film in a different time period — but quickly retracted the statement.
Justice League still has its November release date, but as the Warner Bros. goes into Infinite Crisis mode, anything can happen. Well, almost anything. Production on Aquaman continues apace with nothing more than photos of Nicole Kidman emerging from that set in recent days. Also, a Wonder Woman sequel is a lock thanks to its creative and financial successes; though at this point, it can stand alone as well if it wants. Presumably the next DCEU film, Shazam! will still begin production early next year, but after this week, it would not be surprising to learn it’s been cancelled as well.
Remember when Warner Bros. announced its development slate back at Comic-Con? Remember when it seemed like there was renewed vigor thanks to the popular appeal of Wonder Woman? It now seems like that was one big great illusion as the studio reshuffles its projects. If one felt like prognosticating doom, the events of recent days may explain why no director is attached to The Flash: Flashpoint.
But to counterpoint the feeling that the studio has no confidence in or direction for the DC film properties, it is important to remember DC Comics maintained a number of different continuities and one-off Elseworlds for decades while still supporting a mainline DC Universe. It is possible that Warner Bros. will work out a similar production method. Or maybe the whole thing is just spinning into a madness reminiscent of the publisher’s famous event title, Crisis on Infinite Earths.