DC movies release dates: Every DC Studios film coming in 2023 and beyond
As James Gunn's DCU begins to take shape, here's every film still on the schedule.
After months of rumours and speculation, DC Comics fans finally know exactly what writer-director James Gunn is cooking up for them in his new role at Warner Bros Discovery.
The man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy and 2021's The Suicide Squad is now heading up DC Studios in partnership with executive Peter Safran, with their aim being to clean up the messy state of the output.
In January 2023, they unveiled their plans for the first few years of their DC Universe, which involve debuting new versions of Superman and Batman.
Most of these upcoming projects are yet to be given release dates, with Gunn expressing a desire not to rush development time as that would inevitably lead to an inferior final product.
“We are not going to put hundreds of millions of dollars into a film where a screenplay is only two-thirds of the way done and we have to finish it while we’re making the movie," he said (via The Hollywood Reporter).
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"I’ve seen it happen again and again and it’s a mess. I think it’s the primary reason for the deterioration of quality of films today versus 20, 30 years ago."
Currently, there are four (yes, four!) DCEU chapters scheduled for release by the end of the year, while new entries in the self-contained The Batman and Joker franchises are also coming down the pipeline.
Here's your guide to the full DC movies release schedule for 2023 and beyond.
Every DC movie release date
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Release date: Friday 17th March 2023
Director David F Sandberg returns to helm this sequel to the 2019 superhero comedy, in which teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is granted the power to transform into an older, super-powered version of himself. This time, he'll be facing off against a magical trio called the Daughters of Atlas – portrayed by Dame Helen Mirren (Fast & Furious), Lucy Liu (Elementary) and Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) – who intend to use a weapon with enormous destructive capability.
Originally scheduled for release in April 2022, Shazam! Fury of the Gods faced a production delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while it was shuffled a couple more times after Warner Bros merged with Discovery.
The future of Shazam on the big screen is unclear at present, considering that Black Adam – his comic book arch-nemesis – was largely rejected by audiences in his own solo film last year. The long-talked-about cinematic crossover between the two presumably died with it, especially as Dwayne Johnson seemed far more interested in battling Superman anyway.
That said, new DC boss James Gunn has said that Shazam: Fury of the Gods "connects very well" to his newly unveiled plans for the franchise, so there could still be truth to star Zachary Levi's claims that he isn't going anywhere.
Release date: Friday 16th June 2023
First announced in October 2014, nine seasons of The Flash will have come and gone by the time this movie finally makes it to cinemas. Assuming that it does. The blockbuster burned through a number of directors and screenplays before settling on IT: Chapter One and Two filmmaker Andy Muschietti, and a script from Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey).
The story is said to be inspired by comic book event Flashpoint, in which Barry Allen travels back in time to prevent his mother's murder, which occurred when he was a young boy. However, meddling with long-established events in this way has major consequences in the present day, which is frighteningly different when he returns.
It has long been rumoured that The Flash will bring about a soft reboot of the DC film continuity – just as the adapted comic book storyline did. More recently, the dominant assumption has been that star Ezra Miller would be written out, following a wave of controversies over the past year. However, in January 2023, studio boss Peter Safran downplayed speculation that the actor's tenure as Barry Allen had come to an end.
“Ezra is completely committed to their recovery, and we are fully supportive of that journey that they’re on right now,” Safran said (via Variety). “When the time is right, when they feel like they’re ready to have the discussion, we’ll all figure out what the best path forward is. But right now, they are completely focused on their recovery. And in our conversations with them over the last couple of months, it feels like they’re making enormous progress.”
The Flash also stars Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck, each playing versions of Batman, while soap star Sasha Calle makes her debut as Supergirl.
Release date: Friday 18th August 2023
Initially envisioned for a straight-to-streaming release on HBO Max, Blue Beetle was later upgraded to a theatrical offering – which might just have saved its skin. After all, one of the reasons cited for Batgirl's abrupt cancellation was Warner's focus shifting away from streaming content and towards more traditional big-screen fare.
The film will tell the origin story of fan-favourite character Jaime Reyes (played by Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña), who gains superpowers from an alien scarab, which forms a high-tech exoskeleton around him. The feature marks the first time that Blue Beetle has been seen in live-action besides an, erm, ambitious attempt in a late episode of Smallville.
Gunn has confirmed that Blue Beetle is part of his DC Studios plan, describing the film as "marvellous".
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Release date: Monday 25th December 2023 (Christmas Day)
It's sometimes easy to forget that the first Aquaman film made a billion dollars worldwide – but it did, and here's the proof! This sequel will see the return of Jason Momoa's Atlantean king as he forms an uneasy alliance with an unlikely ally in order to prevent an ancient power from destroying the world.
There's no shortage of candidates for Aquaman's strange bedfellow, with both Patrick Wilson's Orm (aka Ocean Master) and Yahya Abdul Mateen II's David Kane (aka Black Manta) both returning for this instalment. Meanwhile, Momoa made headlines last summer when he revealed that Ben Affleck's Batman – once-thought retired – would also be making an appearance here.
Towards the end of 2022, the rumour mill threw up a bizarre suggestion that Momoa could hang up his trident for a new career as DC's galactic bounty hunter Lobo, or perhaps even play both characters simultaneously. The latter has been decisively debunked, with Gunn recently saying that two roles could not be played by a single actor in his reimagined shared universe.
Certainly, if Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom comes anywhere close to matching the box office of the original, it would be odd to end the franchise here – we'll see what happens in December.
Joker: Folie à Deux
Release date: Friday 4th October 2024
Away from the perpetual drama of the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros managed to make a cool billion and strike Oscar gold with its prestige exploration of comic book villain The Joker. Can you blame it for having another go?
Director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix are joining forces once more for this sequel, with Lady Gaga in tow to play a brand new version of psychiatrist Dr Harleen Quinzel, who goes on to adopt the catchier moniker Harley Quinn.
In keeping with the world-renowned talent of its latest hire, Joker: Folie à Deux is reportedly a musical film, while the fancy subtitle is a medical term for delusion or illness affecting two closely associated people.
Release date: Friday 11th July 2025
It all starts here (again)! James Gunn and Peter Safran's reinvigorated DC Universe arrives on the big screen with Superman: Legacy, which is set to feature an as-yet-unspecified new actor in the title role.
Though Henry Cavill certainly had his fans, the incoming creative team opted not to renew his contract in favour of shifting to a younger incarnation of the world's first superhero – aged just 25.
Superman: Legacy is currently being written by Gunn himself, who may also direct, with little else known about the project besides that it is definitely not an origin story.
Safran explained: "It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.”
The Batman: Part II
Release date: Friday 3rd October 2025
After The Batman raked in almost $800 million at the global box office, it wasn't surprising to see Warner Bros green-light a sequel the very following month, with director Matt Reeves and star Robert Pattinson both expected to return.
However, the film occupies a strange space on the DC schedule, given that it will remain entirely separate from Gunn and Safran's wider cinematic universe – and face some friendly fire from their competing version of the Dark Knight.
During a DC presentation in January 2023, the sequel was officially titled The Batman: Part II and given a release date in October 2025 – spooky for both its proximity to Halloween and for how incredibly far away that seems right now.
Fortunately, fans will be able to tide themselves over with Colin Farrell's upcoming Penguin spin-off series, which is said to start filming in the springtime.
Release date: TBC
“One of our strategies is to take our diamond characters – which is Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman – and we use them to prop up other characters that people don’t know,” said Gunn in January 2023.
That plan is clear to see with the announcement of a film adaptation of The Authority, a relatively niche superhero team which made its comic book debut back in 1999.
Originating from the independent Wildstorm universe, which was later merged with DC continuity, this team became known for having edgier storylines and characters than your typical superhero fare.
The appeal for Gunn is obvious, having previously gelled with inappropriate antiheroes in the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy and his 2021 soft reboot The Suicide Squad.
The Authority also has the potential to be a landmark moment for LGBTQ+ representation as the team features gay couple Midnighter and Apollo, who began life as Wildstorm's answer to Batman and Superman.
“One of the things of the DCU is that it’s not just a story of heroes and villains,” said Gunn. “Not every film and TV show is going to be about good guy versus bad guy, giant things from the sky come and good guy wins.
"There are white hats, black hats and grey hats."
The Brave and the Bold
Release date: TBC
Gunn and Safran plan to introduce yet another live-action Batman in this feature, which will explore the Caped Crusader's troubled relationship with his lethal son, Damian Wayne.
In the comic books, Damian is the genetically engineered son of Bruce Wayne and villain-slash-antihero Talia Al-Ghul, whose existence was kept secret by his mother while he was trained by her League of Assassins.
“This is the introduction of the DCU Batman, of Bruce Wayne, and also introduces our favourite Robin, Damian Wayne, who is a little son of a bitch," explained Gunn. "It’s a very strange father-and-son story."
The title is derived from a DC comic book series first published in 1955 and was previously co-opted by a fan-favourite Batman animated show.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
Release date: TBC
The return of Supergirl to the big screen has been rumoured ever since fans spotted an open escape pod in 2013's Man of Steel, but now it seems like it might actually happen.
Gunn has confirmed that this film will be based on a comic book series of the same name, which saw Kara Zor-El approached by a young alien girl whose planet was destroyed by evil-doers.
Together, they travel the universe in search of vengeance, which proves to be "a journey that will shake them to their very core", according to the book synopsis.
Gunn said: "We will see the difference between Superman, who was sent to Earth and raised by loving parents from the time he was an infant, versus Supergirl, raised on a rock, a chip off of Krypton, and who watched everyone around her die and be killed in terrible ways for the first 14 years of her life.
"She is much more hardcore and not the Supergirl we’re used to."
Sasha Calle will play a version of Supergirl in 2023's The Flash movie, but it has not yet been confirmed whether she will continue in the role or face recasting.
Release date: TBC
Perhaps the most surprising title on DC's upcoming film slate is Swamp Thing, which was announced by Gunn and Safran as the final chapter of their 'Gods & Monsters' cinematic arc.
Though the story of how scientist Alec Holland was transformed into the titular creature is rather daft, Swamp Thing went on to become one of DC's most celebrated characters following acclaimed runs by Alan Moore and Scott Snyder.
That said, bringing the character to live-action has so far proved unrewarding, with the latest attempt being a well-received 2019 television series unjustly cancelled before its time (in this writer's opinion).
This Swamp Thing project has been billed as a horror movie, which could mean a smaller budget than your average superhero blockbuster – thus lowering the risk should it fail to resonate with mainstream audiences.