Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara has announced plans for the next six years of DC superhero movies, from Superman battling Batman in 2016 to the big screen debut of Wonder Woman and the Flash.
You might be wondering who all these heroes are and how the films all fit together – but never fear, we’ve racked our nerd knowledge to bring a quick guide to what we’ll all be watching in the multiplexes over the next few years.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot (2016)
We knew all about this one – due for release the year after next, the plot will see billionaire vigilante Batman (last seen in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises played by Christian Bale, now played by Ben Affleck) take on alien and really strong guy Superman (Henry Cavill, reprising his role from 2013’s Man of Steel).
Warner Bros have also said in a press release that Supes and Bats also have their own stand-alone films in the piepline, but they’ve not yet been given release dates.
The film also stars Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, an Amazon warrior (not meaning the website; see below), Ray Fisher as a cyborg called Cyborg (below) and Jason Momoa as watery hero Aquaman (below again). Other heroes in this list are also rumoured to have cameos, but that’s unconfirmed at the moment).
Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (2016)
Definitely the wild card in this line-up, the Suicide Squad comics saw a Dirty Dozen of supervillains forced to work together on a government mission. Supposedly big names like Ryan Gosling, Will Smith and Tom Hardy are rumoured to have been approached for roles as the co-opted villains, but as of yet there’s no casting information.
Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot (2017)
Israeli actress Gal Gadot (pictured above in character) is a relative unknown, but will be taking on the role of Wonder Woman first in 2016’s Batman v Superman, then in a standalone film – the first superhero movie to be centred around a female character.
Created in 1941, Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of the Amazons (as in from Greek myth) with the powers of flight, super strength and stamina, healing powers and several useful gadgets including a weaponized tiara (really) and indestructible bracelets.
Fun fact: Her most famous weapon, the lasso of truth, forces those captured by it not to lie and was inspired by her creator William Moulton Marston’s work creating the polygraph lie-detector test.
Justice League Part One, directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Amy Adams (2017)
Overall, these planned films represent DC comics’ attempt to match the “shared universe” of rival company Marvel’s characters such as Thor, Captain America and the Hulk. So this film is essentially DC’s version of Avengers Assemble (2012) – all the big heroes teaming up to fight a common threat.
The Justice League has been around since the 1960s, and has featured hundreds of heroes with key players usually including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman (see below for the last three).
It’s unknown exactly who’ll feature in the big-screen version of the team, but as with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s cameos DC plan to introduce some characters in the ensemble movie before their own films – so we may be seeing Flash and Green Lantern earlier than expected.
The Flash, starring Ezra Miller (2018)
Created in 1940, the Flash is a superhero with the power of extreme speed, to the point where he’s basically invisible to the naked eye (he draws this from a vaguely-definied extraterrestrial energy called the Speed Force, which also gives him strength and endurance).
While several characters have taken on the role in the comics, the most well-known are Barry Allen and Wally West, so one of those are likely to be adapted here (the former is currently adapted on TV, played by Grant Gustin in The CW’s The Flash).
The news of Miller’s casting was rather sneaked into the overall announcement, and its an interesting mainstream departure for an actor who’s previously favoured indie movies.
Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa (2018)
The butt of many an online messageboard’s jokes because of his (supposedly) useless powers, Aquaman is a half-Atlantean raised by humans who considers it his duty to look after the seas of earth.
Along with the usual grab bag of super strength, agility and senses, Aquaman can swim pretty fast, control water (sometimes) and er, talk to fish. It comes up more often than you might think, alright?
Anyway, in recent years the character has become a bit grittier, growing a beard and losing a hand, and the casting of Game Of Thrones’ Jason Mamoa might imply the filmmakers are going down that route.
Sadly not a superhero with the ability to recognize any song you play him, Shazam (known as Captain Marvel until Marvel comics sued because they had a character of the same name) is the alter ego of a boy called Billy Batson who gets all grown up when he says the word “Shazam!” (Yes, a bit like Bananaman but with a word instead of a Banana).
The word (tenuously) comes from the six mythological figures he draws his powers from – Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury – and while the character is little-known now, in the 1940s he was more popular than Superman.
While there’s no star attached for the central role, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) has confirmed his attachment to play arch nemesis Black Adam, who’s something of an anti-hero rather than out-and-out baddie.
Justice League Part Two, directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
See Justice League part one, above – although it is interesting that DC and Warner Bros are trying to hold onto their directors in a similar way to the way that Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble) and other directors are sticking with Marvel/Disney.
Cyborg, starring Ray Fisher (2020)
A relatively recent addition to the DC canon (created in 1980), Cyborg is basically what you’d expect – a superhero with robotic body parts that give him enhanced strength, flight and cool weapons.
The son of two scientists, Cyborg’s real name was Victor Stone until he was injured in a lab accident and had the damaged parts of his body replaced with advanced but conspicuous prosthetics that left him an outcast from society.
Eventually, he managed to use his new appendages for good, becoming a hero and a member of the Justice League.
Green Lantern (2020)
Like the Flash, Green Lantern has been around since the 1940s and been a name used by several heroes, with Hal Jordan (beginning in 1959) probably being the most well known.
Hal Jordan was a test pilot chosen to protect Earth’s section of the universe by an intergalactic police force called the Green Lanterns. After gaining his powers, he kept an eye on things on Earth whilst occasionally tackling bigger threats with the other space cops.
Jordan has the ability to create weapons and other objects out of “hard light” (as well as the usual strength/flying stuff). But he has a weakness, like Superman’s kryptonite, only hilarious – the colour yellow.
The character’s actually been on the big screen recently, but Ryan Reynold’s 2011 turn (above picture) as the character was so poorly received that it looks like Warner Bros and DC are basically scrapping that version and starting again. Second time’s the charm, right?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be released in 2016