Cinematic universes have become a staple in the world of film, from Marvel’s sprawling MCU to The Conjuring Universe of horrors, most major studios have been trying to recreate the success of the MCU, but what of Warner Bros. attempt, What is the future of the DCEU?

Starting with Man of Steel in 2013, the DC extended universe has been Warner Bros. attempt at recreating the success of Disney’s Marvel cinematic universe. The results have all in all been mixed, with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad receiving negative critical reception in 2016, although the extended cuts of both films showed promise, Wonder Woman in 2017 was received really well, but Justice League later that year was panned by fans and critics alike.

A change of direction and a more standalone approach saw Warner release Aquaman, Shazam! And Birds of Prey in 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively. They generated fairly good reviews and put the DCEU back on track.

The landscape of the DCEU’s future now looks promising and fans can be excited by the many prospective and confirmed projects on their way. Here I take a look at what’s confirmed and what could be and give my take on each project.


Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

The Future of the DCEU
Pic: Warner Bros Pictures

Following the success of the first WW movie it was believed almost immediately that Patty Jenkins would return to direct a sequel. When it confirmed, therefore, no one was surprised at the announcement.

Patty Jenkins is a director uninterested in the idea of universe building for the sake of it and therefore it made sense that the sequel, like the original, would be set prior to the rest of the DCEU in order to establish the characters in their own story and respect, as well as offering Jenkins creative freedom in terms of the direction of the movie.

On top of that, it would allow the film to be un-phased by the turbulence suffered by more integrated movies in the universe as it could continue no matter the on-screen future.

The movie has so far been delayed from it’s release this year courtesy of the COVID pandemic but has a current scheduled release penned for Christmas 2020, with Gal Gadot starring as the lead and Kristen Wiig debuting as our antagonist; Chris Pine also returns as the love interest for Gadot’s character.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

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The largest issue the budding cinematic universe suffered was the idea of too many chefs in the kitchen, with the directors being forced to adhere to studio constraints and demands.

Suicide Squad director David Ayer confirmed that the critical reception to the dark tone of BVS and the success of Fox’s Deadpool contributed to the studio demanding a change of tone in his movie.

 Zack Snyder started Justice League before personal issues saw him dropped from the role and Joss Whedon to take his place, moulding the movie the way he saw fit. This created a demand from fans to see the finalised projects of their directors, mainly Snyder, who was mitigated largely for the fact he never got to finish his project. Thus, the #Releasethesnydercut movement was born.

The movement managed to gain enough traction in order to force the hand of Warner in announcing Snyder’s return to finish his vision. The finished project is set to land on streaming service HBO Max as a mini-series consisting of 4 hours, double the run time of the 2017 release. As well as this Snyder has promised that all of the movie will be his own footage and will not be recycling any of Whedon’s work, with stars Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller set to get more screen time and story for their Cyborg and Flash characters.

Additionally, the Snyder Cut see Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Jared Leto return as Batman, Superman, and Joker despite speculation their time with the roles were over.

The significance of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is paramount to the future of the DCEU as it’s success or failure could determine the direction of the franchise, as well as set precedent for other directors who have claimed to never have their vision realised. We will have to see in 2021 whether the movie will deliver the promise of fixing the DCEU’s torrid past.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

The Future of the DCEU
The Peacemaker, Harley Quinn, Bloodsport and King Shark in ‘The Suicide Squad’. (Credit: DC/Warner Bros)

David Ayer was penned in to direct a sequel to Suicide Squad before departing the project for a potential Gotham City Sirens movie. After the hiring of Gavin O’Connor in 2017 was cut short due to creative differences, James Gunn was attached to the project in 2018 following his temporary departure for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3.

During writing, Gunn drew inspiration from the comics of the 1980s, for his characters and concepts. The movie is intended as a standalone sequel or soft reboot to the 2016 movie, with Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, and Viola Davis returning as their prior characters Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Rick Flag and Amanda Waller and new cast members such as Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Peacemaker and more.

The idea of the movie being more of a standalone sequel leaves the interpretation of the film open, returning characters acknowledge the existence of the prior movie but the name suggests that Warner are looking to try and divert attention from the previous failure.

The Suicide Squad is scheduled for release August 26th 2021.

The Flash (2022)

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A movie centred around the Flash has been in development since 2013, with many names attached to the project. In 2018, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were hired to co-direct, with tone of their film to be similar to Back to the Future. Ezra Miller later revealed to us the film plot will involve The Speed Force, furthering the rumours that the film would be based on the Flashpoint comic story.

In 2019, creative differences saw the co-directors depart and Miller begin co-writing a new draft with Grant Morrison. Eventually, Andy Muschietti was hired to direct. January 2020 saw Muschietti state that the film will include elements of Flashpoint. In June 2020, rumours emerged that Michael Keaton had entered discussions to portray Batman from a different universe, a role he had previously played in 1989 and 1992 in Batman and Batman Returns.

In August, Keaton officially signed on and Ben Affleck was further announced to reprise his role as the DCEU incarnation of Batman previously played in BVS and Justice League. September 2020 saw producers reveal that the film would include multiple superheroes and “reset” the DCEU.

Filming is expected to begin in March 2021 to prepare for a release date of November 4th 2022. This isn’t going to be the first time Ezra Miller’s DCEU Flash has been used in the multiverse, with his character making a brief cameo during CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. The idea of a reset allows for DCEU to continue their work untied to their previous failures, while also acknowledging their successes, it also allows for Warner to recast roles with no continuity errors.

Aquaman Sequel (2022)

In 2018, James Wan stated that Aquaman intentionally left room for a sequel. High pre-release ticket sales and positive reception saw Warner Bros. give the green light for a sequel. In 2019, it was confirmed that development had started for the film with James Wan and the original writing staff confirmed to return.

In March 2019, it was stated that the film will explore the other Seven Kingdoms of Atlantis. Jason Momoa will reprise his role as the titular character, with more of a creative role in the movie. It is also confirmed that Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen will additionally reprise their roles as Orm the Ocean Master and Black Manta respectively. Production has been slated to start early in 2021, with a release date of December 16th 2022 penned in.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)

Following the success of Shazam!, development on a sequel began in 2019, with the writing and directorial staff of the first movie set to return. Production has been put on hold due to the COVID pandemic with the release date set for June 2nd 2023. Zachary Levi is going to reprise his role as the protagonist and DC FanDome saw the title of the movie confirmed. There has been no more word on the movie as of yet due to production being on hold and a few years until release.

Black Adam (TBC)

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(Image credit: DC)

In 2014, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was cast as Black Adam, with the character intended to be introduced in the movie Shazam!. In 2017 the studio decided to focus narrative on the character’s origin in his own movie before crossing over, with Johnson stating that the two characters are destined to cross paths in the future.

Producers confirmed the movie will be gritty and violent, staying true to the comics. In 2019, Jaume Collet-Serra was announced as director. DC FanDome saw Johnson reveal that the Justice Society of America will make an appearance in the film. Filming is set to begin in 2021 with the release date awaiting confirmation after being delayed.

Johnson has been keen to play up the rivalry between Black Adam and Shazam on social media and announcements with exchanges with Zachary Levi, outlining the intention for the two to cross paths in the future.

Peacemaker Series (TBC)

The Future of the DCEU
Warner Bros

In September 2020, it was announced that HBO Max had ordered an eight episode spin-off of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad centred around The Peacemaker character portrayed by John Cena. Peacemaker is set to begin production in 2021 before Gunn returns to work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3. On Twitter, Gunn revealed that the timeline for the series would not be revealed until after the release of The Suicide Squad in August 2021 in order not to spoil whether the character lives or dies in the upcoming movie.

He additionally confirmed that there will be other characters from the movie present but also made sure not to give names. Filming for the series has been delayed as result of James Gunn being forced into a two-week quarantine.


Suicide Squad: The Ayer Cut

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Warner Bros.

Following the success of the campaign for the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, fans turned their attention to the next perceived injustice in the DCEU, Suicide Squad from David Ayer was panned for a choppy feel and poor writing. Comparing the initial trailer to the finished product fans noticed a significant change in tone that was indicative of the studio-based changes that the project went through.

Furthering the idea that studio interference was the downfall of Suicide Squad David Ayer this year admitted that the success of Deadpool and criticism of the tone of Batman vs Superman changed the studio’s perception of what they wanted his movie to be, saying that his “Soulful drama was beaten into a comedy”, this furthers the idea that Suicide Squad was intended to continue the dark themes that the DCEU was founding itself on. He has additionally said that a director’s cut of the movie “definitely exists” and has requested that AT&T “Let it see the sunlight”.

Ben Affleck’s stunt double Richard Cetrone said the film would have included more Batman.

The Snyder Cut has seen the DC fan base not only demand that future projects see the creative freedom of the director respected but has also seen a demand for movies that didn’t receive this respect be offered a second chance. It is reasonable to believe that if Zack Snyder’s Justice League performs well it could set the precedent for a potential Ayer Cut and potentially right the wrongs of the DCEU thus far. Time will tell if David Ayer will get a chance to realise his version of the movie and until then, DC fans will continue to vocalise their demands on social media.

Batman HBO Max Series

The Future of the DCEU
Still from ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ by WB via MoviestillsDB

Ben Affleck’s Batman has had a turbulent time, from Batman vs Superman theatrical cutdrawing negative reception from critics, to being unable to form a script for his The Batman movie before stepping down from the project altogether, where a movie of the same title was announced to be directed by Matt Reeves and recasting the Dark Knight in order to focus on a younger version of the character. It was speculated for quite some time that Affleck’s time in the DCEU was over. Now, he is returning to the franchise in upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Flash projects, with it also being reported that he has signed on for more films as Batman, including his own HBO Max Series.

With Affleck reportedly signed, HBO can work on the plot details, with it being said that the large focus will be on the death of Robin at the hands of The Joker, with it also being reported that Leto is set to sign a new contract, and how it moulds the Batman we see in BVS.

Additionally, as we expect to see Joe Manganiello return in the Snyder Cut as Deathstroke we could possibly see him have some involvement in the project. There a multiple reports corroborating the idea that Affleck has signed and we can expect a series to be announced soon, but for the moment we can see Bat-fleck in the coming Zack Snyder’s Justice League next year.

The Amazons

In December 2019, Patty Jenkins announced a spin off film of Wonder Woman, focusing on the Amazon race. Jenkins is attached to the project as executive producer with the story already planned, thought there is no confirmation as to when to expect production to start. Jenkins later stated that she and Geoff Johns have written the story, with an arc following the first two WW films and followed by a third film. She further went on to admit she is not directing the film. As of yet, there are no more details of the movie although we can expect more following the release of Wonder Woman 1984 in December.


March 2017 saw Justice League stand-in director Joss Whedon hired to write, direct and produce a Batgirl film. Whedon was scheduled to start production in 2018, until he stepped down in February, Christina Hodson was set to replace him following Birds of Prey with Warner impressed by her work. As it stands Hodson is expected to pen the script when she is done writing The Flash and Warner Bros. are looking for a female director to replace Whedon. Awaiting Hodson to finish work on The Flash and the continued search for a director indicates that we are a while away from a Batgirl film seeing the light of day.

Blue Beetle

As of November 2018, a film based on Jaime Reyes’ incarnation of Blue Beetle was in development. Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer and Zev Foreman are currently attached to the project as writer and producer respectively. There have been no other details revealed for the movie so far.

Booster Gold

In 2015, there was an announcement made for a Booster Gold and Blue Beetle movie to be in development with Greg Berlanti producing. The tone of the film was described to follow a buddy cop film with connections to Justice League. In 2016 Zack Stentz was hired to write the script for Booster Gold and Berlanti declared an interest in directing. Later on in the year, Berlanti said that there was “no connective tissue” to other films, indicating a standalone project.

The script was completed in 2018 and according to Berlanti, production would begin when Warner decided where to place the film in the slate. As of May 2019 Stentz reaffirmed that the movie is still awaiting Warner to give the greenlight. With the slate of movies already looking to be set in stone it could be a while before we see the project, and it falls under considerable risk of being cancelled with no further word on the matter.


The Future of the DCEU
Photo: Warner Bros.

Ray Fisher was cast as Cyborg in April 2014, with Warner announcing a film about the character was in development the following October. In November 2017, Fisher stated that the film would focus specifically on Cyborg, and that the production staff and cast would be diverse. In August 2018, Joe Morton, the actor of Dr Silas Stone, stated that his belief was that cut Cyborg scenes from Justice League were being used to rework into a Cyborg. Though he further went on to say that he did not know when production would begin.

Fisher has expressed his desire for Zack Snyder to direct the film and in April 2020 confirmed that development is ongoing. Fisher has additionally revealed the film’s premise to work on Cyborg’s development to becoming more comfortable as a superhero. This release is likely to piggy back on any success Zack Snyder’s Justice League has and could be the next project Snyder directs.


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Warner Bros.

Following Suicide Squad in 2016, it was reported that a film based on Deadshot was in development. In September 2018 Will Smith confirmed he was going to reprise his role as the marksman and that the story was in development. In February 2019, Smith left the role due to a conflicting schedule and in March Idris Elba had been cast as his replacement in the upcoming The Suicide Squad by James Gunn. In April of that year James Gunn wrote Deadshot out of the script and recast Elba as Bloodsport to open up the opportunity for Smith to reprise at a later date. With no further word on the project, the likelihood is we will not see Deadshot until Smith can reprise the role, if David Ayer’s director cut of the 2016 film gets released we could see a revived interest in a Deadshot movie, but for now there is nothing more to expect.


The Future of the DCEU
Source: Warner Bros

Following Justice League, a film about Deathstroke was in development, with Gareth Evans attached as a writer and director and Joe Manganiello set to reprise his post-credits role from Justice League. In 2018, Evans revealed that he was yet to be contractually committed to the project. April 2020 saw Evans announce that the project had been delayed and he was no longer actively involved in the development. The project is more than likely another to be awaiting success or failure from Zack Snyder’s 2021 film, with Joe Manganiello expected to return as Deathstroke.

Gotham City Sirens

A film based on the Gotham City Sirens consisting of Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy was announced to be in development as of the end of 2016. David Ayer was signed on as director and Margot Robbie was signed to reprise her role as Harley Quinn. In August 2017 Jared Leto was confirmed to be reprising his role as The Joker; despite a busy production schedule with other projects, Ayer continued his work on the film, even meeting with the creator Paul Dini in 2018.

In August of this year Ayer confirmed that the project remains on hold, with Robbie stating that she chose to film Birds of Prey first in order to introduce audiences to lesser known characters, she went further to state that she is still pushing forward with Gotham City Sirens and hopes to explore the relationship shared by Quinn, Ivy, and Catwoman. This is yet another project invariably being held up by upcoming movies The Suicide Squad and Zack Snyder’s Justice League and potentially affected by the Ayer Cut of Ayer’s 2016 film.

Green Lantern Corps

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Warner Bros. Pictures

A film based on the Green Lantern Corps was confirmed for development in 2014. In January 2017 David Goyer and Justin Rhodes were hired to co-write, based on a story by Goyer and Geoff Johns, with Goyer further serving to produce. Warner Bros. went on to describe the movie as “Lethal Weapon in space”. Goyer declared that despite the franchise’s leadership changes the movie was still in active development in January 2018. By July 2018 we saw Geoff Johns hired to rewrite the script, in addition to his new role as producer. Johns confirmed that the script would draw inspiration from his work on The New 52 comics he also worked on previously. The movie has been delayed from it’s initial release date, and we have no further word on when we can expect to see the movie or any casting details.

As part of the original slate this movie has fallen into the void as a result of the changes made in the DCEU, and with that being said until the dust is settled in the next couple of years we will probably not see Green Lantern Corps.

Grace Randolph earlier this year claimed she had heard from multiple sources that Ryan Reynolds was set to return as Green Lantern, a role he has played before, in Zack Snyder’s Justice League only for Randolph to debunk rumours this month revealing that there was in fact a proposed scene between Batman and Green Lantern, with the Batman part of the scene shot, with Green Lantern to be casted with an idea of finishing the scene, possibly as Reynolds, but this didn’t pan out. It’s important to note that there is a plan for Green Lantern in the DCEU, just no confirmed approach to how to introduce him.

Mad Love

In July 2017, a film centred around Harley Quinn and The Joker was announced to be in development with the working title of Harley Quinn vs The Joker, set to begin production after The Suicide Squad. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa were signed to co-write the project. In 2018, Ficarra and Requa confirmed the script was completed and submitted to Warner Bros., and that the production will start after Birds of Prey.

The story is set to explore the relationship of the characters, combing tones of previous works Bad Santa and This is us. This movie has managed to get over the first hurdle but remains in development hell until Warner Bros. give it the green light, DC fans on social media have been vocal about the demand for the release of the film, like previous films on this list however, is the fact that we are awaiting to see the landscape of the DCEU following ZSJL and The Suicide Squad and whether not Jared Leto will continue as The Joker.


In June 2018, we saw a Joker film enter development (Not to be confused with the Joaquin Phoenix led film) with Jared Leto reprising his role and serving as executive producer. Warner Bros. intended for the film to “pave the way” for any other Suicide Squad related projects. Plans have changed since as we saw Joker released starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character, outside of the DCEU, and we have seen Suicide Squad projects continue in the film’s absence, additionally James Gunn wrote Leto’s Joker out of The Suicide Squad saying that he saw no place for the character.

Jared Leto was said to be upset at the idea that he was being replaced as the character and no more was said on the project. Jared Leto is confirmed to return in the upcoming ZSJL in 2021 and this has opened the idea for his Joker film to continue dependent on success or failure. This is another project the DC faithful have been vocal in their support of.

Justice League sequel

In 2014, a Justice League sequel was on the slate with Zack Snyder billed to return as director. In June 2016, Deborah Snyder revealed that Justice League was to be a film of two parts, as the sequel remained unnamed. The film was slated for June 14th 2019 but was pushed back to accommodate The Batman (Ben Affleck’s iteration). In October 2017, J.K Simmons, actor of Commissioner Gordon, confirmed that the script was a work in progress.

It was reported later on that year however that there were no immediate plans for Zack Snyder to return as director. In 2019, Warner Bros. had decided to prioritize individual projects, although Patty Jenkins confirmed she was open to directing the project.

Following the announcement and promotion of the Snyder Cut, Snyder teased that he does have a plan for a sequel and it has been further speculated that if ZSJL proves to be successful, then HBO Max and Warner Bros. will move forward with plans of a sequel.


All the way back in 2009, Warner Bros. announced that a film centred around Lobo was in development, with Guy Ritchie and Brad Peyton were even attached to the film at separate times. Dwayne Johnson was supposedly ready to play the titular character before his casting as Black Adam. Jason Fuchs was hired in 2016 as a writer for the project, then in 2018 Michael Bay entered discussions with Warner to direct, with Fuchs beginning the script at the request of Bay so that the budget could be lowered.

Again there has been no further word on the movie’s development, in 2019 it was reported that the movie was still in development but silence has continued surrounding the project. This is another project that will still have trouble fitting into the current slate and will spend years in development hell before seeing the light of day.

Man of Steel sequel

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Warner Bros.

Following Man of Steel, 2014 saw a sequel confirmed to be in development. In November 2016 Lois Lane actress Amy Adams stated that work had begun for a screenplay. In September of 2017, Matthew Vaughn announced he was in negotiations with the studio to take the role as director, whilst in June 2018, Henry Cavill revealed that he was preparing to reprise the role as Superman.

In March 2019, Vaughn confirmed that his negotiations with Warner Bros. had ended and he was no longer a part of the film, later on that year Christopher McQuarrie said that he and Cavill had pitched an idea to Warner Bros. a year prior, with a plot tying to Green Lantern Corps, but he had since moved onto other projects after feeling there was no movement on the films. Later, Michael B Jordan pitched his own version of the character, but was unable to commit due to an already busy schedule.

By November 2019, J.J Abrams had reportedly entered discussions with Warner over taking control of the project. December saw Cavill state that the future of Superman would be closer to the source material. He also confirmed that his casting in The Witcher series was part to blame for his failure to commit to the role, but that would not be the case for season 2 of the Netflix series.

In May earlier this year it was reported that Cavill had entered negotiations to reprise the role, although a Man of Steel sequel was not part of the negotiations. Cavill is set to reprise the role of Superman in the upcoming ZSJL and with a potential Justice League sequel on the table it is likely that Cavill’s Superman will get a second movie if these are successful.

New Gods

New Gods preparation first started in March 2018 when Ava DuVernay was signed on to direct after pitching the idea of Warner. Kario Salem was then hired as writer. In May 2019, DuVernay confirmed that she would co-write the script with Tom King. Reports suggested that the movie would take place in the DCEU but with no connection to films before it. Darkseid and the Female Furies are set to appear in the film. Despite pre-mentioned reports, the New Gods were originally featured in Justice League with Ray Porter cast as Darkseid, before changes in post-production. Porter is set to return however as Darkseid in the upcoming Snyder Cut so it’s reasonable to think that this project will depend on success.


A film centred around Nightwing was in development, with Chris McKay and Bill Dubuque signed on as director and writer, respectively. In February 2018, McKay stated that the script was nearing its final draft. Comments by Snyder seem to place the project before the events of Batman vs Superman with it being stated that his idea was that Dick Grayson’s Robin was the one killed by Joker. This is easily adjustable to make Jason Todd the killed Robin in order to place Nightwing in the present/future. On top of this it’s possible to retcon Snyder’s idea with The Flash set to play with the idea of changing the DCEU.

Plastic Man

A Plastic Man film was in early development as of 2018, with Amanda Idoko attached to write the script. The plot has been described as a comedy action adventure. There has been no other word on the project and it’s place on the slate.

Static Shock

A more recent development, in August 2020 Reginal Hudlin announced at DC FanDome that a live-action film centred around Static is in development. In October, Michael B Jordan joined the production team as co-producer with Hudlin. The project will be a joint venture production between DC Films, Warner Bros., Milestone Media and Outlier Society. No plot or casting details have been confirmed as of yet.


Supergirl was announced to be in development in August 2018 with Oren Uziel writing the script. Warner Bros. is looking for a female to take the directorial post. With nothing else being said on the project I can see this movie being linked to the Batgirl film, as it remains in a similar dilemma.

The Trench

Warner announced a horror spin off from Aquaman focusing on the villainous Trench Kingdom in February 2019. Peter Safran and James Wan are set to produce the project with Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald acting as screenwriters. The film will have a lower production budget compared to previous DCEU releases and Safran has stated that he expects the film to be released before the Aquaman sequel.

Wonder Woman 3

Following the wrap up of principal photography for WW84 director and co-writer Patty Jenkins confirmed that the plot for a third film had been mapped out. She revealed that the story arc for the titular character had been planned over three films, with the third film coming to present time. Jenkins and Gadot have signalled their intentions to work on other projects before this third film, this leans into the idea that the third film will probably make the slate once Warner Bros. has decided the direction they wish to take with the DCEU.

Justice League Dark

The Justice League Dark project started in January 2013 with Guillermo Del Toro developing a film centred around the titular group of characters. He submitted a script in November 2014 but found himself detached from the project in June 2015. Doug Liman joined to direct with the working title Dark Universe, alongside Scott Rudin as producer and Michael Gilio rewriting the script. Liman left in 2017 due to schedule conflict and it was retitled Justice League Dark with Gerard Johnstone polishing the script. In April this year HBO Max announced that the project was being redeveloped as a series for HBO Max, with Abrams serving as executive producer.

As it stands, that is all of the projects in the pipeline or rumoured for release in the DCEU. What do you think of all this? What project would you most like to see emerge from development? Don’t forget to check Vendetta Sports Media for your latest and greatest news, whilst you’re with us don’t forget to check out our shop, where you can support Vendetta and rock our latest gear.