Thanks to a couple of billion-dollar money-makers and actually producing some of the better comic book films of the 2010s, DC Films finally has some momentum. Now, the studio and its Warner Bros. parent company are trying to figure out how to keep that progress, well, progressing. Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, with its plethora of stars in Robert Pattinson (Batman), Zoë Kravitz (Catwoman), Paul Dano (The Riddler), Jeffrey Wright (Commissioner Gordon), Colin Farrell (Penguin), Andy Serkis (Alfred), and John Turturro (Falcone), is the farthest along of their upcoming projects, and those sort of big, bold talent decisions look to be a sign of the studio’s direction moving forward.
According to a new report from Variety, DC has already had discussions with Michael B. Jordan about his potential take on Superman. Already a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to his turn as Killmonger in Black Panther, rumors first sprung up around Jordan becoming the Man of Steel last fall. Insiders now say Jordan met with DC/WB earlier this year, with the actor actually delivering the pitch. With the project still in very early stages and with Jordan having a number of productions on his docket, a Superman movie likely wouldn’t fly into theaters before 2023.
(Read: The Top 25 Comic Book Movies of the 2010s)
Jordan isn’t the only high-profile Hollywood figure to whom DC has been talking. They’ve reportedly met with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company, which recently signed a first-look deal with Warner. They apparently spoke about Superman, and the long-gestating Green Lantern Corps. may have also been a topic of discussion. Abrams’ sci-fi pedigree makes him a natural choice for the space adventure, but he’s not the only one up for the job. Greg Berlanti, the driving figure behind The CW’s Arrowverse, is making a Green Lantern show for HBO Max; if that goes well, insiders think Berlanti may become involved with a big screen appearance by the ring slingers. Geoff Johns is working on both the HBO Max show and the script for the Corps. feature.
The studio is also interested in more R-rated films after seeing record-smashing success with Joker. Despite a proven audience appetite for adult superhero fare (Logan, Deadpool), it’s not known if Disney will continue producing harder adaptations of properties it picked up from Fox. That leaves a gap in the industry which WB/DC are more than willing to fill. Both the upcoming Birds of Prey (which saw “dramatically improved test screening results” following recent reshoots) and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad are expected to be rated R.
(Read: Why Justice League Is the End of the DC Extended Universe as We Know It)
Elsewhere in its report, Variety confirmed that The Flash movie is still in the works with Ezra Miller in the lead, Andy Muschietti behind the lens, and Christina Hodson writing the script. Once Hodson’s done, she’ll move on to Batgirl, but that could be a minute; The Flash likely won’t go before cameras until 2021, after Miller completes the next Fantastic Beasts movie.
While DC is eyeing to get an Aquaman sequel with star Jason Momoa and director James Wan swimming by 2021, they’re also still testing the waters on The Trench. The studio is seeking a director for the spin-off, which would presumably be a horror take on the underwater creatures.
HBO Max is another potential outlet for DC, with mid-range productions of smaller characters potentially being places on the upcoming streamer. As for those, like Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, hoping the on-demand service might lead the studio to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut of Justice League, perhaps don’t hold your breath. Much of the CGI on Snyder’s version of the film was left undone after Joss Whedon took over for massive reshoots. Since the final product was a relative box office failure, the money simply isn’t there for the studio to put in the work. “That’s a pipe dream,” one insider told Variety. “There’s no way it’s ever happening.”