Seven years ago, Warner Bros. had an ambitious plan for putting the world of DC Comics to film in a slate that would pit the universe head to head with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The blockbuster line-up included films for fan-favorites like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, and The Flash, along with Zack Snyder's two-part Justice League epic to cap it all off.
Some of these releases have already graced screens with movies like Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, and Shazam. However, one year after the ten film slate should have concluded, four are either canceled or still years down the line.
Despite having a packed multi-year plan for the franchise, it remains unclear exactly how, or if, Warner Bros. intends to connect them together in a second attempt at bringing the Justice League to live-action. But it seems that answers to that question aren't too far down the road.
THE JUSTICE LEAGUE AREN'T DONE YET
A recent exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter has clarified the plans for the live-action Justice League going forward, claiming DC is planning for its future slate of films and TV shows to share one universe, with 2022's The Flash set to introduce the multiverse.
The article explains there will be one exception to the “one universe” plan, as Matt Reeves' The Batman starring Robert Pattinson is set to take place on an alternate Earth, which they refer to as "Earth-Two".
Additionally, the Ezra Miller-led speedster flick will seemingly be "lending clarity" to the future of the DCEU's Justice League, with appearances from multiple versions of Batman, as well as Supergirl.
TWO MULTIVERSES IN ONE YEAR
Moviegoers should prepare themselves to be confused by a lot of universe-hopping antics next year. The upcoming Doctor Strange sequel will introduce Marvel's multiverse in March, a matter of months before The Flash does the same for DC in November.
The Flash introducing the multiverse doesn't come as a huge surprise given the time-traveling alternate world nature of the Flashpoint storyline it will be adapting. When the speedster first hit the small screens in 2014 in the Grant Gustin-led CW drama, he filled a very similar role for the small screen DC universe, opening the doors to a much wider world.
Ever since Zack Snyder departed Warner Bros. and DC in 2017, the state of the comic book film slate has been in disarray. During his time working with the studio, the director was building plans for a much larger story that would've spanned many years, but a lot of that ambition seems to have left with him.
Currently, Warner Bros. has focussed on releasing solo films, most of which take place in the same universe but have very little crossover. The Batman will be the first clear exception to that rule as Matt Reeves' film takes place in a distinctly different Gotham, with a totally new take on the caped crusader.
With Ben Affleck set to make a return as Batman in The Flash and the studio fishing for a second Dark Knight in Michael Keaton, it's entirely possible Robert Pattinson could make an appearance too as a third version of the hero. Keaton has recently made clear his role in the film is far from set in stone, so it's hard to imagine where they could go with the film if he does turn down the part.
As DC is clearly aiming to bring back a past version of the Dark Knight to tie in with the multiverse, a fan favorite like Christian Bale would be an obvious choice to pull veteran viewers back to theaters.
With Jason Mamoa, Ezra Miller, and Gal Gadot being the only founding Justice League members with a secure future in the DCEU, perhaps DC needs a Flashpoint-style event reset to kickstart a new era.
The Flash is set to hit theaters on November 4, 2022.