In modern cinema, superhero films are their own, enormous genre, shooting past ordinary action and adventure films to attract enormous audiences across the globe. Primarily, we identify this trend with the decade-plus-long rise of the Marvel comic book giant in cinema. With the expansive X-Men franchise, multiple Spider-Man series, and all of The Avengers on its hands, Marvel has certainly dominated the genre for the most part. However, the past year has also seen a sharp spike in the activity of chief Marvel rival DC Comics. Known mostly for Christopher Nolan’s exceptional Batman trilogy (at least in terms of successful films in the 21st century), DC has suffered a few more flops than its rival and has failed to launch a “cinematic universe” on the same scale. But that all may change as the DC studios look to launch several major characters in the coming years.
Here’s a look at some of these characters, and what we know so far about when and where we’ll see them, and who will play the roles.
A New Batman
By now, most any comic book or cinema fan is aware that Ben Affleck will be taking up the role of Batman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man Of Steel sequel, though at this time it appears as if no standalone Batman film is forthcoming. Man Of Steel, despite raking in the cash, was viewed by many critics and fans as a disappointing start to the latest Superman franchise, but it has seemingly succeeded in launching the larger DC Universe that’s on the way.
Part of that universe will be an older and wearier Batman. Multiple sources indicate that this latest take on the caped crusader will be completely reimagined from Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s Batman, a wildly popular character who only hung up the cape a few years ago. Affleck’s Batman will have a new attitude, a new suit, and a new Batmobile. These changes aside, it’s the excitement of seeing Batman and Superman together on screen, as Snyder explained to Forbes, that is the real thrill in this new character.
The recent news surrounding the launch of an Aquaman character is probably the most exciting among DC rumours for a lot of fans. This isn’t because of any particular popularity that Aquaman enjoys in comparison to other heroes, but rather because Hollywood Reporter and other sources have confirmed that Jason Momoa (of Game Of Thrones fame) is taking on the role.
Momoa was extremely popular as Khal Drogo on the HBO hit fantasy series based on George R.R. Martin’s novels, and fans are eager to see him take up a new role. Whether or not Aquaman gets a standalone film, however, remains to be seen. As of now, he’s only confirmed as a part of the Man Of Steel sequel.
If Aquaman has been something of a surprise, The Flash has been on his way for some time. Rumors of a Flash-based film have been around for some time, and have only intensified in the past year. The biggest red flag may have been when DC allowed the character name and image to be used by online gaming sites, which otherwise tend to host only characters already established in pop fiction. The InterCasino UK platform currently hosts an arcade game based on the Flash. And the site also features a slew of other DC characters—all of whom have films or are soon to be featured in them. Sure enough, it now seems that a Flash film has been confirmed for a 2016 release, though this seems awfully soon given how little information there is about it.
The film will apparently concern the origins of The Flash, a man named Barry Allen who gains the power of blinding speed after an accident with scientific equipment. Casting rumours abound, including one suggestion that Michael Fassbender—arguably the biggest Irish actor working today—is perfect for the role. But as of now, nothing is confirmed.
Like The Flash, Wonder Woman has made a few appearances in online gaming, which these days seems to be a good hint that larger things are in the works. It’s also arguable that she’s the biggest name in DC Comics once you get past Superman and Batman. So once Marvel started rolling out what felt like five franchises a year, it was only a matter of time before Wonder Woman joined the fight on the DC side of things.
Wonder Woman has been confirmed for the Man Of Steel sequel, her own film, and the forthcoming Justice League film. The role will be played by relative newcomer Gal Gadot, who you may know as Gisele from the Fast & Furious franchise. For those interested in this casting decision, Cinema Blend has a nice breakdown helping fans to get to know Gadot. And at least at this stage, Wonder Woman looks to be the most significant new addition to DC’s growing film empire.
For now, that’s about it. There are also rumours of a reboot to the Green Lantern character (following 2011’s flop, Green Lantern), and there are a few other comic characters expected to be brought into the fold. But at these stage, these are the characters DC will use to challenge Marvel in the next five years or so, and it should be a thrill to watch.