It’s a confusing time for fans of the DC Extended Universe – Ben Affleck can’t decide whether he wants to be Batman or not, Justice League can barely make a profit, and the movie slate changes (what seems like) every week. Warner Bros. isn’t having the best of times building out its universe based on DC Comics’ characters, and that’s seemingly putting the future of the Justice League sequel in doubt.
At one point in time, Warner Bros. planned to release a two-part Justice League epic, comprising two films that’d be unleashed within a few years of each other. The plan was to have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash face off against Steppenwolf in the first, and then Darkseid in the second part, in an attempt to save the planet. This was instead changed to one movie, with Steppenwolf acting as the main antagonist and Darkseid getting nothing but a namedrop. The decision to remove Darkseid from Justice League happened during production it seems, as Kevin Smith described a scene he saw that involved the supervillain and the Man of Steel.
With Justice League dropping its second part, Warner Bros. has never officially announced that a sequel is on the way. J. K. Simmons, who plays Commissioner Gordon, revealed in October that a script was being written, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the studio will go ahead with it – the first Justice League is struggling to even claw back the money that was spent making it. The latest report on the box office performance suggests it’ll end at around $675 million, which is much lower than anticipated. Not only that, the latest official movie slate released by Warner Bros. didn’t include several movies that are still in development. Justice League 2, of course, wasn’t present.
Despite all of these signs, it’s likely that a sequel to Justice League will happen. Moviegoers have now been introduced to the League so a sequel could solely focus on the team working together instead of origins, and the studio has invested too much money to back out now. If done correctly, the Justice League series should be the DCEU’s cash cow, much like Marvel Studios’ Avengers. That’s why there’s a good chance the studio will have another stab at getting DC Comics’ most popular superhero team right. Additionally, the promise of the Legion of Doom being formed in the post-credits scene of Justice League seemed to get fans excited for what’s to come for the DCEU, so Warner Bros. should make good on that.
So, as mentioned above, a script for the Justice League sequel was being written as of October this year but apart from that, details are slim on what could happen in the follow-up movie. We’ve rounded up everything that’s known about the movie so far!
At the end of Justice League it appears that Bruce Wayne is creating the Hall of Justice, and it’s said that they’ll have more than six seats at the table. This is an obvious reference to Batman and co. adding more members to the team’s roster, but who else could join? Well, it’s worth looking at the latest movie slate for heroes that are being introduced post-Justice League.
Shazam! is the next superhero to be introduced on the big screen, and Zachary Levi has already been cast in the title role. The actor has expressed his wishes to join the team if his solo movie is a success, so fans should keep an eye on his inclusion to any future ensemble pieces. Green Lantern Corps was the other movie on the slate that focused on heroes that could join the league in years to come – we already saw a Green Lantern fighting alongside Amazons, Atlanteans, and humans when Steppenwolf first invaded Earth. Expect Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart to show their faces!
New Villains A big rumor, plenty of speculation, and a blatant post-credits scene all point towards a team of supervillains being formed, and it’ll take a team of superheroes to stop them. At the end of Justice League, Lex Luthor meets with Deathstroke and suggests they should start a team of their own. Fans latched onto this and the premise of the Legion of Doom being formed has been hyped up on social media since the movie was released.
The rumor, alongside fans’ general distaste towards CGI villains, lends itself to Warner Bros. making use of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke, Jared Leto’s Joker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta, and other villains they’re yet to introduce. Building up the team over time after establishing villains in solo movies like Aquaman is a promising move by the studio, and could help to revive the Justice League franchise, as well as the DC Extended Universe.
New Director After helping to build the DC Extended Universe by directing Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League, it seems as if Zack Snyder’s time is up. A recent report suggests that the director will not be brought back by Warner Bros. to helm any DC Comics adaptation after the weak performance of Justice League at the box office.
Each of Snyder’s movies in the DCEU has been polarizing, to say the least. They’ve all been received with mixed reactions from both fans and critics, and the box office performances have all been decent, but underwhelming. For movies that including some of the most popular superheroes ever, namely Batman and Superman, they’ve performed modestly when it comes to putting butts in theater seats.
Justice League was unfortunate as it was hit with production problems after Snyder stepped down for personal reasons. Joss Whedon, who was writing additional scenes to lighten up the tone, stepped in to finish the movie and some say it resulted in a huge tonal mismatch that missed the mark. It’s hard to predict who the studio would bring in to replace Snyder, but it’s harder to envisage his return at this point in time.
Release Date Back when Justice League was set to be in two halves, Part Two had a release date of June 14, 2019. As we’ve already mentioned, Warner Bros.’ plans changed and the Justice League movie became standalone – as part of this shuffle, The Batman took the sequel’s release date. This was back when Snyder was definitely directing the sequel, giving him time to work on The Last Photograph – a smaller-scale thriller movie that he has been working on since 300 was released. The most realistic time of release for a Justice League sequel is now 2020, at least.
Now in theaters, Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.