Superhero films that are set in a fictional shared universe. The first film released in the DC Comics' shared universe of films was Man of Steel (2013) being a reboot of the Superman film series. It will be followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), followed by nine additional films based on publications of DC Comics that Warner Bros. officially announced in development; these are: Suicide Squad (2016), which is currently in pre-production; Wonder Woman (2017), The Flash (2018), Aquaman (2018), Shazam (2019), Cyborg (2020), a Green Lantern reboot film (2020) and a two part Justice League film, with Part One releasing in 2017, and Part Two in 2019. All films are being distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The first attempt at a cinematic universe began in 1998 for Superman Lives. The film was supposed to be written by Kevin Smith and directed by Tim Burton. The film was set to feature Nicolas Cage as Superman. The script had Brainiac sending Doomsday to kill Superman, as well as blocking out the sun to make Superman powerless, as Superman is fueled by sunlight. Brainiac teams up with Lex Luthor, but Superman is resurrected by a Kryptonian robot, the Eradicator. Brainiac wishes to possess the Eradicator and its technology. Powerless, the resurrected Superman is sheathed in armor formed from the Eradicator itself until his powers return, courtesy of sunbeams, and defeats Brainiac. Michael Keaton was originally set to reprise his role as Batman from Burton's Batman films, making the attempt at a shared universe. The film was later cancelled.
On January 1, 2014 it was revealed that Warner Bros intended to launch a second attempt at a cinematic universe a few years earlier, which would have started with the 2011 film, Green Lantern. The script for The Flash was being written in 2011 by Green Lantern writers Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim with the post-credit scene featuring Hal Jordan being portrayed by Ryan Reynolds meeting the Flash. The film was then cancelled due to the negative reviews and poor box office return from Green Lantern.
After the failure of 2011's Green Lantern, a reboot of Superman was greenlit, which resulted in 2013's Man of Steel, and plans were made to have the film contain references to other characters in DC Universe, so if the film was a success, it would launch a shared universe with other characters that appeared in DC Comics, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On June 10, 2013, it was announced that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer will both be returning for a Man of Steel sequel which is being fast tracked by Warner Bros. Goyer had previously signed a three-film deal, which includes Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a Justice League film featuring Superman. On July 20, 2013, Zack Snyder confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con International that the sequel to Man of Steel in 2016 will have Superman and Batman meeting for the first time in a cinematic format.
In October 2014, Geoff Johns explained DC's difference in approach to Marvel Studios and their Cinematic Universe, saying "We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. For us, creatively, it’s about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world. Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through ... It’s just a different approach." The universe has commonly been called the "DC Cinematic Universe" by fans and the media, paralleling the title of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In November 2014, Newsarama referred to the universe as the "DC Cinematic Multiverse", while the DC Comics website informally referred to the universe as the "DC Cinematic Universe" in December 2014. As of April 2015, Warner Bros. or DC Entertainment have yet to give an official name to the shared universe.
Man of Steel Edit
The film is the first installment in the shared film universe and is a reboot of the Superman film series that portrays the character's origin story. The film stars Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman, with Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as the film’s main antagonist, General Zod. The film was directed by Zack Snyder and was released on June 14, 2013.
In June 2008, Warner Bros. took pitches from comic book writers, screenwriters and directors on how to successfully restart the Superman film series. During story discussions for The Dark Knight Rises in 2010, David S. Goyer told Christopher Nolan his idea regarding how to present Superman in a modern context. Impressed with Goyer's concept, Nolan pitched the idea to the studio, who hired Nolan to produce and Goyer to write based on the financial and critical success of The Dark Knight. Zack Snyder was hired in October 2010 to direct the film. Henry Cavill was cast as Superman in January 2011.
Principal photography began on August 1, 2011, at an industrial park near DuPage Airport. Filming was expected to last for two to three months. Production took place in Plano on August 22 to 29. According to an interview with Shannon, filming would continue until February 2012. Man of Steel filmed in the Chicago area, California and Burnaby's Mammoth Studios was transformed into Superman's home planet of Krypton and myriad extraterrestrial aircraft. Metro lands on Vancouver's North Shore waterfront hosted the shoot for the dramatic oil rig rescue that introduces audiences to Superman. Ucluelet and Nanaimo, British Columbia, feature prominently in the film’s first hour—the trademark winter mist and rough seas are passed off as Alaska in the film.
Man of Steel 's red carpet premiere in the United States was attended by its principal cast members in New York City on June 10, 2013.
In June 2013, it was announced that Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer would both be returning for a Man of Steel sequel, which was being fast tracked by Warner Bros. Christopher Nolan is involved in an advisory role as executive producer.
In July 2013, Warner Bros. announced that Superman and Batman will meet for the first time in a cinematic format in the film which will be the follow-up to Man of Steel and a reboot of the Batman film series, set for release in 2015. Goyer and Snyder will co-write the story, with Goyer writing the script. Cavill, Adams, Lane, and Fishburne will reprise their roles. According to Snyder and Goyer, the film will take inspiration from the comic The Dark Knight Returns. However, later, Snyder clarified that the film would not be a strict adaptation of the story and instead be original. Goyer stated that Superman and Batman would face off. On August 22, 2013, it was announced that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman. On December 4, 2013, it was reported that Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman, marking the first appearance of Wonder Woman in a live-action theatrical film. Later in the month, Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio was hired to rewrite the Goyer's script. It was announced that Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons were joining the cast as Lex Luthor and Alfred Pennyworth, respectively. As well Ray Fisher had been cast as Victor Stone / Cyborg, making his live-action theatrical debut, in a minor role that will become more significant in additional films leading up to the proposed Justice League film.
Filming commenced on October 19, 2013, at East Los Angeles College. The rest of the production was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, and Chicago, Illinois. Filming took place too in Detroit and other areas in Michigan. Additional filming took place in the Yorkville, Illinois and New Mexico area in late 2014.
In January 2014, it was announced that the film had been delayed from its original July 17, 2015 release date to May 6, 2016, to give the filmmakers "time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story". It got moved again to March 25, 2016. In May 2014, the film's title was revealed to be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Warner Bros. is developing a Suicide Squad film with David Ayer directing and writing the screenplay. On December 2, 2013, David S. Goyer announced that a Suicide Squad film is in development. On January 1, 2014, Bleeding Cool's look at the film's script shows that Deadshot is the lead character along with Flag, Captain Boomerang, Vixen, Multiplex, Mindboggler and Waller as members of the team. In November 2014, it was confirmed that Margot Robbie will appear as Harley Quinn, and in the following month, the rest of the cast was announced — Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as the Joker, Tom Hardy as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress. It was announced on December 16, 2014 that Viola Davis is cast as Amanda Waller. The film will start shooting in Toronto from mid-April to September 2015, and is scheduled to be released on August 5, 2016. Tom Hardy had to drop out as Rick Flag because of scheduling issues with his film The Revenant. In January 2015, Jake Gyllenhaal was being eyed to replace Hardy as Rick Flag, but has since declined. The studio are now looking at either Joel Edgerton, Jon Bernthal and Joel Kinnaman to replace Hardy as Flag. On February 13, 2015, "multiple individuals with knowledge of the project" told The Wrap that Kinnaman was cast in the role, though Warner Bros. did not comment on this. The Wrap has also reported that Jay Hernandez is in talks for a role. In March and April 2015, it was reported that Scott Eastwood was cast as Steve Trevor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc and Raymond Olubowale in a yet unknown role. Principal photography began on April 13, 2015.
Wonder Woman Edit
On November 7, 2013, Variety reported that Gal Gadot, Elodie Yung and Olga Kurylenko had auditioned for a lead female role, believed to possibly be Wonder Woman. On December 4, 2013, Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman and also signed a three picture deal with the studio which includes Justice League and a solo Wonder Woman film. In November 2014, Michelle MacLaren was confirmed to direct the film from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs, and is scheduled for release on June 23, 2017. On December 21, 2014, MacLaren said that Warner Bros. has not yet given the official green light to the production and the release date is in question, despite revealing a date in October 2014. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2015. MacLaren later left the project due to creative differences. As of April 13, 2015, pre-production on the film had begun. On April 15, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Patty Jenkins will direct the film.