From underwater fantasias to psychological dramas and family superhero antics, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is proven itself to be a diverse franchise. We’ve discussed the fate of Warner Bros’ comic book empire at length in the past. Detailing its mistakes, achievements and possible future up ahead. And while there are moments in which the franchise has shown shades of brilliance, there are definitely times in which the DCEU has left scratching us our heads in confusion. As far back as 2013’s Man of Steel, we’ve heard all sorts of strange news of future films in development. Some of them left us in eager anticipation. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the DCEU adapt Jack Kirby’s New Gods and bring Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern saga to the big screen. Then, there have been others that have left us wondering to ourselves: Who the hell asked for this?
Trust me, there are quite of films in development within the DCEU that fit the latter category. So without further ado, let’s explore some of the weirder DCEU films coming our way.
1. Gotham City Sirens
Stop me if you’ve heard this premise before. An all-female cast of anti-heroes from Gotham City, led by Harley Quinn, teaming up to kick butt and maybe save the day. It sounds an awful lot like 2020’s Bird of Prey but it’s also the plot for an upcoming film directed by Suicide Squad‘s David Ayer called Gotham City Sirens. In lieu of Renee Montoya, Huntress and Cassandra Cain, Harley Quinn will be forming a trio with Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Two of Batman’s most iconic female villains. At the moment, the film’s production is placed on hold with Ayer currently working a sequel to Bright. Though, the director has affirmed that it’s still on with Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley and playing the part of an executive producer as well.
As much as I enjoyed seeing Robbie’s Harley Quinn kick ass and take names, I’m not sure if anyone’s exactly down for Gotham City Sirens. Seeing that we’ve already gotten Birds of Prey. Creating a whole new film just to introduce characters like Catwoman and Poison Ivy feels unnecessary and excessive. It certainly doesn’t help that fans won’t be getting a sequel to Birds of Prey due to box office results. So with all this uncertainty surrounding the film, perhaps it would be best to go back to the drawing board and start fresh. Gotham City Sirens feels far too reminiscent of something that’s tried and failed financially.
2. Black Adam
High chance you probably only ever heard of Black Adam in connection to Hobbs and Shaw star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You’d have to be pretty deep into DC Comics to know the character. In 2019’s SHAZAM!, we learn that Billy Batson inherited his powers as Shazam from a series of Greek Gods. Black Adam, on the other hand, got his from a pantheon of Egyptian ones. Way before Batson came onto the scene, Black Adam was the Wizard’s first magical champion until Adam turned evil and had his powers stripped. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the DCEU had planned on releasing a Black Adam film by December 2021. Now, filming will only begin the following year.
Look, I get the appeal of having the Rock play a rogue god-like, magical being on par with Shazam. Sounds like a lot of fun. Perhaps, though, it’d be best to introduce him into the DCEU through Shazam, before giving him his own film before a SHAZAM! sequel? I’m not saying it’s going to be a failure per see but to give the villain a whole film before even having him even hinted in the first one feels supremely weird. Why not tease him in its mid-credits scene instead of revealing to us an even more obscure villain, Mr Mind? So, unless someone out there specifically asked the Rock to wear lightning-themed tights and have pointy ears, I’m not entirely sure who asked for this.
Ever heard of the expression “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”? Well, Warner Bros hasn’t because in 2017 the DCEU made the announcement that we’d be getting a Nightwing film. For those not in the DC comic book know, Nightwing was Batman’s first Robin, Dick Grayson. After years of serving as the Bat’s sidekick, Grayson decided it was time to move out his mentor’s shadow and be his own hero. He moved out of Gotham into the crime-infested of Bludhaven and took up the mantle of Nightwing. Now, he fights crime in his own way while still honouring the spirit of his adoptive father. This idea is one that definitely deserves exploring…now isn’t the time, though.
For there to be a Nightwing film, there needs to be an established relationship between Batman and Grayson’s Robin. Ben Affleck’s tenure as the Dark Knight didn’t really do much to develop their relationship. Therefore, to have a Nightwing film before the DCEU even introduces a Robin would be severely out of place. Things get even more complicated when you take into account that Affleck has left the DCEU. Thus making Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight in Matt Reeves’ upcoming Batman universe, the only Batman left! According to Reeves, Pattinson’s version of the character is set to be significantly younger than Affleck’s. Perhaps after a few years of films and TV shows, the DCEU can even consider making a Nightwing film. For now, leave that bird in the cage.
4. Jared Leto’s Joker
In spite of the abysmal failure that is 2016’s Suicide Squad, this is still happening. How? James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad in 2021 is going to be a reboot of the property. Warner Bros has a chance to start over and get it right this time. So why in the holy hell is Jared Leto’s wannabe edgelord rendition of the Joker getting his own film? Note, this announcement wasn’t made before the release of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. No, this came out at least two years after the film left its rancid, bitter taste in our mouths. One of the biggest issues fans, including me, had with the film was Ayer’s depiction of the iconic Clown Prince of Crime. While I get that Leto did pour himself into the role, he didn’t exactly give us a very complex or compelling take on the character.
Then, there’s also one little problem with giving Leto his own standalone Joker film. We already have one, it’s called Todd Phillip’s Joker. An award-winning masterpiece that Leto wasn’t too happy about. The actor was afraid that Joaquin Phoenix’s bold new take on the character would eclipse his already fading star. It has. We already have an excellent standalone film surrounding the Joker. To have another at this point would just seem redundant and a total waste of time. It would also confuse fans on how Jared Leto’s Joker would fit in Gunn’s new reboot. So far, we’ve heard no news of the film’s cancellation. It seems to be on board for now. Let’s hope Warner Bros come to their senses.
5. The Trench
This has got to be strangest one by far. A whole film dedicated to fish monsters from 2018’s Aquaman, whose screen-time barely clocks in over 15 minutes. The film clearly plans on capitalizing off the billion-dollar success of Aquaman. Call me cynical but I sincerely doubt there’s any gold to mine from this shaft. In the original film, the Trench was seen as little more than a plot device in which Arthur used to assert his right to the Throne of Atlantis. I’ll admit that their presence in the film did allow director James Wan to have some thrilling underwater action sequences. Beyond that, though, I don’t foresee them being good for anything else.
Here is the problem. The creature design for the Trench doesn’t quite have that “wow” factor. They aren’t particularly distinct or interesting in their appearance. They look like a slightly updated version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. There is an interesting angle in which Wan could use to make his Trench monsters both more frightening and sympathetic at the same time. We could learn about the horrific truth behind how the Atlanteans who were abandoned by King Atlan turned into these mutated monsters. Were they cursed by gods? Were they a product of natural evolution or genetic tampering? Hopefully, these questions are enough to peak audience curiosity. Unfortunately, the odds are not in the film’s favour. A film based on the Trench doesn’t have the advantage of being the first comic book horror film. Its concept has also been explored in horror films like The Descent.