Playing Catchup

What is the question to this Jeopardy answer?? <p>The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, and Captain America 3. <p>What are the ten films based on Marvel Universe comic book properties that have been or are scheduled to be released between Warner Bros.’ 2013 <b>Man of Steel</b> and 2016’s <b>Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice</b>, Alex? <p>That’s right, ten films if you count <i>Captain America 3</i>, which is currently scheduled for release the same day as the <b>Man of Steel</b> sequel (May 16, 2016 in North America). <p>Ten films, estimating conservatively and assuming the bottom doesn’t fall out, representing approximately $6 to $6.5 billion in worldwide box office receipts by the time it’s all said and done. <p>Of course, DC Entertainment is showing a <i>lot</i> of life in another live-action arena: Television. With The Flash, Arrow, Constantine, and Gotham on television this fall as stars, and characters like The Atom, Firestorm, and many more making their debuts as guest stars, DC is using live-action TV like they used to use animation: as a world-builder. It would <i>seem</i> like they’re taking that as a way to learn and apply those lessons to their film universe… <p>But in case … just in case … there is still some paralysis by analysis going on at WB given the disappointing <i>Green Lantern</I> (more on that in just a moment), here are 10 suggestions from us to them for characters that can carry an DCCU (DC Cinematic Universe) feature film.

GREEN LANTERN

Let’s face it, Warner Bros. has a problem. Green Lantern is a marquee hero (and a favorite of DC Entertainment chief creative officer Geoff Johns, no less), and a member of the Justice League that, if you’re making a Justice League movie, <i>needs</i> to be there. He’s the bridge to the stars, he’s that halfway-point between regular guy and superman, he’s a visual masterpiece, <i>made</i> for a special effects highlight reel. <p>And unfortunately, they put him on screen already, with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, and the movie was a critical disaster, with a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes off 227 reviews - even audiences agreed, only 46% of the 143,982 people who gave the movie a rating on that site liked it. <p>So, let’s say Reynolds is out, Jordan is out, and yet, they want a Green Lantern. <p>Well hello there, John Stewart. <p>Stewart has everything - he’s different enough from Hal, he is already recognizable from the cartoon series, and he even has a nice military tie-in to boot. Give John Stewart a movie, let it tie directly into the larger movie universe they’re now building, and don’t look back. Ultimately, yes, this means Hal Jordan is off the table for the foreseeable future. But he was gone in the comics for a couple decades, too, and that worked out okay, didn’t it?

Nightwing

Let’s be 100% clear about this right off the bat. By Nightwing we mean John “Robin” Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and set in the Christopher Nolan Bat-verse. <p>Hey, we included Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and X-Men in our Marvel calculation in the intro, so we never said there was a rule they all had to exist in <i>one</i> cinematic universe. <p>Nolan teed this one up for Warner Bros. in thrilling fashion at the conclusion of <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i> and all they have to do is take the cue and overcome any needless concerns about it not meshing with the Zack Snyder’s new DCCU Batman. Sure, it won’t generate over a billion at the box office like the last two Nolan Bat-films did, but it wouldn’t have to. <p>And they can always have Blake move to Blüdhaven or even Chicago (which stood in for Gotham City anyway) if they’re looking for even more separation.

SHAZAM!

Now that DC has officially rebranded Captain Marvel as simply Shazam, the possibility for confusion with Marvel's almost inevitable <i>Captain Marvel</i> film goes out the window. <b>Shazam</b> may be the ultimate wish fulfillment movie, featuring the tale of a young boy who is granted the power of six ancient heroes by a mysterious wizard. <p>In contrast to the more stark, serious films of DC's latter day output, <b>Shazam</b> would almost have to be a family-centric adventure film, more along the lines of <i>The Incredibles</i> than <i>Man of Steel</i>. It seems that a <b>Shazam</b> movie may be a foregone conclusion, with DC "get" Dwayne Johnson long-rumored to be in talks to portray either Shazam or his arch-enemy Black Adam, and perhaps even taking on one of those roles for the upcoming <i>Man of Steel</i> sequel.

Justice League Dark

We already know that <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/10721-del-toro-confirms-justice-league-dark-movie-in-development.html>Warner is developing a film with the working title <i>Dark Universe</i></a>, and that Guillermo Del Toro is attached and already writing the outline. But we've heard similar statements about a <i>lot</i> of superhero movies that never saw the light of day, and <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/21453-so-whatever-happened-to-del-toros-justice-league-dark-movie.html>evidence suggests that this movie may have stalled out</a>. <p>We think the concept makes a lot of sense for a film treatment not only because of the strength of the characters — what comic fan doesn't love Zatanna and Swamp Thing? — but also because, if done well and done right, it potentially attracts a new audience of young fans who flock to scary movies and obsess over the my-gosh-it's-still-successful-nine-years-later TV show <i>Supernatural</i>.

Suicide Squad

With the popularity of ensemble action films such as the <i>Fast & Furious</i> franchise and the <i>Expendables</i> series, a <b>Suicide Squad</b> film seems like a no-brainer. Taking a revolving cast of DC's B and C-List characters, and throwing them into high-octane suicide missions with a reduced prison sentence as their only reward, <b>Suicide Squad</b> would be a great platform for trying out lesser known characters, and tying disparate elements of DC's film universe together. Plus, they know the concept works, thanks to a recent Season 2 episode of <i>Arrow</i> that introduced them to live action. Like "The Dirty Dozen" in capes, no one in the cast of <b>Suicide Squad</b> would be safe. With DC's more adult-centered approach, a low cost, high body count action/thriller may be just what the doctor ordered.

Batgirl & Supergirl

<p>Wonder Woman isn't the only DC woman who's worthy of a film treatment. With the strength of the Batman franchise, and the possible cheesiness of adding a young Robin at the Dark Knight's side, Warner might want to consider the possibility of Batgirl as an alternate add-on to the hugely popular mythos. The Christopher Nolan films have already established that Catwoman can work well on film, and taking that one step further to introduce a new, kick-ass Batgirl wouldn't be much of a stretch. <p>There's also a lot of existing brand recognition for Supergirl, and the <b>Man of Steel</b> movie already included an Easter Egg that set up Supergirl's arrival on Earth — an empty pod on the ancient Kryptonian scout ship visited by Clark Kent and Lois Lane. In the prequel comic to the <i>Man of Steel</i> movie, that ancient ship was originally piloted by Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) when it crashed, and the film implies that the empty pod is hers. Where did she go? Has she been wandering Earth for thousands of years? Was she thrown into the ice and frozen, only to thaw after Superman's tenure has begun? <p>If one of these ladies could be added to the Warner film slate, we'd be happy — even as a character in a male-helmed film, to start — but we find ourselves dreaming of the someday-in-the-future when Supergirl and Batgirl can team-up World's Finest style.

Cyborg

While DC <i>Comics</i> has yet to even give Cyborg a turn as a solo character despite his higher Justice-League-founding-member profile in the New 52, cinematically there are several good reasons he can work, probably for some of the same reasons he was chosen to take Martian Manhunter’s League seat in the first place. <p>Marvel chose Iron Man to launch the MCU no doubt due at least partly to the more grounded, easily-digestible nature of his powers – i.e. advanced technology. <p>DC’s version of the Six Billion Dollar Man (adjusted for inflation) would make for a logical power compliment to the Justice League members we <i>will</i> eventually see on screen. And Geoff Johns said it well when he argued, "[Cyborg] represents all of us in a lot of ways. If we have a cellphone and we're texting on it, we are a cyborg — that's what a cyborg is, using technology as an extension of ourselves." <p>Of course his youth and race would certainly help diversify the eventual full-on big screen League gathering, and his origin, mixing father and son parental conflict with redemption through tragedy, would translate to film very neatly. <p>Obligatory casting suggestion: <i>Attack the Block</i>’s John Boyega, assuming his dance card doesn’t get filled by rumored roles in <i>Star Wars Episode’s VII-IX</i> and/or the <i>Terminator</i> reboot.

Aquaman

How crazy would it be if nobody's favorite Super Friend beat Marvel's Namor to the big screen? If DC conquered the seven seas with an <b>Aquaman</b> film before Marvel could put together what would, ostensibly, be their version of the same concept, it could be exactly the coup that DC's been looking for. <p>Love him or hate him, Aquaman certainly has an advantage over Namor in terms of brand recognition, and if DC went in a less whimsical direction, capitalizing on Aquaman's kingly bearing, and an ecological threat, Aquaman could be a dark horse slam dunk.

BATMAN BEYOND

So, DC has a new live-action Batman that’s going to be part of the Justice League, and is starting out in <b>Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice</b>. But going back to solo movies with Batman so soon after the somewhat definitive Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy presents a problem for viewers - they might buy the conceit that it’s a different, older Batman next to Superman and Wonder Woman on the big screen, but any new solo adventures would be instantly compared to those three most recent ones. <p>Unless… you use a completely different Batman. <p>Enter Terry McGuinness, the Batman of the future who debuted in the cartoon <b>Batman Beyond</b> and went on to become a comic book star in a nice full circle. A Batman Beyond movie would satisfy the need for some new Batman solo adventures, as well as giving DCE/WB a new science fiction film franchise. <p>With Terry under the more high-powered cowl, of course, you’ll need an older gentleman to play the aged Bruce Wayne, mentoring Terry and helping direct his adventures from the Batcave. What’s that you say? Michael Keaton is in his 60s, perfect age for a retired Bat helping the new kid out? Well that would just be <i>fun</i>, now wouldn’t it?

Wonder Woman

Of course we’re not asking for any credit for coming up with this one, a comic book movie Holy Grail for decades. And reports have surfaced Gal Gadot’s deal in fact includes options for solo feature films, so it seems like it <i>will</i> just be a matter of time. <p>But fans of comic book films have been flummoxed for years over how and why this still hasn’t happened yet, so Warner Bros. certainly seems like they needed a push and maybe they still do. <p>She’s an iconic, household name, and far and away the most recognizable female superhero/comic book character. Thor has already paved the way for gods and mythology crossing over to the ‘real world’ in superhero movie-verses, so what’s the hold up? <p>If it’s just the costume, get over it, Warner Bros. We forgave <i>The Avengers</i> Captain America’s figure skater costume. Give Diana a skirt, and the bodice armor plating and call it a day.

10 DC COMICS Characters That Should Have Movies NOW

Date: 09 July 2014 Time: 06:30 PM ET