TV/Movie News

Aquaman and Shazam Sequel Delays Suggest The DCEU Won’t Fully Reboot

The future of the DCEU is up in the air, but recent changes to the slate of DC film schedules suggest Warner Bros. Discovery plans to keep the current DCEU canon. The studio has yet to reveal its long-term plan for DC films, but the way they’re handling the movies already in production could say a lot about the direction they want to take DCEU.

DCEU has been rudderless since the Justice League debacle, leading to the effective cancelation of the plans Zack Snyder had for the characters, but a new plan was never fully put in place. Warner Bros. Discovery recently announced plans to bring in a “Kevin Feige” style figurehead and Marvel Cinematic Universe style 10-year-plan, although any additional details about what that plan could be have been kept under wraps.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods have seen a number of release date changes, most recently getting pushed back release even further. While the delay is frustrating for everyone anticipating those movies, the release date changes could offer a peak behind the curtain into what Warner Bros. Discovery wants out of DC Films.

The DCEU’s Future Canon is Uncertain

One of the biggest questions following the 2017 theatrical release of Justice League was about what canon the DCEU would follow. While many of the releases that came after managed to straddle a line that didn’t embrace much about Joss Whedon’s version of Justice League or the rest of Snyder’s DCEU movies, the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League made the question even more uncertain, especially with Patty Jenkins saying other DC directors still stuck to Snyder’s canon instead of the changes made in Whedon’s theatrical cut.

With uncertain canon and the future of many Justice League characters in question, particularly with Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman, reports indicated The Flash movie would be used to reset some of the larger continuity so the franchise could move in a new direction. Thanks to more delays for The Flash and the return of Ben Affleck’s Batman and rumors swirling around Henry Cavill’s Superman returning, a reboot might not be necessary, but the numerous issues faced getting various plans off the ground for this “OG” DCEU cast raises concerns over whether or not another attempt will survive as well.

Warner Bros. Discovery Inherited a Lot of DCEU Baggage

In addition to concerns about actors and continuity, the DC fanbase is also divided between the various different styles of DC movies WB has made over the years. Outside of the “Snyderverse” building up to a Final Crisis-inspired confrontation between the Justice League and Darkseid, none of the DCEU movies have been building to anything particularly inspiring. Considering all the drama and baggage of the DCEU to this point, it’s not clear what there is to save, and a contrived attempt to patch it all up via a multiverse conceit could be more effort than its worth unless there’s a clear path to something bigger for all these characters.

This thinking isn’t foreign to Warner Bros. Discovery, either, as evidenced by their willingness to totally cancel Batgirl despite the movie being entirely shot already. The willingness to ruthlessly cancel Batgirl is a strong contrast to the long delays on Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. While Batgirl had a connection to prior DCEU canon, it featured Michael Keaton as Batman, presumably as a product of the multiversal events of The FlashBatgirl was reportedly canceled for financial reasons, but the continuity differences are hard to rule out as a potential factor.

Delayed DC Films Could Indicate WB’s Canon Preferences

The delay of Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is particularly interesting it extends the franchise’s commitment to the current iteration for the DCEU. If Warner Bros. Discovery wanted a clean slate, meaning recasting characters like Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, they wouldn’t delay his next appearance until December 2023 and add Ben Affleck’s Batman to the movie. Of course, there was a very similar situation with X-Men: Dark Phoenix after Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, but in that situation, Disney already had a thriving MCU and needed Dark Phoenix reshoots to end the existing X-Men iteration without introducing more sequels or spin-offs or doing anything else that conflicted with MCU canon.

While the delays suggest Warner Bros. Discovery may not opt to wipe the DCEU slate totally clean, it doesn’t indicate if the plan will soft reboot or continue with any of the other incomplete plans, such as Zack Snyder’s Knightmare future and Darkseid confrontation or Walter Hamada’s rumored Crisis on Infinite Earths plan. In all likelihood, it will be a fresh story that builds on the established characters and movies where necessary without embracing any particular plan.



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