DC Comics has been the odd-one-out the comic book movie race for nearly a decade now. While hits like Birds of Prey have gone a long way towards establishing DC’s storytelling prowess, there’s still a lot DC has to prove before it can catch up to its rivals. Luckily, there’s good news for DC fans on the horizon. 2021 is set to be a massive year for the company, and 2022 is close behind.
From TV adaptations of Vertigo books like Sandman, to The Batman, and even that long-awaited Black Adam movie, here’s everything you need to know about every major upcoming DC TV show and film adaptation.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
DC Films: The Batman, The Suicide Squad, Shazam! 2 & More
This year is set to be the biggest for DC films yet, with a unique deal between Warner Bros. and HBO Max ensuring every film will get a dual streaming and cinema release in the US. In the era of coronavirus, this means we actually have confirmed release dates for these films regardless of global vaccine rollout.
Here’s what’s in store.
The Suicide Squad (August 5, 2021)
Following the new cut of Justice League is The Suicide Squad, a pseudo-reboot of 2016’s Suicide Squad. This go around, there’ll be plenty more squad members and opportunities for madness and mayhem. Of the original crew, only Harley Quinn, Rick Flag and Captain Boomerang are returning, so expect plenty of fresh faces on the squad. Just don’t get too attached to any of them. If early indications are anything to go by, they’re all at risk of terrible, painful deaths.
The Batman (March 2022)
The Batman‘s first trailer showed off a Gotham we’d rarely seen before. A darkness-soaked landscape tinged with horror, and a Batman that felt nimbler and more terrifying than ever. While coronavirus dampened the excitement for the film and forced major production stoppages along the way, this is arguably still DC’s most anticipated film in years. Robert Pattinson is an great choice for Bruce Wayne, and the unique ideas backing it seem very intriguing, indeed.
The Flash (November 2022)
The Flash has become the subject of controversy after it was reported Ray Fisher was written out following complaints about his on-set treatment by Joss Whedon. There was also the matter of Ezra Miller allegedly choking a fan on a night out. Beyond these controversies, we don’t know a lot about The Flash. Concept artwork seems to suggest Michael Keaton’s Batman will join The Flash in a multiverse-style romp, but given the changes happening behind the scenes, whatever film we see will likely be different from its early first looks.
Aquaman 2 (December 2022)
Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry is set to return in this sequel, which will likely follow Aquaman as king of the underwater nations. Of the upcoming DC Comics films, this is arguably the one we know the least about. It’s set to be accompanied by a film spin-off known as The Trench, which will focus on the other denizens of the ocean, and an animated series, Aquaman: King of Atlantis. Stay tuned for more news on these projects.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (June 2023)
The first Shazam! was a genuine and heartfelt adventure about the excitable Billy Batson, a young boy with the ability to turn into lightning-based hero, Captain Marvel. Of course, complications with Marvel’s Captain Marvel (a fight which has stretched on for decades) meant the hero became known as Shazam, but that didn’t stop the original film being incredible fun. The sequel is currently penned in for June 2023 and is rumoured to feature Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam.
In addition to these films, production is also underway for Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and a handful of other titles yet to be officially announced or confirmed.
DC TV: Lucifer, Sandman, Peacemaker & More
DC is currently killing the TV game, with multiple new adaptations in the works and continuing seasons of popular shows. Here’s everything major we can expect to see in 2021 and 2022.
The Flash (Season 7-8)
Everybody’s favourite speedster will continue his run in 2021 and 2022 with new season orders guaranteeing the wacky future adventures of Barry Allen and Co. There’s always plenty of witter banter and universe-ending antics on The Flash, so you can look forward to more of that before the show reaches its inevitable conclusion. It’s currently unknown whether the series will be renewed beyond season eight.
Legends of Tomorrow (Season 6-7)
Everybody’s favourite team of ragtag superheroes and misfits is getting at least two more chances to strut its stuff over on The CW. Season six of Legends of Tomorrow is scheduled to air in 2021, with the following season likely set for 2022. As far as we know, this time around the Legends will be dealing with extraterrestrial threats as the show leans away from fantasy and into hard sci-fi. Long may the crew’s adventures continue.
Lucifer (Season 5, Part 2 – Season 6)
Lucifer is coming to an end with its sixth and final season, but before then the second half of season five will continue the show’s wild, heaven-and-hell-spanning shenanigans. The first half of season five ended on a cliffhanger that saw God coming to Earth to deal with his wayward sons, and the second half is set to continue this plot. It’s currently undated, but will likely end up on Netflix by the end of 2021, with the final season following later.
John Cena’s Peacemaker will spin out of The Suicide Squad into his own TV show, set to air on HBO Max in 2022. Cena has come an incredible way since perfecting his doctorate of Thuganomics, and it’ll be fascinating to see how he carries his own superhero show. Peacemaker’s a bit of a mystery in DC Universe canon so far, but it’s clear we’ll all be learning more about him soon.
Stargirl (Season 2)
Stargirl was a surprise delight when its first season landed in 2020. In a time when superheroes were getting gritter and more complicated, Stargirl was a shining, pure light of joy. Its second season aims to keep the charm and wholesomeness of the first season, as Courtney Whitmore continues her journey towards becoming a fully-fledged superhero. It’s set to air in 2021, but there’s no confirmed date just yet.
Titans (Season 3)
Despite being mid-production and having no set air date, we’ve already gotten our first big glimpses at the third season of Titans. Early images showed off the appearance of Jason Todd’s Red Hood as well as a new version of Starfire’s superhero suit. Both looked absolutely fabulous, and indicated the third season would be bigger and better than anything before it (or at least, twice as fashionable). Early 2022 seems to be the most likely release window for the show.
Doom Patrol (Season 3)
Like other upcoming DC shows, Doom Patrol has officially been renewed for a third season. Unlike the other shows on the list, we barely know anything about it. Following the events of season two (which saw Niles Caulder’s ultra-powerful daughter arrive on the scene), it’s likely the team will have some cleaning up and reflecting to do. Hopefully, they’ll even get a nice, quiet break. Expect this show in very late 2021 or early in 2022.
The team behind Sandman recently announced a blockbuster cast of characters that included the inspired choice of Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer. Outside of it being an adaptation of the dreamy Neil Gaiman comic series about life and death, we don’t know much about the TV show yet. Filming reportedly began in October 2020, with production continuing into 2021.
Y: The Last Man
Vertigo’s Y: The Last Man was floundering in development hell for nearly a decade before it was fished out by Hulu. Despite the various disagreements, drop outs, pitches and pilots that led to this adaptation, it looks like DC may have finally pulled it off. Y: The Last Man, which tells the tale of the literal last man on Earth, is set to begin on Hulu in the US in 2021. For now, it looks like Yorick’s tale will finally be told.
Allegedly, there’s a 10-episode Green Lantern TV series heading to HBO Max in the near future. It’s set to follow multiple Green Lanterns, including newbies like Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, as they navigate the Green Lantern Corps and deal with otherworldly threats. There’s currently no indication of how it’ll tie into the greater DC Cinematic Extended Universe.
Like Peacemaker, the planned Gotham P.D. show will connect to the DCEU. Specifically, it’ll leap off from The Batman and follow the inner workings of Gotham’s police department and (presumably) how corrupt it truly is. If it’s based on the excellent Gotham Central comic series by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka, we could have a winner on our hands. Sadly, its ties to The Batman mean we won’t be seeing this one until at least 2022.
In addition to helming DC’s New Gods, Ava DuVernay is reportedly adapting Vertigo’s DMZ, a post-apocalyptic tale about an America in the midst of a violent civil war. It’s described as a four-part limited series on HBO Max, and retains a 2021 release date. Despite this, we haven’t seen any early news or trailers from this project so stay tuned to hear more.
Strange Adventures is another DC Comics project in the works at HBO Max, and is described as an anthology series exploring the weird and wonderful tales of the DC Universe. It sounds very weird and a bit pulpy, with every episode focusing on a ‘closed book’ story about the intersection of superheroics on ordinary lives. Given how many underrated characters DC Comics has (*cough* The Spectre *cough*) this show could be an opportunity to explore all the corners of its weird and wonderful superhero world.
DC Super Hero High
DC Super Hero High is also a HBO Max project, but this time DC is targeting a whole new audience: the Riverdale crowd. Here’s the official description, courtesy of HBO Max:
“DC Super Hero High is a half-hour comedy series executive produced by Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect, Shrill), which follows a group of students experiencing the fun and drama of adolescence at a boarding school for gifted kids. These teens are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realise that someday they will become legendary DC Super Heroes.”
With a dash of Smallville thrown in for good measure, this series sounds like a total blast.
In addition to these shows, we’ll also see new seasons of Supergirl, Black Lightning, Harley Quinn, Young Justice and Pennyworth — although none currently have a set release date. These shows will air on HBO Max in the US and are likely to wind up on Binge locally.
DC TV And Film: Rumours, Speculation & Development Hell
There’s plenty of DC Comics films and TV shows we know are on the way, but there’s dozens more we’ve only heard rumours and speculation about. Some have reportedly been stuck in ‘development hell’ for years, while others have only been whispered about on show floors or hinted at in vague Q&As. Here’s a few of these projects and everything we currently known about them.
Way back in 2018, Geoff Johns teased Hitman as one of DC’s next big TV projects. At the time, he indicated there were ‘discussions’ happening, but we don’t know what exactly they entailed or whether this show will actually come to fruition. If you want to see a story about a super-powered hitman taking on aliens, the mob and wild fishmen, this will be the show for you. Since we haven’t heard much beyond 2018, it’s likely we won’t see this adaptation anytime soon. The prospect is exciting, though.
Justice League Dark
Justice League Dark has been stacked on the development hell pile for years and tossed between directors with every iteration. First, it was a movie. Then an animated film. Now, it’s reportedly a television series being developed by J.J. Abrams for HBO Max. The series is presumably in a major pickle because it’ll likely step on the toes of Legends of Tomorrow, which already rocks its own excellent version of Constantine. That’s not to mention the other rumoured project currently in the works.
Constantine 2 (Keanu Reeves)
In a cryptic Instagram post in late 2020, Constantine‘s Satan, Peter Stomare, shared an image of his character with the caption ‘Sequel In The Works‘. To date, we don’t know exactly what it means and we haven’t heard much else from those working on the alleged film but it’s entirely possible Keanu Reeves’ John Constantine returns at some point. While his take differs greatly from the Constantine of DC TV (and DC Comics), there’s always room for another take on the character.
Ava DuVernay and Arrow executive producer Jill Blankenship are reportedly working on Naomi, a TV series following a young woman charting the multiverse. We’ve only heard whispers about this series so far, but it’s said to be in the early stages of development over on HBO Max. Naomi McDuffie is a relatively new superhero in the DC Comics universe, but she definitely deserves a chance to shine.
We’ve been hearing about Black Adam for nearly a decade now, and the entire time we’ve only known one thing: Dwayne Johnson is attached to star. Allegedly it still holds a 2021 release date, but give we’ve only seen a sparse cinematic teaser it’s unlikely to meet this deadline. We also haven’t heard anything about plot or filming, so expect the wheels on Black Adam to keep on turning. Maybe one day we’ll see this film, but not just yet.
Other films rumoured to be in the works include Batgirl, Supergirl, Nightwing, The Amazons, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Deathstroke, Gotham City Sirens, Harley Quinn vs. The Joker, Lobo, a Man of Steel sequel and Wonder Woman 3. News for these titles is currently scarce, and it’s likely many of them will never see the light of day.
This article will be updated as we learn more about everything currently in store at DC.
With 2021 set to be a major year for DC and Warner Bros., we can expect to hear more news and announcements as the months go by. There’s never been a better time to be a superhero fan.