PART 1 - DC Shakeup: How Walter Hamada Could Change The DCEU’s Slate of Upcoming Films

Warner Bros. recently hired successful horror movie producer Walter Hamada as president of DC Films. So what does this move mean for the long, long list of movies that DC has in some stage of development?

After Justice League fell short of expectations at the box office, changes at Warner Bros.’ DC Films division were pretty much inevitable. And with so much uncertainty in the studio’s film upcoming slate of films, this was definitely the right time to shake things up by bringing in New Line Cinema’s Walter Hamada as president of DC Films.

James Wan’s Aquaman is the only DC film scheduled for release this year, and while Shazam and Wonder Woman 2 are confirmed to be released in 2019, so many other projects are currently in some stage of development that a third DC movie may also be released next year. Warner Bros.currently has an unnamed “event film” slated to be released on September 27 2019, and another DC film could very well end up filling this spot. 

While there are plans to bring many different DC properties to the big screen, a focused, overarching plan seems to be lacking at the moment. This is one of the reasons Hamada was brought in. Rumor has it that the Deadshot and Lobo standalone films have been scrapped, but there are many other titles rumored to be coming to cinemas in the next few years that don’t yet have directors or release dates.


 
Before speculating about what Hamada might do, let’s take a look at what he’s dealing with. At San Diego Comic Con last year, the studio confirmed the following movies for 2020 and beyond:
 
Suicide Squad 2
The Batman
Justice League Dark
Batgirl
Green Lantern Corps
Flashpoint
 
However, things get complicated when we move over to the rumored titles. It was announced last summer that Todd Phillips would be directing a Martin Scorsese-produced Joker origin story, set outside the DCEU. Margot Robbie has said she is working on a Harley Quinn solo movie, and Gotham City Sirens is still supposedly happening too. Dwayne Johnson is apparently getting his own Black Adam movie since he won’t be appearing in Shazam. Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke is also supposed to get his own solo movie, as well as Nightwing, which will be directed by The LEGO Batman Movie’s Chris McKay.


 
While Green Lantern Corps, Justice League Dark and Flashpoint are all confirmed to be happening, none of these films have a director attached and two of them don’t have a star. On the surface, this doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary, but when compared to rumored films like Nightwing and The Joker that already have directors in place, the plan is a bit confusing. In all likelihood, some of these projects will be put on the backburner, and some will be canceled entirely. However, we probably shouldn't be expecting a major announcement that states Warner Bros. is canceling some of their films since this would just the kind of press the studio doesn't need right now.
 
The common thread between the majority of the movies DC Films has planned is Batman. That’s what makes getting the Ben Affleck situation sorted out the studio’s biggest responsibility. What happens with Batman will tell us whether Hamada and the rest of the DC brass to actually care about maintaining continuity in this universe, or if they'd rather focus on solo adventures. Since a Justice League sequel hasn’t been confirmed since the studio’s initial announcement in 2014, it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon. A lot has changed for DC Films since that announcement over three years ago, so it’s likely the studio’s priorities have changed as well.



So how might Hamada change the studio’s planned schedule? The rumors about DC scrapping Lobo and Deadshot—two films about villains—make sense based on a few things. Deadshot is already scheduled to make another appearance in Suicide Squad 2, and Lobo isn’t exactly a household name. 
 
Hamada would also be wise to integrate Deathstroke and Black Adam into The Batman and Shazam, respectively. Shazam is still in pre-production, so it’s possible director David F. Sandberg might be able to integrate him into the story. However, since Dwayne Johnson is one of the busiest people in Hollywood, this might be tricky. The Batman, on the other hand, still seems to be very much up in the air, as we don’t even know who is going to play the titular character. Fitting in Deathstroke should be a given.
 
DC is planning on introducing lots of minor characters and villains in their own movies instead of having them play a part in a bigger character’s film. This is a clever way to stand apart from Marvel, but it’s also pretty risky. Considering the generally mixed reactions to the studio’s films so far, keeping things simple looks like the right idea. A villain-centric approach could be very interesting, but it would make sense to pump the brakes on some of these projects until we see how Gavin O’Connor handles Suicide Squad 2

Of course, Hamada might take a completely different approach. Luckily, we're able to get a bit of insight into how Hamada conducts his business by looking at the movies he's previously worked on. Check back on Tuesday, January 9 for part 2 of this post, where I'll do just that. 
 
 

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