Who's in and Who's Out of DC's Movie Universe (So Far)?

Who's in and Who's Out of DC's Movie Universe (So Far)?

The hierarchy of power in the DC universe has indeed changed... but perhaps not in the way some people might have thought.

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Image: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has been a very busy studio this year when it comes to situations that feel like they are On Fire All the Time. But few have been tumultuous as the last few weeks and months in the studio’s DC Comics wing of moviemaking, where the arrival of a new leadership team has upended the movie slate as we know it. But who’s still standing from DC’s recent movie past?

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Henry Cavill as Superman: Out

Henry Cavill as Superman: Out

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The first and arguably most shocking casualty of the new Gunn/Safran era was the 180 on the return of Henry Cavill’s Superman. Just months after the actor confirmed he was back in action in the wake of his Black Adam cameo, he took to social media to confirm that he would no longer be back at all, with James Gunn revealing that he is currently writing a new movie focusing on a younger Superman.

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Robert Pattinson as Batman: In

Robert Pattinson as Batman: In

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It took a while for us to get the confirmation that we would indeed be getting more from Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves’ take on the Dark Knight after the success of The Batman earlier this year, but as far as we currently know, plans for the film are unaffected by the recent events at Warner Bros. That also includes an upcoming HBO Max spinoff series focusing on Colin Farrell’s Penguin.

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Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman: Probably Out, But It’s Complicated

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman: Probably Out, But It’s Complicated

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Another early cut in Gunn and Safran’s plans was Wonder Woman 3, with the announcement that the duo had decided to part ways with director Patty Jenkins—who now hopes to continue her work on a Rogue Squadron movie for Lucasfilm—and her current script for what would’ve been her last Wonder Woman movie. This likely means that Gal Gadot won’t return as Princess Diana, but we don’t know for sure yet—Gunn recently corrected fans on social media about the actress’ future, pushing back against claims that she had been “booted,” but that doesn’t actually tell us if she’s going to return some time soon.

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Ezra Miller as the Flash: In

Ezra Miller as the Flash: In

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It took what felt like a million years to get made, and it’s been delayed so many times that Ezra Miller had time to go on a questionable crime spree for a good chunk of this year while The Flash got punted one last time to 2023. The movie’s still coming out—purportedly with changes to curtail connections to the rest of the DCU being made—but whether Miller will remain as Barry Allen beyond that is not yet known.

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Ray Fisher as Cyborg: Probably Out

Ray Fisher as Cyborg: Probably Out

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Likewise the future of Ray Fisher isn’t 100% clear, but it seems highly unlikely Zack Snyder’s Cyborg will be making a comeback after his public battle with Warner Bros alleging a toxic work environment on the set of Joss Whedon’s Justice League reshoots. The actor has continued to direct ire at the studio, as well as Gunn and Safran, in recent weeks on social media, so while nothing has been confirmed yet, it wouldn’t be unsurprising to see him done with the role for good.

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Jason Momoa as Aquaman: In, for Now

Jason Momoa as Aquaman: In, for Now

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Like The Flash, James Wan’s Aquaman sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, got pushed out of 2022 and into 2023 during the big commotion around Warner Bros. earlier this year, and is still set to release then. But rumors since Gunn and Safran’s takeover have persistently suggested that Momoa himself could be changing roles in the DCU’s future—ending his time as Aquaman after The Lost Kingdom, and potentially starring in a new movie franchise as the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo.

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Black Adam: Out, for Now

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Black Adam: Out, for Now

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The movie that really did change the hierarchy of power after all also got itself shut out of the new DCU in the process. Dwayne Johnson confirmed this week in a message posted to social media—in the wake of an embarrassingly public attempt to defend the box office success of Black Adam—that he had spoken to James Gunn and that Black Adam will not be part of the “First Chapter” of this new slate. Characters from the film could potentially show up in other projects, including Black Adam himself and the surviving members of the Justice Society.

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Asher Angel/Zachary Levi as Billy Batson/Shazam: In

Asher Angel/Zachary Levi as Billy Batson/Shazam: In

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Another movie delayed before DC and Warner’s big overhaul, Shazam: Fury of the Gods will see the Shazamily back in action next year. Beyond that remains to be seen, but Zachary Levi recently tweeted he’s “all Gucci” with James Gunn, responding to a fan who believed that the actor’s time as Shazam was over.

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Sasha Calle as Supergirl: In, for Now

Sasha Calle as Supergirl: In, for Now

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Calle is set to make her debut as Kara Zor-El in The Flash next year, so just like with Miller’s Barry Allen, we don’t know her future in the role beyond that movie. It seems unlikely, given that The Flash is going to be playing with a lot of multiversal ramifications, that we’ll see more of her after it though.

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Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker: In

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker: In

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Like The Batman, Phoenix’s turn in the Oscar-winning Joker is alive and well as production gets underway on its sequel, Folie à Deux. The film is set to introduce a new version of Harley Quinn to accompany Phoenix’s Joker, played by Lady Gaga.

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Xolo Maridueña as Blue Beetle: In

Xolo Maridueña as Blue Beetle: In

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Blue Beetle is one of the rare DC projects that got an upgrade in all the Warner Bros. kerfluffle this year: originally planed as a HBO Max streaming exclusive, the movie is now set to get a full cinema release in 2023.

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Leslie Grace as Batgirl: (Still) Out

Leslie Grace as Batgirl: (Still) Out

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The first major sign of problems for DC and Warner this year was the unhinged decision to completely pull Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s Batgirl movie—planned like the aforementioned Blue Beetle was as a HBO Max exclusive—despite the fact it was mostly complete. Despite the massive uproar, as far as we still know Gunn and Safran don’t have plans to release the film from Warner’s vaults.

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Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (and the other Suicide Squad Survivors): Probably In

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (and the other Suicide Squad Survivors): Probably In

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Considering Gunn directed The Suicide Squad, while there’s not been any explicit confirmation that the cinematic version of Harley is coming or going, if there’s going to be any holdover in new plans—it’s here. Especially as her fellow Squad member, John Cena’s Peacemaker, is still set to return to HBO Max for a second season his self-titled streaming show.

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Ben Affleck as Batman: Out, Ben Affleck as Ben Affleck: In

Ben Affleck as Batman: Out, Ben Affleck as Ben Affleck: In

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He’s in, he’s out, he’s in, he’s out: Ben Affleck’s spent as much time being rumored to be out of the Batcowl as he actually was in it. After he was seemingly gone for good with the announcement of Robert Pattinson starring in The Batman, there was the shocking news that Affleck would be one of two Batmen to appear in the upcoming Flash movie, alongside the return of Michael Keaton’s classic take on Bruce Wayne. As far as we know, that’s still on the cards for The Flash next year—but beyond that, all we have are recent reports that while Affleck might be done in front of the camera for DC and Warner Bros, he’s potentially looking at making a return behind it, and may be in talks to direct an undisclosed project.

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