TOPLIST – Many DCEU films have been announced over the years, but only a few of them have ever been made. Here are all the films that have been cancelled.
The DC Extended Universe is notorious for having difficulty creating a coherent universe. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe will soon include six Avengers films, DC has failed to deliver a single Justice League sequel. Several other DC films are in development, including films based on Plastic Man, Lobo and Nightwing. However, given the poor track record of the DCEU, only time will tell if these will actually get made.
During a turbulent time for DC, with major controversy surrounding the stars of The Flash and Aquaman, Batgirl was a light in the darkness. Yet, in an unprecedented move in Hollywood, Batgirl was cancelled after it had already entered post-production. Batgirl sadly joins a long list of DC films that will never see theatrical release. Here are all the DCEU films that have been cancelled over the years.
12 Man of Steel 2
Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was released in 2013, and the film launched the DCEU. Development of Man of Steel 2 soon followed, but a sequel never happened. Deadline reported in 2020 that the sequel was no longer in active development. Zack Snyder later revealed that there was talk of the DC supervillain Brainiac appearing, as well as Kryptonians remaining in the Phantom Zone.
In 2018, Warner Bros. hired Ava DuVernay to direct a film based on DC’s New Gods series. The Hollywood Reporter reported in early 2021 that the film was cancelled after the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Darkseid was the main character in Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the main villain in New Gods. The studio apparently wanted time between appearances of the character. DuVernay shared on Twitter that the cancelled film would have featured DC Comics characters Big Barda, Granny Goodness, Highfather and Mister Miracle.
Unlike the other films on the list, Batgirl had not only finished filming when it was cancelled but was already in post-production. The film starred singer and In the Heights star Leslie Grace as Batgirl, with Brendan Fraser as DC’s main villain Firefly. The Warner Bros. Discovery was considering a theatrical release in April 2022 before the decision was made not to release the film at all. According to a report in The Wrap, studio executives felt that the film didn’t work or fit with their vision of DC titles being “big theatrical event films”.
The Batman (Ben Affleck version)
Before The Batman launched the new cinematic universe, it was intended as an entry in the DCEU. Ben Affleck starred in the film and was also the producer, writer and director for a while. After Matt Reeves was brought in to direct The Batman, the plan was to focus on a younger version of the caped crusader (which is how Robert Pattinson was brought in). The Batman then deviated so much from the original plans that it ended up leaving the DCEU.
Joe Manganiello was once set to star in the solo film Deathstroke, directed by Gareth Evans. Manganiello later shared on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast that “when the dust settled, it wasn’t considered a priority to make a $40 million movie about a villain’s origin story, showing the backstory”.
Ray Fisher was due to return in Cyborg, previously scheduled for April 2020. As of the month, the film was due to be released, it still hasn’t been made. Fisher announced in a Twitch stream that, to his knowledge, “there are still plans”. Several other issues have caused a breakdown in the relationship between Fisher, and Warner Bros. Fisher refused to work with DC Films president Walter Hamada, and later announced on Twitter that the studio had moved on without his character.
6. Harley Quinn vs. the Joker
Harley Quinn vs. the Joker is the working title of the sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad. Co-directors, co-producers and co-screenwriters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa planned the film to be like a cross between Bad Santa and This is Us. The film would have further explored the relationship between the Joker, played by Jared Leto, and Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. Forbes later reported in 2019 that the film was no longer moving forward.
Joker (Jared Leto version)
In 2018, Variety reported that Leto’s Joker was getting his own solo movie. Leto would star and produce, and the film would spawn more Suicide Squad spin-offs. Instead, Todd Phillips’ 2019 Joker movie was eventually made, with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Leto never reprised the role, which allowed him to become a Marvel legend as Morbius.
Green Lantern sequels
Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern was meant to be the start of a new DC universe. Disappointing financial results and negative reviews led Warner Bros to pull the plug on any sequels. Reynolds then moved on to the Deadpool franchise, where he continued to make a mockery of the Green Lantern movie.
The Justice League sequels
A sequel to Justice League was originally scheduled for 2019, and Snyder is back in the director’s chair. However, in late 2017, Variety reported that Snyder’s return was no longer planned. The movie version of Justice League did not represent Snyder’s vision and was poorly received. Years of fan demand and the rise of HBO Max led to the release of a director’s cut in 2021. Despite fan interest in a sequel, Warner Bros. executives (via the New York Times) have called Zack Snyder’s Justice League “a storytelling dead end – a street that leads nowhere”.
The Trench (secretly a Black Manta movie)
Warner Bros. has announced plans for a lower-budget DC movie in early 2019, centred on the kingdom of Trench. A horror-themed Aquaman spin-off, The Trench was co-produced by Aquaman and The Haunting director James Wan. The film was due to be released before Aquaman and The Kingdom of Darkness. After the film’s cancellation, Wan revealed that The Trench was secretly a Black Manta movie.
The Wonder Twins
HBO Max announced in February 2022 that they were planning a film about twin superhero duo The Wonder Twins. Riverdale star KJ Apa and Isabel May of Alexa & Katie fame have been cast as Zan and Jayna. Since WarnerMedia merged with Discovery, Wonder Twins has been cancelled. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the film would not generate enough returns.