By now you’ve probably noticed that one comic book behemoth is soundly beating the other at the box office. DC is running well behind Marvel by most any metric or interpretation, to the point that many are discounting the DC Universe as a failed imitation. Others are spending time thinking of changes DC could make to attempt to compete with Marvel. The company that brought us arguably the world’s two most famous superheroes—Batman and Superman—has put out movies that earned poor reviews, and in some cases even mockery.
But if you think DC is going to slow down as a result of its questionable performance so far, you’ve got another thing coming. In the early months of 2017, one thing has become abundantly clear. DC isn’t just pushing forward with its film franchises, it’s going all-in.
If you’ve watched much television lately, you may have begun to see some teaser trailers for upcoming projects by DC and Warner Bros. While Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice hinted at the introduction of the Justice League, we’re about to start seeing standalone films for the heroes that have yet to really be introduced. Movies set for the near future include Wonder Woman (2017), Justice League (2017), The Flash (2018), and Aquaman. We know that Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa will be playing Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman respectively, and these are the figures that have been popping up in the teasers so far.
These pictures have been in the works for a while, and there was never any doubt that they’d be made, regardless of Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad falling short of expectations. We’re also starting to hear some rumblings about additional projects that may be slated for future dates. Recently, rumors have been circulating that Joss Whedon—the man responsible for a large portion of Marvel’s success—is in talks to write and direct a Batgirl film for Warner Bros. That, if only because of Whedon’s name, would certainly inject some new enthusiasm into the DC Universe.
Beyond future movies, DC is also expanding the reach of its titles and characters through the gaming market, where it has actually enjoyed more success. Fans are already excited about the release of Injustice 2 this May, and word is that DC and Playtech will also be partnering to release more online games based on the comic universe. This is a common practice for superhero properties, with licensed character content frequently being used to liven up casino site slots and other games. But even here DC is still playing catch-up with Marvel, and it looks like they’re going to be aggressive about it.
It’s not as if the movies DC has already released are done just yet! In the age of streaming, movies can gain a second life long after they’ve left the theaters. Sometimes, free of box office pressure and critical analysis, a superhero film can gain a sort of cult following just for being pure fun. Suicide Squad is on its way to HBO this April, with DC undoubtedly hoping that a result like this is in the cards.
Taken individually these plans aren’t particularly surprising It’s not as if DC was ever really going to surrender to Marvel. But the scope of the company’s plans for the years ahead is a bit larger than one might expect given the sputtering start to the DC Universe.