[Warning: Spoilers from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and potentially Justice League Part 1]
You have probably heard that Warner Bros. has announced two more films on the DCEU slate. If you haven't, the dates added are 5 October 2018 and 1 November 2019. Given this announcement happened less than a week ago, there is only speculation regarding what the films actually are. However, there are plenty of possibilities and I've selected a few to discuss in greater detail:
5 October 2018 - Ben Affleck's Batman Solo Film
It has been confirmed that Ben Affleck has written a script for a Batman solo film - a film which he may or may not direct. Warner Bros has also officially announced that they will be moving forward with this project.
The Date: It would make sense to put this film between Justice League Part 1 and 2 because it could serve as a break between the chaos of the Justice League film and the side plots of the various stories associated with heroes that have not yet been fully introduced (i.e. Jason Mamoa's Aquaman). This film would be the return of Batman potentially set before Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which could give the audience a better feel for the experiences this Batman has gone through.
Not surprisingly, there has been some backlash to the more Frank Miller-based Batman character's methodology and this is understandable. This Batman has been fighting for sometime and just exists in this world without much explanation. A solo film could explore his relationship with J. K. Simmons's Commissioner Gordon or delve into the story of how Robin's graffitied armor ended up on display in the Batcave. The former could be touched on in the Justice League films, but I feel that their relationship is an important part of Batman's identity. Gordon had a relatively important role in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, so it's fitting that his relationship to Batman gets some level of exploration if only to continue adapting from the source material.
1 November 2019 - Man of Steel 2
Even less is known and confirmed about this film. Dawn of Justice was supposed to be the sequel to Man of Steel . . . until it turned into the official beginning of the DCEU as of somewhere around the time that the film was initially pushed back to May 2016. As of now, the most I've seen is speculation in the form of a rumor that Braniac will be the main villain.
The Date: Releasing the film after Justice League Part 2 makes sense in terms of the narrative. It would be difficult to tell a story similar to that of the Batman solo film due to the fact that this would presumably be a sequel to Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice. That being said, it would also be hard to set a film in the period after Justice League without having to potentially go to great lengths to prevent any sort of spoilers related to the Justice League films.
There is a situation wherein this could work, but it's completely theoretical: The story of Superman's revival and return to the Justice League. I got the impression that sometime during Part 1, Superman would return or it would gradually hint at him coming back. Depending on how that scene(s) end up, a solo film could be built around how Superman got to the point of being able to return. However, I can't think of much of a story there without finishing the Doomsday story or introducing Bizzaro, neither of which really makes sense in the context of the DCEU at this point.
Alternate 1 Nov 2019 - Suicide Squad Sequel
[This was suggested by Iman Adipurnama.]
This film is highly anticipated from the prospect of a villainous ensemble film to the method acting strategies Jared Leto has undertaken. This film is so highly anticipated that the director has begun discussing a sequel. That puts the film in good standing to have a sequel set up within the next few years.
The Date: November 2019 is considerably later than the August release date of the first film, so the box office pull could be drastically different. Given it's early November release date, there may be some competition with any horror films nearing the end or starting their run (depending on their release in October). There's also the chance of a spike 3 weeks in with Thanksgiving proving to be very successful for the Hunger Games franchise. It's likely the November date can help Suicide Squad 2 with the returning fans of the original and the Thanksgiving week.
In terms of plot, I'm not sure it really needs much speculation on how it fits into the DCEU. Suicide Squad seems to be its own standalone ensemble film with no ties to Justice League or the larger universe besides introducing some potential rogues for Batman's solo film. Naturally, a sequel will probably try to continue balancing the introduction and development of new/current villains while also giving some history to Batman. However, this could work well in tandem with a Batman solo film in 2018 assuming the sequel seeks to further flesh out Batman's history. After the private screenings of Batman v. Superman in October of 2015, there were rumors that the Warner Bros. executives were seeking to set Batman as a cornerstone for the larger DCEU. By setting up Suicide Squad 2 in tandem with the Batman solo film, Warner Bros. easily establishes this cornerstone idea.
Introduce a new character(s)?
Simpy put, DC has a plethora of characters to choose from in regards to additions to their Justice League ensemble. It seems that Shazam and potentially a Green Lantern or two will be added, but there are plenty of other possibilities! To keep this condensed and maintain some level of plausibility, I've narrowed it down to three:
The Green Arrow, while not technically part of the main Justice League ensemble, would make a great addition to the team. As of now, the Justice League is made up of people with great amounts of power - excluding Batman. While there are some notable similarities between Green Arrow and Batman, the main difference is their personalities. Oliver Queen, excluding Stephen Amell's version of the character, is a lighthearted guy that knows when to take life seriously and when to have a laugh.
In regards to the current Justice League dynamic, The Flash and Cyborg are supposedly the "comic relief" of sorts. However, the addition of the Green Arrow would add to this dynamic by allowing a third character to bounce jokes around instead of resting the responsibility on two people. He's also a non-powered being which strengthens that aspect of the League so that it's not just a group of superhuman beings . . . and Batman. It's also important to note that this Batman is/was wary of Superman's strength and power. While he won't admit it, it would probably make him more at ease to have another person who understands the struggles of not having powers in a room full of people that could literally punch him into oblivion in less than a second.
Another crucial factor here is the popularity of the Green Arrow character. The Arrow TV series has been a major component of the CW's TV lineup given it started DC's TV Universe, spawning 2 spin-off shows in the last 4 years. In fact, Stephen Amell voiced the character in the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us - further proving his impact as the character. Now, when the DCEU was first beginning to circulate as an idea, Stephen Amell rallied to play the Green Arrow in Justice League. This obviously went nowhere, but that's a different discussion for a different day.
The Green Arrow film would probably fit in better with the November 2019 date. Not only is this because he probably won't be of much use against Darkseid, assuming he is the villain of Justice League, but also the film's position in the slate. Presumably, Shazam will be inducted into the Justice League either in Part 1 or after his solo film just a few months before Part 2. That being said, the ensemble is already made up of 6 members and attempting to add 2 more within a year may be asking too much. The only capacity wherein this would work is if the characters develop more in the solo films and have less screen time in the Justice League films. Meanwhile, if the character is introduced after Part 2, the audience has more time to adjust to this character and Warner Bros. has more time to potentially team him up with a few other heroes before another Justice League reunion.
The Martian Manhunter is, usually, a member of the Justice League. He's more of a pacifist which results in him being more like a Vision character - ultra-powerful but unwilling to overuse said power.
As I said, Martian Manhunter is a well-known, common member of the Justice League, so his introduction is extremely likely. While details on the film itself are slim, excluding the "spoiler" that Superman is in it, fans have been theorizing that the Watchtower will be introduced at some point. The Watchtower is essentially the base of operations for the Justice League. It's essentially a satellite that resembles a tower that orbits the Earth and allows for easy monitoring of all the events on Earth. As a more pacifistic character, Martian Manhunter would be able to run operations from the Watchtower, relaying information and deploying heroes as needed.
At least some of the audience will be familiar with this character, albeit from the Justice League animated series, Supergirl, or just a fan of the comics. This makes Martian Manhunter the most viable of options for a solo film when you combine his familiarity with how he fits into the Justice League film and larger DCEU.
In terms of how he fits specifically within the Justice League team, Martian Manhunter understands what it's like to be an outsider while also being feared for being different - much like Superman. However, his skill set also makes him extremely helpful in the battle against Darkseid, assuming he takes the October 2018 slot. From shape-shifting to phasing his body, the Martian Manhunter has a lot of power to bring to the table, but also has such a different personality from the others on the team that his interactions with the rest of the ensemble can improve the overall dynamic of the team.
John Constantine is a more obscure character from the comics. He deals with more supernatural elements, but, to my knowledge, is not an actual member of the Justice League. This would make him a more viable candidate for the November 2019 slot.
I personally do not know too much about this character. However, his entrance into the world of superhero film and television in the past decade has piqued my interest such that I want to see more of him. That being said, he is a more obscure character for people that are unfamiliar with either his TV series or the Keanu Reeves film. From those trailers alone, it's clear that there are multiple ways of approaching Constantine just as there are for Batman, Superman, and Green Arrow.
While I do appreciate the horror film adaptation not only because of my love of the horror genre, but also the choice of casting Keanu Reeves. That being said, Constantine's guest appearance on Arrow made me far more interested the character and wishing I had paid attention to the brief TV run. With that in mind, a horror comedy could be what John Constantine needs to truly establish him as a viable property. Something along the lines of Shaun of the Dead would be perfect for Constantine's character from what little I've seen of him in the comics.
Admittedly, he wouldn't work too well in the Justice League which is probably why he isn't a member in the comics. However, there has been continual talk of a Justice League Dark film for the past few years with only a completed script available as of some months ago. Constantine is in fact a founding member of this group and could spark the introduction of more obscure characters like Zatanna and Swamp Thing. That being said, it's unlikely that Warner Bros. would want to start setting up the Justice League Dark so soon after the formation of the Justice League. The report linked above suggests the original plan was for a 2017 release, so November 2019 does not seem so unreasonable given the original circumstances.
Booster Gold / Blue Beetle
[This was suggested by Shawn Smith and Iman Adipurnama.]
I honestly don't know too much about these characters. I know them more by name than I do actual history, but I will do my best to fit them into the DCEU.
The Blue Beetle is a name taken on by several people within DC Comics. All are united by an alien artifact known as the "Blue Beetle Scarab." This artifact may help them fight, but each member brings their own skill set and costume.. This excludes Jaime Reyes who seems to rely entirely on the Scarab as both a weapon and companion. The Beetle pictured above is Ted Kord. As noted in the comments, Kord Industries was mentioned in Dawn of Justice, so it's very likely that Kord will be THE Blue Beetle for the DCEU if he is added. This would also make sense given he was Booster Gold's partner for a time. It's also important to note that Kord actually does not use the Scarab, so this would ground the character in a more realistic, true-to-form character as established by Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice's more human approach.
Booster Gold is a character vastly different from anything the DCEU has seen. He is a man from the 25th Century who travels back to the 21st Century to fight crime. He frequently teams up with Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) and has an extremely nonchalant outlook on life. This character is a bit of a step beyond the "norm" for the DCEU given time travel is a concept that has not yet been touched on. However, the Flash solo film could open that door for the DCEU. Booster Gold has been a member of the Justice League as well as the Time Masters which has sparked rumors that he will be appearing on the TV series Legends of Tomorrow.
It has been confirmed that Justice League will be "less dark" than its predecessors due to Flash and Cyborg acting as the "comic relief" for the film. If you're interested in how that may play out, check out Justice League vs. Teen Titans. They have a few quips with Batman throughout the film.
However, there seems to be a growing demand for a more light-hearted film in the DCEU. These two could fill that position in something like a "Buddy Cop" film. Again, I don't know too much about these characters, yet they seem to have that kind of a dynamic. It's unlikely that these two will be joining the Justice League before Part 2, so it's safe to say this film would land in the November 2019 spot. However, the rumors that Booster Gold will be on Legends of Tomorrow and Blue Beetle being part of Justice League vs. Teen Titans makes these characters that much less obscure to the general audience. As noted with the previous three candidates, being a more known property to the audience gives them a better chance of being added to the DCEU - in my opinion at least.
Let me know what you think of these predictions in the comments below! If you have any suggestions that you feel have a better chance of appearing than the ones I mentioned, feel free to say so below. I'll happily do a quick write up and credit anyone willing to contribute to the conversation.