After the end of the Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Brothers realized that a shared comic book universe was actually feasible thanks to the amazing work Marvel had been doing since 2008’s Iron Man. They launched the DC Extended Universe or DCEU.
The first film in that universe was Man of Steel — one of the more polarizing movies in recent memory. That was followed up by 2016’s Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, both equally polarizing.
This year brought Wonder Woman, the first critical smash hit for the DCEU. This fall, Justice League will bring Batman and Wonder Woman back together alongside The Flash, Cyborg and Aqua-Man. While WB and the DCEU continue to add (and cancel) new films to their already overpacked schedule, they have the luxury of picking from an epic pantheon.
Here are the top 10 DC Comics characters that deserve their own franchise!
10. Green Lantern Corps
Now, the Green Lantern Corps is set to get its own film in 2020 as a way to get around the bomb that was 2011’s Green Lantern. Meant as the first entry into the DC Extended Universe, it starred Deadpool‘s Ryan Reynolds as a sort of Tony Stark of that universe. However, the film bombed at the box office and it killed the first DCEU before it really got off of the ground.
Before he is given his powers, the ever-fourth-wall-breaking Deadpool jokingly requests that his keepers don’t make his superhero suit “green” or “animated” — a barely-veiled shot at the CGI suit he wore in Green Lantern.
Regardless of the reception of that film and what it did to the DCEU, 2020’s Green Lantern Corps will focus on the space based team. However, Green Lantern deserves a lot better than to be the 1A or 1B in a team simply because his first film flopped. Look at Spider-Man in the MCU.
The Amazing Spider-Man experience was a relative disaster and Marvel still rebooted the character a second time for Spider-Man: Homecoming. They understood his importance. While Green Lantern isn’t Spider-Man, he’s a top DC hero and shouldn’t be the Star-Lord or Drax in a group that also includes John Stewart.
After the massive critical and commercial success that was both Logan and Deadpool, a rated-R film version of Lobo became possible. Now, there are differences between both Wolverine, Deadpool and Lobo. The first and most obvious being that Lobo isn’t very well known.
However, he is an antihero who uses a lot of dark humor, a lot like Deadpool. Like both Logan and Wade Wilson, Lobo has a superhuman healing factor and he is actually a lot more powerful than both them. He possesses superhuman senses, immortality, genius-level intellect and a Red Power Ring.
Considering the fact that Logan was such a huge hit and that Lobo was created as satire of Wolverine, this film could be a satire of Logan. Throw in the fact that Lobo is Marvel mastermind Stan Lee’s favorite DC character of Marvel, and it seems like this film is inevitable. Now, if only DC could lure Hugh Jackman into the role it’d almost be too perfect!
8. Batman Beyond
While it might sound weird to have a movie based on the future when you’re busy building a film universe, there are a few hints that the DCEU might be working on anthology films — a la Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
If that’s the case, besides the — mayhaps — “Leonardo DiCaprio” Joker film, there’d be no better thing than an aged Batfleck training a new Batman in the future. The Batman Beyond animated series was created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett and ran for three seasons. It followed a young man named Terry McGinnis, who was trained by an elderly Batman.
Considering the fact that Ben Affleck is aging like a pumpkin in a trunk he might be able to pull off an amazing Batman meets Logan sort of situation. Imagine if DC had the guts to bring back Michael Keaton for the role and your head might explode even more!
With the possibility of time travel alluded in Batman v. Superman — during the Flash cameo — they could use this movie and that plot device as a way to replace Batfleck with a younger Batman.
7. The Question
There have been two iterations of The Question during DC Comics’ super long history: Charles Victor Szasz aka Vic Sage and Renee Montoya. The Question, especially Vic Sage’s version, would’ve been the perfect fit for the darker feel that the DCEU was going for with its first couple films.
Created by Steve Ditko in the 60’s, The Question was an investigative reporter who typically went to crazy extents to interrogate criminals and get information. He was a lot like Batman in that he was a from vigilante. These films could show both versions of The Question as their world views conflict. It could’ve been a great entry point into what the DCEU was going for.
Granted, no one has heard of The Question. But considering the fact that people are looking for variety in their superhero films these days it would make a lot of sense to introduce them now.
6. The New Gods
When legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby left Marvel Comics and joined its archenemy, his first big project was The New Gods. The superhero team essentially was a middle finger to the company that wouldn’t allow Kirby free creative rein — or so the rumor goes.
DC describes them as “… One of the most fascinating, imaginative and entertaining corners of the DC comic book universe.” You’d think that in the age of comic book films, where Marvel products like Guardians of the Galaxy and even Ant-Man get films, that the New Gods would be part of the DCEU’s plans.
The problem is that even DC admits that the New Gods are “intimidating and confusing characters to new fans.” That’s because of their incredibly complex backstory. However, they’re incredibly important to DC canon; they show up in a ton of DC products from books to cartoon films, so it’s really only a matter of time until they’re involved in a DC film.
Deathstroke was actually the inspiration for Deadpool. Some take it a step further and say that Deadpool was a complete rip off of Deathstroke.
Deathstroke’s name is Slade Wilson while Deadpool’s name is Wade Wilson. So, while it was initially announced that Deathstroke was going to be the villain for the Batfleck Batman movie, that may no longer be the case. The script has been re-written and Affleck will no longer be the film’s director.
That’s really too bad. One could argue that Deathstroke is the most famous Batman villain that has yet to appear in a movie. And he’s not a purely bad character either; he could be a great antihero, especially since the DCEU has embraced those types of characters thus far in its universe (see: Suicide Squad).
Speaking of an uncertain future for Batfleck, if someone takes up the role of the brooding Gotham vigilante — and it’s not Red Hood — it’ll be Nightwing. He’s well known for being the alter ego of Dick Grayson, the original Robin that appeared in the first Batman comics.
Grayson was the Robin that was part of the “Flying Grayson” acrobat group that was murdered by Two-Face in the 90’s movies and is thus the most well-known Robin there is. Considering the fact that the DCEU started with an older, jaded Batman, they could very well replace Bruce Wayne with Grayson at some point.
With the solo Batman movie going through re-writes and losing Ben Affleck as it’s director, writer and producer it wouldn’t be surprising if they introduced Nightwing in the inevitable “The Batman” film as a way to eventually replace Bruce Wayne.
After Bane broke Wayne’s back during the famous “Knightfall” storyline, Grayson ended up rocking the cape and cowl. While it would be strange to see a Wayne-less Batman on the silver screen, it might be a welcome change to a character that’s been seen so many times since the 60’s.
While Robin is sometimes considered a lame character, Nightwing is pretty bad ass. He’d be a welcome addition to the DCEU. It’s actually surprising that Black Adam and Cyborg are getting films before he is.
3. Green Arrow
We’re only a few weeks away from the first iteration of the Justice League on the big screen. One original character that perhaps could’ve made the November film if he weren’t so similar to the Avengers’ Hawkeye is Green Arrow.
Now, a Green Arrow universe has been successfully translated to the small screen. Arrow is a show that launched the DC television universe that eventually spun off into The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. So it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think that the character could work on the big screen also.
He’s always been considered one of the easier members of the Justice League to make fun of but so has Hawkeye and so has Aqua Man. The main difference between Hawkeye and Green Arrow is that DC has so many powerful characters that a normal human with a bow and arrow seems even more out of place than Hawkeye does on the Avengers.
He does have tremendous resources — a la Batman — and is also an incredibly gifted marksman — something that the Justice League is missing with its 2017 iteration. So, hopefully they’ll find a way to incorporate him into future films.
Then they can eventually give him his own films, especially with the future of Batfleck up in the air. The team will need at least one character whose superpower is the fact that he is rich.
2. The Joker
It was recently announced that Warner Brothers was looking at bringing in Leonardo DiCaprio as the Clown Prince of Crime in a Martin Scorcese-produced standalone film. It would focus on the Joker but would have no further connection to the DCEU.
While that sounds like something everyone in the world should love and champion, it did apparently rubbed current Joker, Jared Leto, the wrong way. Leto seemed confused by the whole thing. Now, regardless of where you stand on Leto’s interpretation of the character, you have to feel bad for the guy as he was apparently lied to about his involvement in Suicide Squad
That experience tainted his excitement for the character who he had embraced with arms wide open — even if his interpretation wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Now, that having been said, a Joker film starring Leonardo DiCaprio could be one of the biggest movies of all-time.
Since Leo is often considered the best male actor of his generation, it would be amazing to see him act in a live-action “Killing Joke” type film. If DC really went for it and put a hard R-rating on the film, it could be their version of Logan, something that they clearly attempted to strive after when they released Batman v. Superman.
So, here’s to hoping that Scorcese and DiCaprio do team up for this movie because it’s the movie we all deserve and need right now!
1. Jason Todd/Red Hood
The second Robin, Jason Todd, was initially popular in the books. Fans seemingly turned on him after his origin was revamped by writer Max Allan Collins.
So, DC decided to give readers the chance to vote on whether or not Jason Todd should live or die in the iconic Batman: A Death in the Family storyline of 1988. Fans were heard, and the Joker killed Todd by beating him with a crowbar and then blowing him up with a ton of dynamite.
Todd eventually returned while adopting the identity of the Red Hood — who is also tied to the Joker’s mythos — an extra crazy vigilante who blamed Batman for his death. Now, this could actually happen, or could’ve happened had the DCEU continued to be Zack Snyder’s baby but considering the struggles that the DCEU has had that may no longer be the case.
It was in the last full Snyder vehicle, Batman v. Superman, where we learned that Jason Todd was dead in the DCEU — apparently murdered by the Joker. It showed a Robin statue vandalized with the spray painted taunt “Haha Looks Like the Joke is On You Batman.”
Some fans hoped a Red Hood film could delve into the Death in the Family storyline more. It would be a shame if it was just relegated to what was shown in Batman v. Superman.