Heroes, Legos and Beasts, Oh My! Warner Bros. announce wave of tentpoles

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Warner Bros. held a shareholder meeting Wednesday morning in which they revealed their lineup of tentpole, franchise films up through the year 2020, including DC Comics adaptations of The Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, several previously announced Lego movies and “at least” a trilogy of movies based on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff novel, “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.”

Here’s the full slate of movies through 2020, via Variety:

  • Lego’s Ninjago, (2016) Charlie Bean directs.
  • Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer (2016)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) David Yates directs with JK Rowling making her screenwriting debut.
  • Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot (2017)
  • The Lego Batman Movie (2017) Chris McKay directs.
  • Justice League Part One directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams confirmed to reprise their roles (2017)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 (2018)
  • The Flash starring Ezra Miller (2018)
  • Aquaman starring Jason Momoa (2018)
  • The Lego Movie 2 (2018)
  • Shazam with Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam (2019)
  • Justice League Part Two directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
  • Cyborg starring Ray Fisher (2020)
  • Green Lantern (2020)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 (2020)

We had previously reported that there would be a Lego Batman movie, and that Dwayne Johnson would take the part of Black Adam in Shazam, but finally seeing the full slate of films gives terrific insight into how Warners is building their own Cinematic Universe for DC Comics.

It’s first clear Zack Snyder will be gainfully employed for at least another five years. Not included on this list of course is the already much ballyhooed Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck, but its clear now that film will serve as a launching pad to a two part Justice League movie to be spread out between 2017 and 2019, with a Wonder Woman movie as an additional prep and The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg and a Green Lantern reboot acting as individual spinoffs.

You can also fill in the blanks that with the casting of Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Jason Momoa (Conan the Barbarian) and newcomer Ray Fisher (also to appear as Cyborg in Batman V. Superman) in all the subsequent films that they will likely pop up in the Justice League film.

The Flash is of course interesting now that the CW series has begun to test the waters for the character, Wonder Woman is a much needed female-fronted superhero franchise, and Cyborg will make for a much needed African American fronted superhero franchise (even if we will have to wait until 2020 to see it). And the remaining question marks are who will play Green Lantern and Shazam.

The other interesting title on this list is Suicide Squad as directed by David Ayer. His most recent film Fury is about to hit theaters, and this would surpass even a Brad Pitt vehicle as his biggest studio undertaking to date. The comic book series follows a group of anti-hero, supervillains who undertake jobs for the government in exchange for reduced sentences.

And yet superheroes may never completely take over the world as long as Harry Potter is around. The demand for anything more in the Potter universe has always been fierce, and there’s clearly a desire for more of the same with not only Rowling attached to write the screenplay for all three films, but David Yates to direct at least the first installment.

Though the spinoff novel is a paper-thin addition to the franchise in the form of a textbook written by Newt Scamander, documenting the existence of basilisks, dragons, chimeras, centaurs, hippogriffs, phoenixes and more, Rowling has said the films will not be a prequel or sequel to the Harry Potter story, but an original story idea that happens to take place 70 years prior to Harry’s life. Deadline has a full description of the trilogy via Rowling.

This lineup may just confirm a couple of assertions made in entertainment media of late, one being that a studio can literally throw dates at a wall even as far as six years out and get saps like me to write about them as though they were actually something more than figments of an actual movie, and the second being that A.O. Scott was probably right about the death of adulthood. Enjoy the next six years everybody!

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