Warning: This article contains some spoilers for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War!
Every DC Animated Movie in Development
A New DC Animated Universe Emerges
The recently released Justice League Dark: Apokolips War serves as the final entry in the long-running DC Universe Movie continuity, which began in 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Apokolips War ends with Earth’s heroes defeating Darkseid, but only after a significant portion of humanity is wiped out and the Sun itself is destabilized. The film ends with the Flash repeating his actions in The Flashpoint Paradox, running back in time to change history and hopefully create a better future for humankind.
Apokolips War doesn’t actually reveal whether Barry succeeds, as we only see the DCU setting fade out of existence. But presumably, this plot point is being used as a foundation for a rebooted animated universe setting, one that will begin with a new origin story for Superman.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow
Superman: Man of Tomorrow is the first animated DC movie to arrive in the wake of Apokolips War. Man of Tomorrow will offer a new take on Superman’s origin story and formative years, one that seemingly draws inspiration from the comic book series Superman: American Alien. The film’s creative team includes director Chris Palmer, screenwriter Tim Sheridan and supervising producer Butch Lukic. The voice cast includes Darren Criss (Midway) as Superman, Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Lex Luthor, Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas) as Lois Lane, Brett Dalton (Agents of SHIELD) as Parasite, Ryan Hurst (The Walking Dead) as Lobo, and Ike Amadi (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge) as Martian Manhunter.
Man of Tomorrow is a standalone film set in a new continuity. But as mentioned before, we wouldn’t be surprised if this origin story becomes the starting point for a new shared universe. The inclusion of Martian Manhunter certainly hints at a larger world outside of Metropolis.
Batman: Death in the Family
An adaptation of the 1988 comic book storyline of the same name, Batman: Death in the Family showcases the tragic death of second Robin Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. This short film is a prequel of sorts to 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood, bringing back voice actors like Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Vincent Martella as young Jason Todd and John DiMaggio as the Joker. The twist, though, is that Death in the Family is an interactive movie (a la Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) that allows viewers to choose the course of the story at several key points along the way. In that sense, the movie is a tribute to the infamous call-in campaign where DC readers were allowed to vote on whether Jason lived or died (spoilers: He died).
Like 2010’s Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, Batman: Death in the Family will include several other DC animated shorts to make up for its smaller scope. Also included in this release are the previously released “Sgt. Rock,” “Death,” “Adam Strange” and “The Phantom Stranger.”
DC Super Pets
DC Super Pets will showcase the Justice League’s super-powered animal companions, such as Krypto the Super-Dog and Ace the Bat-Hound. This animated DC movie is planned as a theatrical release, with a current release date of May 22, 2022. Little else is known about the project, though we do know it’s written by The LEGO Batman Movie’s Jared Stern and John Whittington and directed by Stern and Wreck-It-Ralph’s Sam Levine.
The LEGO Batman Movie 2
Warner Bros. announced a sequel to The LEGO Batman Movie in 2018, a year after the first film hit theaters. Director Chris McKay was expected to return, along with voice actors like Will Arnett and Michael Cera. The film is currently slated for release sometime in 2022. However, with Universal Pictures having signed a five-year contract for the LEGO movie rights, it’s unknown whether this sequel is still in the works. At the very least, Warners might have to strike some sort of agreement with Universal.
Unproduced DC Movies
Back in 2013, DC’s then-Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns told Collider “there’s always discussions” about the possibility of adapting unproduced DC screenplays into animated movies. This has fueled rumors that both Kevin Smith’s Superman Lives script and JJ Abrams’ Superman: Flyby script might get the animated treatment. For now, though, there’s been no concrete info about either adaptation.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as surely more movies will be announced in the months and years ahead. Which animated films are you most looking forward to? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.