‘Gotham City Sirens’, ‘Deadshot’ and the Future of the DC Extended Universe

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Just today, Borys Kit over at the The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment will reunite director David Ayer and star Margot Robbie for the all-female DC villain film, Gotham City Sirens. Robbie will headline the film as well as serve as executive producer, while Ayer is back in the director’s chair. But what does this all mean?

For starters, this could be good thing that Ayer is back. Warner Bros. definitely heard the outcry from critics and fans for giving up his version of Suicide Squad for one created by a trailer company. And while they could have very easily dumped him and looked for someone else to helm this spinoff of a spinoff, Suicide Squad made the studio a ton of cash. Enough so that it’s one of the biggest superhero films of all time, almost surpassing Batman v Superman earlier this year. That, along with the fact that Warner Bros. likes to think of themselves as a “filmmaker-driven studio”, might show that Warner Bros. feels obligated to give Ayer another chance, given the success he gave them (and because they basically took his film from him).

But what does this mean for the DC Extended Universe, which is looking less and less like a coherent universe, but rather one based off reactionary choices? Again, WB isn’t in the wrong for reacting to the response for BvS (if you know me, I think the response that film got was severely underserved, but I digress). However, the way they are trying to “correct” themselves afterwards hasn’t done them any favors either. Suicide Squad was direct result of said “course-correcting”, and that ending up backfiring on them critically. Not only that, but Justice League and The Flash have both been affected as well, the latter even losing it’s second director as a result.

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Now, we have Patty Jenkins‘s Wonder Woman and James Wan‘s Aquaman which seem to be doing fine, but the future of the DCEU beyond those two is a bit cloudy. Like I said earlier, The Flash is having the most BTS issues (funny enough, given he’s appeared in more DC films than any of the other Justice League members at this point), which will most likely move from it’s 2018 date (DC has an untitled release set for July 27, 2018, which many assumed was for the film). And with the news of Warner Bros. trying to fast-track Gotham City Sirens, it seems like they’re eyeing a 2018 for this film, possibly even that July slot.

Personally, I don’t think (and hope) that Ayer and company will get placed in that July date. The last thing we need is to see Ayer get rushed for a deadline again (as he was for Suicide Squad). However, if they do want this spinoff out sooner than later, I think Warner Bros. will move Aquaman, which is looking to start production early this next year.

Let’s say The Flash vacates from it’s March slot. That leaves Aquaman as it’s only release that year, which will certainly not be the case. That also leaves Ben Affleck‘s The Batman, which could possibly take that March slot if Warner Bros. gets things going as fast as some cast members have been hinting at. However, Affleck doesn’t sound too sure about the film being ready to just yet, so WB might hold it off until he’s ready. It could be ready for that October slot if Aquaman moves, but I don’t see a film as high-profile as a Batman film landing in the middle of the fall school year. It has been said that Zack Snyder‘s Justice League has been pushed back in favor of getting The Batman released beforehand, but I think the former won’t be ready until 2020 (at least).

As I see it, The Flash and The Batman will be 2019 releases, while this fast-tracked Gotham City Sirens will be taking the October release that Aquaman has used as a placeholder. If that is the case, it was a smart move to reserve that early October slot in an age where conventional summer releases for big-blockbusters is fading away. WB will make Aquaman it’s summer film alone with Ocean’s 8 (another female ensemble), while reserving the empty month of October with it’s “risky” superhero film. It’d be a similar tactic to the one Disney used when releasing Guardians of the Galaxy at the tail-end of the summer season and being the main money-maker for the whole month.

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Again, this is all speculation at this point, but these “villain” films are clearly more of a priority (and easier to make) than their heavy-hitter DC characters. This is also cemented by the fact that WB also said a Deadshot film with Will Smith is currently in the works. It’s a more interesting sell (villains as leads) while also being bankable enough to work (Batman will most certainly be involved these films). It’s a smart business move, but for the collective “universe” their inclusions feel odd. On one hand, it helps DC feel different from Disney and Fox’s shared universes, but like many have said post BvS, it all feels very reactionary. At least this Gotham City Sirens film will have a great cast and (hopefully) more of Ayer’s vision.

The David Ayer-directed Gotham City Sirens will star and be executive produced by Margot Robbie and currently does not have release date, but like I said earlier, is being fast-tracked by Warner Bros.

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