Recent months haven't been particularly kind to DC fans. The shocking news that Warner Bros. Discovery is shelving the nearly completed Batgirl movie is one of several cancellations and major changes involving high-profile DC projects. There's also the equally shocking news that DC is pursuing a Superman reboot without Henry Cavill in the lead. As shown by the sudden disappearance of numerous films and shows from the HBO Max library, WBD is aggressively cleaning house as part of its efforts to cut costs following a very expensive merger.
What DC movies and shows have been affected? Check out the slideshow below or scroll down for a full breakdown of what we know so far, and check back for more updates as news continues to break.
Note: This piece was originally published on August 9, 2022, and updated on December 15, 2022, with the latest DC news.
Every DC Movie and Series Affected by the Warner Bros. Discovery Merger
Man of Steel 2
Until recently, DC seemed to be making moves to put Henry Cavill's Superman at the forefront of the DCEU again. Cavill made a cameo appearance in Black Adam, setting the stage for a Black Adam vs. Superman movie, and also reportedly filmed a scene for 2023's The Flash. It finally looked as though DC would move forward with a sequel to 2013's Man of Steel. But now it appears Cavill is hanging up the red cape for good.
James Gunn, co-CEO of DC Studios, took to Twitter to reveal he and his partner Peter Safran have completed their roadmap for the new DCU, and a new Superman movie is one of their first priorities. However, that movie will focus on a younger Kal-El with a new actor taking over the role. Gunn is writing the film, which looks to be a full reboot of the franchise.
Wonder Woman 3
Patty Jenkins won't be directing a third Wonder Woman movie. WBD executives reportedly rejected Jenkins and Geoff Johns' story treatment for the third film, telling her the sequel no longer fits in with the long-term plans for DC Studios. Jenkins denied reports that she walked off the project, but did confirm that she's no longer attached to Wonder Woman 3. The silver lining is that Jenkins seems eager to resume work on the stalled Star Wars: Rogue Squadron movie at Disney.
It's unclear whether Gal Gadot is still attached to play Wonder Woman in future films. Though given Cavill's departure, we wouldn't be surprised to see DC recast and reboot the Wonder Woman series, too.
Batman: The Caped Crusader
Even Batman isn't safe from the turmoil at DC these days. The upcoming animated series Batman: The Caped Crusader is one of many projects to be jettisoned from HBO Max as Warners continues slashing costs. Fortunately, the series hasn't been canceled, but is being shopped around to other studios and streamers. Hulu, Amazon and Netflix have all reportedly shown interest in picking up the series.
The Greg Berlanti-produced Strange Adventures series is reportedly among those canceled at HBO Max. Kevin Smith (who was among the writers on the anthology series) revealed the news on his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, saying "Strange Adventures being a casualty kind of made sense to me, I'm like, nobody necessarily knows these characters, and it sounded like an expensive show.”
Smith also revealed his episode revolved around Bizarro, and he envisioned Superman super-fan Nicolas Cage in the role.
DC fans had been looking forward to a live-action Batgirl movie starring Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, Brendan Fraser as Firefly and J.K. Simmons as Jim Gordon. The film would also have featured Michael Keaton's Batman, building on the character's reintroduction in the upcoming Flash movie.
Originally, Batgirl was expected to be among the first in a series of lower-budget DC movies that headed straight to HBO Max in lieu of a theatrical release. However, that strategy went out the window with the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. According to The Hollywood Reporter, under the new regime it was deemed more financially prudent to cancel the nearly completed Batgirl film and take the tax write-down rather than spend more money on a theatrical release.
The Wonder Twins
Like Batgirl, The Wonder Twins was intended to be a smaller-scale DC movie exclusive to HBO Max. The film nearly entered production before it was canceled in May 2022, with KJ Apa and Isabel May cast in the lead roles. Also like Batgirl, The Wonder Twins is believed to be a casualty of a studio concerned with cutting costs and focusing on theatrical releases over streaming exclusives.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom/Aquaman 3
The sequel to 2018's hugely successful Aquaman has been pushed back multiple times, and is now slated to hit theaters on December 25, 2023. Fortunately, there's no indication the movie is in danger of cancellation. Post-production is well underway on the sequel, with Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Jason Patrick and Yahya Abdul Mahteen II all reprising their roles from the first film (though Heard herself claims her Mera role is being pared down in light of her high-profile court battle with ex-husband Johnny Depp). Ben Affleck's Batman will also appear in the sequel, despite previous reports Affleck was done with the role following The Flash.
Sadly, Lost Kingdom is shaping up to be the last Aquaman movie to star Momoa. As with Wonder Woman 3 and Man of Steel 2, DC is abandoning plans for Aquaman 3 as they chart a new course for the DCU.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Like Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Shazam! Fury of the Gods has experienced multiple delays stemming from both the merger and the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally scheduled to hit theaters in April 2022, but has now taken over Aquaman 2's former release date on March 17, 2023.
But here again, there's no reason to assume Shazam! 2 is in danger of being shelved alongside Batgirl. The film is deep into postproduction. Most of the original cast from the first film are returning, along with new villains like Lucy Liu’s Kalypso and Helen Mirren’s Hespera.
J.J. Abrams' Justice League Dark Universe
In the lead-up to HBO Max's launch in 2020, J.J. Abrams emerged as a major player in the streamer's DC's plans. Abrams was tapped to produce a Justice League Dark series centered around this team of supernatural heroes. Eventually, it became clear Abrams would spearhead an entire shared universe of horror-centric DC shows, including series for John Constantine, Madame Xanadu and Zatanna.
However, the fates of all these shows are looking increasingly grim. Even as Constantine fans learned that Keanu Reeves is returning to star in a sequel to the 2005 movie, word broke that both the Constantine and Madame X shows have been shelved. It's possible they could be picked up by other streamers, but don't expect a Justice League Dark shared universe on HBO Max anymore.
The Superman Reboots
Alongside the Justice League Dark shows, Abrams was also slated to produce a new Superman movie. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates was attached to script the film, and Bad Robot later announced its intention to feature a Black actor in the lead role.
Despite rumors that Michael B. Jordan would star in the film, we later learned Jordan is producing his own Superman limited series and may star in that project instead.
As with the Justice League Dark line, the lack of post-merger news on either front bodes poorly for these Superman projects. Hopefully more will become clear in 2023.
The Green Lantern Series
Green Lantern: Who's Who in the HBO Max Show
With only one brief appearance of a Green Lantern character in the DCEU (and one abandoned cameo scene), fans have been looking to Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti to end the drought. Berlanti has been attached to produce a Green Lantern series on HBO Max. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies' Seth Grahame-Smith is said to be showrunning the series, with Arrowverse veteran Marc Guggenheim scripting the pilot. The series would star Finn Wittrock as Guy Gardner and Jeremy Irvine as Alan Scott.
We haven't heard much about the project since 2021, but The Hollywood Reporter indicates that the Green Lantern series is still in development, with the site's sources claiming all involved are taking a slow, cautious approach to what promises to be a very expensive series.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow & Batwoman
Ten years after the Arrowverse made its debut, this shared universe looks to be rapidly winding down. Both Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman were canceled following their most recent seasons (Season 7 for Legends and Season 3 for Batwoman). Unfortunately, both shows ended with unresolved cliffhangers teasing the debuts of new DC characters.
Both cancellations appear to be the result of Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global's decision to sell off The CW and prioritize their respective streaming services.
The Flash Series
While The Flash is now the longest-running Arrowverse series, Grant Gustin's Barry Allen is headed for his final lap in 2023. Showrunner Eric Wallace confirmed earlier reports that The Flash will end with a shorter, 13-episode Season 9. It remains to be seen if the final season will attempt to address the loose ends from other Arrowverse shows like Legends of Tomorrow in the course of those 13 episodes, though we do know Supergirl's Nicole Maines will reprise her role as Dreamer in Season 9.
Superman & Lois
There's good news and bad news for fans of The CW's Superman & Lois series. The good news is that the series is returning for a third season, making it one of the few DC shows on the network not to be given the ax. The bad news is that the series has had its connections to the Arrowverse severed. Despite minor crossovers with Arrow and Supergirl over the course of the first two seasons, Superman & Lois is now being treated as a completely standalone project, set on an Earth where Tyler Hoechlin's Superman is the only costumed hero.
Showrunner Todd Helbing indicated this choice was mandated by DC, telling Looper, "Part of how this all folds in the big picture with DC is ultimately a DC decision. I'm sure there'll be more clarity in the future, but as of now, we're a different Earth in the DC Universe."
The series will be experiencing one significant change in Season 3, though not one caused by the WBD merger. Jordan Elsass has left the series, and the Jonathan Kent role will be recast before production resumes.
Gotham Knights looks to be the last new DC series to debut on The CW for the foreseeable future. The series focuses on a group of teen fugitives in Gotham City dealing with the fallout of Bruce Wayne's murder. The series doesn't appear to be directly connected to the larger Arrowverse (and in light of the Superman & Lois decision, likely never will be). Given that The CW already ordered Gotham Knights to series, it's likely Season 1 will still see the light of day, but it's unknown whether the series has a long-term future on either The CW or HBO Max.
The Blue Beetle movie is one of the few DC projects that's actually seemed to benefit from the recent turmoil at Warner Bros. Discovery. Despite originally being planned as an HBO Max exclusive, WarnerMedia later pivoted to a 2023 theatrical release. DC seems committed to releasing the film rather than giving it the Batgirl treatment. Blue Beetle features Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña starring as Jaime Reyes and Angel Manuel Soto directing.
Animated DC Universe Movies?
The Batgirl cancellation also raises questions about the future of the animated DC Universe Movies line. While rarely selling huge numbers on the home video market, these animated films have been seen as a relatively cost-effective way of bolstering DC's content on HBO Max. With Warner Bros. Discovery now prioritizing major theatrical releases, will there still be a place for DC Universe Movies? The decision to shop Batman: The Caped Crusaders to other streamers may be a sign of things to come for DC's animation division.
TBD: The Flash
The Flash has become one of the most troubled DC productions in recent memory, between numerous delays and pandemic-related complications and the negative publicity caused by star Ezra Miller's brushes with the law. This has led some to speculate The Flash may also be shelved alongside Batgirl.
Despite that speculation, there's currently no indication Warner Bros. Discovery plans on abandoning this long-gestating (and very expensive) DCEU movie, one which will also introduce Sasha Calle's Supergirl and bring back Michael Keaton's Batman. Nor does it seem likely the studio will go through the massive expense of recasting the lead role. However, it remains to be seen whether the film may be further delayed and retooled to reflect the studio's shifting DC strategy. Will Keaton still be a recurring figure in the DCEU post-The Flash?
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.