Friday, June 13, 2014

Marvel V. DC - The Next Stage - Looking at the Schedules for 2014 and Beyond!

By Ken Parker

Well, WB has released a very ambitious plan for the DC universe that certainly mimic’s Marvel’s success over the past few years. 

July 2016 - SHAZAM
Xmas 2016 - SANDMAN
July 2017 - WONDER WOMAN

This looks pretty cool but how will Shazam and Sandman do is a big question.  Man of Steel was not the massive success that Iron Man was and Green Lantern was not a determining factor in all this either.  Certainly the Batman franchise has been healthy but without Christian Bale and no stand alone Batman film in the plan, one has to wonder if DC can keep the momentum going.  The majority of audiences probably can’t tell the difference between DC and Marvel and will just see these as just more superhero films.  This may steer them to the franchise they have grown to know and love, Marvel.  Of course the Marvel path is a few years old now and perhaps the new franchise will be what people want to see, something different with DC.

Looking at both franchises we can see that every film will be important in their own right.

Batman V. Superman (May 2016) -This film should be very big but the bad aftertaste of Man of Steel
as put me on edge.  Ben Affleck as Batman is not helping.  Of course the gimmicky cameos of other characters like Wonder Woman will get people more interested in the franchise and give the films continuity which has not been established yet.  This is a very important film for WB.  It has to do well as it is one of the foundations for its future. Staying away from The Avengers - Age of Ultron in 2015 might be a great idea but going against Captain America 3 and Avengers - Apocalypse in 2016 is not.  

Shazam (July 2016) - Who?  I am not sure how this will do but I was a bit nervous of Thor originally so who knows.  This is a bit of a strange stand alone film and so I think Batman V. Superman needs to establish continuity and a tease for people to really want to see Shazam.  Casting and promotion will help.  Dwayne Johnson is rumored to be playing the lead.  Not sure this is a good idea. I think WB is relying too heavily on a lesser known heroes and should have gone with Wonder Woman or Flash.

Sandman (Xmas 2016) - Read Shazam above.  Same thing but by this time we will know how much DC has going.  They need a fast start out of the gate to coast through these final films of 2016.  Certainly Justice League will be a monster movie but will it be in class with The Avengers?  Only if they can keep the momentum going. Joseph Gordon- Levitt is cast and that is pretty good.  Of course this film will be going up against the first proposed Star Wars Spin-off movie, also coming out at this time.  Yeeshh.

Justice League (May 2017) -
This is the big one and hopefully people will enjoy the ride to this point and not just be going through the motions waiting for this movie.  Hopefully WB doesn’t go through the motions either, they have to make quality products leading up to this point.  Of course the payoff has to be big.  DC has to make their own identity as well and not be just like The Avengers.  Perhaps the darker heroes is the way to go. This film date may move to stay away The Avengers.

Wonder Woman (July 2017) -   This is a heavily anticipated film and I would have thought that having this film leading up to Justice League would have made more sense.  Still, if the DC machine is rolling well at this point and the character of Wonder Woman is handled well, this film could be a great momentum booster
right at the height of the franchise.

Untitled Green Lantern/ The Flash Team-Up (Xmas 2017) -  Well, again, if these characters are imagined properly and well cast (Ryan Reynolds is not Green Lantern) then this should be a great follow up.  If the franchise is not rolling as well, this could be the film easiest to cancel.

Man of Steel 2 (May 2018) -   I think many fans are sort of torn by this film.  Man of Steel was not the film most hoped and if the character of Superman is steered into the right direction throughout all of these films then I think faith in the character will be returned.  But if the character continues to do non Superman type things, this film could be the final nail in the DC coffin.

Batman V. Superman opens same month as Captain America 3 and The Avengers 3

Movie studios love origin stories and in the case of Marvel, most of the main character list had an origin movie before The Avengers.  In the case of DC, they are perhaps going a bit backwards with it.  Will we see many of these heroes in action and then see their origins later on?  Will Wonder Woman’s origin be in Batman v. Superman or in her stand alone film after the Justice League film? Do we really want to see prequels? It will be interesting to see how this is handled.  As with everything I would expect some of this schedule to change in time.

Meanwhile Marvel’s schedule looks just as exciting 

Guardians of the Galaxy (July 31, 2014)-  this might be the first misstep for the franchise.  The argument that no one knows these characters is valid but I am more worried that the movie will be so far separated from the Avengers world.  Sure, this is probably going to set up story arcs for the next few years but will audiences know that?  Are they going to be expecting to see their favorite heroes in this film or when seeing the trailer are they not seeing any connection to The Avengers at all?  Will the film do well or does it really matter?

The Avengers  Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015) - Well, this is going to be huge but will the momentum be a bit lower  by the time this movie arrives?  Beyond Guardians, there is nothing until Avengers so perhaps the wait will be the momentum.  Given how well Captain America – Winter Soldier did and received, can only succeed.
Age of Ultron

Ant-Man (July 31, 2015) – another new character in his own movie.  Production problems aside, this film may be a let down of sorts but this franchise will no doubt continue to keep the machine going toward the next Avengers film.

Captain America 3  (May 6, 2016) – Marvel returns with its heavy guns in 2016 with this film that will no doubt act as a huge teaser for The Avengers -Apocalypse.  This film will be the one that goes against the next DC film, Batman v. Superman but after Winter Soldier, no one is worried.

Avengers- Apocalypse (May 26, 2016) – Having two films released so close to one another is certainly great for momentum and will be an incredible month for fans.  Not only do we have the pinnacle of The Avengers franchise which may or may not continue after this movie but you have the start of the DC machine with Batman v. Superman.

After this Marvel’s schedule gets cloudy.  More than likely there will be another Thor and Iron Man with perhaps another Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America.  Will Black Widow score her own film?  What about Hulk?  Will there be yet another Avengers film.  Some of this will be dependent on how healthy the Marvel franchise is.  If doing well, there may not be an end in sight but one would have to guess that new heroes like Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Ant-Man and so on might take some of the limelight when Iron Man and others retire.  One can see actors like Robert Downey and Chris Evans leaving their parts
behind in a few years and so making other characters popular might be the way to go.

I have neglected the other Marvel franchises like Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and X-Men because they are with other studios.  They will continue to ride the wake of The Avengers franchise and have their own successes.  I predict though that after 2016 that Marvel’s Avengers franchise will really start showing its age and if DC is successful, I would not be surprised to see a Marvel Team – Up with perhaps Spiderman or Wolverine meeting the Avengers.  Studios will team up and bring these characters together. That would trump anything DC has to offer at that point.

I don’t think Marvel has anything to worry about.  They now own 2015 and DC is not going anywhere until 2016.  The idea that superhero films could burn themselves out soon doesn’t seem to bother or affect Marvel up to this point but DC may have to worry.  If DC can do something different with their heroes (darker or whatever) then they could create their own identity and stay afloat.  That might turn off some people who prefer the lighter tones of Marvel.  Then again if DC copies Marvel with its humorous tone then it may be too alike to Marvel and become boring.  It will be interesting to see.

Ultimately this may not be a battle.  Both franchises can thrive and up to this point they have.  They both want the superhero film to continue thrive and if one starts to falter, the other could be in trouble as well. When their releases coincide with one another, that is when it gets interesting.  I eagerly await these battles.  I don't have anything against DC.  DC has been the favorite for years but not any more.  They are the underdog and it will be interesting to see if they can hold their own.  I do not want to see the franchise fail but if the characters are not within the range of the comic books or if they change too much, it is possible that people will lose interest.

One more short point.  Would it be possible to see a Marvel V. DC film?  Doubtful.  I think we would see Wolverine, Spider-Man and hulk before that but it would be fun.


  1. Wrong picture for Sandman. That is the Golden age Sandman not the Neil Gaiman one that they will be making a film for and that should do pretty well.

  2. Well, there are a lot of Sandmen. I could have posted the one from Spider-Man or this one -