The most anticipated DC villain movies ranked, from Joaquin Phoenix's 'The Joker' to Margot Robbie's 'Birds of Prey'
Martin Scorsese has come on board to produce a Joker origin movie with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role and Todd Phillips serving as the director
DC raised many an eyebrow when, in 2016, Oscar winner Jared Leto was brought on board to carry on the legacy of the most iconic antagonist the Joker. The reason being Leto's rather serious Hollywood history and the convoluted plans of reinventing the clown prince with the actor's hysterical laughter.
Undoubtedly a talented actor, Leto stepped into the psychotic character's shoes, quite successfully bringing him to life but failing to fill the Heath Ledger-shaped hole in the DC Extended Universe.
Despite the commercial success of David Ayer's 'Suicide Squad' — the anti-hero flick even topped the $700 million mark worldwide — the film couldn't appeal the critics or even the DC purists. While one would expect Suicide Squad's performance to serve as a lesson for future developments under the Warner Bros DCEU banner, the comic book franchise is clearly not done with Joker yet.
At least six more Joker movies, solo or as part of a team, is believed to be in works presently. But DC has also learned its lesson. Instead of pouring in all its money and resources into creating a Marvel replica of a cinematic universe, the studio is finally diversifying its roster of characters — mainly the villains — into creating a non-DCEU label, banking on the moniker DC Dark or DC Black.
Of course, nothing is confirmed yet, and an official nod is still pending from the executives about this sub-franchise, aimed at allowing diverse filmmakers and actors to make one-off superhero movies. But this so-called DC Dark coupled with the regular cannons off DCEU sure sounds like a better deal for movie-goers.
Whether or not these villain-centric films would be able to woo audience away from the high horse of Marvel remains to be seen, but a breakdown of the most-anticipated movies doesn't hurt:
1. The Joker
DC/Warner Bros is going through a major management hierarchy overhaul, to say the least. Geoff Johns has stepped down as the president and chief creative officer of DC Entertainment and the role was taken over by Jim Lee, DC Comics publisher.
And in the light of this major shake-up, there's a new slate of producers and filmmakers lined-up as well on the docket. None other than Martin Scorsese has come on board to produce an exclusive Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role and Todd Phillips serving as the director.
One can only imagine the amount of secrecy attached to this project at the moment. However, it is known that Scorsese-Phillips partnership would be treating the movie as an origin story set in the 1980s.
2. Birds of Prey
While Gal Gadot's 'Wonder Woman' is the flagbearer for the first female-fronted superhero movie, Margot Robbie might soon be sharing the honor with the actress, at least in the R-rated section of the universe.
Suicide Squad might have garnered a lukewarm response but Robbie's Harley Quinn was an instant favorite. As the equally psychotic girlfriend of the Joker, the actress managed to grab eyeballs, ensuring to lay the path for future reboots and spinoffs. And 'Birds of Prey' is just the fruit of that labor.
"I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’ Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film. She’s got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang," the actress had said teasing possibilities.
3. Gotham City Sirens
It's all about Wempower in the darker corners! DC might have gone wrong with many of its decision since kickstarting the shared, interconnected universe in 2016, but the franchise has unfailingly put its female characters out there, at the front and center of all action.
An effort in this direction would be a cinematic iteration of the Gotham City Sirens comic, which is believed to be helmed by Ayer. Originally, in the comics, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn are the leading characters. More reasons for Ayer to pursue this project, especially with Robbie's star power.
4. Black Adam
Speaking of star power, Warner Bros seems to have added a big, bright feather to its sparkling cap with the addition of Dwayne Johnson. In the recent past, the former wrestler-turned-Hollywood actor has proven to have a truly Midas touch by churning out big blockbusters one after another.
As part of the DCEU, however, Johnson would be taking on the magical role of Black Adam, who has traditionally locked horns with DC hero Shazam! Initially, the chatter was that 'The Rock' would make his superhero movie debut as the antagonist in the Shazam movie itself, but clearly, the studio decided to steer the creative in a different direction eventually.
Banking on the big guns eh?
5. Suicide Squad 2
Let's begin with the fact that the first Suicide Squad movie grossed over $700 million worldwide. In addition, the Ayer-helmed anti-hero flick featured a host of Hollywood biggies including Will Smith, Leto, and Robbie.
Obviously, DC/Warner Bros wouldn't want to miss out on the opportunity of making millions again with a sequel to this commercial hit. However, this time around we hear the studio is taking its time to develop the right script with The Accountant's Gavin O'Connor filling in the director's chair instead of Ayer.
O'Connor along with David Bar Katz, Geoff Johns, and Todd Stashwick are also overlooking the scripting for Suicide Squad 2.