It appears that Warner Bros. has solidified which DC Comics adaptation will be coming next. While Justice League is in post-production and Aquaman is in the midst of filming, Warner Bros. had been mulling a number of different projects in various stages of development to go next. Of course The Flash had been planned to be filming right now (if not wrapped), but director Rick Famuyiwa dropped out over creative differences last fall and they missed their window—Ezra Miller is about to start shooting Fantastic Beasts 2, so he’s booked up until the end of the year.
But now THR reports that the studio has settled on Shazam! as the next DCEU movie to start filming. The comics adaptation is looking to start filming in January or February of next year for a likely release in 2019. David Sandberg, the filmmaker behind the smash-hit horror film Lights Out and the upcoming prequel Annabelle: Creation is making his superhero debut on the pic, which revolves around a man named Billy Batson who gets his powers via a transformation into Shazam!, which gives him enormous strength, speed, and mental abilities. Peter Safran, who produced Annabelle: Creation and Aquaman, is in talks to produce.
Shazam! is actually coming courtesy of WB’s sister studio New Line Cinema, which is more known for (comparatively) lower-budget genre fare like horror movies and comedies. It’s unclear how this will affect Shazam!, but the movie will be part of the DCEU—it just may be a bit smaller in scale than Wonder Woman or Batman v Superman.
Dwayne Johnson has long been attached to play Shazam! comics villain Black Adam, but he’s not involved in this Shazam! movie. The studio decided Johnson’s antihero deserved his own feature film, so the idea now is to produce two separate movies and eventually have Shazam and Black Adam go toe-to-toe in a future film.
There are other DCEU movies in the works, but Shazam! is going to be the next one in release after Aquaman next December. Suicide Squad 2, which is zeroing in on director Jaume Collet-Serra, is eyeing a mid-2018 start-date; Wonder Woman 2 is still in the early treatment stage; The Flash still needs a director; and while Joss Whedon is indeed still writing and directing Batgirl, his duties overseeing post-production and reshoots on Justice League now means he can’t move on to working on Batgirl until that film is released.
Hold on to your butts, folks, and expect more DCEU announcements during the Warner Bros. Comic-Con presentation on Saturday.