For those of you who may not have heard, James Gunn and Peter Safran, new heads of DC’s movieverse, are putting together a ten year plan. So I thought I’d pitch my own.
1. We’re playing it where it lies. That means no rewriting 2023’s The Flash to get rid of Ezra Miller, or assuming he’ll be killed in the final five minutes (he might be… but that’s a much easier thing to fix in my pitch than the reverse).
2. Budget is now one of the names of the game. So we’re a lot less likely to see the kinds of big-budget ensembles I prefer for my comic movies, (as you can tell from my other pitches). But I still expect team-ups and duos to be the norm.
3. Covid makes some movie failures an open question. WW2 could have been a winner at the box office, even if it wasn’t a great movie. For that reason I expect sequels to be greenlit that wouldn’t otherwise (you wouldn’t normally do a Suicide Squad 3 after that kind of a box office drop… but the pandemic creates this odd uncertainty- so I expect sequels to happen if only to keep the talent happy).
4. We’re assuming none of these balls get dropped, which is a big assumption. No one expected Black Adam to thud quite as hard as it did; it was supposed to build out the Justice Society, but it won’t get a sequel, and I suspect the Society won’t get a spin-off, either, at least not in its current state.
5. I’m assuming 3 movies per year. I know next year will have 4, but I think that’s entirely because DC blinked and moved Aquaman off of Avatar 2’s weekend- no reason to give up $100+ million just to play chicken with Disney- maybe a lot more, if Avatar is well-received and Aquaman isn’t. I expect 3 movies is the max DC will try to do on average; anything else risks glutting the market and stretching their producers too thin. It’s possible that changes; if they can consistently produce 3 per year without major duds, they might step up to 4… but I suspect savvy executives would recognize Marvel’s quality has slipped somewhat due to Feige being stretched thin, and try to avoid that.
6. I’m assuming we stop at trilogies. Marvel are experimenting with Thor 4 and Cap 4, but that happened later; for now we’re assuming after trilogies that things evolve.
7. You could read the statement about not having 4 Batmen as meaning literally that… but I think it points to a collapse of the multiverse- a Crisis on Infinite Earths as dictated by corporate fiat. Which we can work with.
Given that reports have put Wonder Woman 3 as getting the ax, Momoa being out as Aquaman and Gunn rebooting Superman without Cavill… it looks like they’re aiming for more of a tabula rasa than I initially assumed. Because my procrastination is an onion of infinite leaf, I will still pitch my original version, and then also pitch a wide open, blue sky version after that. Honestly, I think a clean slate is the way to go… but I’m frankly a little shocked Warner/Discovery are moving ahead with it.
I figure this is kind of a rebuilding year. So I’m only pitching one project, the only one I think has a chance of getting greenlit and made in time to come out in the same year as Joker 2.
Wonder Woman 3: War of the Realms
I’ve seen the reporting. I don’t believe the sequel is dead; the first one made $800 million, and the sequel suffered because of the pandemic. So it’s getting a sequel, and it’s one of very few projects that might make a 2024 deadline at this point.. To me the main question is whether or not Patty Jenkins will be involved. The next is whether or not they want to recast Gal Gadot- which is far riskier (most people don’t know Jenkins, but they know the actress in the role).
I think 1984 got made largely because after the first one blew up, Jenkins had too much clout. They thought the Wondertrain could never be derailed, so they might as well keep milking prequels, and if it ever did, you could just start making modern sequels. I think it’s time to pull that rip-cord.
This one takes place in the aftermath of Justice League. Wonder Woman has come full-circle, rejoining the world as well as now essentially leading the League. So it’s going to involve at least a little of her role as part of the world. I’d lean into it, make her ambassador from both Themyscira and also from the Hall of Justice- so she represents her people and the Justice League to the United Nations. That also neatly sets up an arc for her, in that there’s bound to be tension between the League and her nation.
The other big narrative thread we have lingering is Steve. She needs to get over Steve. Personally, I prefer the Frozen route; she’s the world’s premier superheroine, so it’s not great if her movies are all about the boy she likes (and we can’t even lean into her sex-positivity of the first film because she’s been portrayed at this point as being an emotional shut-in after Steve’s death). So I’d introduce Artemis. I’d make her literally Diana’s little sister, bratty, brash, spoiled and snotty, in all the ways a second child to the perfect first can be. She’s also incredibly hurt that Diana abandoned her, and the Amazons.
Perhaps that’s why, when there’s a minor territorial scuffle with Atlantis, Artemis fans its flames into outright war. Now, obviously, this sequel would be more financially viable if you get Momoa as Aquaman. But you could also do Mera, running Atlantis in his stead while he attends to League business, perhaps settling up a cool, strange superheroine cat fight. Or you could have it be Orm, Black Manta, the bench of, “briefly took over Atlantis to cause trouble” villains is reasonably deep (this pun is intentional).
Regardless, it becomes clear to everyone, the Amazons and the world, that she can’t both be their ambassador for peace and a part of the world’s unofficial superhero justice department. She has to choose. I’d have her speak to Athena (because again, the Gods are real in her world), and the Goddess of wisdom says that she can be a true and faithful sister to her people- or she can embrace the world as her people, and be faithful to them, and leave rule and representation of the Amazons to those without a foot in both worlds.
So she helps put an end to the conflict, first, then resigns as the Amazonian ambassador, because she can’t be both a peacekeeper and a peacemaker- and her heart and her skills are more in the one than the other. And at the same time she reconnects with her love for her sister- with her love for all of her sisters- and realizes that at some point Steve became a symbol for the loss of all of them, as well.
The Batman 2: Hush
I’m assuming Matt Reeves maintains largely full control, but I can’t pass up a chance to pitch some Batman, and it’s taking up space in my schedule, anyway, so loosely tracking the comic story, in the same way that The Batman loosely tracked a few different stories; Joker is treated like Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs in the original story. We could go a step further, keeping him in shadow for most of the runtime. That would allow us to, if Joker 2 makes anywhere near what the first did, have a cameo from Phoenix, canonizing his Joker as the post-Flashpoint Joker (or at least one of them). Because we’d need Dick around, and because I think the idea of Robert Pattinson trying to foster a child would be funny, one of the segments of the story involves the death of the Graysons and Bruce taking Dick in- then immediately realizing he’s an emotionally stunted adolescent, and in no way ready for a kid.
The Suicide Squads
Sequel box office is usually a referendum on audience enjoyment of the previous film; it can be helped by marketing, but only so much. People were intrigued by Squad 1, then let down, so they were less keen to be bit a second time- even by a superior product. But this superior product was also the baby of the new boss of DC, or at least one of them, so I expect it to get a third entry.
I assume James Gunn would be writing and likely directing this one himself. As the name implies, it’s Squad 1 vs. Squad 2. Amanda Waller re-recruits her first squad to go after her rogue squad, headlined by Redemption Tour Will Smith. She wants them dead or back on her leash, and their leverage destroyed. How can you not salivate at the idea of Deadshot vs. Bloodsport, King Shark vs. Killer Croc, Harley and her Spear vs. Kitana and her Kitana? It might even be fun to do Ratcatcher 2 vs. Enchantress.
Given the casualties 1 suffered, we could either add characters. My preference would be to recruit Clayface, but a brainwashed Clayface who believes he’s Steve Trevor, and that he’s been serving as a deep cover black operative since his ‘death,’ with the aim of eventually putting him and Wonder Woman together for some emotional fireworks. Or you cold just have Peacemaker show up and join their squad. Either way, 2 is outmatched and things look dire… until Harley cashes in a favor from the Birds of Prey! Waller is lead away in cuffs (handed off to General Wade Eiling), and Task Force X is officially disbanded, with both squads freed.
Of course… that just means Waller and her special project go deeper underground… but that’s a concern for another day.
Green Lantern Corps.
Not to be confused with my more pie in the sky version I pitched before, this would be smaller.
Given that Ryan Reynolds was essentially doing a variation on Guy Gardner’s personality, and I’m assuming we’re going to be doing this as small-scale as you can do something like this, we have two human main characters, and they’ll be John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. John’s been around the block, and Kyle’s the rookie.
We play the GL Corps. almost like a police department, that kind of bureaucracy, codes of conduct, etc. Assuming we want to make this as cost-effective as possible, we can do it almost like Men in Black, that there’s essentially a sector house stationed on Earth, that they work out of. The front office is staffed by humans, or at least shapeshifters and humanoids. As they get deeper in, their coworkers get weirder. Then John leads him into an interrogation room.
Stewart tells him they’re at war. One of their own, Sinestro, has been recruiting. Their rings run on willpower. Sinstro’s runs on fear. His theory, the same of many petty dictators, is that fear is more powerful than will. And Kyle’s there because, right now, they’re losing that war, and doesn’t want to talk about what happened to Hal. He asks Kyle to tell him how they got there.
Kyle was a graphic designer. Mostly freelance. Hard to keep a single gig going in this economy. Between gigs he liked to station himself at a coffee shop and sketch, to keep his design skills limber.
A Sinestro member crashes through the shop. Kyle’s slashed with a piece of broken glass. The Sinestro is blasted by green light, and we see that he landed on a Green Lantern. It holds out its ring to Kyle, and tells him to take it- take it and run.
We see Kyle running down the street as yellow energy flies past him. Someone vulnerable is frozen in his path, a child, maybe a stroller or an elder person. Kyle turns, the ring clutched in his hand, and holds up his arms and closes his eyes- he can’t let someone else get hurt because of him.
We’re back in the interrogation. “For the record, that blast would have incinerated both of you. For the same record- I’ve never seen a civilian activate a ring, let alone one they were only holding.” We’re back. Kyle opens his eyes, and sees the green bubble he created. The Sinestro starts to punch it, and the bubble cracks. Kyle tries to reinforce it with his mind, a flurry of motion as he imagines intricate defenses, but they’re too weak to hold the creature back, it’s going to break through.
A green burst of energy knocks him down and back, and Stewart lands in front of Kyle. In the interrogation room, Stewart asks for the ring, and says they can’t be taken. Kyle says it was given to him. “Be that as it may, the odds of you getting it to work again are astronomical, and even if you do, you won’t have a way to recharge it. Unless I swear you in.”
They talk about what joining the Lanterns means, and eventually has him repeat the oath after him, then has him slide on the ring, and he transforms into a Green Lantern.
We meet Sinestro. We’re going to do something different, here. The Sinestros are mostly working on Earth. They’ve taken over a Central American cartel- converting some of them with rings, killing others. They did this for access to their chemical processing and networks. And the reason is that they’ve partnered with a human with expertise in creating fear chemically, Dr. Jonathan Crane, and they intend to use his chemicals to amplify their strength a hundred fold and crush the Green Lanterns, first on Earth, but eventually on Oa.
So you can do a lower key, earth-based crime story with the Lanterns for a lower budget, but with the promise of potential space-based chicanery to come- but depending on box office you can keep the action mostly Earth-based- so it doesn’t have to be a Star Wars to justify sequels.
Flash 2/Earth 2
I’m assuming that with as risk-averse as WB-Discovery has been, they don’t want to keep Ezra Miller around. In light of that, I expect they’ll recast- maybe a cameo of Ezra, but replace him, maybe with Wally from a different universe, the future, whatever.
So at the end of Flashpoint (I’m assuming they keep him through that- if only because they want him around, at least theoretically, for press), Barry emerges on Earth 2. At first he doesn’t understand it- he’s never emerged in the wrong universe before. We play up the similarities between this world and the Snyderverse, hinting hard in promo material that Flash will actually be returning to Snyder’s DCEU.
I’d honestly keep that going as long as possible. Flash is captured by people who look a lot like his Justice League… only they aren’t. And they’ve also captured another Flash, a Wally West. He came with his Barry here, summoned by some kind of mad science that pulls those in touch with the Speed Force there. Because this Earth is dying. It’s a wrong Earth. They want to use the Flashes to escape it before it’s destroyed.
The two Flashes are able to escape together. They have a conversation at superspeed, Wally at first thrilled to see Barry, before the realization hits him- he isn’t his Barry, which means his Barry really is dead. The Crime Syndicate are just behind them. Barry realizes they can’t both get away- and sacrifices himself so Wally can make it out- because I’m a sucker for the classics, I’d have his death happen like it did in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Suddenly Wally is our lead.
He’s found by Lex Luthor- this planet’s greatest hero. They team up with a heroic version of the Joker, called the Jester, to destroy the stolen LexTech that is drawing Flashes. While the Syndicate were distracted looking for their own way out, Lex evacuated the rest of the Earth- but he and Jester stayed behind to make sure the Syndicate didn’t follow- or escape to some other unsuspecting Earth.
The pair fall fighting the Crime Syndicate, and Flash both manages to destroy the Flash lure, and escape back to Barry’s original timeline. If we can wangle the cameos, Flash goes to the Justice League. Most of them just assume he’s Barry. But Batman sees through him. He waits until the others have given them distance. “You aren’t Barry. Just who the hell are you?”
Aquaman 3: Return of the King
I’ll assume James Wan (or at least his bank account) are pissed at the cancellation of The Trench. But that was a silly idea- an unbranded Aquaman spin-off designed around… Black Manta? But there’s no reason the concept, and the production design has to go to waste. I’m assuming from the synopsis that it’s Black Manta Aquaman will be teaming with in 2, otherwise he would be the main villain here. If he’s in 2, then we’ll swap in Charybdis… and we’re going to do a lot of foreshadowing about severed hands- but we’re probably not going to chop off his hand… no matter how big of a fan of the Evil Dead movies I am (though if we do, we aren’t giving him a hook- we’ll give him a turbine hand). But if we do do Charybdis… I’d have him claim to be the rightful king of the seven seas, with the Trench’s legions at his back to enforce the claim.
This would be, overall, a much darker story. The creatures of the Trench have been riled by a new leader, promising that their old foes, the Atlanteans, the Amazons and the Lost Kingdomians can no longer hold back their strength. And… they win, around the halfway mark. The terrible creatures of the Trench overrun Atlantis, which is forced to evacuate, half of their forces going to Paradise Island, the other to the Lost Kingdom. I’m just… going to assume that Arthur’s arc is accepting his role and responsibility as Atlantis’ ruler, which means Atlantis falls in part when Arthur refuses to lead, expecting the generals and army to handle things. He fights with them, even at the head- but he is not their figurehead.
I’ll assume including Aquaman, or at minimum Aquaman elements, in Wonder Woman 3, will have both cemented a connection between the two places, and helped juice box office. So I’d say the reverse would work here, and also, Wondy sort of owes Arthur a return of the favor. The Amazons sustain casualties as part of the evacuation, leading Diana to lead the Amazon forces. She’s a natural at it, something that awes Arthur (it’s one thing to command seven heroes, another to command an army and a nation without breaking stride). She gives him the tough love pep talk he needs, inspiring him to be the leader Atlantis needs. As part of that he pleads to let the Atlanteans take the first line- they were beaten back, but not broken. They need to reclaim their dignity nearly as much as they need to reclaim their home. The Amazon generals are reluctant; if their front line doesn’t hold their defenses overall weaken- the Atlanteans could lead to the fall of the Amazons if they can’t hold long enough. Arthur is adamant they’ll hold. He gives his warriors a Braveheart speech, and they drive the Trench warriors back into the sea.
They continue the fighting all the way back to Atlantis, and retake the city. Atlantis’ generals argue for driving them back into the trench, then mining the cliffs; that will close the passage, and collapse the trench, killing most of them, and sealing the rest away. But Aquaman, during the evacuation, saw some of Atlantis’ worse-off, those left behind by previous regimes, and sees the parallels. At first he resists, and the generals press harder, assuming, from his inexperience, that he can be cowed, until finally he bellows, “No. They are angry because we have, again and again, made them lesser. We are not their betters- we are their brothers. I am not the king of the beautiful parts of the ocean, I am king of the seas, and they are my people, too.” So Arthur sues for peace, and with a little humility, is able to end the conflict without bloodshed, reuniting the two kingdoms under his rule.
Shazam vs Black Adam
Yes, this essentially functions as Shazam 3 and Black Adam 2, and is probably the smart bet whether or not Shazam 2 is a breakout sequel. Black Adam is one of his big antagonists; one of the other two is a telepathic caterpillar… so I’m going with the one played by the Rock (although I now desperately want Vin Diesel to voice Mr. Mind at some point).
Now… I’ll admit, I haven’t seen Black Adam yet. I don’t know whether or not he retakes his country in that film or not… but that’s a minor detail, because that’s how this movie begins. He remakes the ancient city-state of Kahndaq. This bugs the crap out of Shazam, because people assume it’s him, because they both have a lightning bolt chest. I just imagine Zachary Levi, exasperated, telling an old woman he saved from being hit by a truck and is now beating him mercilessly with her purse pointing to a TV in a shop window bearing news footage of Black Adam rampaging, telling her, as she hits him, “I look nothing like the guy. I have hair. And a cape!” She starts swinging underhand, and while the swing goes off screen, we can tell she’s whacking him in the crotch. “Stop that,” he says, catching the purse.
Shazam convenes the rest of the Marvel family. They discuss; most of them argue for cooler heads; but Billy’s really struggling, here. He wanted to be like Superman, but he’s becoming, “Thanks for saving me, I guess, but screw you, man!” So Billy goes off on his own to fight Black Adam… and has his clock pretty thoroughly cleaned.
I imagine there’s a lot of comedy to be had, excitable Zach Levi trying to convince Black Adam that his relatively naïve and idealistic morality is superior… and Black Adam just really not having any patience for this child in a man’s body.
The Marvels arrive to rescue Billy, and they start to have a big superhero fight… before Billy realizes the damage they’re doing, and all to salve his ego. He realizes what’s really important- the little people, the ones who can’t stop tank shells. Billy convinces the Marvels to stop fighting.
Just then, the warlords Black Adam took Kahndaq back from, counter-attack, seeing the Marvels’ intervention as an exploitable crisis. And they’ve upped their game, getting some magically infused tank shells that actually do hurt him. Billy recognizes that the warlords are the worse of the two evils, so they team up with Black Adam.
At the end, the Marvels tell Adam to leave Kahndaq alone. “No.” He tells them the only way they can pry his home from him is with a war that will level the country- and he knows they wouldn’t do that.
Billy’s angry, but recognizes Adam has a point. “Today, you’re the lesser of the evils. The day that changes, I’m dragging you out of here myself.”
Now… if Shazam 2 is a breakout sequel, you might be able to get money enough for a Justice Society cameo. Say the tanks, given that they’re specifically designed with Shazams in mind, could be a problem for all of our heroes… until the Justice Society show up to help out. This could foster good will with the Marvels, and pave the way for Shazam to continue as a part of the Justice Society.
Justice League: Dark
Okay… this one is wild, even for me. It starts as we’d expect, Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, and Tim Hunter, dealing with a magical threat. Because I’m trying to save Justice League movies the way Marvel does for Avengers events, and Wonder Woman’s series ended at 3… she ends up here, to add some star power to the line-up. The magical threat ends up shunting them off into a different DC Universe- essentially a thinly veiled Snyderverse. Something is deeply wrong with a world where Batman is gunning people down on the streets from the safety of his own personal tank. Flash (paralleling Ezra Miller’s real-life problems) is having mental crises faster than anyone can think up solutions. Superman, after the death of Lois Lane, is going full-on fascist. So the characters are caught in this dark, increasingly dystopian world, and have to figure out if they can save it, and if they can’t, whether or not they can at least escape it. Depending on how it plays, this could lay the groundwork for Injustice Lords or the Injustice universe. This exists both because the concept has been a high priority for adaptation, and because elements within WB/Discovery really want to bring back the Snyderverse in some capacity, and presents an opportunity to have your cake and eat it, too. When they finally escape, the end up in the Batcave.
The 3 Jokers
Okay… assuming everything is going to plan, we need to square why we have 2 Jokers running around, and also multiple Harleys. So here’s how we do it, by roughly adapting the 3 Jokers story. Phoenix has a run-in; depending on whether or not a Batman shows up in Joker 2, it can just be with police or a rival mob. Harley saves him, narrowly. She’s concerned for his safety. So they hatch a plan to create more Jokers. He starts experimenting with psychoactive drugs on people they kidnap.
One will, eventually, be the gangster version from Suicide Squad.
This also involves Batman, who at the end of the story captures the Joker, and puts him in Arkham- where he is in Hush.
Personally, I’d also make the original Joker the only one aware of the shifting timelines, first after Flashpoint, then after Wally takes Barry’s place (time rewrites, so that Wally was always their Flash- Batman seems to be the only one who remembered Barry).
Blue Beetle 2: Justice for All
Similar, but distinct from my Justice League: International pitch.
Assuming Blue Beetle does well, it will likely in part be attributed to it catering to the Latino audience in the way that Black Panther’s success was partly attributed to the underserved Black audience (and given the success of Coco is likely a savvy move). So the next logical step is to put him on the International Justice League. Wonder Woman resigning her post as dual Amazon ambassador and Justice League ambassador leaves the UN feeling vulnerable. She’s still their liaison, but in effect it has made the League more independent. So they request the right to build their own League, an international one that can cater to the world’s needs, not just whatever the gods among them deign to intervene in. Some of this is prompted by Russia fielding their own hero team, the Rocket Reds, think a team of Russian Iron Men, and China their own. The world is getting nervous.
Given Blue Beetle has already had one success, and he’s both an American with Latin American roots, he’s viewed as an ideal candidate to lead the team. We want to be as international as possible, so I’d bring in Fire from Brazil, Ice from Iceland, Vixen from somewhere in Africa, Dr. Light (Dr. Hoshi version) from Japan.
I’m thinking a goodly portion of the story is assembling the team, finding and convincing them to work together. Then a crisis occurs, as the Chinese superteam and Russian one combine forces to take over Mongolia, with the stated aim of dividing the country between them. Just as the JLI are about to go fight the good fight, their new handler, Max Lord, pulls Beetle aside. They’ve been waiting for this eventuality. They had warning. From a visitor claiming to be from the future.
He’s been kept in a bunker, a UN safe house that’s essentially its own little Gitmo in New York. Beetle goes to the heart of it, and meets Booster Gold. He told them three things would happen, and two have come to pass. The third is the combining of the Russian and Chinese teams. He’s told them that without him, the conflict will escalate to a full-scale nuclear war. As part of his intake, Max asked Booster why a man from the future would let them catch him. “You’ll let me out. When you need to.”
So the JLI fight the combined forces. They’re tough, but the JLI prove tougher… except Booster stops them. He knows the Russians and Chinese can’t lose face like this- if they can’t compete in the next arms race, they’ll rattle their sabers in the old one… but their fear will lead to launches, and nuclear devastation. But the real truth is they aren’t the aggressors here. Someone is pulling their strings.
There are a lot of directions you can go from here. Any number of telepaths, mind controllers, etc. Whoever it is, I’d make their plan a part of the Anti-Monitor’s plan, meant to soften the Earth up so it provides less resistance- in the same way he guided Sinestro to Earth to weaken the GLs, and eventually Oa. Despero might be the best option, because he can both control some of the characters, but also provide a good boss fight at the end.
Booster’s future tech is able to detect the hidden adversary, and he attacks them, freeing the 3 super teams to fight together and end the conflict.
The Batman 3: Knightfall
I’m pitching this one as much because I get the sense that Reeves just kind of wants to play with all the toys, and this would let him put his imprint on whoever was left. Bane cracks Arkham wide open. This sets up a gauntlet for Batman, who has to capture as many of the inmates before they hurt innocent people as he can. All the while, Bane keeps taking shots at him, to weaken him more and more. But unlike prior, crappier adaptations… Batman doesn’t get his back broken. You could do that in the comics and spend a year on that storyline. But for a film, even a 3 hour one, that makes for a lousy story. So instead… Batman figures out Bane’s plan. It takes a toll on him, true. But he prepares for the moment Bane’s going to attack him, and puts Dick Grayson in the costume; he’s been champing at the bit the entire movie, wanting to help while Batman held him off. It’s for this moment. Bane trashes Dick. He’s brutal, and with the venom Dick can’t win. Bane hoists him over his head, and we hear the sound of a bataring whip through the air. It doesn’t stop Bane from smashing his knee into Dick’s back, but it does cut him off from his venom supply. The real Batman emerges from the shadows, and beats Bane, who slices open his veins to jam the venom line directly into his arm. This fight’s harder, but Bane gets tripped up by Dick from the floor, and Batman knocks him out. Batman asks Dick if he’s all right. “First thing they teach you in the circus is how to fall…ow…”
Green Lantern Corps: Parallax
The Green Lanterns managed to beat Sinestro. As he’s being transported to a launch facility for escort back to Oa, his convoy is attacked. It’s part of a series of raids and attacks the Lanterns are dealing with from a terrorist group calling themselves Parallax. They’ve been targeting Green Lantern support staff and allies, those without rings themselves, bombing their cars, their homes. Energy signatures at the crime scenes indicate presence of both Sinestro and Green Lantern rings- leading to paranoia about who among them have turned, causing Kyle and John to not be able to trust anyone.
What takes them longer to understand is that the terrorists are also targeting remainders of Sinestro’s cartel. This is somewhat hidden, because they take their rings after death, a missing finger being the only indication there was ever a ring there to begin with.
The leader of this ring-powered terrorist organization turns out to be none other than Hal Jordan. He blames both the Green Lantern Corps. and the Sinestros for the destruction of his home town of Coast City. He’s holding Sinestro prisoner, and using his ring as part of the attacks as he makes Sinestro watch his empire crumble.
Kyle and John find and free Sinestro, but are caught by Hal. They prove incapable of defeating him, until Sinestro puts his hand on Stewart’s, adding his will to John’s ring. Together, the three are able to forcibly extract Parallax, the fear entity, from Jordan, and he’s horrified about what he did under its influence.
Sinestro testifies in Jordan’s defense, telling them that under the Parallax entities’ control there’s very little a host can do to resist, that while he certainly aided the entity willingly, Jordan did not.
Batgirl and Supergirl: World’s Finest
We’re at the point where extrapolating from what is to what could be gets… interesting. Because I’m trying to pull together what nearly got made as a gauge of corporate interest… despite management changes wildly altering that interest several times over.
But presumably, there’s confidence in some kind of a Batgirl project. We’re also, if we’re building towards a Crisis, going to need a Supergirl. So I figure combine the two. Give it to whoever the current equivalent to Juno-era Diablo Cody is, maybe Emerald Fennel.
Kara Zor-El arrives on Earth. Jor-El sent his brother on the colony an identical ship to launch Kara, and he did so. But her ship was damaged enroute, and had to use orbital sling-shotting to arrive at Earth. Because she spent more time at near-light speeds, she incurred more time dilation, and Clark’s older cousin is now his younger cousin.
What neither of them know, however, is that the Kandor colony didn’t suffer Krypton’s fate. They were bottled at the last minute by Brainiac… but he considers the city incomplete, given that one survivor managed to escape. He tracks her to Earth, intent on shrinking her down as part of his collection.
Meanwhile, Batman tasks Batgirl with being Supergirl’s handler. He figures she’s good at blending, but can also protect her in a pinch. This leads Batgirl to training Supergirl to fight; she’s only absorbed a small amount of solar radiation, so she’s a lot more vulnerable right now than she will be.
I’m assuming it would kill the budget to actually show the Justice League, but we could have a news broadcast showing that the League, including the entire Hall of Justice, has been frozen in a solid block of ice. The ice seems to be mildly radioactive, so attempts to break free would spread radioactive dust across the city- Batman confirms to Batgirl via radio that the isotope is Kryptonite, that someone knew about the League and how they would be vulnerable. Batgirl doesn’t think it’s a coincidence this is happening right after the arrival of Supergirl.
Their paranoia proves correct, when both girls are kidnapped and brought aboard Brainiac’s ship. He largely ignores Barbara, thinking her to be a human, and of absolutely no consequence, casually threatening her before ignoring her completely to monologue at Kara. Batgirl manages to break the encryption on Brainiac’s computers, waging technologic war on him as he tries to fight Supergirl. It’s a tough fight, since she’s still mostly relying on the self-defense Barbara taught her. Eventually they force Brainiac to flee, and get into an escape pod back to Earth.
The 3 Flashes
Wally keeps getting shunted to alternate worlds. Whatever the Crime Syndicate did, it continues to pull him from reality to reality. He meets another Flash, an older one, named Jay Garrick. Garrick postulates that, as Hawking theorized, there’s a cosmic editor, putting things back to where they were, fixing impossible paradoxes- that the multiverse is trying to send him home.
Both Flashes get pulled to another dark timeline. During their down time, Wally reflects on his Barry, and how he was the better hero, and he would be able to save them. Jay tells him that he was one of the first heroes on his world- he didn’t have anyone to look up to- he had to be the hero he wished he could look up to- and just as crucially, learn to forgive himself when he fell short of that ideal.
They’re met by one of the Monitors. He explains that his people are ethe editors Hawking theorized- that when a tear in reality threatens all existence, they fix it.
This dark reality, however, is actually the future, or at least a possible one, run by Eobard Thawn, the Reverse Flash. His connection to the Speed Force is artificial. He created it with technology, forcing himself into it. He can only maintain that by draining the life of other Flashes, recreating tech created by Lex Luthor to do so. So presuming that Reverse Flash is the antagonist of the first Flash movie, this serves as his origin.
So we get a pretty wild superspeed fight, during which Zoom absorbs enough of the Speed Force to have a legit connection, leading to him going back in time to attack Wally (accidentally attacking Barry, due to the continuity bending that attack created).
The Monitor appears at the end, sheepish over having used them. Reality is safe, for the moment… but they’re also a step closer to a Crisis point. Because the existence of Monitors means the existence of Anti-Monitors, anti-matter, opposing forces from the dark multiverse. They feed on matter, converting entire realities into energy- and one has set his sights on their Earth.
Justice League: Dark Multiverse
Justice League Dark thought they were home- thought they finally found their own universe. We start in the Batcave, where the last film ended. Batman tells them that he’s glad to see them, he could use their help. Joker’s won. He united all of Gotham’s villains under his banner, killed half the police and forced the remainder to disband. With the help of a mysterious, ragged stranger, he erected a magical barrier that’s keeping Gotham separate from the other heroes. Worse, he systematically killed all of Batman’s allies, all his Robins, Batgirls… he’s the last one left. Now he’s executing parents. Every hour, on the hour, he’s killing parents in crime alley, orphaning their children. He says the only way he’ll stop is if Batman kills him. He’s been up for days, at this point, trying to figure out a way to beat Joker. He’s a shell of a man, but he’s terrified that if he kills Joker, he’ll never stop. He knows Joker’s a singular threat, but how do you justify drawing that line? He already crippled Joker… but he still won’t stop.
Wonder Woman offers to do it. He reveals that he knows Joker has a failsafe, that he’s secreted a more virulent version of his toxin in his body that will transform whoever kills him into him. Batman is just a man- he can be beaten- but a Joker with the power of Wonder Woman might not be.
Batman’s plan is to wage an all-out assault on Joker’s compound, hopefully long enough to distract the ragged man and let them remove his magical bubble. They barrier is pouring from a giant bat totem, and is protected by dragons with the Joker’s face. They fight their way to the barrier, as Batman fights his way to the Joker. Batman tries all kinds of things, but he just can’t outmaneuver the Joker. Turns out the Joker isn’t even there, he’s doing all of this by remote. But there is a teleporter, that takes Batman to him. They’re locked in a cage, with a minute to go before the next parents die. They’re related to some member of the Batcast, and the resemblance shakes him. He tries to find a way out of the cage, some way that he can escape after he kills the Joker, biding time, hoping the Dark League can manage to bring down the barrier in time to let the League rescue the family. They only need a second, a fraction of a second, for Flash or Superman to arrive. We watch the clock as he tries desperately to escape, with seconds left. We cut back to the Dark League, destroying the barrier. They realize the ragged figure is behind them, and in a haunting voice he tells them, “Too late,” before disappearing.
We cut back to the cage with Batman and the Joker in it. We can see that the timer stopped, and the family is still alive. We pull back, to see the cage is filled with gas, and the Joker, his neck snapped, hangs limply from Batman’s hands.
An instant later, Superman is there, about to punch a hole in the cage. “Don’t,” Batman says. “Can’t risk you getting exposed to this gas.”
Now… dependent on budget, I’d have the full League and Dark League with him in the cave, still sealed inside the cage, running diagnostics on him. He seems to be fine, and convinces them that he feels fine, and that if they’re going to counteract the poison he needs to be out there, with his equipment. It’s Superman who makes the call, because he’ll always trust Batman. The second he’s out, Batman activates the Babel protocol, countermeasures for the entire League as he systematically murders his way through them. He hadn’t planned on the Dark League being there, and being magic, they survive him a little longer- long enough to open a portal away. But he hitches a ride, coming through with them back into their universe (though that fact will only be revealed in the end credits).
The Main Man takes a contract in a hive of scum and villainy. Seems that someone’s special captive got loose. She’s armed, extremely dangerous, and hiding out on Earth. During their first fight, she kicks his butt. Badly. Embarassingly so, to the degree the he never even manages to peel her out of a cloak. The last thing he sees is red glowing eyes.
In their second fight, he bushwhacks her, having finally read the brief provided by his employer. This time he brought kryptonite to the party. For a moment we’ll assume he’s after Supergirl… and you’d be half right- he’s caught Power Girl. Now… to try not to give you a nosebleed, but also tie her into the multiversal shenanigans we’re building up… she is originally from an alternate Earth. However, when her rocket managed to shatter through to a different universe, the Monitors rewrote her history, to be a clone of Kara created by her parents in the bottle city of Kandor to replace the daughter they lost. During the fight in World’s Finest, a little of Earth’s radiation managed to break through into the bottle city, giving Kara enough power to escape, vowing to marshal forces to free them all.
Lobo returns to Brainiac with his prize. Brainiac notices something amiss, and accuses Lobo of playing a fast one. Her signature is wrong… but she is genetically the Kara he was seeking. He deems it worthy of further study, then turns his attentions to Lobo.
See, Lobo is the last Czarnian, a worthy addition to Brainiac’s collection. He captures him, and houses him in a place he doubts very much Lobo will want to escape from.
It is a civilization consisting entirely of prostitution, gambling, liquor and cigar production. Lobo’s eyes light up, and we fade to black. We put up white text. “Fifty black-outs later…” Lobo is drinking alone. An alien prostitute makes a pass, but he’s melancholy. It’s a world catered entirely to his whims… except for his lust for violence and conflict. He’s getting restless. Even tiny, Lobo is able to crack his bottle. But once free, he realizes that without being able to fly, he’s not going to be able to make himself big. On the one hand, that means he can get hammered for pennies. On the other, it means only insect hookers for the rest of his days. He decides to bust out Power Girl. They make an uneasy alliance. She grows him first. He considers reneging, until she starts smacking him around as a superstrong fly- which should be very comical to watch. Finally he grows her. Lobo takes the shrink ray and the bottle he was trapped in. Kara takes the bottle city of Kandor.
I’m assuming Kara had been searching for Ray Palmer, the Atom, to help her try to regrow her city. He tells them that the cities have been shrunk too long; Brainiac’s tech can be reversed over a short period, but after that regrowing becomes impossible. But he promises to keep searching for a cure.
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths
The World Forger has been a busy little bee, creating a nigh-infinite multiverse. Feeling slighted that less attention seems to be paid to his dark, anti-matter universes, the Anti-Monitor devises a plan to consume the positive multiverse’s energy and usurp the World Forger, creating only dark universes.
With each destroyed universe, the Anti-Monitor becomes stronger, leaving the heroes with a single possible path to win: merging the multiverse into a single reality. They manage it, and then beat back the Anti-Monitor. Supergirl and Jay Garrick die in the offing.
Brianiac reports on the failure of the Anti-Monitor. Darkseid smiles. Brainiac doesn’t understand. “We exist beyond any universe While the wall between his realm and the universe remains intact, there is now a crack, through which we may directly influence events. Desaad proclaims, “Darkseid is coming. Darkseid is.”
I mapped out three phases, the first ending in the Crisis, the second in defeating Darkseid, and the third ending in a fight with the Dark Knights.
Supergirl would have survived, encased in Kryptonian crystal and eventually revived by the Legion of Superheroes. The New Gods would have lost to Apokalips, as would the Greek Gods, before Darkseid laid siege to Earth
Batman would have paid Lobo to form the Outsiders into a nonlethal black ops team from remnants of Task Force X, who would eventually rebel against him, not realizing his plan was to convince them to use nonlethal means, not keeping them as Waller had.
I’m going to work on my own DCNu movie universe, mostly because I’m jealous Gunn and Safran got that much leeway. Could take me a couple of weeks, but check back soon.