Complete guide to the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes

Complete guide to the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes

Every upcoming superhero film and TV production

Superhero movies have become one of the biggest draws in cinema. And with The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War, The Dark Knight and The Dark Night Rises all passing the $1 billion at the box office it doesn't look like it's a trend that is going anywhere soon. With three main players in the game – 20th Century Fox who own the rights to X-Men, Marvel and DC – it can all get a bit confusing.

X-Men started the modern obsession with dark damaged superheroes on the big screen in 2000. Its success was followed by several sequels and Wolverine spin offs. Marvel had sold the rights to many of their characters, including X-Men, alongside Blade, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. However it was the release of Iron Man in 2008 that changed the game. Marvel's debut in-house production was their first step in building an empire. Following the format that rooted the vast majority of their comics in the same fictional world all their films (and TV shows) are set within one huge interlinked universe with Thor, Captain America and Hulk all coming together for Avengers Assemble (2012) now rolling their way into Phase 3 with even more characters making their big screen debut.

Despite creating perhaps the most iconic comic characters of all time (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) DC have only had sporadic success. They were one of the first comics companies to cash in on film adaptations of their properties with the 70s Superman and Tim Burton's Batman being huge draws. Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was superb but unfortunately their triumphs are outweighed by duds like Batman & Robin, Catwoman, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex. Taking a leaf out of Marvel's multi-million dollar success DC are now fighting back with their own multi-movie interlinked mega franchise that kicked off with Man of Steel in 2013.

The big companies certainly like to plan in advance with several superhero movies and TV shows mapped out into 2020.

Wonder Woman (DC)
Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Robin Wright, Chris Pine
DC sneak in with the first superhero film with a female lead. Wonder Woman is an Amazonian princess who uses her powers to bring justice to the world of man. Gadot was one of the stand out moments in an otherwise over stuffed Batman vs Superman and the trailer suggests an epic spanning Greek history, World War II and the modern age.
Jun 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming (Marvel)
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr, Michael Keaton
Sony and Marvel join forces to bring a third Spider-Man to the screen. Marvel's most iconic character finally joins the MCU with a younger version of the wall crawler back at high school with guest spots form Iron Man (Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) plus Keaton at high tech flying villain The Vulture.
7 Jul 2017

The Defenders (Marvel)
Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones
This is what all the Netflix series have been building towards: a big team up miniseries as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist join forces to take on Sigourney Weaver's mysterious villain.
18 Aug, 2017

Inhumans (Marvel)
Starring: Anson Mount, Iwan Rheon, Serinda Swan
Marvel cleverly introduced the concept of the Inhumans, a race of super powered beings, on TV show Agents of SHIELD. Originally planned as a feature film now a TV series, this spin off focuses on the Inhuman Royal Family: Black Bolt (Mount), Maximus (Rheon), Medusa (Swan), Karnak (Ken Leung) and Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor). The first two episodes will debut on IMAX before hitting TV a few weeks later. Currently no info on a UK broadcaster.
1 Sep, 2017.

Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel)
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blachette
The trailer is amazing. Ragnarok looks like it fully embraces the zany madness of Guardians of the Galaxy and has cribbed from the Planet Hulk storyline to pitch Thor (Hemsworth) and Hulk (Ruffalo) against each other in gladiatorial combat. Meanwhile back in Asgard Hela (Blachette) is threatening to destroy Thor's homeworld. Plus the return of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a guest spot from Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
27 Oct 2017

Justice League Part One (DC)
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa
This is the big one for DC. The Justice League is the superteam of superteams featuring all the big hitters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, etc, etc. Sadly Snyder has stepped down from the directorial chair after the death of his daughter and Whedon will apply all the necessary finishing touches.
17 Nov 2017

Cloak & Dagger (Marvel)
Starring: Olivia Holt, Aubrey Joseph
Another live action TV series from Marvel this time aimed at a teen audience on Disney's Freeform! channel. The official announcement states: 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger follows Tandy Bowen and Tyronne Johnson, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened by and awakened to newly acquired super powers while falling in love. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn that they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging.' Currently no info on a UK broadcaster.

Black Panther (Marvel)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B Jordan
We first met Black Panther (Boseman) in Captain America: Civil War. King of the highly advanced African nation of Wakanda he must fend off internal and external threats to his kingdom.
9 Feb 2018

Avengers Infinity (Marvel)
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson
The MCU has been building towards a gigantic showdown between Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) and the Avengers (and Guardians of the Galaxy). Expect pretty much every Marvel hero to pop up at some point.
27 Apr 2018

Deadpool 2 (X-Men)
Director: David Leitch
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller
After the huge box-office haul it's no surprise Deadpool will be back for more blood splattered hijinks. Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) join the madness.
1 Jun, 2018

Ant-Man and The Wasp (Marvel)
Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglass
Ant-Man had a fun jokey vibe only matched by Guardians of the Galaxy when it came to humour. Lilly takes on the mantle of the Wasp another shrinking insect based superhero.
6 Jul 2018

Aquaman (DC)
Director: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa
Momoa certainly looks the part as The Lord of Atlantis. With Wan (Saw / Fast & Furious 7) behind the camera expect large scale underwater action.
27 Jul 2018

The Flash (DC)
Director: Robert Zemeckis (tbc)
Starring: Ezra Miller
A new take on the fastest man alive. Unlike Marvel, DC aren't linking their TV series and movies so don't confuse this with the current television show. Three directors have already dropped out which probably explains why it has been pushed back to 2019.

Captain Marvel (Marvel)
Director: Anna Boden / Ryan Fleck
Starring: Brie Larson
In the comics Captain Marvel is a human with alien superpowers but the film is still a bit of a mystery. No real details on the plot as yet but we do know it will be the Carol Danvers version of the character.
8 Mar 2019

Shazam! (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: Dwayne Johnson
A young boy can turn into a superhero when he utters the magic word: 'Shazam!'. Again scant info on offer except that Johnson will play villain Black Adam.
5 Apr 2019

Avengers Infinity Gauntlet (Marvel)
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson (all tbc)
We're guessing at the Infinity Gauntlet title but it would make sense to comic fans after the Infinity war and comments from Zoe Saladana. If that's the case expect another epic battle with Thanos.
26 Apr 2019

Justice League Part Two (DC)
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa
The Justice League are back, so far that's all we know, but expect it'll be to tackle an extremely dangerous global threat.
14 Jun 2019

Cyborg (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: Ray Fisher
Was anyone asking for a Cyborg movie? Hopefully this will defy expectations as Fisher stars as the titular man/machine.
3 Apr 2020

Green Lantern Corps (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: tbc
Complete reboot to wipe away the memory fo the duff 2011 version. The GLC are a galactic police force wielding cosmic power rings. Tyrese Gibson is apparently in early discussions for a major role.

Batman (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: Ben Affleck
Bats vs Sups got a bit of a mauling by the critics but made good boxoffice. However everything seems to have gone quite on this solo outing for Gotham's Dark Knight. Affleck is apparently still scheduled to play Batman but after announcing he would write and direct he decided to take a back seat, no word on a new director or release date. Joe Manganiello was slated to play villain Deathstroke but his continued involvement is also still tbc. However Batman is such a huge property it's bound to be resurrected in one form or another.

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