DC movies are in a bit of an odd place right now. Last year, DC Films was rebranded as DC Studios and the DC Extended Universe dropped the “Extended” part from its branding in favor of the cleaner, simpler “DC Universe.” After saying farewell to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” filmmaker James Gunn is now focused on putting together a new roadmap of DC content. Earlier this year, Gunn and his DC Studios co-boss Peter Safran announced a slate of film and TV projects for the DC Universe including “Superman: Legacy,” “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow,” and “The Batman: Part II.”
Before that arrives, however, there are a couple of leftover projects from the DCEU that, like “The Flash,” exist in a strange sort of limbo between the old and the new. First up is “Blue Beetle,” from director Angel Manuel Soto, which stars Xolo Maridueña (“Cobra Kai”) as Jaime Reyes, a young man who accidentally becomes bonded to a symbiotic scarab that covers his body with a suit of armor. “Blue Beetle” has the benefit of not really having any connections to the DCEU. Instead, the movie has a chance to sink or swim on its own merits.
“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” releasing in December, is a bit more complicated. The first “Aquaman” movie was one of the DCEU’s biggest success stories, grossing $1.148 billion worldwide by the end of its run. However, more than 70 percent of that was made overseas, including $291 million in China alone. “Aquaman” actually had a pretty modest domestic opening weekend of $67 million.
“The Lost Kingdom” has a couple of things going for it. There’s star Jason Momoa, whose entertaining villain turn in “Fast X” was recently praised as one of the best elements of the movie. Then there’s director James Wan, returning from the first movie, who has a steady string of hits under his belt, from “The Conjuring” to “Furious 7.” Between them, they might be able to deliver one last triumph for the DCEU before the DC Universe kicks off in earnest.