James Gunn confirmed that several films would continue to be developed as DC Elseworlds projects, separate from the main DC Universe continuity. Gunn announced the new slate of projects for the DCU’s Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters on January 31, 2023, revealing ten new projects across film, TV, and animation that will kick off with Superman: Legacy in 2025. The DC Universe will mark a new chapter for DC Studios in the wake of the franchise’s reset during The Flash, but while the DCU will produce a new interconnected storyline, other projects outside the shared universe will continue to be developed, dubbed DC Elseworlds projects.

DC Comics developed stories since 1942’s Superman: Cartoon Hero! that were outside the DC Universe’s main continuity, initially titled Imaginary Stories, though this was adapted into the Elseworlds imprint from 1989’s Gotham by Gaslight onwards. The imprint shared similarities with Marvel Comics’ What If series, both of which explored alternate storylines, often placing established heroes in different time periods, such as Gotham by Gaslight featuring a Victorian-era Batman. The CW produced Elseworlds stories for the Arrowverse, and feature films separate from the DCEU had started to be released as Elseworlds projects before the reshuffle at DC Studios, and these are set to continue in the new DC Universe.

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5 Blue Beetle

blue beetle project in the dcu

Immediately succeeding The Flash, Blue Beetle is set for release on August 18, 2023, detailing the story of Jaime Reyes, played by Xolo Maridueña, a teenager who gains superpowers after an alien Blue Beetle grafts itself onto him and gifts him a powerful exoskeleton. Blue Beetle was announced to be in development in November 2018, and while the film is billed for release as part of the DC Universe, the storyline is separate enough that Blue Beetle can be an Elseworlds project. Gunn even confirmed that Blue Beetle is “totally disconnected,” which will allow the new superhero his own space to breathe while major changes happen around him in the DCU.

Blue Beetle is one of four already developed projects that will be releasing in 2023 before the major shake-up to the DC Universe, along with Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. It’s unclear what the future will hold for Blue Beetle once the DCU’s Chapter 1 begins in 2025, as there are currently no plans for a continuation of the story, or at least none that Gunn revealed when announcing the first slate for the DCU. However, as an Elseworlds project, it’s possible that Jaime Reyes could continue to have a fruitful career in a DCU-adjacent universe.

4 Joker: Folie À Deux

joaquin phoenix and lady gaga in the poster for joker folie a deux

The monumental success of Todd Phillips’ 2019 Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, made a sequel all but inevitable. Joker displayed Fleck’s descent into violence and his loss of mental stability as he began to embrace his identity as the Joker in an intense, emotional, and subversive storyline that also acted as a remarkable departure from the DCEU by delivering a character-based, gritty plot. Joker: Folie à Deux was officially announced to be in development in June 2022, with Phillips and Phoenix returning, joined by new cast member Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn in the 2024 sequel, which is also planned to be a movie musical.

During his announcement, Gunn reassured audiences that Joker: Folie à Deux would still go ahead as planned and confirmed that the separate franchise would continue to develop under the DC Elseworlds label. This means that a main continuity Joker and Harley Quinn can be introduced into the DCU, while Phoenix and Gaga continue to portray the characters in the alternate version of Gotham City. Currently, Joker: Folie à Deux is the only project from DC Studios scheduled for release in 2024, and it seems as though it will stay this way as Gunn and Peter Safran will start the new DC Universe in 2025.

Related: So, Will The DCU Not Have A Justice League Movie?

3 The Batman – Part II

robert pattinson as bruce wayne in the batman part 2

Originally crafted as a solo film for Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader, The Batman was reworked under Matt Reeves as a DC Elseworlds project. The Batman debuted Robert Pattinson as a more grounded, detective-style version of Bruce Wayne in a story that found him teaming up with Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, to uncover corruption while chasing after the Riddler. Unlike Joker, which was intended to be a standalone film, The Batman was always planned to kick-start a new shared universe outside the DC Universe, with two sequels planned and two spinoff TV series already in the works at HBO Max.

These sequels and spinoffs are still in development at DC Studios but will continue to be released under the DC Elseworlds label. This is especially important to categorize as a new Batman-centric film is planned for Chapter 1 of the DCU. The Brave and the Bold will see a new Batman (not Affleck) team up with his son, Damian Wayne, a.k.a. Robin, in a new story, and will also introduce other members of the Bat-family into the franchise, something which previous DC Studios projects have tended to avoid. Reeves will continue to release projects in his self-proclaimed “BatVerse” alongside the DCU.

2 Constantine 2

keanu reeves in constatine in the dcu

One of the more obscure choices for a DC Elseworlds project comes in the form of the highly-anticipated Constantine 2, a sequel to 2005’s Constantine. This is unusual as Constantine released long before the start of the DCEU, and many had resigned themselves to never seeing a sequel, but Constantine 2 was officially reported to be in development in September 2022, with Keanu Reeves set to return as John Constantine. Gunn neglected to reveal anything about Constantine 2 during his DC Universe announcement, but the film has been confirmed to still be in development, so it’ll most likely become a DC Elseworlds project.

1 Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Superman

calvin ellis as superman in ta-nehisi coates film

First announced in 2021, Ta-Nehisi Coates has had plans to direct a Superman film featuring a black Man of Steel for DC Studios for a number of years, and though not much is known about the project, and Gunn didn’t mention it in his DC Universe announcement, Coates’ film is still in active development. In January 2023, Variety reported that both Gunn and Safran are, in fact, waiting patiently for a draft of Coates’ screenplay. It could be assumed that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Superman project will also be a DC Elseworlds project, especially since Superman: Legacy is set to introduce a new Man of Steel to the DCU’s main continuity.

More: The Batman Part 2’s Title Supports Big Joker Theories

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