The producer of Justice League, Charles Roven had said that one of his greatest hopes was that people would walk out of the theatre wanting to watch Justice League 2. While the reviews and box office numbers seem to question if everyone really wanted the first Justice League, there are a few positive takeaways. Many critics and audiences have responded very well to movie’s characters, and each of them may get a solo movie.
Since Justice League has introduced Steppenwolf, the Mother Boxes, and Apocoliptian lore, the assumptions had been that this franchise will follow a very similar path to the MCU’s final battle with Thanos. This would be brought to fruition by having the League fight against DC’s Darkseid.
Steppenwolf, Motherboxes, and Apokolips have related every story element and there are no loose ends to lead into a much bigger cosmic battle and it verifies the rumors during production that claimed that Snyder’s original cliff-hanger ending had been completely retooled in order to make it more definitive. There is very much a Darkseid reference in the movie which is a threat is still out there in the film universe, but it is not one with any immediacy which will dictate the franchise’s plans which will in turn leave the plot of a sequel open for a fresh and new story. This may have Justice League clearing the slate of the controversial elements from Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and uniting the entire team.
While Justice League’s major plot does not leave lingering villains, it teased a setup for a much larger League with Batman making plans to transform Wayne Manor into a Hall of Justice with a huge round table “with room for more,” which hints at plans for many more characters. Another Justice League member with a movie which is currently in development is Shazam and so he is a definite opportunity for a sequel and eventually Green Lantern Corps will introduce Hal Jordan and/or John Stewart.
A Nightwing movie is now in production with Chris McKay and Joss Whedon’s Batgirl is on the cards. The sequel may also follow in footsteps of the predecessor by using a team-up as set up for many more new characters in a similar way to The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman making an appearance in Justice League before their solo adventures.
For the financial failings of Justice League, this has to be one area where it is seen as a huge success: it introduces very admirable characters and sets a launch pad for the future of DCEU. However, the problem is, this movie is performing very poorly and whether or not the future will come to life is in a heap of doubt. Warner Bros. had a stellar year outside Justice League with lower hits like Annabelle: Creation and IT, and many big movies like Wonder Woman and Dunkirk. If Warner Bros. can finally string together 3 and more successful solo movies, then an appetite to see the characters team up again may return.
With many options for Justice League 2 heroes, who may our next villain be? This may be what Justice League’s second post-credits scene finally sets up. There is a Deathstroke movie which is in production with Joe Manganiello and Gavin O’Connor may helm Suicide Squad 2 which may involve Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Black Adam and both of them may connect to the post-credits scene. But considering the fact that Lex Luthor says it is time they have “a league” of their own teases the Injustice League.
Given that there will be many characters, particularly villains, Warner Bros. may take green-lighting an endeavor like this extra slow mainly due to Justice League’s reaction, but to make sure every character is serviced in lead-up movies much beforehand.
Despite all this, it is possible that Justice League 2 is off the cards for now, with a lot of rumors much before Justice League’s release that claimed that DC will pursue a less connected universe that will focus on a vast pantheon of characters.
Whatever the plans are for Justice League 2, the future of DCEU will be the subject of a whole lot of discussion over the next few months. With a 13-month wait for Aquaman and many projects in development, the landscape may be different by the time our beloved King of Atlantis’ stand-alone movie finally arrives.