The great rivalry between powerhouse publishers Marvel and DC may have started in the four-color pages of the comic books, but it’s been visibly fought out on screen in recent years.
The two greats of American comics have been at the forefront of creating viable and enduring shared universes on film, reproducing the complicated, intertwining stories fans know from their books.
DC was quick to adapt its superheroes in the 1940s and landed massive hits with Superman and Batman in the 1970s and 1980s, but it’s Marvel that’s skyrocketed recently.
Marvel has developed the most successful franchise in movie history with the support of Disney. In contrast, DC, owned by Warner Bros., went straight for the heavy hitters. Their darker approach confused moviegoers until Justice League revealed the huge gap between DC’s first superteam and The Avengers.
But change is coming to the comic book giant famous for resetting narratives. In June 2023, the flash will refresh the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), while the studio will let other separate universes develop around smashes like the one in 2019 Joker and 2022 The Batman.
We’ve yet to see how many greenlit movies will fit into these new universes and how they’ll deal with already introduced characters like Deathstroke. Returning titans Aquaman and Wonder Woman will undoubtedly bring new adversaries. The second Shazam movie will open up the multiverse to gods and monsters.
black adam will arrive in October 2022, testing Dwayne Johnson’s promise that the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change. Movies featuring the magician Zatanna and the mystically-powered Blue Beetle have been announced, and we know the DCEU’s Supergirl will debut in the flash. This film will also return Michael Keaton’s Batman to the hood for several DCEU appearances, including a retro look. bat girl.
The good news is that DC still has a large roster of exciting characters to bring to its standalone and connected movies. Here are our top picks for characters who deserve their moment in the DCEU.
Superman’s roster of supervillains hasn’t been well explored in film, but Brainiac has already come close to hitting theaters. The elements found themselves in (terrifying) moments of Superman 3and he would have been the main villain of Tim Burton’s doomed Superman lives, but it’s time he was unleashed as the universe-level threat he is.
The green-skinned tech tyrant may be one of Superman’s greatest enemies, but reinventions throughout his 60-year career haven’t earned him the recognition of Lex Luther. It must hurt. Blake Ritson’s chilling TV portrayal on Krypton showed the potential of this augmented cyborg with a penchant for flying and shrinking cities.
Best paired with: The entire Kryptonian family for an epic grudge match to reclaim the stolen city of Kandor.
9. Detective Chimp
You’d expect DC Comics to have a strong lineage of detectives, and in recent years Brian Michael Bendis has revived comics agency Checkmate to prove there’s more than one great detective in the multiverse. While The Batman strengthened the Dark Knight’s deductive skills, it’s time for Detective Comics to show its roots.
Golden Age superhero Detective Chimp may look like a gimmick with his stalker Sherlock Holmes, but he would be a brilliant addition. This common chimpanzee uses his superhuman-level intelligence to solve crimes and has played a crucial role in important DC storylines.
Best paired with: Companion Chess and Enigma, The Question.
8. Ra’s Al Ghul
The DCEU’s original cosmic intentions have gone off the rails, so maybe it’s time to focus on Earth threats. Few have the topical appeal of Ra’s Al Ghul. Since his comic book debut in the 1970s, he had gone from budding Batman stepfather to Justice League-level threat.
Ra’s eco-inspired struggle against humanity led him to Batman: The Animated Series, Arrow, video games, and the Black Knight trilogy. His position as the head of the League of Assassins and the natural gothic horror of his extended life have great potential in the DCEU.
Best paired with: That other longtime Legion of Doom member, Vandal Savage, to unlock their immortal rivalry.
7. Jessica Cruz
A Green Lantern Corps the movie is still on the slate, but DC is understandably wary of bringing its intergalactic police force to the screen after The Green Lanternfell ten years ago. Since the DCEU launched, the only hint of a green ring has been a flashback in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. There are plenty of decent ring bearers out there, but just nudging John Stewart and Kyle Rayner is newcomer Jessica Cruz.
She had a difficult introduction to the New 52 when she accidentally inherited the Power Ring mantle during an incursion by the corrupt Earth 3 Crime Syndicate. Cruz has proven to be a valuable member of the Corps, overcoming struggles with social anxiety and the weight of his mission a large fanbase.
Best paired with: Green Lantern’s accidental partner Simon Baz to reunite with their comic book rivalry.
6. Gold Booster
Any DCEU reset will no doubt attempt to shake off its previous obscurity, and a character like Booster could be essential. Booster appeared after DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths as a time-traveling superhero from the 25th century. But three decades of tragedy and adventure have seen his quest for glory replaced by something deeper.
Modern Booster is more likely to consider the implications of his future acquaintances than prank Batman. Writers like Tom King (heroes in crisis) and its creator, Dan Jurgens (Death of Superman), showed just how deep this comedy character can be.
Best paired with: crime-fighting partner, Silver Age Blue Beetle Ted Kord.
5. John Constantine
Few comic characters are as compelling as Liverpudlian mage John Constantine. It made its debut in the pages of Swamp Thingwith a Sting-inspired look, before headlining an impressive 300-issue series of the hellblazer title for DC imprint Vertigo. Breaking into the mainstream DC Universe has raised his profile considerably without diluting his edgy character (too much).
After Keanu Reeves brought him to the movies, Matt Ryan’s prominent portrayal in the TV series Constantine then the Arrowverse showed the character’s uncanny ability to fit into any part of the DC Universe. He’s likely to shake things up while opening the door to the magical side of the DCEU with the mystical super-team Justice League Dark.
Best paired with: Those who survived know him best, Zatanna and Swamp Thing.
Vixen has made a few live and animated appearances, including the Arrowverse. Television proved too small for this superhero who taps into the spirits of animals past and present. Her character and abilities have earned her high-profile action in the Justice League for the past few years, and chances are she could bring something powerful and new to the DCEU.
Best paired with: Animal Man to unlock the incredible, elemental power of Red for the DCEU.
3. Mister Miracle
Ava DuVernay and Tom King’s new gods The script was full of potential until images from Warner Bros. unplug. The closing of the DCEUs Justice League screenplay stole Jack Kirby’s immediate plans for the Fourth World.
We’ll have to hope that Scott Free, adopted son of Darkseid and an escape artist who honed his skills breaking homes in Apokolips, can soon bring his superhero mix to the DCEU.
Best paired with: Big Barda, of course, bringing one of DC’s great romances to the screen.
2. Poison Ivy
The Birds of Prey have come together, launching some of Gotham’s strongest female characters into the DCEU. While Jurnee Smollett’s Black Canary is slated for a feature of its own, there is one significant omission.
After batman and robin mistreated Poison Ivy, it’s time for Red to bring in the anti-hero goodwill amassed from TV shows like Gotham and Harley Quinn on the big screen. Devastating powers, a fascinating relationship with Harley, and a hotline with nature: few characters can make a splash like Ivy.
Best paired with: Her ultimate best daughter, Harley Quinn and Catwoman to complete the Gotham Sirens
1. Reverse Flash
the flash The TV series showed the Great Thieves of Flash’s Central City, but the Speedster’s twisted mirror image tops the list of threats. Barry Allen’s powers have proven pivotal to the DC Universes since he first unlocked the Multiverse in the Silver Age. He’s now likely to be vital to resetting the DCEU, so imagine what his nemesis could do.
Eobard Thawne is Barry Allen’s destruction-obsessed 25th century speedster. He influenced other sinister speedsters, including Hunter Zoloman’s Zoom. For the Speed Force and the tragic lengths he’s willing to go to destroy his rival, Thawne could be one of the DCEU’s big baddies.
Best paired with: Every speedster’s worst nightmare, the psychopomp Black Flash of Speed Force.