Since the news broke that Warner Bros. Discovery under CEO David Zaslav is overhauling its superhero cinematic universe, there have been multiple changes to the slate of projects. The biggest of these changes was the cancellation of the HBO Max Batgirl exclusive that starred Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, Michael Keaton, and Brendan Fraser.
What does this new set of delays entail for the highly anticipated sequels? Check out the details below.
According to the report of The Hollywood Reporter, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods have been pushed back by several months to nearly a year.
Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom will now have a Christmas 2023 release date. Originally set for a December 16, 2022 release date, the sequel to the billion dollar blockbuster directed by James Wan in 2018 was already delayed to March 17, 2023. Jason Momoa is set to reprise his role as Arthur Curry aka Aquaman, along with Patrick Wilson (Ocean Master/Orm), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Black Manta), Amber Heard (Mera), Nicole Kidman (Atlanna), Willem Dafoe (Vulko), Temuera Morrison (Tom Curry), with Haruka Ohshima. It was also confirmed that Ben Affleck would be returning as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
Meanwhile, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which had been intended for release on December 15, 2022, will now move to the date Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom previously held. The follow-up to the 2019 superhero film, the sequel would see the return of Zachary Levi (Shazam), Asher Angel (Billy Batson), Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy Freeman), Adam Brody (Super Hero Freddy), Ross Butler (Super Hero Eugene), Meagan Good (Super Hero Darla), D.J. Cotrona (Super Hero Pedro), Grace Fulton (Mary Bromfield/Super Hero Mary), Faithe Herman (Darla Dudley), Ian Chen (Eugene Choi), Jovan Armand (Pedro Pena), Marta Milans (Rosa Vasquez), Cooper Andrews (Victor Vasquez), and Djimon Hounsou (Wizard Shazam). New cast members include Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, and Rachel Zegler.
In the details of the report, the apparent reason for the delays of the two DCEU movies are:
…to spread out the marketing and distribution costs associated with releasing a studio tentpole.
However, this was not officially confirmed as the spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment.
Meanwhile, fans of the Snyderverse are speculating that this is an indication of the two films getting more reshoots. These reshoots are rumored to be for realigning the DC Extended Universe back to the timeline of the Zack Snyder films, as evidenced by Ben Affleck’s return in both The Flash and the Aquaman sequel. Plus, delaying the Shazam! sequel avoids clashing with James Cameron’s Avatar 2 for box office dominance.
James Wan reacts
As soon as the news broke of the additional delay for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, director James Wan reacted in support of the move to delay the film.
On his Instagram account, James Wan shared concept art from the Aquaman sequel. The images depict the different settings Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom would be exploring, as well as clashing with supervillain Black Manta.
Wan praised the move, stating a December release had a precedent for being good for the Aquaman franchise. After all, the first film made $1.148 billion after it hit theaters on December 21, 2018.
While Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom have been moved from their projected release date, they are not the only films Warner Bros. Discovery altered.
House Party has been moved to a December 9, 2022 release and Evil Dead Rise has been given an April 21, 2023 release date. These are notable for not just the change in release date, but also being updated from HBO Max exclusives to theatrical releases.
Meanwhile, Salem’s Lot has been removed from the release calendar. As of the time of this writing, no new release date has been given for the horror film remake.
And despite the changes to the release for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the remaining major DCEU films are still on target for their last updated schedules:
Aquaman and Shazam! are currently available on the HBO Max streaming service.