Ever since DC decided they were going to go head to head with Marvel and create a cinematic universe, the results have been…mixed to say the least. Man Of Steel was controversial for its bleak portrayal of Superman, while Batman Vs Superman birthed a generation of memes more memorable than the actual film. Justice League was plagued by inconsistent storytelling and an anticlimactic villain.
With recent films like Joker and Shazam, DC has started to fix its mistakes. Developers are learning to strike a balance between lighthearted comedy and serious subject matter. The first DC film to do this successfully was Wonder Woman. Praised for its casting, storytelling and relatable themes, Wonder Woman is the gold standard of the DC Extended Universe.
Wonder Woman proved there’s a market for female superheroes to save the day on the silver screen, and she isn’t the only one. The DC Universe is filled with awesome superheroines who deserve to have their stories shared with a wider audience.
By focusing on female-centric films, DC could easily replicate the success of Wonder Woman. More importantly, there’s the opportunity to experiment and create movies that transcend the superhero genre….
Audiences have already been introduced to a few different DC superheroines, so it makes sense to develop films around characters that already exist in the DC Extended Universe. Katana would be one of the most interesting choices because of her backstory.
First introduced in Suicide Squad, Katana left a memorable impression in the limited time that she was on screen. Stoic, formidable and strong, Tatsu Yamashiro wields a mystical katana called Soultaker that contains the spirit of her husband. She’s determined to avenge his death and the dishonor that was brought to her family, which could form the backdrop of a solo film.
DC have the option to go with an authentic Japanese story by featuring the film in Japan and making sure it’s presented in the native language. Katana could be taking on a criminal organisation and track down leads about her husband’s death. The movie could even take inspiration from the Japanese horror genre by including supernatural creatures that Katana needs to defeat.
2. Black Canary
2020’s Birds of Prey is set to debut several well-known DC superheroines and Black Canary will be one of them. While it’s great to see Dinah Lance being featured as part of a team, the character has plenty of history that can easily carry a stand-alone movie.
As one of DC’s most accomplished martial artists, Black Canary has spent most of her life training to be the best crime-fighter around. Her mother, Dinah Drake, was the first Black Canary and that relationship could play a key role in the film. Her mother may act as a mentor figure who could help to guide Dinah throughout the story.
Obscure superheroes like Wildcat could also make a cameo in the film. Wildcat was responsible for training Black Canary in boxing and other techniques and he could fill the role of a surrogate father figure.
Ultimately, the heart of the Black Canary film could centre on the strong family dynamic that she’s built with others. The story could even include her adoptive daughter, Sin, with Dinah coming to terms with the fact that she can be a young mother and a crime-fighter.
Helena Bertinelli will also be introduced in Birds of Prey, though she’s fully capable of leading her own film. Coming from a Mafia background, Huntress had a dark upbringing that involved her being kidnapped and tortured by a rival crime family. Years later, she witnessed a mob-ordered hit on her parents. From that day on, Huntress vowed to end the Mafia by any means necessary.
Helena’s mob connections have all the makings of an old school Martin Scorsese crime thriller. The origin film could involve her training to strike back against the family who had her parents whacked. It could evolve into a globe-trotting revenge flick that sees Huntress travel across Italy and America in her pursuit of different targets.
Given Huntress’ violent attitude, DC would be wise to make the film R-rated. This would stop Huntress from being watered down and allow audiences to see the most realistic version of the character.
4. Jessica Cruz
The last Green Lantern movie will be remembered more for the crack Ryan Reynolds made about his suit in Deadpool than for anything else. This doesn’t mean that the franchise can’t be rebooted with a new protagonist. The Green Lantern Corps feature a variety of characters who could step into the void Hal Jordan left behind.
A movie about Jessica Cruz could reignite the Green Lantern series and shine a light on mental health. Jessica has a history of anxiety attacks, brought on by witnessing the murder of her friends and her experience with the Ring of Volthoom. She struggles to balance her condition with protecting the universe alongside her teammates.
The film could involve Jessica fighting to overcome her anxiety and depict the condition in a realistic manner. For example, it might show her struggling to get out of bed or avoiding social interaction. The movie might even frame anxiety as the villain, with Jessica creating a physical construct of her condition and it attacking innocent people.
The potential for a mental health positivity-based film is huge with Jessica. It could drive the conversation about mental health disorders, while reminding people that it’s okay to talk about their experiences in public.
5. Miss Martian
If DC ever planned on creating a sci-fi superhero movie, then Miss Martian would make an ideal lead. There are a few routes that could be taken. The film could be set solely on Mars and focus on the civil war between the Green Martins and White Martians. As a White Martian, M’Gann M’orzz was labelled an outcast among her people and sent away to another solar system.
Alternatively, a Miss Martian film could concentrate on her landing on Earth and adjusting to life. In this scenario, Martin Manhunter might already have been established as her guardian and have crash landed on Earth several years before.
The film could follow in the vein of Shazam, which combined comedy with teenage themes. Imagine M’Gann going to high school and learning how to use her shapeshifting abilities to fit in. There’s a lot of potential for a feelgood movie with a message of learning to accept yourself for who you are.
6. Lady Blackhawk
A great aspect of Wonder Woman was the time period it was set in. It blended the superhero and historical genres seamlessly, and DC could try the same thing with a Lady Blackhawk film.
Set during WW2, the movie could focus on Zinda Blake’s determination to become the first female member of the Blackhawks. As an elite aircraft unit, the Blackhawks were used to taking on dangerous missions behind enemy lines.
In the comics, Zinda was refused entry to the team because of her gender and it motivated her to train as a pilot. On her second interaction with the Blackhawks, she rescued the entire team. In honour of her service, Zinda was accepted into the Blackhawks.
The film could make use of several important WW2 battles, such as Operation Torch, which saw the first major involvement of American troops in the war. The Blackhawks could be pinned down in enemy territory and Zinda charges in all guns blazing to rescue them.
Seeing young superheroines represented on the big screen is important and a character who could fill that role is Ravager. The daughter of Deathstroke, Rose Wilson has a complex history that can be captured perfectly in movie form.
A Ravager film might involve her struggling to balance her violent past with walking the path of a superhero. Depending on the context of the story, Deathstroke could be the central villain or choose to help his daughter. There’s also the opportunity to bring in other members of the Wilson clan, like Rose’s brothers Jericho and Grant.
The movie’s dysfunctional family dynamic could be bolstered further by Ravager searching for her mother. As Ravager is half-Cambodian, she could explore Cambodia and look for clues on her mother’s whereabouts.
With a mixture of crime and black comedy, a Ravager movie has the potential to be a memorable coming-of-age story. Chelsea T. Zang has done a grand job as Ravager in Titans.
Marvel has demonstrated that it can develop a successful magic-based superhero movie with Doctor Strange. DC could look to create its own by featuring Zatanna Zatara. As a powerful magic user, Zatanna could act as a bridge into DC’s wider supernatural community that features characters like John Constantine, Madame Xanadu and Swamp Thing.
Or rather than going for a huge, magical spectacle, DC could choose to focus on the bond between Zatana and her father Giovanni. What if the film told the story of a girl who thought her dad was the greatest magician in the world, but never thought that it was real?
Within the film, an elderly Giovanni could pass on and leave his legacy to his daughter. It would be interesting to see Zatanna try to live up to her father’s example and come to terms with magic being more than pulling rabbits out of hats.
9. Cassandra Cain
The Batman family contains a timeless cast of characters, and Cassandra Cain is one of the most memorable. Raised to be the ultimate fighter by her father, Cassandra grew up mute. Instead of speaking, Cassandra learned to communicate through body language and read the movements of others. This allowed her to predict her opponent’s fighting techniques, making her a force to be reckoned with.
Cassandra’s unique way of looking at the world could be explored on camera in a variety of creative ways. DC could revive the silent film genre by not having Cassandra speak at all. This might be contrasted with violent subject matter that sees her tear her way through the criminal underworld.
The film could also focus on the relationship that Cassandra has with her parents David Cain and Lady Shiva. Both could serve as villains and they could try to use Cassandra for their own ends.
In essence, a Cassandra Cain movie would be about a girl who simply wants to find her place in the world.
When Marvel released Black Panther, the comic powerhouse proved that audiences are eager to see superheroes from different backgrounds get their spot in the limelight. DC could look to emulate that success by creating a film that focuses on Mari McCabe, AKA Vixen.
Thanks to the Tantu Totem, Vixen has all the powers of the animal kingdom. The totem was created by the god Anansi and passed down through the generations until it came into the hands of the McCabe family. Mari’s mother protected the totem, only to be killed by her half-brother General Maksai, who coveted it for himself. After retrieving the totem from her uncle, Vixen vowed to protect Africa against all threats.
A Vixen film could take place in Africa and feature a mixture of mystical and political themes. In addition to creating a strong story for Mari, DC could tap into the power of CGI to make some truly spectacular animal animations. For example, Mari could channel the spirit of an extinct animal like a sabre-tooth cat and it might be incorporated into a fighting sequence.