As “Wonder Woman” soared past the $400 million mark at the domestic box office recently, DC Comics’ most popular heroine can also take claim to a new title: Warner Bros. top live-action superhero.
WB/DC’s first undeniable hit with both fans and critics since Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy (only “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” have made more domestically for them than “Wonder Woman”) hasn’t eased the seemingly constant uncertainty that hovers over their superhero movie universe.
“Justice League” is currently going through reshoots under the direction of Joss Whedon in the absence of Zack Snyder before its November release. “The Flash” movie still doesn’t have a director. And despite his best intentions, many still aren’t convinced Ben Affleck wants to continue to be Batman in the Dark Knight’s next solo movie franchise, which will be directed by Matt Reeves.
But none of that developmental drama has clouded the skies of Themyscira. WB and DC have already announced that the next “Wonder Woman” movie will hit theaters on Dec. 13, 2019.
We can assume there will be more “Justice League” movies, especially if classic DC villain Darkseid is only hinted at in the first movie and doesn’t appear. Director James Wan is no doubt looking at what made “Wonder Woman” work (humor, romance, inspiring and not overwhelmingly dark) and doing his best to apply that to Jason Momoa’s “Aquaman” movie (coming Dec. 21, 2018). But right now, until another hero steps up and possibly stands out alongside her in “Justice League,” “Wonder Woman” is the only WB/DC franchise that fans are eager for more of.
Of course, this is the post-Nolan era of DC movies, so even the best of news comes with a little drama. “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins is still not officially signed for a sequel. WB/DC had to know they had a hit on their hands with “Wonder Woman” before its release, but after the subpar critical response to “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” they probably wanted to take things slow and see the public response before resigning Jenkins. Still, it is almost a certainty that she will return.
The new “Justice League” trailer that was released at Comic-Con in July confirms that Wonder Woman is rising in the ranks. The trailer begins with some now-famous Wonder Woman sweeping leg kicks and a splash of Gal Gadot’s lighthearted humor that was missing in “B v S” and “Suicide Squad.” When it’s time for some inspirational vocal leadership, it’s not Batman leading the way, but Wonder Woman, saying “don’t engage alone, we’ll do this together.” It’s quite different from the first trailer, which leaned on Batman’s recruitment of meta-humans to the Justice League.
“Wonder Woman” is approaching $800 million worldwide at the box office as it nears the end of its theatrical run. Batman and Superman got DC’s connected movie universe started – “Man of Steel” made $668 million worldwide and $291 million domestically in 2013 and “B v S” made $873 million worldwide (more than “Wonder Woman,” actually) and $330 million domestically (less) in 2016. But it’s Wonder Woman, in her movie-saving debut in “B v S” and her triumphant solo cinematic effort, who has assured fans that they can still be hopeful about the future of DC Comics on film.
The bat-signal, at least until Reeves dusts it off, can take it easy. Wonder Woman will take it from here.