After Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, the DC Animated Universe, as seen in numerous movies since Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox in 2013, came to an end. With the end of the Apokolips War, the next iteration of the DC animated universe has begun, and the movies set to be released next year have already begun to reflect a change in look, tone, and talent. this is not the first time it has happened; When the DC Universe Animated Movies debuted, they were heralded as more true to the comics than the “DC Animated Universe” from Batman: The Animated Series through Justice League Unlimited.
The initial run of dc universe movies did just that, with titles like superman: doomsday, which loosely adapted “the death and return of superman” from the comics, and justice league: the new frontier, which adapted darwyn cooke’s award-winning film. dc: the new frontier miniseries as the series progressed, they began to tell more original stories and diverge from the comics more often, though staying fairly close to the tone of the source material.
After Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (which, like the Flashpoint miniseries on which it was based, rebooted the universe), the DC Universe movies fell into a more familiar groove. they had a similar tone from movie to movie, recurring actors, and a shared continuity, none of which had been a priority with pre-flashpoint dc universe movies.
the connected continuity made for some interesting storylines, especially since the trend was to adapt some of dc’s most beloved comic arcs, so you ended up with new 52 inspired takes on the death of superman and teen titans: the contract of jude .
so what next?
The first immediate movie following Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is Superman: The Man of Tomorrow. The film features an all-new voice cast, new character models, and a diverse cast of space-based characters such as Superman, J’onn J’onzz, and Lobo square off with white Maritans. while the dc universe as we saw it from flashpoint to apokolips war was largely earthbound, with darkseid and apokolips serving as the only space antagonists, it looks like the new series may go the route of justice league action and spend some time out in the world, and some time visiting characters who otherwise don’t get much screen time.
at the same time, white martians and wolves are both frightening and violent images. it’s possible that some of the new universe will lean even more towards the hardcore pg-13 or r-rated movies that have dominated much of the past few years (with superman: red son and justice league dark: apokolips war set to release alone). this year) . that might be something that warner’s animation department is doing more generally, considering how intense the last mortal kombat movie was, and it’s something that sony pictures animation has talked about doing, as animation is so much easier to produce that live action work during the pandemic. The Simpsons and Adult Swim have helped prepare the general public for cartoons that are a little edgier, so the American public may now be catching up where many nations have been for years.
That idea could be supported by Batman: The Long Halloween, which centers on the hunt for a serial killer, and Batman: A Death in the Family, which sees Robin brutally murdered by the Joker. those stories have already been confirmed to be on the way from warner home entertainment.
if that’s the direction dc movies are going, and that’s a pretty big “if”, considering we’re basing it on vague evidence from movies no one has seen yet, of course that doesn’t mean there won’t be be any family friendly dc animated content. Between Teen Titans Go!, DC Super Hero Girls, and Justice League Action, that type of content has been ubiquitous in the market for the past few years, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon. There’s also reportedly a DC Super Pets project in the works, which we’re guessing won’t be too hard.
This is likely a statement that Superman: Man of Tomorrow appears to be the first DC animated film reboot where the series begins with an original script not based on a comic book. While A Death in the Family and the Long Halloween are based on comics, the DC Super Pets Movie is likely to be a completely original movie, making the mix of animated films planned for 2021 a 50/50 mix.