With the recent announcement that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has been cast to play Black Manta in Warner Bros. upcoming Aquaman flick, I was curious to know which characters DC was going to put into their quickly expanding DC Extended Universe. They’re planning on reaching Marvel’s heights at some point and having an interconnected universe, with all types of characters—heroes and villains—and I thought I’d help them out with that.
Here is a list of characters I feel should make an appearance at some point in the DCEU, where they should show up, what their role should be, and who should play them.
It’s pretty much been confirmed that Catwoman is going to show up in the DCEU at some point, with the recent announcement that Warner Bros. is fast-tracking a Gotham City Sirens movie. In the comics, Gotham City Sirens starred Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, so it’s pretty much a no-brainer that they’d use her.
Where should she show up? If they’re going to wait until the Gotham City Sirens movie to use her, that’d be great, but I’d love to see her appear first in Ben Affleck’s Batman solo movie. She can just have a cameo—maybe at a party scene or a banquet, flirting with Batman in her civilian clothing, and then a Wonder Woman-esque moment where we see her in costume.
What should her role be? I don’t want Catwoman to be a huge character, but I want her to be used as much as possible. I think she should be one of Batman’s supporting characters—she can show up to help him with a mission if he needs her, and randomly drop into other DCEU films with him for cool action sequences.
Who should play her? I think Eva Mendes would make a fantastic Catwoman. She’s Cuban, which goes with the character’s comic book origins. She looks like the character to me, and she’s a great actress.
There’s been a lot of discussion in the DCEU thus far about the death of Robin, but Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio, the writers of Batman v Superman and Justice League, have specified that their Robin doesn’t necessarily have to be Jason Todd, the Robin who died in the comics. But honestly, I kind of hope it is Jason Todd and not Dick Grayson. Dick would be a fantastic addition to the DCEU. It would fit with the tone they’re building for Affleck’s Batman, while still being something unique and that we haven’t seen before.
Where should he show up? The most obvious place to have him show up would be The Batman, but I could even see him appearing in Justice League. I think it would be amazing if there’s a fight with Deathstroke in the movie and Nightwing shows up. The two have fought in the comics, and it’d be a great precursor to Nightwing joining the Teen Titans later on.
What should his role be? If he’s already Nightwing and not Robin, I think he should come across as more of a peer to Batman than an underling. I’d love it if him and Batman have a kind of estranged relationship. Maybe Batman is angry with him for leaving his side and becoming a superhero on his own, which would provide some justification for why Batman has turned so cruel when we see him in Batman v Superman.
Who should play him? A lot of people have suggested Steven Yeun, and Yeun would be great, but it wouldn’t exactly be accurate to the character’s Romani heritage from the comics. Therefore, I think Jesus Castro would make a fantastic Nightwing. You really just need an actor who can pull off the stunts and action, and Castro is that to the T. He also looks a lot like the way the character is drawn; with some spiky hair, he’s Nightwing.
Circe is an iconic Wonder Woman villain, if you aren’t familiar with her. If you know me well, you know I’m a huge Circe fan. I love her, and I love that Wonder Woman faces off against female villains who are powerful and badass. I would love to see her in the DCEU at some point, especially if they plan on giving Wonder Woman a sequel. I honestly think she would be a great villain for the Justice League overall, but I’d be okay with just Wonder Woman—so long as we see her at all.
Where should she show up? It makes the most sense for her to appear in a Wonder Woman sequel. I don’t think she’ll show up in the first film—it’s pretty clear from the trailers that the villain in that movie will be Ares, Greek the God of War. Circe has always been a wonderful big bad for Diana Prince, so it only makes sense that she’d have to face off against her in a sequel. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some hint of her in the first movie. Maybe an after-credits scene?
What should her role be? I think she should be the main villain of the Wonder Woman sequel, maybe the main villain of Wonder Woman going forward. Just imagine: a Wonder Woman movie where Cheetah and Circe work together to try to take down Wonder Woman? That would be amazing.
Who should play her? Gemma Chan was born to play this role. She looks exactly like the character, and she has the acting talent to pull it off.
There’s rumors about Brainiac being in a Man of Steel sequel, which makes perfect sense. He’s an iconic Superman villain and he’s always been one of Superman’s biggest threats, outside of Doomsday. I loved Man of Steel and thought there were a lot of interesting ideas there, so I’d definitely be here for a sequel—especially if Brainiac was the villain. He could be the Justice League villain if they really wanted him to—he’s very powerful—but Superman can take him.
Where should he show up? We could see him being created in Justice League 2, which will likely come before a Man of Steel sequel. One thing I love about the DCEU versus the MCU is how interconnected it feels. Any character could show up in any movie. If the Justice League encounters Brainiac’s software or maybe we see it in passing as an after-credits scene in Justice League 2, it would be the perfect set-up for his appearance in Man of Steel 2.
What should his role be? I think you could keep Brainiac around for a long time. Essentially, how do you destroy a computer that’s smart enough to regenerate itself? It’s the same question people posed about Vision in the MCU, and I think Brainiac could be DC’s evil version of Vision. He could appear, gathering strength and building his power, in several DC movies before making his big debut in Man of Steel 2 as the villain.
Who should play him? Michael Fassbender would make an excellent Brainiac, considering how well he’s doing as David in the Prometheus films. He can handle the robotic elements that Brainiac would need to have, as well as being able to pull of the more serious elements. Lee Pace would knock the role out of the park as well.
5. Martian Manhunter
A lot of people feel that Martian Manhunter should be on the Justice League—and I agree. He’s not part of the lineup so much anymore in the comics, and he has his own mythology, which is exactly why I feel the DCEU should recruit him. He’s already made his appearance on the small screen, but that’s never stopped them before. Do a different take on the character. Change the way he looks, and change his personality a bit. I honestly feel he’s the alien equivalent to Superman—he’s the most powerful member of the Justice League. Use him, DC!
Where should he show up? This is a difficult question. The obvious thing would be for him to show up in a Justice League movie, but I don’t necessarily think they have any plans to utilize him there. Maybe in the sequel, but I’d really like to see him show up in Green Lantern Corps. It would make sense—he could come to help the Green Lanterns out or maybe even be a Black Lantern, if they’re going with the emotional spectrum.
What should his role be? I think he should be depicted as a powerful force who works on his own and does his own bidding from the beginning, but I eventually think the Justice League should recruit him. They will need to change the roster after a while, just like Marvel is, and the Manhunter would be a great choice to join the new League. Maybe he could even get his own movie!
Who should play him? Though I feel Mahershala Ali would make a great John Stewart, he’d also make a fantastic J’onn J’onnz. He has the stoic quality and the body type to really nail the role. I could also see Omar Sy doing a very good job with the role, if they chose to go with Ali for John Stewart.
Vixen has also served on the Justice League, and I think she’d be a great addition. She’s a Black woman, which is awesome in terms of diversity and inclusion, but also, her powers are just nice visually. She’s in touch with nature and animals, which could provide for some great juxtaposition with Poison Ivy. Also, she reminds me a bit of Misty Knight in the way her character is depicted. She would be a bold choice and something different, especially if they get her powers right.
Where should she show up? I think it would be nice to see her in The Flash. She’s spent a lot of time with the character in the comics, and it would be cool to see the two working together as friends. But, of course, it would also be nice to see her show up in a Justice League film.
What should her role be? I would love it if Vixen is kind of a Black Panther type character, someone who we know very little about when we see her, but is an audience favorite and has a lot of mythology to back her up. There isn’t much to go off of from the comics outside of her origin story, but it would be great if the movies added some more flair to the character and made her fit more into the broader context of the DCEU.
Who should play her? I would personally love to see Rutina Wesley in the role, as she’s currently killing it as Nova Bordelon on OWN’s Queen Sugar. I think she would make a fantastic Vixen, and she’d fit right into the DCEU. Shanola Hampton would also be a good choice.
7. Power Girl
It may seem redundant to have another Kryptonian in the DCEU after they proclaimed that Superman was the last one, and you might be wondering where she would fit in, but I think they should do it. At the beginning of the DC movies, Zack Snyder said their approach was to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. If they’re truly trying that, it would be great if they tried that with Kara Zor-El. She’s a great equivalent to Supergirl—so they could avoid people favoring the TV version—while also being slightly different in her personality and power set.
Where should she show up? Obviously, she’d show up in Man of Steel 2. That would be the best place to have her.
What should her role be? She could be an ally to Superman, standing with him as LexCorp continues its reign of terror against metahumans and helping him prove that not all metahumans are evil. She could provide some more star power and give Superman more toys to play with, also giving him a fellow Kryptonian and someone he can relate to. Maybe she can even provide some much-needed tension between he and Lois Lane. (Oh, and can we lose the boob-hugging costume, please? Thanks.)
Who should play her? Nathalie Emmanuel would make a great Power Girl. She’d be a racebended version of the character, and she would be an excellent match with Henry Cavill’s Superman while also bringing some flair and originality to the role.
He’s shown up on Young Justice and people loved him, so why not bring him into the DCEU? I think people would get a kick out of seeing him, especially since they’ve already confirmed that Black Manta is the villain of Aquaman. He’s a fan favorite, and it would bring some more diversity into the proceedings. Also, who doesn’t want to see his dope water powers in live action?
Where should he show up? It would make the most sense to have him first appear in Aquaman.
What should his role be? He should start off as Black Manta’s sidekick, helping him defeat Aquaman, but then turn good and be Aquaman’s Robin, but not in a way that negates the importance of the character; still give him plenty to do and make him a big part of the story. He should have a moral compass and get plenty of dope action sequences.
Who should play him? Game of Thrones’s Jacob Anderson would make a FANTASTIC Aqualad. He’s already killing it as Grey Worm over on Game of Thrones, and he’s proven to be great at playing a mighty warrior. He has the stoic qualities and the body type that matches the character perfectly.
9. Lucius Fox.
Lucius is a staple character in the Batman comics, and he’s been adapted to film before in Christopher Nolan’s extremely successful Dark Knight Trilogy. Why wouldn’t Warner Bros. use him going forward? One of my problems with Batman v Superman was they never explained how Bruce Wayne had the capability to build all these weapons. If you bring Lucius Fox in, that fixes that problem.
Where should he show up? The Batman or maybe even Justice League.
What should his role be? He should be the weapons tech guy for Batman and the Justice League, helping them to craft their many weapons, ships and suit upgrades. I really don’t like the idea that Batman gets all his technology from Thomas Wayne—that’s just like Tony Stark. Thomas Wayne was never an inventor; that’s something they’ve changed, and it’s a bad idea. Go with Lucius Fox! It’s an easy casting, and it would make more sense than what they’re doing now.
Who should play him? Courtney B. Vance, from The People vs. OJ Simpson, is the only person I can picture playing Lucius Fox. Come on, man. Give him some grey sideburns and a salt-and-pepper mustache, age his face a little bit, and give him some thick glasses and a suit, and he’d literally look like he leapt off the comic book page. Plus, he’s already in the blockbuster arena with Universal’s upcoming Mummy reboot. Why not use him?
10. Doctor Fate
How can you not have Fate in the DCEU? He’s practically crying out to be adapted, and I can see Zack Snyder adapting him perfectly. He’s the most powerful character in the DC mythology, and I think he would be a perfect boone to the Justice League—maybe not right now, but in future installments. Plus, he’s just a great character.
Where should he show up? He could either make his big-screen debut in a Justice League sequel or maybe Justice League Dark. He’s been tied to Zatanna and Etrigan before, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him there.
What should his role be? He really should be there to warn the Justice League/Justice League Dark about future events and be the moral compass of the proceedings. His abilities with magic are very cool, and I would love to see DC go more in that direction, but they have to use him carefully—they might want to change his mythology, as he’s virtually indestructible. Also, come on. They’ve got to go with the newer version of the character, the Egyptian-American Khalid Nassour.
Who should play him? If they go with Khalid Nassour, they HAVE to cast Riz Ahmed. He might be in the MCU at some point, given his connections to Disney, but I think he would make a fantastic Khalid and if you gave him a good workout plan and wardrobe, he would be excellent. But he’s not really authentic to the true ethnicity of the character. Therefore, Rami Malek would be great too—he’s already played an Egyptian in the Twilight saga.
Speaking of Zatanna, she’s got to appear in the DCEU. Justice League Dark has already been confirmed, and because of her popularity, she’ll likely be in the lineup, but I think she could be much more than the Justice League Dark member she is in the comics.
Where should she show up? Justice League Dark.
What should her role be? Zatanna’s magical powers are her strongest suit, and she’s had many iconic storylines because of them. There are rumors they’re going to do Tower of Babel at some point in the DCEU, and if they do, that would be a great time to recruit Zatanna and have her wipe Batman’s mind of his contingency plans to take down the Justice League, to stop him from destroying everything. Also, she could be the magic Harley Quinn. She has that flair, that look, and that popularity. If they use her correctly, she could sell a lot of movie tickets—and maybe even a lot of Halloween costumes.
Who should play her? Ruth Negga was born to play this character. There’s no other actress alive who could possibly do Zatanna as much justice as Negga. She has the looks of the character, and she also has the acting chops to pull it off. Plus, it’d be a racebended casting choice—which the DCEU has done flawlessly so far.
12. John Stewart
We already know we’re getting a Green Lantern. Their movie is scheduled for 2020, just after the second Justice League film comes out. Zack Snyder has pretty much confirmed that the character will show up in Justice League in some capacity—we just don’t know which one. Now, to be fair, this is Geoff Johns we’re dealing with here, and he has a tremendous affinity for Hal Jordan, so I won’t be surprised if that’s the Green Lantern they go with. But I personally would love to see John Stewart. He’s such a great character and he’d be a fantastic addition to the movies; he’d differentiate from the first time they attempted to do this.
Where should he show up? Honestly, I’d have him show up in Justice League. He can appear in a post-credits scene. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to have him fight Steppenwolf—that might confuse mainstream audiences. So just tease him at the end of the movie. Have him touching his ring and muttering, ‘In brightest day, in blackest night…’
What should his role be? He should be on the Justice League. He should be the Green Lantern who works on the Earth sector of their protection detail, and collaborates with the metahuman heroes that already exist to save the planet. He should also have versatility and be able to appear in multiple movies.
Who should play him? I think Moonlight‘s Trevante Rhodes would be a fabulous John Stewart. He’s got that quiet strength, that charisma that one would need to play the character. He’s built almost exactly like how the character is in the comics, and he’s a fabulous actor. He would be an amazing choice.
13. Big Barda
If they’re going to do Darkseid, it makes perfect sense to bring Big Barda into the fold. She’s a character who turns from his side and eventually goes on to help the Justice League. It would show that not all the people from Apokolips are evil, and that some of them resent Darkseid. She would also just make for a great addition to the already-impressive roster of characters.
Where should she show up? Justice League 2.
What should her role be? As said earlier, she should be used to show the grey area of the people on Apokolips. She could also help the Justice League on their various missions and give them advice about Darkseid and his ways. Remember how popular Faora was? Imagine another version of that, but with cooler powers and a character who already exists in the comics.
Who should play her? Laverne Cox! Just the thought of Laverne playing a superhero makes my heart squirm with joy. Plus, Laverne is a perfect choice for this role—she has the theatrics, and the look to pull it off.
14. Etrigan the Demon
He’ll probably be among the Justice League Dark lineup, and he deserves to be—he’s a great character. The Jason Blood character would fit perfectly with the world DC is trying to build, and he would be something different and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Also, his look is fantastic and his powers are even sweeter. I could see him right now, grudgingly helping Batman on some mission or as Jason Blood, fighting to control Etrigan the Demon.
Where should he show up? Justice League Dark.
What should his role be? I think he should remain firmly a member of the Justice League Dark team. If they want to go into a more magic-centric corner of the DC storylines, maybe they should use him then as a more central part of the core Justice League lineup, but for now I just want to see him operate with the JLD and get some dope action sequences.
Who should play him? Etrigan would have to be a motion capture character, so likely they’d need two actors to play him. The king of motion capture, Andy Serkis, could play his demonic counterpart, while Daniel Gillies could fill the role of Jason Blood.
15. Captain Atom
Captain Atom’s power set and intriguing origin would make for a great fit with the DC movies, and it would be hilarious to see Flash try to figure out how to do the things Captain Atom can do. He’s one of the most powerful heroes in the comics, and I’m almost positive that if DC is going to continue following Marvel’s playbook, they’ll want more solo movies. Well, DC, Captain Atom is a prime candidate.
Where should he show up? I think he should show up in his own movie! But knowing DC, they’ll want to tease him elsewhere first. My main guess would probably be either The Flash, or maybe Shazam.
What should his role be? He can join the new Justice League roster after the battle against Darkseid. I don’t know if Flash would totally leave, but if he does, Atom could be a newer, more superpowered version of Flash.
Who should play him? Eric Dane would be a perfect choice for the character. He looks the part and could pull off the physical aspects. Also, he’s just a great actor!
If they added Batwoman to the DCEU it might be a little awkward having ALL the female Batman heroes—Catwoman, Batgirl AND Batwoman—and possibly a little confusing for mainstream moviegoers who aren’t into the comics. However, I think it would be worth it. Batwoman is a fantastic character. She’s most known for her lesbian marriage storyline, which DC Comics halted despite intense demand. She would bring LGBT+ representation into the DCEU—a queer superhero, something even Marvel hasn’t attempted. A queer female superhero, at that. Plus, she’s just an amazing character who I’d love to see. If it came down to a choice between Batgirl and Batwoman—I’m with Batwoman all the way.
Where should she show up? It would make the most sense for her to appear in Affleck’s Batman, but that might be a little convoluted if Catwoman and Batgirl are to appear. Therefore, I’d suggest having her show up in Gotham City Sirens as part of the Birds of Prey.
What should her role be? She should be one of many vigilantes inspired by Batman to take up the good fight against crime in Gotham. I’d love to see her get her own movie someday—she’s that strong a character. She should have a lot to do, and a lot of moments within the films where we see her characteristics take shape.
Who should play her? Gillian Anderson or Rosamund Pike would both be fantastic choices for Batwoman. They’re both the right age range and look right for the character. Plus, both are fabulous actresses who’ve proven they can handle a role like this.
17. The Teen Titans!
I didn’t want to do separate examples of Titan characters when they’re all on this list for the same reason, so I cheated a bit and consolidated them into one! But seriously, the Titans appearing in the DCEU would be fantastic. I know there’s a bit of a backlash to their efforts at making team movies—just look at the way Suicide Squad was received by critics. But the Titans would do a lot to add some much-needed fun to the DCEU, and a Titans movie could be everything Suicide Squad wasn’t. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Nightwing interact with Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, Donna Troy and Cyborg?!
Where should they show up? They’d show up in Cyborg’s standalone movie, to tease for their eventual union in a solo movie.
What should their role be? They should operate as a bit of a mini-me to the Justice League, working at the state level and not getting involved in the bigger goings-on of Gotham and Metropolis—kind of like the Defenders in the MCU, but a movie version.
Who should play them? If we’re casting diversely, Tristin Mays would be great as Starfire. You could do Jing Tian as Raven – she’d be fantastic. I’ve always pictured a younger Beast Boy—he could be played by Miles Brown. We already have a Cyborg. And I think Marie Avgeropoulos would be fantastic as Donna Troy. Make it happen, DC!!
Bane is an iconic Batman villain, and he’s got to appear at some point in the DCEU. They probably won’t use him anytime soon, seeing as he was just the villain in The Dark Knight Rises, but I don’t necessarily need him to be a major villain—he could be the precursor to the bigger bad in a Batman movie. I just want to see him done right, cast ethnically correct, and handled well by Ben Affleck and Warner Bros.
Where should he show up? A Batman movie? Maybe we see him in Arkham Asylum, chained up because he’s so tough, he could escape the place if he wanted…
What should his role be? He’s a Batman villain. I want him to fight Batman, and I want him to have some amazing action choreography.
Who should play him? It’s a no brainer. Javier Bardem!
19. Killer Frost
Killer Frost is one of my favorite female DC characters, simply because I love ice powers and hers are amazing. She can freeze anything, which would make for a dope visual. Plus, the way she looks is cool—I love her spiky white hair, and the chilling pale tone of her skin. She’s already on the CW, but who cares? Bring her into the DCEU and give her a bigger budget and a movie-level costume.
Where should she show up? I think she should be part of the Suicide Squad! I loved her working with them in Assault on Arkham, and I’d love to see that successful formula return for Suicide Squad 2. Or maybe she shows up in Gotham City Sirens, working with the Birds of Prey to help take down Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman.
What should her role be? She’s an antihero, working with the Suicide Squad because Waller has frozen her to her prison sentence—no pun intended.
Who should play her? I think Rihanna would make an amazing Killer Frost. It’s a role that would suit her—it’s very cold and stoic, so it doesn’t require too much acting, and the little acting it does require, she can handle no problem. Plus, she’d be a huge asset to the DCEU! People would flood to the theater to see RiRi playing a superhero.
20. Jason Todd
It’s been rumored heavily that Jason Todd is the dead Robin in the current timeline of the DC films. I want to see him—see how he died, see his backstory. Or, maybe, if they’re willing to go in this direction, he isn’t really dead. Jason Todd has become Red Hood plenty of times before, and I can see them going that way here.
Where should he show up? In a Batman movie, obviously, or wherever they can give Batman flashbacks to his past so we can see how Jason Todd “died”. If they choose to make him Red Hood, he could show up in the present.
What should his role be? It depends on how they decide to utilize him—he could either be a flashback, a hero character who was done wrong by Batman and killed by the Joker, or a villain character who wants to enact his revenge on Batman.
Who should play him? Come on—Kofi Siriboe, who plays Ralph Angel Bordelon on Queen Sugar, would be amazing as Jason Todd.
So, there you have it. There’s my list of characters. I’m excited to see the DC films going forward! Hopefully they use all these characters in some way—and more!