Complete guide to the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes

Every upcoming superhero film and TV production

Complete guide to the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes

Superhero movies have become one of the biggest draws in cinema. And with Avengers: Age of Ultron passing $1 billion at the box office it doesn't look like it's a trend that is going anywhere soon. With three main players in the game – 20th Century Fox who own the rights to X-Men, Marvel and DC – it can all get a bit confusing.

X-Men started the modern obsession with dark damaged superheroes on the big screen in 2000. Its success was followed by four sequels and two Wolverine spin offs. Marvel had sold the rights to many of their characters, including X-Men, alongside Blade, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. However it was the release of Iron Man in 2008 that changed the game. Marvel's debut in-house production was their first step in building an empire. Following the format that rooted the vast majority of their comics in the same fictional world all their films (and TV shows) are set within one huge interlinked universe with Thor, Captain America and Hulk all coming together for Avengers Assemble (2012)

Despite creating perhaps the most iconic comic characters of all time (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) DC have only had sporadic success. They were one of the first comics companies to cash in on film adaptations of their properties with the 70s Superman and Tim Burton's Batman being huge draws. Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was superb but unfortunately their triumphs are outweighed by duds like Batman & Robin, Catwoman, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex. Taking a leaf out of Marvel's multi-million dollar success DC are now fighting back with their own multi-movie interlinked mega franchise that kicked off with Man of Steel in 2013.

With six big budget movies in 2016 the studios are betting big on the continued love of superpowered action adventures with a slate of films mapped out into 2020.

Deadpool (X-Men)
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller
Expect a riot of blood, guts and wisecracks. The first super violent superhero movie from the big studios sees this X-Men entry focusing on the 'Merc with a Mouth' a mentally deranged antihero who is fully aware he's a fictional character. He's also near invulnerable after begin subjected to an experimental procedure to cure cancer. Reynolds also played the character in misfire X-Men Origins: Wolverine but they seem to have swept that under the carpet.
10 Feb 2016

DC's Legends of Tomorrow (DC/CW)
Starring: Arthur Darvill, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell
Time traveller Rip Hunter (Doctor Who's Darvill) assembles a team of villains and heroes to stop an event that could end all of time. Another spin off from CW's DC franchise, screening on Sky 1, which exists in it's own micro-universe separate from its big screen cousins.
3 Mar 2016

Daredevil – Season 2 (Marvel)
Starring: Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal, Elden Henson
After the critically acclaimed first season Daredevil returns to Netflix for another 13 episodes. Season two will focus on murderous vigilante Punisher (Bernthal) and DD's former girlfriend turn assassin Elektra (Élodie Yung).
18 Mar 2016

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (DC)
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck
Batman (Affleck) is worried that the appearance of the Superman (Cavill) could endanger the human race. Meanwhile Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) creates an even greater threat: Doomsday. Their super tussle awakens the interest of other powerful denizens of earth with the first appearances of Wonder Woman and Aquaman confirmed setting the ground work for DC's future plans and Justice League movies.
25 Mar 2016

Captain America: Civil War (Marvel)
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan
Civil War looks like it will have big implications for the entire MCU as the Avengers go to war … with each other. Cap heads one side facing down Iron Man in a battle royale. Includes the first appearance of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland).
29 Apr 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (X-Men)
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner
Set in the 80s as a younger generation of X-Men (including Storm, Jean Grey and Cyclops) take on Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) an ancient all powerful begin often described as the 'first mutant' who wants to wipe out humanity.
19 May 2016

Preacher (DC Vertigo)
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joe Gilgun
Surprisingly Seth Rogan is behind this TV adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's subversive comic about a possessed preacher (Cooper) who teams up with his ex (Negga) and a vampire (Gilgun) as they travel across America literally searching for God. Stand alone series unconnected to any other DC projects landing on Amazon Prime Ijnstant Video in the UK.
23 May 2016

Suicide Squad (DC)
Director: David Ayer
Starring: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Cara Delevinge
Big bruising, gritty villain led action as a team of super criminals are assembled to take on down and dirty black ops. A huge big name cast including Leto's debut as the Joker.
5 Aug 2016

Luke Cage (Marvel)
Starring: Mike Colter, Simone Missick
Colter made his debut as Luke Cage in Jessica Jones. Now he graduates to his own series as a former prisoner turned tough street level hero with super strength and unbreakable skin. Expect a gritty edge from showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker (Southland, NCIS: Los Angles, Ray Donovan).
30 Sep, 2016

Doctor Strange (Marvel)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton
Doctor Strange introduces magic and the supernatural to the MCU. Director Derrickson (Sinister) has a solid background in horror so should bring a darker edge while Cumberbatch is perfect casting for the Sorcerer Supreme.
28 Oct 2016

Wolverine (title tbc) (X-Men)
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E Grant
Jackman's final Wolverine movie (sob). A sad day indeed he's the perfect personification of the clawed Canucklehead. No details as yet but Jackman said: 'It's my last one, for me I want it to be perfect.'
2 Mar 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Marvel)
Director; James Gunn
Starring; Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper.
GotG was Marvel's surprise hit. Even comic geeks hardly knew the characters and director Gunn was best known for gory schloky b-movie Slither. Somehow it was the perfect recipe for cosmic capers, big on humour and action, GotG oozed fun from every frame, featuring a break out performance from Pratt as Star-Lord. The gangs all back and it's rumoured they'll face Thanos again while Kurt Russell has been confirmed as playing Star-Lord's father.
28 Apr 2017

Wonder Woman (DC)
Director: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Robin Wright, Chris Pine
DC sneak in with the first superhero film with a female lead. Wonder Woman is an Amazonian princess who uses her powers to bring justice to the world of man. Early footage suggests an epic spanning Greek history, World War II and the modern age.
23 Jun 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming (Marvel)
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei
Sony and Marvel join forces to bring a third Spider-Man to the screen. Marvel's most iconic character finally joins the MCU with a younger version of the wall crawler back at high school.
7 Jul 2017

Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel)
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Loki has taken over the throne disguised as Odin and Ragnarok is the old Norse of 'Doom of the Gods' so expect something apocalyptic to befall Thor's home of Asgard. Also starring Ruffalo as The Hulk (is this a set up getting Hulk into space for a future Planet Hulk movie?)
27 Oct 2017

Justice League Part One (DC)
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa
This is the big one for DC. The Justice League is the superteam of superteams featuring all the big hitters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, etc, etc.
17 Nov 2017

Black Panther (Marvel)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman
In the comics Black Panther is king of fictional African nation Wakanda (which has had several sly mentions already across the MCU). Not many details as yet but Andy Serkis made a brief appearance in Age of Ultron playing BP's nemesis Klaw so he'll probably show up in some capacity.
9 Feb 2018

The Flash (DC)
Director: Seth Grahame-Smith
Starring: Ezra Miller
A new take on the fastest man alive. Unlike Marvel, DC aren't linking their TV series and movies so don't confuse this with the current television show.
23 Mar 2018

Avengers Infinity War Part 1 (Marvel)
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson (all tbc)
No official word yet but everything in the MCU has been building towards a gigantic showdown between Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) and the Avengers.
27 Apr 2018

Ant-Man and The Wasp (Marvel)
Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglass
Ant-Man had a fun jokey vibe only matched by Guardians of the Galaxy when it came to humour. Lilly takes on the mantle of the Wasp another shrinking insect based superhero.
6 Jul 2018

Aquaman (DC)
Director: James Wan
Starring: Jason Momoa
Momoa certainly looks the part as The Lord of Atlantis. With Wan (Saw / Fast & Furious 7) behind the camera expect large scale underwater action.
27 Jul 2018

Batman (title tbc) (DC)
Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck
Bats vs Sups got a bit of a mauling by the critics but made good boxoffice. The solo outing for Gotham's Dark Knight has been confirmed and is rumoured to be based on comic storyline Under the Red Hood.
5 Oct 2018 or 1 Nov, 2019 (tbc)

Captain Marvel (Marvel)
Director: tbc
Starring: tbc
In the comics Captain Marvel is a human with alien superpowers but the film is still a bit of a mystery. No casting or directer announced as yet but we do know it will be the Carol Danvers version of the character.
8 Mar 2019

Shazam! (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: Dwayne Johnson
A young boy can turn into a superhero when he utters the magic word: 'Shazam!'. Again scant info on offer except that Johnson will play villain Black Adam.
5 Apr 2019

Avengers Infinity War Part 2 (Marvel)
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson (all tbc)
The intergalactic showdown concludes. We're expecting it to play out on such a huge scale we wouldn’t be surprised if there is a guest spot from nearly every MCU character. But will they all survive when the dust settles?
26 Apr 2019

Justice League Part Two (DC)
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa
The Justice League are back, so far that's all we know, but expect it'll be to tackle an extremely dangerous global threat.
14 Jun 2019

Cyborg (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: Ray Fisher
Was anyone asking for a Cyborg movie? Hopefully this will defy expectations as Fisher stars as the titular man/machine.
3 Apr 2020

Green Lantern Corps (DC)
Director: tbc
Starring: tbc
Complete reboot to wipe away the memory fo the duff 2011 version. The GLC are a galactic police force wielding cosmic power rings. Tyrese Gibson is apparently in early discussions for a major role.


There are even more films and TV shows on the way. Some are definitely confirmed, some might not make it past the pilot stage and a couple might disappear without a trace.

Damage Control (Marvel)
Starring: tbc
New comedy set in the MCU developed by Ben Karlin (Modern Family). The official synopsis states: 'Marvel's Damage Control follows the overworked, underpaid, clean up crew of the Marvel Universe. Specializing in dealing with the aftermath of the unique fallout from super hero conflicts, they’re the ones who are in charge of returning lost ray guns to their rightful owners, help to reschedule a wedding venue after it has been vaporized in a superhero battle, or even track down a missing prize African parrot that's been turned to stone or goo.'
Late 2016 (tbc)

Powerless (DC)
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk
NBC have a similar rival project with their sitcom Powerless. Aiming for an Office vibe, it follows an insurance company that deals with the fall out of superhero punch ups and is rumoured to feature cameos from Batman, Superman, etc.
Late 2016 (tbc)

Most Wanted (Marvel)
Starring: Adrianne Palicki, Nick Blood
Spin off from Agents of SHIELD following bickering secret agent couple Bobbi Morse (Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Blood) as they go on the run. Rumours suggest it could replace Agent Carter as the new placeholder for AoS when it goes on its annual midseason break.
Jan 2017 (tbc)

Legion (X-Men)
Starring: Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart
In the comics, Legion is the son of Professor X. He's a schizophrenic mutant with multiple personalities, each with their own special abilities. However, if and how this series, developed for FX by Noah Hawley (the man behind the excellent Fargo TV series), is linked to the X-Men movies is still to be confirmed. Recent reports suggest it will take place in a parallel universe. Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens takes the title role.
Date tbc, 2017

Cloak & Dagger (Marvel)
Starring: tbc
Another live action TV series from Marvel this time aimed at a teen audience on Disney's Freeform! channel. The official announcement states: 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger follows Tandy Bowen and Tyronne Johnson, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened by and awakened to newly acquired super powers while falling in love. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn that they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging.'
Date tbc, 2017

Hellfire (X-Men)
Starring: tbc
The Hellfire Club are a secret cabal guiding world events. They popped up in X-Men: First Class lead by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) but again details on links to the wider X cinematic universe are sketchy. The Fox TV series will be set in the 60s as a special agent infiltrates the club.
Early 2017 (tbc)

Iron Fist (Marvel)
Starring: Finn Jones
Scott Buck (Dexter) is the showrunner for mystical martial arts adventure Iron Fist. Jones (Game of Thrones) will take the lead in the latest Netflix / Marvel co-production starring as Danny Rand, the kung fu master imbued with the legendary power of the Iron Fist who uses his powers to bring justice to the streets of NYC.
Early 2017

Gambit (X-Men)
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Channing Tatum
Once again ignoring the travesty that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Gambit gets a reboot. A labour of love for star Tatum who is a huge fan of the card throwing 'ragin' Cajun'. He's the driving force behind this X-Men spin off taking the title role as a former thief with the ability to charge objects with kinetic energy. Originally planned for Oct 2016 but a change in director has seen Gambit slide off the release schedule. Hopefully Tatum's star power can keep it on track.
Date tbc, 2017

The Defenders (Marvel)
Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones
This is what all the Netflix series have been building towards: a big team up miniseries as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist join forces.
Date tbc, 2017 / 2018

Deadpool 2 (X-Men)
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller
After the huge box-office haul it's no surprise Deadpool will be back for more blood splattered hijinks. And the post credits teaser hints that time travelling mutant Cable will make an appearance.
Jan 2018 (tbc)

Lobo (X-Men)
Director: tbc
Starring: tbc
Deadpool proved antiheroes can make a ton of cash and after years in development hell ultra violent bastich and intergalactic mercenary Lobo has moved up a gear with Jason Fuchs working on a script.
Date tbc, 2018

Inhumans (Marvel)
Director: tbc
Starring: tbc
Marvel cleverly introduced the concept of the Inhumans, a race of super powered beings, on TV show Agents of SHIELD. However we expect this to include the Inhuman Royal Family: Black Bolt (Vin Diesel is apparently petitioning for the role and he'd be a great fit), Medusa, Karnak and Gorgon. Slipped off the official release schedule to make way for Ant-Man and The Wasp and the new Spider-Man movie. 'It'll definitely happen; I think it's a great story, with a great family of characters,' Marvel Studio's Kevin Feige told The New York Daily News. 'When that is … I'm not sure yet."


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