2019 so far has given us great hope when it comes to female heroes. Captain Marvel wielded unfathomable power, and no matter how loud the fanboy cries may be, Brie Larson in the role was loved by many and showed us a new direction for the MCU. However, 22 films into the franchise and they still don’t have a female-directed entry. Granted, Captain Marvel had a female co-director, but are we really going to call that enough?
The DCEU, however, appear to be getting ahead in terms of representation. 2020 sees what may be a huge shift in their style and tone. Having begun earlier this year with surprise hit Shazam! which embraced the fun and wish fulfilment aspect of superpowers, what’s ahead appears to be a director-led path. In October we’ll get Todd Phillip’s Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix who already looks more than at home in the role. Next year alone, DC have three films on its slate all directed by, and either written or co-written by women. Here’s what we know about them so far:
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Following the poorly-received Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn makes her comeback under the direction of Cathy Yan. With Margot Robbie back in the role and also in the producer’s chair, the film will follow Quinn and her girl squad as they protect Cassandra Cain when she gets mixed up with crime boss Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). Featuring some comic-book favourites the likes of Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), the Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and supervillain Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), it seems we’re getting a character rich Gotham full to the brim.
With a plot in which women come together to support women, and Yan and Robbie more in control, this could be a real turning point for women in big scale ‘super’ movies. Robbie has previously stated that Birds of Prey will be “less male gaze-y”, with some more colourful and exciting costumes for the star. Costume designer Erin Benach added, “That’s what happens when you have a female producer, director, writer.” The film is written by Christina Hodson, who was the pen behind 2018’s Bumblebee, arguably the first Transformers movie with a properly written female character – so we’re plenty excited.Birds of Prey is even rumoured to be the first in a trilogy of Harley Quinn films, with future instalments shifting focus to the Gotham City Sirens. In cinemas February 7th 2020.
Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman was a really big deal. It was the first superhero movie starring a woman (if we forget 2005’s Elektra exists…) and a huge hit. Now director Patty Jenkins is moving the clock forward from 1918 to the 1980s – a time period that film and TV are currently obsessed with.
With Steve Trevor presumably dead (although director-shared images beg to differ), the possibilities for new Diana adventures seem endless. In Wonder Woman 1984, she is set to face the famed comic book villain Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) as she deals with the Soviet Union in the midst of the Cold War.
Barbara Ann Minerva, a British archaeologist, becomes host to the Cheetah goddess of lost city Urzkartaga. It could be exciting to see Jenkins potentially play into these supernatural elements further. Seeing from the newly released poster, things are set to get pretty psychedelic after all. In cinemas June 5th 2020.
Perhaps the most intriguing, if the most under-wraps project on the DC slate; New Gods tells the story of beings from two different planets, the paradise of New Genesis and the hellscape Apokolips.
Eisner-award-winning DC Comics writer Tom King has joined the project to reportedly write the script. New Gods could be a chance for some truly epic world-building and, though nothing is yet confirmed, director Ava DuVernay has been teasing endlessly on Twitter. She recently posted a black and white comic still, which features what could be our lead characters. The image shows New Genesis’ leader Highfather, his sons Lightray, Orion and Mister Miracle, Big Barda and Metron.
DuVernay, director behind Selma and When They See Us, is an interesting and exciting choice to direct. In June of 2018, she revealed it was, in fact, her that pitched the idea to bring New Gods to the big screen. Arguably a lesser known story amongst mainstream movie-goers, it sees an opportunity to bring something very new to the DCEU. Not technically a 2020 release, but exciting none-the-less! Release date TBD.