Getty Images / Tristan Fewings

Joaquin Pheonix is set to star in a new movie based on Batman villain the Joker, while Ben Affleck is unlikely to return as Batman in a Warner Bros. shakeup of its DC Entertainment movie properties, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed. The news comes amid major restructuring at DC, as the company strives to revive a situation described as a “shitshow” by an insider source.

Walter Hamada, president of DC Entertainment-based film production at Warner Bros., has been tasked with reviving Warner’s ailing comic-book franchises. Despite Wonder Woman‘s surprise victory at the box office, Justice League‘s disappointing overall gross and so-so critical responses to recent output mean that Hamada has quite the mission on his hands.

A bunch of new titles are now on the table, including not one but two new Joker movies — one starring Jared Leto, who played the character in Suicide Squad, and another with Joaquin Pheonix to be helmed by The Hangover director Todd Phillips. Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi, and Wonder Woman 2 are also in the works.

In terms of new releases this year, however, only one is on the slate: Aquaman — aka the dude who, to borrow Ben Affleck’s phrase in Justice League, “can talk to fish” — starring Jason Momoa and directed by Saw and The Conjuring‘s James Wan.

In other DC shake-up news, The Flash is abandoning the moodiness that has characterized many recent DC movies and instead is looking to Back to the Future for inspiration. Great Scott! The movie will reportedly start filming early next year, with Ezra Miller reprising his role as the red-suited speedster. Elsewhere, a Harley Quinn spinoff based on the Birds of Prey comics and starring Margot Robbie — widely seen as the bright spot in Suicide Squad — is “moving along,” while Bumblebee scriptwriter Christina Hodson is penning a Batgirl film.

Finally, it appears unlikely that Ben Affleck will be returning as the Caped Crusader. While writer-director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) has drafted the first act of the next Batman movie’s script, which is said to revolve around a younger Bruce Wayne, the question of whether Batfleck will return as Bruce Wayne is still up in the air.

Which of these many, many DC movies are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

Next, a first look at ‘Wonder Woman 2’ reveals Chris Pine’s return.

Staff Writer
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