The DC Cinematic Universe has evolved in a far less structure way compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while there’s no reason why they shouldn’t approach things from their own perspective, this line of films appears to be evolving in an increasingly erratic manner.
With Justice League around the corner, the first follow-up film will be Aquaman in 2018, after which things quickly become less certain and considered “in development” rather than green lit and into production. Up for release in 2019 there is a planned Shazam! film, alongside Wonder Woman 2 which seems a certainty at this point, with Cyborg and Green Lantern to make an appearance in 2020.
Also floating around is Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, Batgirl, Nightwing, The Flash, and of course The Batman, with few details for any of them – though The Batman has received a lot of attention in recent months. A new announcement has been that a Joker origin film is currently in development, with the idea of detailing the clown price of crime’s backstory.
It is speculated that Todd Phillips is in discussions to help write as well as direct the film, which seems an interesting choice given his filmography of work on the Hangover trilogy, Starsky & Hutch, and Old School. Not that a Joker film wouldn’t need a comedic touch, but the likely tone seems a long way from Phillips existing body of work, and given the significance of the character, it’s something Warner Bros would obviously want to get right.
The more interesting side of this story however, is that according to current reports this film wouldn’t involve Jared Leto, nor would it necessarily be the origin story for any of the currently existing live action versions of the character. It wouldn’t be connected to the current continuity of DC films and would sit independently as a self-contained story about this character, possibly the first of several standalone films. This is a similar approach to the DC Earth One comics, which tell tales of familiar tent pole characters – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, but without forming a part of the current comics continuity.
None of the above has been formalised by a comment or press release from Warner Bros, it is merely speculation however the if done well, the concept of a series of standalone films is an intriguing one, and has been a mostly successful approach to the DC line of animated films (and obviously Star Wars has taken this path to some degree). That said however, the DC Cinematic Universe hasn’t been lacking its share of problems, and maybe the creative process should be just focused on getting that series on track, before branching out into other, more experimental ideas.