How To Watch DCEU Movies In Order (By Release Date & Chronologically) (2024)

DC Extended Universe

How To Watch DCEU Movies In Order (By Release Date & Chronologically) (1)

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DC Extended Universe

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How To Watch DCEU Movies In Order (By Release Date & Chronologically) (5)

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  • How Non-DCEU Movies Fit Into The DC Timeline

The DC Extended Universe can either be watched in order of release date or in chronological order. Despite a couple false starts, Warner Bros. finally kick-started their own shared universe, the DCEU, with 2013's Man of Steel, and have since brought dozens of characters from the pages of DC Comics into live-action. Encompassing both feature films and TV shows, the DCEU followed in the footsteps of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, and often came under far more scrutiny than its rival franchise. Although the franchise will be soft-rebooted with James Gunn and Peter Safran's DC Universe, the DCEU is currently the longest period of continuous storytelling in DC's cinematic history.

Following the disappointing performances of 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and 1997's Batman & Robin, Warner Bros. rebooted the iconic heroes in 2005's Batman Begins and 2006's Superman Returns, which were intended to crossover. The poor performance of Superman Returns forced the studio to cancel these plans, but a crossover film titled Justice League Mortal was put into development. This project was also abandoned, and following the failure of 2011's Green Lantern, Zack Snyder was hired to direct the Superman-centric reboot Man of Steel, which birthed plans for a new franchise, the DCEU. Here's how to watch every DCEU project, both in order of release date and chronologically.

Every DCEU Movie In Order

  1. Man of Steel (2013)
  2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  3. Suicide Squad (2016)
  4. Wonder Woman (2017)
  5. Justice League (2017)
  6. Aquaman (2018)
  7. Shazam! (2019
  8. Birds of Prey (2020)
  9. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
  10. Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
  11. The Suicide Squad (2021)
  12. Black Adam (2022)
  13. Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
  14. The Flash (2023)
  15. Blue Beetle (2023)

Upcoming DCEU Movies

  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 20, 2023)

DC Movies & TV Shows In Chronological Order

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While audiences can still watch the DC Extended Universe in the order in which each project was released, the fact that several of the DCEU's adventures take place in different periods on the timeline means that a chronological rewatch is also an option. Each new project in the DCEU expands on the world of the franchise, fleshing out historic events and significant characters to create a complex, though sometimes confusing, world. Here is a comprehensive list of how the DCEU can be viewed in chronological order, including films and TV series'.

  • Wonder Woman (2017) takes place primarily in 1918, though also details a lot of the history of the DCEU, dating back before any other DCEU project.
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) is set primarily in 1984.
  • Man of Steel (2013) is set mostly in 2013, though there is also some Kryptonian backstory during Superman's early childhood.
  • The Flash (2023) primarily takes place in 2013, although the action unfolds in a new reality created by Barry Allen by traveling through time. The beginning and ending of The Flash take place in 2023.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) takes place in 2015, eighteen months after the events of Man of Steel. A flashback explores the death of Bruce Wayne's parents in 1981, however.
  • Suicide Squad (2016) takes place in 2016, based on dates in the case files of the team's roster.
  • Justice League (2017) is set in 2017, about two years after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, though flashbacks do show an epic ancient battle between Steppenwolf and the Earth's heroes.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021), although not considered canon to the DCEU, takes place at exactly the same time as Justice League and tells the same story.
  • Aquaman (2018) is set primarily in 2018, several months after the events of Justice League, though the film also explores the budding relationship between Arthur Curry's parents in 1985.
  • Shazam! (2019) mostly takes place over Christmas 2018, though a prolonged 1974 flashback details Thaddeus Sivana's backstory.
  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) takes place primarily in 2020, four years after Harley Quinn's debut in Suicide Squad.
  • The Suicide Squad (2021) is wholly unconcerned with establishing a definite place in the DCEU's timeline, but certainly takes place after the events of Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey.
  • Peacemaker season 1 (2022) takes place five months after the events of The Suicide Squad.
  • Black Adam (2022) primarily takes place in 2022, but a great deal of the film also explores the year 2600 BC, detailing Teth-Adam's origins in Ancient Kahndaq, though this doesn't predate early sequences in Wonder Woman.
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023) takes place four years after Sivana's defeat in Shazam!, placing it during 2022/23.
  • Blue Beetle (2023) takes place after the events of The Flash, but mostly unlinked to the rest of the DCEU
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023) is set to be the final film in the DCEU, though it's unclear exactly when the film takes place. Jason Momoa appeared in The Flash's post-credits scene, suggesting Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom takes place after the events of The Flash.

DCEU Movies & TV Shows In Release Order

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Perhaps the easiest way to watch the DC Extended Universe would be in order of release date. While the franchise's timeline can be confusing at times, the order of release is the intended viewing experience for audiences - so if viewers wanted to capture the same magic as watching each project in theaters, watching the movies in release date would be the ideal way to do so. After the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in December 2023, there will be 16 feature films in the DCEU, and one TV series which is also set within the DCEU. Here is the full order of the DCEU by release date.

Man Of Steel (June 14, 2013)

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Man of Steel kicked off the DCEU in 2013, introducing Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman. Directed by Zack Snyder, Man of Steel saw Clark Kent embrace his superhero destiny, battling Michael Shannon's General Zod and his Kryptonian followers who intend to terraform Earth into the new Krypton. Man of Steel also introduced Amy Adams as the DCEU's Lois Lane, and Diane Lane as Martha Kent, and would mark Cavill's only solo project as Superman.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (March 25, 2016)

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Zack Snyder returned to direct Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as a follow-up to Man of Steel. As well as featuring Henry Cavill's Superman, Dawn of Justice debuted Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman. Dawn of Justice also teased the eventual team-up of the DCEU's Justice League by featuring cameos from Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher, and introduced Jesse Eisenberg as the DCEU's iteration of Lex Luthor.

Suicide Squad (August 5, 2016)

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David Ayer's Suicide Squad marked the debut of the supervillain team in the DCEU. Brought together by Viola Davis' Amanda Waller, the Suicide Squad featuring the likes of Will Smith's Deadshot, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, and Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flag. Despite receiving a negative reception, Suicide Squad led to a spinoff and a standalone sequel, and debuted Jared Leto's Joker in the DCEU.

Wonder Woman (June 2, 2017)

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After making her debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot returned for 2017's Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins. Taking place during WWI, Wonder Woman detailed Diana's introduction to the world outside of her Ancient Greek-inspired island of Themyscira. Wonder Woman received positive reviews, and also starred the likes of Chris Pine, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen.

Justice League (November 17, 2017)

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Originally set to be directed by Zack Snyder, Justice League brought together each of the heroes teased in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to battle the villainous Steppenwolf and his Parademons. When Snyder had to depart from the project due to the death of his daughter, Joss Whedon took over and made many changes to Snyder's original vision. Justice League was a box office bomb, leading to many calling for Warner Bros. to release the "Snyder Cut" of the film.

Aquaman (December 21, 2018)

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Jason Momoa reprised his role of Arthur Curry for Aquaman, with James Wan assuming the role of director. Aquaman became the highest-grossing DC project after bringing in over $1 billion at the global box office. The film saw Arthur overthrow Patrick Wilson's Orm to become the true King of Atlantis, joined by Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Willem Dafoe.

Shazam! (April 5, 2019)

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David F. Sandberg's Shazam! told a new story in the DCEU, expanding on the mythology of its ancient gods. Asher Angel debuted as Billy Batson, a teenage foster child who becomes the Champion after being chosen to battle Mark Strong's Dr. Thaddeus Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins. His powers allow him to assume the appearance of an adult, portrayed by Zachary Levi, imbued with the powers of the DCEU's gods.

Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) (February 7, 2020)

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After her acclaimed appearance as Harley Quinn in 2016's Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie returned to helm her own project in the DCEU. Directed by Cathy Yan, Birds of Prey followed Harley after breaking up with the Joker and being targeted by Gotham City's Roman Sionis. Harley teamed up with Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell's Black Canary, and Rosie Perez's Renee Montoya as the Birds of Prey, fighting to save Ella Jay Basco's Cassandra Cain.

Wonder Woman 1984 (December 25, 2020)

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As the sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot returned as Diana Prince in Wonder Woman 1984, set during the Cold War. Patty Jenkins returned to direct, as Diana went up against Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord and Kristen Wiig's Cheetah. Chris Pine also reprised his role in Wonder Woman 1984, despite his character's death in Wonder Woman. The film received a mixed response from critics and audiences alike, not helped by restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zack Snyder's Justice League (March 18, 2021)

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After years of die-hard fans calling for Zack Snyder's original vision for Justice League to be released, Zack Snyder's Justice League finally hit HBO Max in 2021. Although not considered canon to the DCEU, ZSJL expanded on many storylines in the original Justice League, gave neglected characters more chances to shine, and gave audiences a glimpse at what could have been set up. Many actors returned for reshoots for Zack Snyder's Justice League, though the film still received some criticism.

The Suicide Squad (August 5, 2021)

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Billed as a standalone sequel to 2016's Suicide Squad, James Gunn joined DC in 2021 to revamp the Suicide Squad team. Although Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, and Joel Kinnaman reprised their roles, The Suicide Squad had little to do with the original film. The film's success on HBO Max - though not at the box office thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic - arguably led to James Gunn's hiring as co-CEO of DC Studios in November 2022.

Peacemaker Season 1 (January 13, 2022)

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Peacemaker marked the first TV show in the DCEU, created by James Gunn as a spinoff of 2021's The Suicide Squad. John Cena reprized his role from The Suicide Squad as Christopher Smith, a.k.a. Peacemaker, who is forced to join ARGUS' Project Butterfly on a mystery globe-trotting mission. Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick also star, and there are plans to include Peacemaker season 2 in the new DC Universe.

Black Adam (October 21, 2022)

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Expanding on the storyline set out in 2019's Shazam!, Black Adam saw Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson debut as Teth-Adam, a similarly superpowered individual from Ancient Kahndaq. Though supposedly planned to reignite interest in the flailing DCEU, Black Adam was a critical and commercial failure. Black Adam did, however, introduce the Justice Society to the DCEU, consisting of Aldis Hodge's Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan's Doctor Fate, Noah Centineo's Atom Smasher, and Quintessa Swindell's Cyclone.

Shazam! Fury Of The Gods (March 17, 2023)

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Asher Angel and Zachary Levi reprised the role of Billy Batson, a.k.a. Shazam, in Shazam! Fury of the Gods. After imbuing his family with powers in 2019's Shazam!, the new team were pitted against the Daughters of Atlas in Fury of the Gods, portrayed by Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler, and Lucy Liu. Unfortunately, Shazam! Fury of the Gods massively underperformed at the box office, with director David F. Sandberg even stating his dissatisfaction with the final film.

The Flash (June 16, 2023)

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Ezra Miller reprized their role from previous DCEU projects for The Flash, marking the first solo adventure in the franchise for Barry Allen, a.k.a. the Flash's. "Solo" is a loose term, however, as Barry was joined by Ben Affleck's Batman, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Michael Keaton's Batman from Tim Burton's Batman films, Sasha Calle's Supergirl, and another Barry Allen in this tenuous adaptation of DC Comics' Flashpoint. The Flash also served as a soft reboot for the DC Universe, and has since become one of the biggest box office bombs of all time.

Blue Beetle (August 18, 2023)

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Blue Beetle is a standalone film in the DCEU, akin to Shazam!. Xolo Maridueña debuts as Jaime Reyes in Blue Beetle, a college graduate who becomes the host of an ancient biotechnological relic that grants him superhuman powers. Blue Beetle is directed by Angel Manuel Soto, and released in August 2023, potentially setting up Blue Beetle's return in the rebooted DCU.

Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom (December 20, 2023)

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Jason Momoa is set to return for the DCEU's final project in December 2023. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will officially bring the DCEU to an end, as Arthur Curry teams up once again with Amber Heard's Mera to protect Atlantis from an ancient power that's been unleashed. Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will also reprise their roles from 2018's Aquaman, bidding farewell to the current DCEU.

How Non-DCEU Movies Fit Into The DC Timeline

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Several other projects have been developed concurrently to the DCEU, adapting the stories in DC Comics in new and interesting ways, some of which have borne franchises of their own. With popularity for the main DCEU dipping in recent years, some of these projects have become far more prominent than their theatrical counterparts. While Marvel Studios has only just started to explore the concept of the multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems that DC's live-action projects may have been quietly investigating it since the 1960s.

How The Arrowverse Fits Into The DC Timeline

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Alongside the DCEU, The CW produced their own franchise based on characters from DC Comics in a series of TV shows. Since the franchise kicked off with 2012's Arrow, the franchise became colloquially known as the Arrowverse. Consisting of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Batwoman, and the web series' Vixen and Freedom Fighters: The Ray, the Arrowverse featured ten crossover events, but had very little to do with the DCEU. However, 2019/20's Crisis on Infinite Earths event saw the Arrowverse crossover with several projects from DC's live-action history, including the DCEU.

Ezra Miller reprized their role of Barry Allen for the Crisis on Infinite Earth event, taking place after Justice League but before The Flash, as Barry still had his old Flash costume. The event was the first to establish a multiverse in DC's continuity, also crossing over with the likes of 1966's Batman series, Smallville, 2006's Superman Returns, Lucifer, Titans, Doom Patrol, and Stargirl. Many expected Grant Gustin to reprise his role as the Arrowverse's Barry Allen in 2023's The Flash, but this didn't come to fruition, despite Ezra Miller's appearance in The Flash TV series.

How Burton & Schumacher's Batman Movies Fit Into The Timeline

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Tim Burton took on the role of director for 1989's Batman, intended to be the first in Warner Bros.' new film series featuring the Caped Crusader. Michael Keaton portrayed Bruce Wayne in Batman and its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns. Val Kilmer replaced Keaton when Joel Schumacher took over as director for the third film in the series, 1995's Batman Forever, and the role was recast again for George Clooney in 1997's reviled Batman & Robin. The poor reception to Batman & Robin forced Warner Bros. to cancel plans for future films in the franchise, effectively ending this chapter in Batman's cinematic history.

While it seemed that this Batman franchise would have no connections to the DCEU, 2023's The Flash marked the return of Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, the Batman of the alternate universe created by Barry Allen. The Flash erased the events of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, chronologically taking place 34 years after the events of Batman Returns, which would make Bruce Wayne roughly 64 years old in the 2023 film. The Flash explored several projects from DC's live-action past during a scene which saw the multiverse begin to collapse, playing off the idea first established in the Arrowverse - that every previous DC project is connected.

How Todd Phillips' Joker & Matt Reeves' The Batman Universes Fit Into The Timeline

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Joaquin Phoenix portrayed Arthur Fleck in 2019's Joker, an aspiring stand-up comic living with serious mental health issues who turns to a life of crime and becomes the Joker, adapted from the iconic DC Comics villain. Joker takes place in a separate continuity to the main DCEU, exploring a new origin story for the villain in a more realistic, dark, and gritty Gotham City in 1981. Joker ignores the events of the DCEU, introducing a new version of Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne, and Alfred Pennyworth. A sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, is scheduled for release on October 4, 2024, and will continue Joker's story outside the main DC continuity.

Similarly, Matt Reeves' The Batman released in 2022, showcasing Robert Pattinson as a younger Bruce Wayne who has already been acting as Batman for two years. The Batman takes place in a separate timeline to both the DCEU and Joker, establishing a new Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Alfred Pennyworth, though shares many themes with the darker depiction of Gotham City laid out in Joker. In January 2023, DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn confirmed that both Joker and The Batman are DC Elseworlds projects - completely disconnected from the DC Universe continuity. The Batman has birthed its own franchise, however, with two sequels planned along with a number of spinoff series.

Every Other DC Movie Not In The DCEU

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In recent years, DC's theatrical releases have been predominantly set within the DCEU, with the exceptions of Todd Phillips' Joker and Matt Reeves' The Batman franchises. However, there are several projects that predate the DCEU that could arguably be set within the multiverse of the DCEU, particularly after 2023's The Flash showcased some of these alternate realities. DC's cinema story began with 1951's Superman and the Mole Men, which served as a backdoor pilot for the Adventures of Superman series. Since then, while Superman and Batman have certainly taken center-stage, many DC characters have been adapted in a variety of projects.

1982's Swamp Thing, 1997's Steel, 2004's Catwoman, 2005's Constantine, 2009's Watchmen, 2010's Jonah Hex, and 2011's Green Lantern all featured standalone stories for a variety of DC characters that have seldom been seen, and haven't been featured prominently in the DCEU. However, many of these projects were met with negative responses, which led to the eventual development of the cohesive DCEU. Since the multiverse has been established, however, it's possible that any of these projects could be revisited, though it seems that James Gunn and Peter Safran's rebooting of the DC Extended Universe may bid farewell to each of them and start anew.

Key Release Dates

  • Blue BeetleRelease Date:2023-08-18
  • Aquaman and the Lost KingdomRelease Date:2023-12-20
  • Joker: Folie a DeuxRelease Date:2024-10-04
  • Superman: LegacyRelease Date:2025-07-11
  • The Batman - Part IIRelease Date:2025-10-03
  • Movies
  • DC Extended Universe
  • Movie/TV Show Timelines

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