Bad news for DC movie fans, as pandemic delays tons of superhero release dates

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. has announced substantial delays for many of the blockbusters on its 2022 and 2023 slate, including long-awaited DC comic book movies.

The studio confirmed yesterday (March 9) that it was shuffling the release dates for much of its forthcoming DCEU movies as well as the much-anticipated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel Wonka and the sequel to mega-shark bloodfest, The Meg. 

Among the delays are big moves for Aquaman sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, a relatively small push-back for new Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson-led superhero smash-up Black Adam, and another meaty delay for Ezra Miller's solo debut as The Flash, which was originally supposed to come out all the way back in 2016. 

What dates are shifting?

The biggest delay is for The Flash, the movie that was finally going to see Ezra Miller's take on speedy superhero getting top of the bill. Delayed and delayed by creative changes from its original release date back in 2016, things finally looked to be motoring with It director Andy Muschietti at the helm. Sadly, it's been delayed again, from a planned release date of November 4 this year to June 23 in 2023. If you're wondering how to watch the DC movies in order, we'll have to wait even longer to see how its timeline-hopping exploits effect the chronology of the franchise.

Aquaman sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, has lost its festive slot for this year, where it had been due to debut in theaters on December 16. It'll now come out on March 17 in 2023. It's a smaller delay for Johnson and Black Adam, which has been bumped from July 29 this summer to October 21. 

Timothée Chalamet’s new take on Willie Wonka, where he will team up with Paddington director Paul King for a musical prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is also going back. That had been booked for Aquaman's old slot on March 17 in 2023, and now will get a wintery bow on December 15 in 2023. 

In other Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson news, his starry animated adventure, DC League of Super-Pets is also going back, but just by a few weeks. It was originally due in theaters on May 20, now it'll be July 29. 

Finally, after a long spell of development, there's a release date for Jason Statham's sequel to mega-shark blockbuster The Meg. Meg 2: The Trench will drop on August 4 in 2023.

Concept art of Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam in Warner Bros' upcoming DCEU movie

Concept art of Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Is there any good news?

One piece. Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which hadn't been due out until June of 2023, will now take Aquaman's spot and open on December 16 in 2022, a move up of six months. 

What's the reason for the delays?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, it's our old friend Covid-19. All of these movies require an epic amount of work in the special effects departments, and, with added sickness among staff and delays caused by the pandemic, they can't get the work finished fast enough. 

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…