While The Flash was sold as the film that would transform the old DC Extended Universe into the new cinematic universe that’s currently in development at Warner Bros., that was never quite true. In fact, two more DCEU movies are still coming to theaters before the end of 2023. Blue Beetle arrives next month and the Aquaman sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, will finally put the DCEU out of its misery in December.

Or maybe the movie’s release will put the film itself out of its misery, as according to a new report, the sequel has had a long and difficult post-production, including poor test screenings and no less than three (yes, three) rounds of reshoots. Even in an era when most blockbusters plan on one set of reshoots even before production begins, that is a very high number.

Warner Bros.

READ MORE: What The Flash’s Flopping Means For DC’s Future

According to The Hollywood Reporter, much of the uncertainty and changes are the result of the movie being greenlit by one regime at Warner Bros. but finished by another. Each different group of executives have had their own plans about DC’s future, and when the executives changed, so did the role that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom played in the broader DC plan.

One big sticking point, per THR, was what role, if any Batman would serve in the film...

[Former DC Films chief Walter] Hamada wanted Michael Keaton’s version of the character to be akin to Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in the Marvel movies — an elder statesman who could pop up in various films, including the now-shelved Batgirl, as well as The Lost KingdomBut shifting release dates muddled things. At one point, The Lost Kingdom was set to open in March 2023, several months before Keaton’s return in June 2023’s The Flash. So in late July 2022, two months after Abdy and DeLuca took over Warners, Ben Affleck joined a round of reshoots as Bruce Wayne, to replace a scene Keaton shot. But then the movie was moved again, this time to after Flash, putting Affleck’s appearance in question.

According to their sources, in the latest version of the movie, neither Batman makes an appearance. So the movie shot two pretty major Batman cameos by two different Dark Knights, and neither will apparently make the final cut. That is wild.

The piece claims the most recent round of reshoots took place last month in New Zealand, and supposedly went “well.” It also states the fact that Warners is still willing to spend money on reshoots suggests they believe the film will be a hit; if they thought it was a lost cause, they would likely just stop trying to improve it and say enough is enough.

It’s also worth noting that the first Aquaman is, somewhat surprisingly, the highest-grossing movie DC has ever made. So there’s a lot riding on the sequel, even if it is the last time we’ll see the DCEU for the foreseeable future. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled to open in theaters on December 20.

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