Jason Momoa is quite a departure from the traditional appearance of Aquaman, being an exceptionally tall mixed-race Polynesian instead of light skinned, blonde hair, blue eyed, average height Aquaman. But with Aquaman's stigma of being hopelessly specialized and considered not on the same badass level as other League members (and not having any sufficiently memorable live-action incarnation before), Momoa's daunting physical presence and acting credibility with a built in fanbase has made the revision of the character mostly embraced rather than scolded.
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White involves a Race Lift, but in spite of that his demeanor and talents as an actor are a perfect fit for the character.
Will Smith is also a Race Lift from the comics Deadshot, but is also a renowned and charismatic actor who brought a lot of recognition to Suicide Squad and the character. So much so that his absence from The Suicide Squad was felt as one of the reasons why that movie didn't perform well at the box office.
Prominent DC Comics publisher, writer and artist Jim Lee has always supported Zack Snyder's vision, up to drawing sketches for his story pitches from Man of Steel all the way to the planned Justice League sequels.
Awesome, Dear Boy: Ben Affleck was very enthusiastic about the idea of working with Zack Snyder in addition to being a longtime Batman fan. To the point that he lost the motivation to play him again after Snyder stepped down from DCEU film projects amidst the Justice League meltdown, in addition to his personal issues at the time. He later also mentioned that he took on the role for his children.
Breakaway Pop Hit: While it didn't completely overshadow the film (people still generally remember that it's from this movie), "Heathens" by Twenty One Pilots became one of the most popular songs of 2016 and one of their biggest hits while the movie isn't considered more than a passing fad.
Jai Courtney was rumored to have originally been cast as Deadshot in Suicide Squad (2016), while Will Smith was said to have originally been chosen to portray Captain Boomerang. Both actors are in the movie, but their parts were flipped around. This makes sense as Boomerang is Australian, as is Courtney, while Deadshot became a larger role which is more fitting for a leading man like Smith.
Joel Kinnaman was a candidate for Deadshot before being cast as Rick Flag.
Ewan McGregor was among those considered for Deadshot. He would later play Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, in Birds of Prey.
Idris Elba was originally cast to replace Will Smith as Deadshot in The Suicide Squad after Smith passed on the film, allegedly due to scheduling issues. Elba's role was eventually rewritten into a new major character (though still similar in many ways), Bloodsport, so as to leave the door open in case Smith wanted to return in future installments. As such, Storm Reid's character was initially written as Zoe, Deadshot's daughter from the first film.
Jared Leto has had a pretty bad time with DC Films after filming Suicide Squad. The majority of his scenes from the David Ayer film were cut and weren't even present in the film's extended edition, causing him to swear off ever actually watching the film. A Fake Shemp was used in his place in Birds of Prey, though he came back for additional scenes that Zack Snyder added to his version of Justice League, being completely onboard with the director, being assured that Snyder would have creative freedom and that his footage wouldn't be shortened this time around. He has since gone on record saying that he'll gladly play the Joker again if given the opportunity.
Ever since the announcement of Zack Snyder's Justice League, the cast have become emboldened enough to point out the unethical actions of various studio executives during the infamous reshoots of the theatrical cut. Ray Fisher accused Joss Whedon of abusive and toxic behavior during his tenure as the replacement director, a statement that was backed up by Jason Momoa and Gal Gadot (who had famously refused to shoot a rewritten scene, requiring her stunt double to take it over), then later accused Geoff Johns (then-co-head of DC Films) and Toby Emmerich (Warner Bros. executive) of enabling him and making threats against his career, and also accused Walter Hamada (current head of DC Films) of covering Johns after the Justice League meltdown, to the point of triggering an internal investigation. Henry Cavill also came out and said that he was pressured into providing false information regarding his involvement in the theatrical cut.
Writer Chris Terrio had a lot to say about his work on Batman v Superman and Justice League, how it was butchered by the studio and how it negatively affected his own career. Enough, in fact, for Vanity Fair to say that he was "pissed off" in their article's title.
Gal Gadot's only works of note was a supporting role in The Fast and the Furious series before she became Wonder Woman. She even said she was considering quitting acting for good because the roles were so thin, and thanked Zack Snyder for giving her career such a boost.
Development Hell: A great many projects that were announced since the release of Batman v Superman did not get off the ground, due to no less than three successive production team shuffles between 2016 and 2022 at the head of DC Films, in addition to Warner Bros.' own long history with getting cold feet about adapting something that isn't either Batman or Superman (or getting cold feet at the slightest bits of negative critical reception, as their reaction to the Zack Snyder films can attest). The endless flow of rumors, filmmakers announcing they were working on projects and not giving any update (often meaning they had not been greenlit by the studio), the studio's utter lack of communication on the subject for a while and web pop culture/film outlets treating every bit of rumor as fact did't help to get a clearer picture for a while. The puzzling about is also partly an effect of that other studio making "phase" slate announcements for its cinematic universe with much fanfare while Warner Bros. - to the frustration of some - does not. This in turn raises questions about whether or not they do have plans mapped out for their Shared Universe going forward or just wait to see what sticks (and making unrelated and more proudly publicised DC Comics-based films like Joker and The Batman does little to answer them). The new management team at Warner Bros. Discovery seemingly aims at "mapping out" their future DCEU films output to avoid the hesitancy that crippled DC Films from about 2018 to 2022 and prevented many projects from getting made, this time with the studio being headed by James Gunn and rebranded as DC Studios.
The Cyborg movie is firmly stuck there, having no writers or directors attached. Its chances of ever seeing the light of day got even slimmer with Ray Fisher's accusations against some DC Films/Warner Bros. executives related to the Hostility on the Set of Justice League that caused him to seemingly part ways with the studio.
Steven Spielberg, of all people, was announced to direct an adaptation of Blackhawk in April 2018. Nothing has happened since.
Several titles such as Nightwing, a Green Lantern reboot and a Justice League adaptation have been on the table as early as 2016, but none have had any concrete updates aside from writers and directors mentioning the occasional rewrite, with the studios diverting all attention to The Batman or anything related to The Suicide Squad in a way that seems like a distraction.
David S. Goyer originally envisioned the Krypton series as a prequel to Man of Steel, before major changes in writing and production by Geoff Johns separated the series from the DCEU.
The Batman was originally going to star Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight and pit him against Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke, and be directed by him. After Affleck stepped away from both directing and the role, Matt Reeves retooled the film into a new continuity with a younger Batman and scrapped the Deathstroke plot altogether.
Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were virtually free of meddling by executives (the latter's extended version at least, amputating half an hour of footage on studio mandate proved to be detrimental to the film during its theatrical run). It all changed after these movies got mixed-to-negative receptions, and the biggest victims ended up being Suicide Squad and Justice League in what could be described as a frantic race by the execs to make these movies' tone as Lighter and Softer as possible with heavy reshoots following Angst Aversion complaints about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which itself was truncated for its theatrical version), with said complaints forming a good chunk of the negative reception. More details can be found on the films'Triviapages.
Zack Snyder and David Ayer have confirmed that Geoff Johns, then-head of DC Films, was behind some of the meddling. Ayer cited the example of Harley Quinn's background in Suicide Squad — Johns made her an accomplice of the Joker in the murder of Robin, which caused some major Continuity Snarls.
Executive Veto: Upon the release of Black Adam, Dwayne Johnson revealed the reason why Henry Cavill didn't return for a long while as Superman: it was the pre-Warner Bros. Discovery administration (Ann Sarnoff, Toby Emmerich and DC Films head Walter Hamada) that vetoed his return (they planned to replace him with Sasha Calle's Supergirl starting with The Flash). It reportedly took Johnson and his agent (and ex-wife) Dany Garcia six years of negociations (which means the previous studio heads from as far back as 2016 were also not keen on seeing him come back after the backlash towards Batman v Superman).
The portrayal of Barry Allen in Justice League (2017) as a youthful, hero-worshipping young man who is recruited out of his home by an older, more iconic (in-Universe) hero to take part in a team effort and serves as the "kid" of the team owes more to Quicksilver's portrayal in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Spider-Man's portrayal in Captain America: Civil War than any other depiction of the Flash.
God Never Said That: That franchise has been a huge Internet rumor mill ever since the announcement of Batman v Superman and even moreso since its release and divisive reception, and Warner Bros. or crew members have sometimes (pretty scarcely, actually) step up to confirm/deny rumors (at least before 2022 when the new administration at Warner Bros. Discovery became more upfront).
There was never an official statement naming the franchise the DCEU, since a magazine article made that up. The name caught on nonetheless.
In 2018, a similar thing happened when various sites all ultimately based on one source claimed the name was now officially "Worlds of DC". There's no statement of that either, and this seems to have started when overzealous people misinterpreted a welcome message at Hall H of the 2018 San Diego Comic Con. That welcome message covered everything at Hall H based on DC Comics, including the likes of the new season of Young Justice and Titans, which are not set in the continuity of the theatrical live action films.
Despite persistent reports from "insider sources" and articles taking unverified rumors as fact, Henry Cavill has never said anything about leaving his role. Cavill's manager even said "the cape is still in his closet". James Gunn was offered to direct a Superman movie before he chose to take up the Suicide Squad sequel, meaning Supes is still very much in the cards. It later turned out it was an Executive Veto that prevented Cavill from coming back as Superman, the plans of the newly minted Warner Bros. Discovery allowed him to return.
Ezra Miller, set to play The Flash, had an interview with MTV where he discussed the Flash and his role in broad details. His excitement for the project was tangible, describing The Flash as a Science Hero who is constantly finding "breaks in the event horizon," his love for the 2014 tv show, and being cast as the character giving him the justification to "geek out as hard as he can."
Amy Adams is a huge Superman fan and has auditioned for the role of Lois Lane a number of times (the closest thing she got to working on a Superman media prior to this film franchise is a Monster of the Week in Smallville) and winning the role has made her really happy.
And of course, Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck themselves, being unabashed fans of Superman and Batman respectively long before being cast.
Release Date Change: 2022 was slated to be the year when the DCEU would have its boom. As soon as Peacemaker and The Batman were released, the remaning slate faced a series of delays ranging from post-production complications to reshoots to the Warner Bros. Discovery merger causing all sorts of headaches for every single creative team. By the end of August of that year, no DCEU movies had been released, Batgirl was axed, and SHAZAM! Fury of the Gods, The Flash and Aquaman & the Lost Kingdom were all pushed to 2023. Black Adam ended up the only DCEU entry to come out in 2022.
Henry Cavill officially announced his return as Superman in October 2022 after years of not playing him (since the reshoots of 2017, the footage of him in Zack Snyder's Justice League was from 2016), along with the publicity of his cameo in Black Adam. The newly minted Warner Bros. Discovery terminated the Executive Veto that prevented him from returning and now has plenty of projects featuring Superman in store, which (among other reasons) caused Cavill to drop from his other iconic role as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix's The Witcher after its third season.
The chances of the next Superman solo film to happen increased dramatically to quasi-certainty in October 2022 when Henry Cavill officially announced his return in the role. In his words: "A very small taste of what's to come, my friends. The dawn of hope renewed!". There was an Executive Veto from the previous WB administration that prevented him from returning, and the executive management changes enforced by Warner Bros. Discovery as well as the relentless lobbying of Dwayne Johnson and their common talent agent (and Johnson's ex-wife) Dany Garcia helped making this return a reality.
The Batman/Superman crossover was in development for a long time. The first idea for the movie (originally envisioned as a Superman reboot) came about in 2002, when J. J. Abrams was signed on to write the movie and McG signed on to direct. McG left the project in favor of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Though Wolfgang Petersen was slated to direct this reboot, Abrams's script was put on hold when Andrew Kevin Walker suggested that he could write a Batman crossover along with Akiva Goldsman, to which Petersen signed on to direct. The movie was put on hold indefinitely once Warner Bros. decided it would be more prudent to have standalone films featuring the characters instead of a crossover. The project was brought up once more following the success of Man Of Steel, which would reunite Snyder and Goyer and would be released in Summer 2015. Goyer was eventually demoted from the lead writer of the project to a secondary writer, in favor of Chris Terrio. The movie was entitled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and was subsequently delayed to May 6, 2016. The delay was initially thought to be for production trouble, but it was eventually revealed that it was done in order to better establish a schedule for other DC/Vertigo movies.
The development of a Shazam! movie started in 2000 with New Line Cinema, Peter Segal, John August working on the project, but went nowhere for several years. New Line Cinema was eventually bought by Warner Bros., and August left the production when film executives requested that the movie be made Darker and Edgier in lieu of The Dark Knight. From there, the project shifted development from a movie to a television series in 2013 - but Peter Segal stated that, at that point, the adaptation was unlikely to happen. The film was saved in 2014 when DC announced plans to adapt the character to film, and was confirmed to be in development later in the year.
A Justice League movie had been planned for quite some time since 2007. The original plan for the movie was to set it in a completely separate universe from 2006's Superman Returns, with a different actor in the role. A script called Justice League: Mortal had George Miller attached as director and several characters already cast, including DJ Cotrona as Superman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Adam Brody as the Flash, Anton Yelchin as Kid Flash, and Jay Baruchel as Max Lord. But the 2007-08 Writers' Strike and other factors like the success of The Dark Knight caused Warner Brothers to delay and ultimately cancel the film in favor of individual character movies.
Dwayne Johnson was cast as Black Adam as far back as November 2007. The Black Adam film started principal photography in April 2021. Massive props have to be given to Johnson for not having given up all this time.
Suicide Squad and Justice League went through much production troubles because of the Executive Meddling as answer to the critical backlash of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. More extensive details can be found on the films' Trivia pages, here and here.
Pretty much every production after Peacemaker has faced delays due to the post-production teams being susceptible to COVID-19. Black Adam, The Flash and the Aquaman sequel were all pushed aside by several months. With Batgirl intended to be a follow-up to The Flash, it also faced an indefinite delay before being outright cancelled during post-production.