The DC Animated Movie Universe is a Shared Universe that exists as part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line starting in 2014. All movies in the line, which itself started in 2007, originally existed in their own continuity. But due to a desire to create a shared setting that mirrors the comics, movies set in this universe have become increasingly common.
This continuity has yet to receive an official name, so we're giving it one for convenience. The first few films were often called the "Animated New 52 Universe" or something similar because of the heavy influence from said comics. But as further films were made, they were allowed greater freedom to adapt other DC eras like Post-Crisis and DC Rebirth, as well as add original ideas. This has allowed the films to avoid being an Unintentional Period Piece for the now-superseded New 52, and to create a unique mythos of their own.
In many ways, it's the Darker and Edgier Spiritual Successor to the DC Animated Universe, being that it's also a shared universe with a colorful art style, epic plots, top of the line voice talent, and a mix of both comic accuracy with original storytelling. That said, because it's direct-to-video, it doesn't have to cater to basic cable or network television standards. This means, like many other titles in the wider Animated Original Movies line, the films feature intense and graphic violence, frequent uses of swearing, an increased focus on sensuality, and the exploration of themes darker than what could ever be done on children's television or even some of DC's general audience works.
This universe's story officially finished in 2020's Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, a Post Apocalyptic Crisis Crossover. However, the trailer for the 2022 DC Showcase short film DC Showcase Constantine: The House of Mystery confirms that it is set after the events of that film for Constantine. It was succeeded by the Tomorrowverse, another sub-series to the DCUAOM which began with the 2020 film Superman: Man of Tomorrow.
Works set in the DC Animated Movie Universe include:
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (July 2013): A prologue of sorts. This is what is considered to have started the universe, though it is only teased at the end.
- Justice League: War (February 2014): At the time of its release it was the first movie in this continuity, however, Suicide Squad Hell to Pay would later establish the earlier Flashpoint Paradox as being in the first movie set within this universe.
- Son of Batman (April 2014)
- Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (January 2015)
- Nightwing & Robin (2015): An animated short that takes place during Throne of Atlantis, acting as a teaser for Batman vs Robin.
- Batman vs. Robin (April 2015)
- Batman: Bad Blood (January 2016)
- Justice League vs. Teen Titans (March 2016)
- Justice League Dark (January 2017)
- Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (April 2017)
- Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (March 2018)
- Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay (2018): A tie-in comic that takes place after the film. It also establishes that it takes place prior to Justice League Dark.
- The Death of Superman (July 2018)
- The Death of Superman: The Wake (2018): A tie-in comic exploring events before, during and after the climatic battle with Doomsday.
- Constantine: City of Demons (October 2018): A webseries for CW Seed spun-off from Justice League Dark. According to Word Of God it is set before Justice League Dark, and acts as an origin story for the DCAMU version of Constantine.
- Reign of the Supermen (January 2019)
- Batman: Hush (July 2019)
- Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans (September 2019): A Intra-Franchise Crossover between Teen Titans Go! and Teen Titans along with other properties based on the Teen Titans. The DCAMU versions of Nightwing, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Cyborg appear together in this crossover, with Sean Maher reprising his role as Nightwing. Since Nightwing wears his costume from The Judas Contract, this film takes place before Batman: Hush.
- The Death and Return of Superman (October 2019): The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen released as a Compilation Movie.
- Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (October 2019)
- Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (May 2020): The Grand Finale of this continuity.
- DC Showcase Constantine: The House of Mystery (May 2022): A short film using a different animation style that continues John Constantine's story after Apokolips War.
The DC Animated Movie Universe provides example of:
- Aborted Arc: Due to the universe ending with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, many Post-Credits scenes never led to anything.
- Teen Titans: The Judas Contract has a post-credits scene promising some kind of role for Jericho.
- The post-credits scene of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis with Lex Luthor meeting Orm at Belle Reve hasn't been followed up on. Specially jarring since Luthor's Legion of Doom appeared in Justice League vs. Teen Titans and Orm was nowhere to be seen.
- Wonder Woman: Bloodlines ended with Veronica Cale promising further villainy.
- Adapted Out:
- Green Arrow is noticeably absent, despite his sidekick Speedy being presented as a former member of the Teen Titans.
- The writers confirmed that the Robin identity went from Dick directly to Damian, meaning the likes of Jason Todd and Tim Drake do not exist in this continuity.
- Ambiguous Ending: Almost bordering on Downer Ending. In the Grand Finale, most of the heroes are dead or crippled and Earth was left near-inhospitable during the Apokolips invasion and later occupation. Because of this, Constantine tells Flash to go back in time and prevent the entire tragedy from ever happening. However, they know that this will reboot the entire timeline, just like what happened in The Flashpoint Paradox, meaning that the resulting reality will be completely different from the one they remember. The movie ends with Flash entering the Speed Force once again, with the surviving heroes watching on as everything fades to white.
- In The House of Mystery it is revealed that Constantine is being punished for trying to guide Flash on what changes he should make to avoid Darkseid returning instead of simply creating a random Flashpoint. The Flash's status is left unknown, but Nergal from City of Demons is revealed to be alive again suggesting that a new timeline had been created.
- Ambiguous Situation: When The Flashpoint Paradox takes place in the timeline is unknown, though since Hell to Pay acknowledges it and Batman changes his costume in Batman: Hush the film is presumably set somewhere between those two films.
- Animated Adaptation: The earlier films were mainly based on the New 52. War is an adaptation of the Justice League arc "Origins"; Throne of Atlantis and Justice League Dark served as inspiration for the eponymous movies; and Batman Vs. Robin is loosely based on Night of the Owls.
- Art-Shifted Sequel: The Flashpoint Paradox and The House of Mystery use a different art style to the other films.
- Book Ends: This continuity began and ended with The Flash going back in time to create a new timeline, albeit at first for selfish reasons, and the second time for noble ones. Likewise, this universe's version of the League's first and final adventures involved Darkseid.
- Broad Strokes:
- Flashpoint Paradox was always considered to be the prologue to this line of films despite having little in common with animation, story and voice actors, but the timing of the release plus the Cosmic Retcon that was hinted at made it feel natural. It wasn't until Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay that made this official (four years later) with a returning character, and a subplot discussing Flash having created the Flashpoint universe in later movies.
- The appearance of the Teen Titans in Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans has elements of this, since it includes Cyborg as part of the team while neither Damian or Blue Beetle appear so the team matches the versions from the 2003 and 2013 cartoons. Cyborg also shows abilities he doesn't have in the main films and nobody mentions this adventure in the films.
- Comic-Book Time: Averted, as while dates in newspapers are inconsistent and the little information given by characters doesn't help in making a clear timeline, unlike in the comics time does pass as shown with Damian who sounds older as his voice actor ages. While Damian is ten years old in Son of Batman he's clearly in his late teens by Apokolips War even before the two year Time Skip, so it can be assumed that In-Universe six to eight years passed between the first and last films.
- Darker and Edgier: The DCAMU is what happens when the DCAU isn't held back by censors and the creators take full advantage of that. Four of the franchise's movies (Dark, Hell to Pay, City of Demons and Apokolips War) are "R"-rated and are far more violent and gory than any previous DC animation. In fact, this series took and managed to ensure it'd keep the crown as this from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (which itself took the crown from Batman: Under the Red Hood).
- "Everybody Dies" Ending: Everyone except the Flash, and apparently Constantine in The House of Mystery, is killed due to the DCAMU timeline being erased and replaced. Before that many characters were killed due to Darkseid's invasion in Apokolips War.
- Grand Finale: Apokolips War is the final film in the franchise. It reunites almost every character from across all films in a final battle against Darkseid's forces.
- Growing with the Audience: The films are popular with fans of the DCAU, who've now grown as adults, given it's a similar universe with mature themes to match.
- Hotter and Sexier: Not that the DCAU didn't have its moments, but when there's no censors... it leads to female characters being bustier and curvier, and more Fanservice scenes that wouldn't had never been allowed in the DCAU.
- The Multiverse: Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans reveals the DCAMU exists in one largely populated by variations of the Teen Titans such as both animated versions, the Tiny Titans comics and The New Teen Titans comics. Since every character except the Flash and Constantine was either killed or erased when the timeline was reset in Apokolips War, they all count as an example of Dead Alternate Counterpart.
- Only Six Faces: Every human and human-adjacent character has almost identical looks.
- Shared Universe: These films are all in-continuity with each other.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The entire story ends with Flash going back in time to prevent Darkseid's second invasion and the decimation of Earth. However, this will inevitably cause the entire timeline to change just like what happened after the Flashpoint Paradox. The only light at the end of the tunnel is the fresh start this DC Universe will receive once the timeline resets.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Earlier movies placed a huge focus on Batman, and often Damian. This is lessened in later movies, which branched out to other characters once proven successful.
- The Stinger: As is customary for shared superhero movie universes, some of these films have a post-credits scene which floats a possibility for a future film or briefly expands on the consequences of this film's conclusion. The Flashpoint Paradox's show Parademons flying out of a Boom Tube, leading into War; War seeing Ocean Master declaring war against the "surface dwellers", leading into Throne of Atlantis; JLvTT seeing Terra arrive at Titans Tower, setting up The Judas Contract; and Reign seeing the League plan to fight Darkseid, leading into Apokolips War. The items in "Aborted Arc" were also in stingers.