Reconstructing the Animated DC Movie Timeline

It’s more complicated than before and after ‘Flashpoint’

‘Justice League Dark: Apokolips War’

The following contains spoilers for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is a spectacular and satisfying finish to the direct-to-video DC Animated Movie Universe (DCAMU), which began with 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Despite Darkseid’s defeat after an (unexpectedly delightful) team-up, the film ends with the Flash generating another ‘Flashpoint’ to undo the lasting damage caused by the evil New God, and clearing the deck for a new, possibly less interconnected series of films.

As DC Comics readers will know, this doesn’t necessarily mean every previous DC Animated movie is non-canon now; Warner Bros. Animation only released Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, a solo outing outlining the DCAMU version of her origin story (penned by Apokolips War screenwriter Mairghread Scott no less), last year — perhaps the only certain casualty of Apokolips War’s ending is Apokolips War itself, so at the time of writing, all of the following could still count (especially if DC don’t revisit the stories adapted):

‘Justice League Dark,’ the ostensible predecessor of ‘Apokolips War’

However, it’s important to remember that before Flashpoint, when all of the animated DC movies were considered standalone movies (to distinguish them from the older DC animated universe of TV series like Batman Beyond and Justice League), a shared continuity was beginning to emerge, thanks to lead character designer Phil Bourassa (who worked on Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Doom), and voice actors like Nathan Fillion (who played Hal Jordan in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and Doom before The Flashpoint Paradox). Therefore, it’s possible the following films that don’t take place in a specific continuity (eg. All-Star Superman) were canon:

The Justice League in ‘Justice League: Doom’

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and Superman: Unbound could’ve been part of the DCAMU had other movies not made it clear there was no Supergirl in their world — Unbound, with its ending teasing a revived Brainiac attacking New Krypton, was arguably the biggest casualty of the decision to establish a new shared continuity with The Flashpoint Paradox. Superman: Doomsday and Wonder Woman would’ve fit until their storylines were revamped in subsequent DCAMU movies, while Green Lantern: First Flight and Emerald Knights feature incompatible takes on Sinestro.

Therefore, a combined timeline would likely resemble:

The early years of our favourite veteran heroes:

The compatible pre-Flashpoint Paradox movies:

Then everything else before Apokolips War:

For brevity’s sake, I didn’t mention any of the DC Showcase short films, which may still be canon, given how standalone they are — like the DC Comics universe, seismic changes to the timeline come and go, but heroes will always save lives while villains commit crimes, and it won’t matter as long as those stories are competently told: here’s to the next decade of DC animated films.

Autistic British know-it-all. I like gods and monsters. Bylines at @multiversitycom and @nerdypoc.

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