The DCEU (DC Extended Universe) is quite a messy timeline to untangle, especially when you consider that some movies don’t fit into the overall canon.
However, if you’re looking to brush up on your DC knowledge ahead of the release of The Flash in June, then watching some of the previous films will help.
You may be pleased to hear that this list is nowhere near as sprawling and complicated as the MCU – we also have a guide for watching the Marvel movies in order.
Below, we have guides for watching the DCEU in chronological order, release date order and explanations of which films don’t fit into the DCEU.
How to watch the DCEU films and TV shows in chronological order
Some of the films in the DCEU are very easy to place in the fictional timeline. For example, Wonder Woman is set during WWI, so it’s easily the oldest story.
However, some are slightly trickier to place, with only small easter eggs like the newspaper headline about Superman returning in Shazam! giving away when they roughly take place.
Here is the simplified order – though we have some further notes below:
Wonder Woman Wonder Woman 1984 Man of Steel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Suicide Squad Justice League Aquaman Shazam! Birds of Prey The Suicide Squad Peacemaker season one Black Adam Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Whilst Wonder Woman mostly takes place during WWI, the opening and closing scenes within it are set after Batman v Superman. Equally, Wonder Woman 1984 features scenes of young Diana, which would take place before the first film.
Batman v Superman also features a flashback to a character’s past, as does Peacemaker. Some films go back even further, with both Justice League and Black Adam having scenes set thousands of years in the past.
These niggles aside, this is the cleanest way to watch the films in the fictional timeline order.
How to watch the DCEU films in release date order
If you’d prefer to experience the DCEU as fans did – watching every film and series as and when they released – then this is also an option. Here is the full list, along with the year that each film/series came out:
Man of Steel (2013) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Suicide Squad (2016) Wonder Woman (2017) Justice League (2017) Aquaman (2018) Shazam! (2019) Birds of Prey (2020) Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) The Suicide Squad (2021) Peacemaker, season one (2022) Black Adam (2022) Shazam: Fury of the Gods (2023)
Is Zack Snyder’s Justice League part of the DCEU?
The Snyder Cut of Justice League released on HBO Max in 2021. Zack Snyder was the original director on the 2017 version of Justice League, but stepped down due to a personal tragedy and creative differences with Warner Bros.
After multiple fan campaigns, a four-hour alternate version of Justice League was released. Whilst the cut is largely considered to be better than the original, it is technically not canon – and therefore doesn’t have a spot in our watch lists.
Nonetheless, you can swap out the original Justice League for the Snyder Cut, should you prefer.
Which DC films aren’t part of the DCEU?
If you’re wondering about why Matt Reeves’s The Batman and Todd Phillips’s Joker don’t appear in this list, that’s because they aren’t considered to be part of the DCEU – they are standalone projects.
James Gunn and Peter Safran are currently in the process of reshaping the DCEU (and changing it to just the DCU), and Gunn confirmed on Twitter that going forward, these films and future sequels/spin-offs from them will fall under the DC Elseworlds banner.
Equally, older DC and Batman films (such as the ones starring the likes of Michael Keaton and George Clooney) aren’t considered part of the DCEU either.
That said, Keaton is due to reprise his role as Batman from another multiverse in the next DCU film, The Flash. If you want to prepare for that film (which releases on 16 June 2023), then we have a guide on what to watch.
Where to stream all the DCEU films and series
In the US, most of these films can be watched on HBO Max, which is set to rebranded to Max later this month. Accounts cost $9.99 per month for an ad-supported subscription, or $14.99 for an ad-free one – sign up on the HBO Max website.
UK viewers can watch the movies above either on Sky Cinema, or via Now’s Cinema Membership, which costs £9.99 per month.
If a film isn’t on your local streaming service, then you can always rent or buy them from the likes of Amazon and Google Play.
All the upcoming DCU films and TV series
Looking ahead, there are numerous projects announced by Gunn and Safran – including several feature films due for release this year. Here are the movies and series that you should have on your radar:
The Flash – 16 June 2023 Blue Beetle – 18 August 2023 Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – 20 December 2023 Superman: Legacy – July 11, 2025 Peacemaker season 2 – TBC Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow – TBC Lanterns – TBC Creature Commandos – TBC Waller – TBC The Authority – TBC Paradise Lost – TBC The Brave and the Bold – TBC Booster Gold – TBC Swamp Thing – TBC