We’re counting the days until the newest – nay, the first – DCU movie drops in theaters on August 18, 2023. ‘Blue Beetle’ is ready to take us by storm and become the first hero that has a stand-alone movie in the new, revamped, rekindled DCU.
How much will this first movie be linked to past DCEU films and TV shows and how much it will affect the future of the DCU remains to be seen. What we do know, however, is that it’ll introduce us to a brand new live-action character and that some key moments from the DCEU need to be understood to grasp the new direction that James Gunn and Peter Safran envisioned.
Seeing that we don’t really know how much of the DCEU will translate to the DCU, it’s best to revisit some crucial DCEU moments to have all grounds covered. Ergo, I’m bringing you the ultimate list of the 13 movies you need to watch before ‘Blue Beetle,’ ordered solely by their release date.
1. ‘Man of Steel’ (2013)
IMDb score: 7.1/10
What it’s about: When his planet got destroyed, a Kryptonian baby named Kal-El was sent to Earth to survive and live among humans. However, the peace and safety he protected for years become usurped after other, not-so-peaceful Kryptonians arrive to invade Earth.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: Let’s get this out of the way – the storyline from ‘Man of Steel’ likely won’t have anything to do with ‘Blue Beetle’ – and, obviously, Henry Cavill won’t be Superman anymore. However, you should definitely watch this 2013 flick before ‘Blue Beetle’ to see where the DCEU began and why so many fans adored Henry as Supes.
2. ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (2016)
IMDb score: 6.4/10
What it’s about: After Superman battled General Zod, Batman became concerned that the actions of such a powerful individual cannot be left unchecked. So, he decided to take Superman head-on, as the world worried about both Superman being on Earth and Batman striking fear into the streets of Gotham City. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor develops his own advantage against Supes…
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: Another guy from the DCEU who’ll be replaced in the future of the DCU is Ben Affleck, who portrayed Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Affleck made (likely, as you never know) his final appearance as Batman in ‘The Flash’ (2023), but this film was the one that established him as one of the fiercest versions of the Caped Crusader ever.
Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Ben’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne, many would argue that himself, Cavill, and Gal Gadot’s portrayals of the three most prominent Justice League members (Gadot is Wonder Woman, respectively) were the biggest bright spots of the entire DCEU. It’s kind of weird that only one of them might continue their journey in the DCU.
3. ‘Teen Titans: The Judas Contract’ (2017)
IMDb score: 7.0/10
What it’s about: The Teen Titans are a cohesive team that battles evil – until a new member, Terra, alters that cohesiveness dramatically. At the same time, Brother Blood – an ancient, malevolent being – awakens to attack while the villainous Deathstroke also waits for his opportunity.
This means that the Teen Titans will have to simultaneously deal with three threats – Brother Blood, Deathstroke, and their inner turmoil. Will it be too much for the team to overcome?
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: This animated film is not a part of the DCU nor the DCEU, but I believe it’s still a vital film for you to watch if you are unacquainted with Jaime Reyes, aka the Blue Beetle.
‘The Judas Contract’ is actually a sequel to ‘Justice League Vs. Teen Titans’ (2016), where the Teen Titans face off against the Justice League gone bad after being possessed by Trigon, a powerful demon. Blue Beetle also appears in that movie but doesn’t have a central role.
Well, in ‘The Judas Contract,’ you’ll learn a lot more about Jaime and his struggles with the Blue Beetle, as the scarab doesn’t allow him to bond with basically anybody else apart from his Teen Titans group, making it very hard for Reyes to balance between his private life and his superhero duties.
It’s a cool film to get to know who Jaime Reyes is and give you a general idea of what to expect once DCU’s ‘Blue Beetle’ premieres.
4. ‘Wonder Woman’ (2017)
IMDb score: 7.4/10
What it’s about: Princess Diana lives on the hidden island of Themyscira as a member of the mighty Amazons. After a pilot crashes onto Themyscira, he tells Diana of the war that’s going on in the outside world – being WWII.
Instead of staying to complete her training, Diana decides to leave her home and help stop the war – leading to her discovering her real powers, real destiny, and real purpose – being Wonder Woman.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: I probably wouldn’t put this movie on the list because, well, it’s not actually necessary for you to watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’ – but Gal Gadot said that the third Wonder Woman film is in development, so it might be more important than we initially thought.
We still have no idea how much this trilogy will play into the bigger picture of the upcoming DCU – and we have no idea how ‘Blue Beetle’ will fit in all of it, but seeing that Gal Gadot evidently remains part of Gunn and Safran’s plans for the foreseeable future, it’s important to watch all the Wonder Woman films before ‘Blue Beetle’ kickstarts the DCU.
5. ‘Aquaman’ (2018)
IMDb score: 6.8/10
What it’s about: Arthur Curry is born to a human father and an Atlantean mother. He is the heir of the underwater empire, but his long-lost brother has other plans – attacking and conquering the surface world. Arthur, a member of both worlds – has to venture onto a quest to prevent an all-out war and never-before-seen bloodshed that would follow.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: Another DCEU character whose DCU future is still up in the air is Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman, portrayed by Jason Momoa. ‘Aquaman 2’ is slated for a theatrical release in December, a couple of months after ‘Blue Beetle,’ and Momoa appeared in a post-credits scene from ‘The Flash’ (2023).
Seeing that another Aquaman film is already scheduled, it would be best for you to watch the first film before ‘Blue Beetle’ to prepare for the sequel.
6. ‘Shazam!’ (2019)
IMDb score: 7.0/10
What it’s about: Billy Batson is a teenager who’s kind of a loser among his peers. However, one day, a powerful wizard chooses him to wield the power of Shazam because of the pureness of his heart, making Billy one of the most powerful people in the world overnight.
However, being a teenager and a powerful superhero responsible for countless lives isn’t easy. Billy will soon have to find a balance between his teenage immaturity and a looming threat that looks to end life on Earth.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: Now, I don’t really know if Shazam will ever appear in the DCU again, but he did have two movies in the DCEU – one of which premiered only a few months ago.
Despite not knowing if it’ll have anything to do with DCU’s future, it’s cool to check out ‘Shazam!’ Before ‘Blue Beetle’ to give you a general idea of what to expect. While the rest of the DCEU was quite dark, ‘Shazam!’ was light and humorous while portraying a super-powerful superhero. That’s kind of what you can expect from the ‘Blue Beetle’ too.
7. ‘Birds of Prey’ (2020)
IMDb score: 6.1/10
What it’s about: Harley Quinn broke up with the Joker, leading her to try and complete her ‘fantabulous emancipation’ and find herself. That leads Harley to join a group of superheroines named the Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya, trying to save a young girl from an evil crime lord known as Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: Margot Robbie was the only member of the ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016) that James Gunn brought back for his version of ‘The Suicide Squad’ (2021). He’s also keeping Peacemaker and Amanda Waller as DCU canon, and on top of that, a potential Margot Robbie DCU return was teased by a DC writer on Twitter (pardon me, on X).
So, basically, she may or may not return, and her Harley Quinn may or may not be a part of the DCU in the future, but the point is, characters from movies where she appeared will absolutely be in the DCU, so you should certainly watch the films where she had appeared, just to make sure you’re acquainted with the character should she return in the future.
8. ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ (2020)
IMDb score: 5.4/10
What it’s about: An ancient artifact that grants wishes goes missing. Maxwell Lord is the guy who obtained the artifact – a power and wealth-hungry businessman who’ll stop at nothing to achieve his nefarious goals. Little does he know how big of a consequence his actions might have.
In fact, Princess Diana faced her toughest task yet, defeating Max Lord while putting her own emotions in second place…
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: I won’t lie to you, I found ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to be a terrible movie. Gal Gadot felt ‘wooden’ to me, and the plot was just atrocious, which is probably why Patty Jenkins isn’t a part of the plans for the future of the DCU.
Still, Gadot’s Wonder Woman seems to be returning, so you should watch this film for the third one to make sense whenever it may come. I’m not sure if it’ll make any difference for you in watching ‘Blue Beetle,’ but I always believe you should watch previous projects first if there’s even a tiny chance they could play a role in this or future projects of a franchise.
9. ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ (2021)
IMDb score: 7.9/10
What it’s about: The world must deal with losing its truest, purest, and mightiest superhero after Superman sacrificed himself for the greater good. Now, Batman is determined not to let his sacrifice be in vain as a new, cataclysmic cosmic threat arrives to destroy Earth – and possibly much more.
Will the new group of metahumans be able to defend the planet from the mighty Darkseid?
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: You can technically watch this one or the 2016’s ‘Justice League’ movie, as they revolve around the same narrative. However, I’ve put this one on the list because it’s simply tenfold better. The 2016 film was trash, and this one is actually a great movie.
Cavill and Affleck might not return, and the overall narrative might not be that important in DCU’s future, but hey – we’ve seen ‘The Flash’ appear right before ‘Blue Beetle,’ we’ve seen Aquaman appear in ‘The Flash’ post-credits scene, and he is slated for another standalone movie in December, and ‘Wonder Woman 3’ is reportedly in the works.
That’s more than enough for you to watch ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ before you watch ‘Blue Beetle.’
10. ‘The Suicide Squad’ (2021)
IMDb score: 7.2/10
What it’s about: Amanda Waller forms the shady Task Force X – a group of supervillains and antiheroes like Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, and Peacemaker – to complete a super-secret mission on a remote island in exchange for their freedom, or at least a shorter sentence at the Belle Rive prison, in which she actually found them.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: This was sort of a reboot, or a remake, or something in between from the 2016 ‘Suicide Squad’ box office flop. And, it was actually a nice movie – nothing special, but certainly better than the first one. And it was directed by James Gunn, who is now the co-CEO of DC Studios.
I’ve already mentioned Harley Quinn, whose future in the DCU is unknown, but we do know that John Cena’s Peacemaker and Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller will appear in the DCU in ‘Peacemaker’ Season 2 and ‘Waller’ (a working title for an HBO Max spin-off series centering around Amanda Waller).
Seeing that at least two characters from ‘The Suicide Squad’ will play a role in the future of the DCU, it’s important to watch this film before ‘Blue Beetle,’ that’ll actually mark the beginning of the new DCU.
11. ‘Peacemaker’ Season 1 (2022-)
IMDb score: 8.3/10
What it’s about: Once a member of the Suicide Squad, Peacemaker is now free to return home to his abusive father. Not long after coming home, however, he gets tangled up in yet another task force tasked with dealing with an alien threat that’s slowly infiltrating Earth, known as ‘Butterflies.’
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: This is the only TV show I have on a list made entirely out of movies, but I believe that it’s very important for you to watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’ for two reasons.
One, Peacemaker will return for a second season and will remain a part of the DCU for the foreseeable future. And two, it’s downright hilarious and very good compared to some other DCEU projects. You should certainly watch it in anticipation of ‘Blue Beetle,’ ‘Waller,’ and this show’s second season, release date TBD.
12. ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ (2023)
IMDb score: 6.0/10
What it’s about: The sequel of ‘Shazam!’ brings a new major threat to Earth. After Billy Batson shares his powers with all of his friends, forming a big group of superpowered Shazams that struggle to balance their teenage lives with the duties of powerful superheroes that their alter-egos are.
Meanwhile, a trio of vengeful gods searches for the magic that has been stolen from them centuries ago, Shazam and his team must protect Earth from their might.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: The ‘Shazam!’ sequel came out this year, and it wasn’t that big of a success. It kind of lost the mojo and the humor that the first movie had, and we were left with a strange, often cringe-worthy sequence of gags that just led to the end of the movie.
Still, Jaime Reyes and his friends are also teens, so we can probably expect similar references in ‘Blue Beetle’ – although I hope it won’t be this goofy. And, given that it came out so recently, you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’ for any potential references, regardless of how small they could be.
13. ‘The Flash’ (2023)
IMDb score: 6.9/10
What it’s about: The Flash realizes he can run fast enough to go back in time, making him want to change the past and save his mother from being killed. However, doing so messes up the timeline, making him stuck in the past with an alternative version of himself, trying to fix his mistakes. What happens in the end will change everything – literally.
Why you should watch it before ‘Blue Beetle’: Finally, it’s crucial to watch ‘ The Flash’ if you can before ‘Blue Beetle’ because this is the movie that introduced the shift from the DCEU to the DCU. Not to spoil anything, but it has a thing or two to do with changing the past, which ultimately changes the present and the future, which ultimately changes the universe.
Long story short, ‘The Flash’ opened up the opportunity for Gunn and Safran to ‘restart’ with the DCU and seeing that it’s the last DCEU movie to come out before ‘Blue Beetle,’ I’m almost positive that there will be a ton of references to what happened in it in ‘Blue Beetle.’ Ergo, you should certainly check it out, even if Ezra Miller’s Flash never appears in the DCU again.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments!