James Gunn Announces New DC Slate
The recently appointed co-CEO of DC Studios, James Gunn, has finally given fans some concrete plans regarding the direction of the DC Universe, after months of teasing and speculation.
Gunn and co-head Peter Safran held a press conference on Monday 30th January to detail their upcoming projects, and released a video titled ‘Chapter 1 – Gods and Monsters‘ which breaks down plans for the fans.
Before getting into specifics contained within the video, Gunn gave some context to their plans.
Their mission statement is to create a DC universe that is consistent across film, television, animation and videogames. The characters will be played by the same actors regardless of the medium and each project works under one shared story.
Gunn also explained how the upcoming DC releases, which were produced before Gunn and Safran were hired to run DC Studios, will connect to their new universe. First, Shazam: Fury of The Gods will remain part of the DCU, with Gunn saying it has always existed in its own pocket of the universe, “so he connects very well.” Next is The Flash, which will reset the entire DC Universe. This is fitting for the character, who in the comics has been used as a vehicle for DC to reboot their canon. Blue Beetle and Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom will take place after Flash’s reset.
The main takeaway here is that contrary to speculation, Gunn and Safran’s DCU is not a complete reboot. Some characters will remain unchanged, such as Shazam and Aquaman, while others are out, like Henry Cavill’s Superman. As for Flash star Ezra Miller, it is unclear whether they will return after a slew of controversy, though Safran has suggested that the door could remain open for Miller once they have completed their recovery.
In the video, James Gunn detailed DC Studios’ 8-10-year plan and the projects involved. They are as follows:
Creature Commandos is the first instalment in the newly established DCU. It will be an animated series with each episode written by studio head James Gunn. In the comics, the Creature Commandos are a team of military superhumans operating during World War II. The series’ group will consist of The Bride of Frankenstein, Doctor Phosphorus, Rick Flag, Sr., Eric Frankenstein, G.I. Robot, Dr. Nina Mazursky and Weasel, who appeared in the James Gunn-directed The Suicide Squad.
Another character surviving the cut is Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller. This incarnation of the character has appeared in both Suicide Squad films, Black Adam and television series ‘Peacemaker’. This live-action series will take place between ‘Peacemaker’ seasons 1 and 2, and will include some of that series’ cast. ‘Doom Patrol’ creator Jeremy Carver will join ‘Watchmen’ writer Christal Henry as showrunner.
In Gunn’s words, Superman: Legacy marks the true beginning of the DCU. This live-action film will introduce a new Superman as he balances his roles as a Kryptonian and Earth’s protector. Gunn is currently penning the script with no director attached as of yet. The highly anticipated film is due for release on 11 July, 2025.
‘Lanterns’ will be a HBO series focused on two of the most popular Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan and John Stewart. This will be a series set on Earth and apparently in the same vein as ‘True Detective’, in which the heroes uncover a terrifying mystery that will connect to the larger story of the DCU. The series will reinvent Green Lantern for general audiences, after the misfire of the Ryan Reynolds-led 2011 film.
James Gunn describes this film as his passion project. The Authority are a group of heroes who firmly believe the ends justify the means. They will do whatever it takes to save the world, with their methods often being morally grey. It holds similarities to the critically acclaimed ‘The Boys’ and could offer a different tone for the DCU.
This series will be based on Themyscira, home of Wonder Woman. Gunn describes it as ‘Game of Thrones’ with the characters from the Wonder Woman mythos. It will be set before Diana’s birth, so it’s likely we will see how the island’s political landscape changes into what we are familiar with today, as multiple Amazons attempt to seize power.
The Brave and The Bold
This will mark the introduction of the DCU’s Batman. Making his live-action debut is Damian Wayne, son of Batman, who will take on the mantle of Robin. Based on Grant Morrison’s legendary comic run, which many deem as the definitive Batman, the film will explore the caped crusader’s newfound role as a father while still serving as Gotham’s protector. Damian is the son of Bruce and Talia Al Ghul, so it’s likely the film will also explore Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows, prominent figures in Batman Begins. Damian is the fifth character to take on the role of Robin in the comics, so fans are already speculating which other members of the Bat-family, such as Nightwing, could appear.
This TV series will follow a loser from the future who travels back in time to become a superhero with his advanced technology. As Gunn states, it is the superhero story of imposter syndrome. It is possible that Booster Gold’s uniqueness and offbeat humour will allow him to take on a similar role to that which Deadpool has had in Fox’s X-Men Universe. Booster Gold has been a favourite character of fans for a while, so many will be pleased to see him make his DCU debut.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
Based of Tom King’s acclaimed comic run of the same name, this science fiction epic film will follow Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El. Kara was raised on a floating chunk of Krypton and only witnessed death and destruction. This more jaded character will contrast well against Superman’s positivity. It is unclear as to whether this Supergirl will be the same as the one who will appear in The Flash, played by Sasha Calle.
The final project on Gunn’s list will be a horror film based on Swamp Thing, a humanoid swamp creature that can control plant life. The film will tell the dark origins of the character, and is illustrative of Gunn and Safran’s willingness to explore different genres. Based on Gunn’s namedropping of other popular comic runs, it’s likely Swamp Thing will be inspired by Alan Moore’s highly successful take on the character in the 80s. Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director James Mangold has seemingly already expressed interest in directing via a tweet, but as with the majority of these projects no named talent is currently attached.
Popular characters who exist outside of the main DCU continuity, such as Matt Reeves’ take on the Batman, will be rebranded under the DC Elseworlds banner in an attempt to signify their difference from mainline DC stories. The Batman Part II will be released in cinemas on 3 October, 2025. Reeves’ version of Gotham will also continue to be explored in the HBO series ‘The Penguin’. Reeves himself has described his vision as an epic crime saga, and with the newly announced title echoing The Godfather Part II, it seems that vision will remain in tact.
Also included under the new DC Elseworlds banner are the Joker films from Todd Philips, Teen Titans GO! and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ untitled Superman project.
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